Do business credit cards affect personal credit? They can, and in fact most do. But, they don’t have to. There are steps you can take to make sure they don’t. The key is to build your business credit score, and choose the right business credit cards.
Do Business Credit Cards Affect Personal Credit? It Depends
If you are asking yourself “Do business credit cards affect personal credit?” you are obviously trying to fund a business. And yes, most high limit business credit cards report to your consumer credit report. In fact, some report to both your personal credit and your consumer credit. There are even some business cards that will report negative payment information, but will not report anything if the account is in good standing. If you are trying to keep your business accounts from affecting your personal credit score, you need cards that will not report to personal credit bureaus.
Do Business Credit Cards Affect Personal Credit? Does it Even Matter?
Yes, it matters. Here’s why. You know that if an account, business or personal, is not in good standing, it can be detrimental to your personal credit if reported. Yet, did you know that even if an account is in good standing, it is possible that it may still damage personal credit.
This is due to one of the fundamental differences in business credit vs. personal credit. Your personal credit score is affected by your debt-to-credit ratio. That’s a measure of how much debt you have, relative to how much credit you have available. A high debt-to-credit ratio can negatively impact your personal credit score. This is further complicated by the fact that many business credit cards stay at or near their limit, even if you are making regular payments. It is a function of the fact that business expenses are typically much higher than personal expenses.
As a result, if those accounts are on your personal report, they can bring your credit score down even if they are not delinquent. The question then becomes, how do you make sure this doesn’t happen? There are two key parts to this.
Do Business Credit Cards Affect Personal Credit? Make Sure They Don’t
First, if you are getting business credit cards with a personal guarantee, you have to make sure they will not report to your personal credit report. There are a handful that will not, even though they do ask for a personal guarantee. It is important to note that a personal guarantee means there will be a personal credit check. That will create an inquiry that may affect your personal credit for a bit. However, if the account does not report payment information to your personal credit report, the impact will be minimal.
A Few Examples of Business Credit Cards that Will Not Report to Personal Credit
If you have bad personal credit, the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card is a good option.
You can get approved with a credit score as low as 580 currently, but that can change of course.
You do have to make at least a $500 deposit. Also, they do not report to consumer credit agencies, but they DO report to Dun & Bradstreet. That is, assuming you have your D-U-N-S number.
That means it can help you build business credit even with a bad personal credit score. They also report to the Small Business Finance Exchange. While the SBFE does not issue credit reports, they do share information with certain lenders, vendors, and credit agencies.
Wells Fargo will review your account periodically, and they may move you up to an unsecured account if you are eligible, based on a number of factors, including FICO.
If you have good credit, you have even more options for credit cards that will not report to personal credit. A few include:
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®
Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card (have to be a Costco member)
Wells Fargo Business Platinum Credit Card
Remember, even though these cards do not report to your personal credit report, they do require a personal guarantee. That means they will do a personal credit check, and that inquiry will affect your score for a bit.
Do Business Credit Cards Affect Personal Credit? Business Credit Cards That Will Not Affect Personal Credit Scores Without a Personal Guarantee
Using a personal guarantee to begin building your credit portfolio is okay to start with. The goal, however, is to get as much as you can without a personal guarantee. To do this, you need to lay the groundwork before you apply for any cards. After all, they cannot report to your business credit profile if there is not one to report to.
Do Business Credit Cards Affect Personal Credit? They Do if You Do Not Establish a Business Credit Profile
In contrast to a personal credit profile, you have to intentionally build a business credit profile. While a personal credit builds passively, business credit scores do not. With consumer credit, all you have to do is get credit accounts and they almost all end up on your consumer credit report.
How Do You Establish a Business Credit Profile?
First, you have your business up to be fundable. This includes a number of factors, some of which include:
- A business name that does not indicate you are in a high risk industry
- A physical business address, not a P.O. Box or UPS box
- Business phone number listed with 411
- A business bank account
- An EIN and a D-U-N-S number
You can get your EIN on the IRS website for free, and apply for the D-U-N-S number on the Dun & Bradstreet website, also for free. This is vital, because if you do not have that D-U-N-S number, accounts will not be able to report your payments to Dun & Bradstreet, because you will not have a profile there for them to report to.
The EIN is what you will use when you apply for business credit instead of your social security number. You may have to provide your SSN for identification purposes, but it will not be used to determine approval. This is one way you ensure your business credit accounts are not reporting to your personal credit report.
Do Business Credit Cards Affect Personal Credit? How to Get Business Credit Cards That Do Not Affect Personal Credit
Once your business is set up in the right way so that you have a business credit profile, you need accounts that report to that profile. However, if you start applying for high limit credit cards using your business credit profile right away, you are going to get denied.
You have to find accounts that will extend credit to your business without any sort of credit check. You don’t yet have a business credit score, and you are trying to avoid personal credit all together. To do this, you start with starter vendors.
These are accounts that will extend net terms and report payments, but they will approve you based on factors other than your credit score. These factors may include time in business, revenue, average balance in your business bank account, or other factors.
How to Find Starter Vendors
The trick is, these types of vendors are not easy to find. They do not advertise themselves as “starter vendors.” They do not make it easy to find out whether or not they report payments to business credit profiles. Business owners need help finding this information.
Here are a few options to get you started:
Still, you need more accounts than this reporting before you can build a strong enough business credit score to apply for higher limit accounts.
Do Business Credit Cards Affect Personal Credit? They Don’t Have To
How to Build a Strong Business Credit Portfolio With Minimal Effect on Personal Credit
The secret to building a strong business credit profile as fast as possible and with minimal effect on your personal credit, is to work with a business credit expert. A business credit expert makes this whole process faster and easier.
They can help ensure you have your business set up the right way, and guide you toward those starter vendor accounts that will help you initially build your business credit score. They will help you know when you have enough accounts reporting to start applying for higher limit accounts and be approved.
In addition, our business credit experts have the knowledge and expertise to help you find the best accounts to flesh out your business credit portfolio. There is more to this than just building strong business credit with accounts that report. An expert can guide you toward the best vendor accounts for your specific business, whether they report or not.
The best way to start this process with no risk is to have a free consultation with a business credit expert. They can help you figure out where you stand now, and where you need to start so that you can build your business credit portfolio in the most effective and efficient way possible.