How To: Apply for a Business Card

So you just got wind of an amazing credit card signup offer, but you’re bummed because it’s for a Business card and you don’t have a business. Don’t worry, you HAVE a business! Let’s spread some knowledge and get you that card!

What exactly constitutes a business?

In the eyes of the IRS, it doesn’t take much!

Now, if you actually have an official business, then you don’t have much to worry about. You will have all the information required to fill out this application.

However, if you’re like most of us and don’t have a Federal Tax ID, then this how-to guide is made for you.

I’ve applied for a few business cards over the years and my businesses have varied. My first business card was for this blog. Another one was for my buying & selling gig on eBay. Yet another was for being a freelance writer for online web sites. And my latest business card was, once again, for this blog.

The point is… ANYTHING and ANYONE can be a business! The key to this is a certain type of legal entity called the Sole Proprietorship. Basically, it’s a business entity owned and run by a single individual and it’s completely legit.

If you’re still stuck on what you can do as a business, just think for a little. I know a lot of people who have a talent or service that they can use as a business.

  • Designing  templates for like wedding invitations and selling them on Etsy
    • Note: you can sell anything you make on Etsy!
  • Selling on eBay, Craigslist, Internet forums, etc.
  • Teaching
  • Freelance anything – writing, website design, photographer, etc.

How to Fill Out the Application

For the most part, the business credit card application is the same as the personal one. You’ll be asked to provide the standard details – Name, Address, Social Security Number, Annual Income, etc.

Where the business application differs is (obviously) the part where you provide information about your business!

how to business card

Everything with a green arrow relates to your business

  • Legal Name of Business: You can make a name for your business or you can just use your own name. I’ve done both.
  • Business Street Address: I always use my home address.
  • Tax Identification Number: As you can see in the pic, use your own Social Security Number since you do not have a Tax ID.
  • Type of Business: Sole Proprietorship. DO NOT choose any other option!
  • Year in Business Under Current Owner: Self explanatory.
  • Number of Employees: I usually just put 1 (myself). You don’t have to put 2 if you want to get an additional card for an “employee”. I haven’t had any trouble.
  • Nature of Business: Self explanatory. I usually choose Other.
  • Annual Business Revenue/Sales: Don’t be afraid to tell the truth, even if it’s a small amount. Definitely don’t lie. It’s something they’ll ask you about later.
  • Authorizing Officer must be one of the following: Owner. I suppose you could pick other choices but this is the easiest to explain on the phone to an agent.

Fill out the rest of the required fields on the application and let it fly! I’ve never had a business card application instantly approved, but if you are… Congrats! You’re done.

If you’re not instantly approved, you’ll probably get a message telling you that your application needs further review and they will contact within 10 or so days regarding the decision.

Calling the Reconsideration Line

Instead of  waiting for the bank to get back to you, a better and faster way is to call what is known as the Reconsideration Line.

This is where you can speak to a live agent regarding your application. More often than not, they will review it while on the phone with you and collect any additional info they might need.

Before you call, you should be prepared with answers to common questions they might ask. Here is a transcript of the important parts of my last call with the Chase Reconsideration Line:

Chase: Let me take a look at your application and the credit report that came along with it.
Chase: Tell me about your business.
Me: It’s a blog where I discuss finding the best deals on things. It’s similar to the site slickdeals.net but with more focus on travel and airfare.
Chase: How long has this business been open?
Me: Only about 18 months.
Chase: What was the revenue of the business this year?
Me: About $200.
Chase: What were the expenses?
Me: About $100
Chase: So you’re looking at about $100 profit for the year.
Me: Yes.
Chase: Now tell me about your full time job.
Me: I’m an Application Developer Analyst for an energy company.
Chase: What’s your annual salary?
Me: More than you can afford pal! J/K I answered him 😉
Chase: How many years at your current job?
Me: Just over 5.
Chase: I see that we’ve extended you as much credit as we’re comfortable with so we wouldn’t want to extend more. What we can do is transfer some line of credit from one card to make room for this new card. The minimum is $3,000. Is that something you’d be interested in.
Me: Yes, please transfer $5,000 from my United Club card to this new Ink Plus card.

And that was that!

He made the credit line transfer and wrapped up the call. The card would go out that same day and I should expect it in 5-7 business days.

To some, it may seem a little daunting but review the conversation I had with the agent; it wasn’t a very pressing conversation at all.

Wrap-Up

So that about wraps up the entire process of applying for a business credit card. It’s not as bad as some people make it out to be.

If you have any more questions, feel free to post them in the comments below or ask on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+! I’m more than happy to talk about any of this stuff any time.

Now go out there, find your business calling, and get even more points and miles!

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Disclaimer: I am not a tax or legal professional. All the advice given is from my experience only. Please consult a tax/legal professional before making any business-related decisions.

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