If you’ve been thinking about opening a business credit card to separate your business and personal expenses, that’s a smart idea. However, approval for a business card will likely be tied up with your personal finances whether you like it or not. That’s because the majority of business cards require a personal guarantee, meaning that the cardholder is personally on the hook for the balance even if it’s in their business’s name.
However, there are a few rare exceptions: business cards with no personal guarantee. While they may be a good option for extending your business’s buying power and protecting your personal credit, no-personal-guarantee business credit cards often have stringent requirements that make them harder for smaller businesses to access. We’ll cover a few of the best business credit cards with no personal guarantees below to help you decide if one might be a good fit for your business’s needs.
What Is a Personal Guarantee?
As it does on a consumer credit card, a personal guarantee on a business card means that you are responsible for any balances incurred.
Even though the card is in the business’s name, your personal credit status is on the line if you miss payments or default on your account.
Credit issuers require a personal guarantee to help minimize their risk so that if the business struggles financially, there’s a person behind the scenes who has promised to pay up. If you’re a business owner, a card that doesn’t require a personal guarantee may sound appealing, but the options are few and far between.
Who Can Get a Business Credit Card With No Personal Guarantee?
Nearly all of the business credit cards with no personal guarantees that we could track down had strict business parameters. Businesses have to prove that they have a track record of financial success, meet minimum revenue thresholds, and/or hold a certain amount in cash reserves. These requirements can exclude most entrepreneurs and small startup business owners with lower business income.
Pros & Cons of Business Credit Cards With No Personal Guarantee
Not tied to personal credit history
May report to business credit bureaus to help build business credit
Not accessible for most smaller businesses
- Not tied to personal credit history: Having a true separation of personal and business finances may be appealing to many business owners. In addition, entrepreneurs who don’t have strong personal credit may be able to qualify for this type of business card.
- May report to business credit bureaus to help build business credit: Just as consumer credit cards report payment activity to the major consumer credit bureaus, some business card issuers report to the business credit bureaus. These reports can help businesses improve their business credit scores. If this is your goal, inquire whether the card issuer reports payment activity before you apply.
- Not accessible for most smaller businesses: Because small businesses may present more risk for lenders, they often face tougher credit qualification processes. Also, decisions about credit approval and credit limits are often tied to business revenue and cash reserves.
- Limited options: If you want to avoid a personal guarantee, you don’t have many cards to choose from. And with so few options available, you won’t find the array of rewards and benefit options you might be used to when shopping for a regular business card.
The Best No-Personal-Guarantee Business Cards
Brex Business Card
Why We Chose It
The Brex card is aimed at tech startups, but any U.S. company with a C-corp, S-corp, LLC, or LLP designation may apply. While there is no personal guarantee, approval and your credit limit require solid business financials.
- Good rewards program: Earn 8 points per dollar spent on rideshares, 5 points on hotels and flights booked via Brex Travel, 4 points on restaurant spending, 3 points on software subscriptions and certain Apple products, and 1 point on everything else.
- Can help build business credit: Brex reports your payment history to Experian and Dun & Bradstreet, two major business credit bureaus.
- No fees: There is no annual fee or foreign transaction fee.
- Limited business eligibility: Freelancers, sole proprietors, and other unregistered businesses can’t apply for this card.
- Variable credit limits: Brex credit limits fluctuate based on a business’s cash reserve balance, which means they’re less stable than those of other business cards. If your business runs into cash flow issues, your credit limit could drop at the very time you may need to rely on credit.
- No revolving balances allowed: The Brex card is a charge card, not a credit card, which means you have to pay your balance in full every 30 days.
Sam’s Club Business Mastercard
Why We Chose It
With rewards on common spending categories and no annual or foreign transaction fees, the Sam’s Club Business Mastercard is another option for people looking for a business card without a personal guarantee. However, to qualify for a waived guarantee, your business must be fairly large.
- Solid rewards: Earn 5% on gas, 3% on dining and on Sam’s Club purchases if you’re a Plus member, and 1% on everything else.
- Can carry a balance: This is a credit card, not a charge card, so businesses are allowed to carry a balance. Just watch out for the interest rate, which could be 14.90% or as high as 22.90%, depending on your account type.
- Strict requirements to avoid a personal guarantee: If your business has fewer than $5 million in annual sales, is under two years old, has fewer than 10 employees, or is a partnership or proprietorship, a personal guarantee is required.
- No travel rewards: Though this card offers some bonus categories, there’s no added benefit for businesses with a lot of travel spending.
- Requires a Sam’s Club membership: Only people who pay the yearly membership fee can apply for this card.
Stripe Corporate Card
Why We Chose It
If your business uses Stripe to process payments, you may be able to apply for the Stripe Corporate Card. You’ll earn 1.5% back on all purchases, and there are no annual, foreign transaction, or even late fees. Plus, you can even customize your card with your company’s logo and branding.
- Flat-rate cash back: The simple rewards structure means not having to think about spending categories, and 1.5% is a decent rate, especially for a business card with no personal guarantee.
- Good partner perks: Companies that pay for a lot of software and digital tools will enjoy discounts on everything from Slack to Hubspot to Google Ads.
- No fees: The Stripe Corporate Card charges no fees, not even for additional cards or late payments.
- Access is by invitation only: Besides being a Stripe customer, you must either be invited to apply or request an invitation. When you apply, Stripe will review your processing history and bank account status to determine eligibility.
- No revolving balance: Because the Stripe card is a charge card, you must pay your statement balance in full each month.
What To Do If You Can’t Get a Business Card Without a Personal Guarantee
With so few options and specific eligibility requirements, business credit cards without a personal guarantee may be out of reach for many businesses. If you don’t qualify for one of the cards listed above, you may be able to:
- Apply for a regular business card: While you might be concerned about using your personal credit to back your account, the advantages of opening a business credit card could outweigh the risks.
- Look into secured business cards: If your main worry is that you don’t have strong credit scores, consider secured products like the Wells Fargo Business Secured Card. It allows business owners with shaky credit histories to open a new card by putting down a deposit.
- Stick with a personal card: If you’re a small business owner or freelancer, you could simply apply for a new consumer credit card and use it exclusively for your business expenses. That way, you can separate your business and personal purchases for tax purposes, while still enjoying consumer benefits and protections.
- Explore corporate cards: If you’re part of a large organization with strong financials (in the millions) and many employees, a corporate card might be a better solution than a small business credit card.