Can You Get a Business Credit Card Without a Business?

If you're doing something on your own (not as an employee) with the intention of making money, you're a business.
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You don’t need a formal business — or any business income — to get a business credit card. A side hustle or hobby that generates extra cash is entrepreneurial enough to qualify for most of the best business credit cards.

There are other requirements, though. Most business credit cards require excellent credit (a FICO score of 690 or higher) and some personal income. Meet those qualifications and you can cash in on the many benefits of a business credit card, such as bigger sign-up bonuses and higher credit limits than personal cards in many cases, without a fully established business.

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Who can get a business credit card?

Anyone who earns money from an independent venture can get a business credit card. That means business credit cards are available to everyone from CEOs to rideshare drivers and resellers on Facebook Marketplace, provided they meet minimum credit score requirements and other qualifications.

Examples of businesses (that you might not consider a business) include:

  • Dog sitting independently or through sites like Rover or Wag.

  • Re-selling furniture, clothing or household items on sites like Poshmark, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.

  • Babysitting.

  • Tutoring.

  • Occasional freelancing.

  • Giving music lessons.

  • Rideshare and delivery drivers.

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NerdWallet rating 

4.8

/5
NerdWallet rating 

5.0

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NerdWallet rating 

4.4

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Annual fee 

$0

Annual fee 

$150

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Regular APR 

18.49%-24.49% Variable APR

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N/A

Rates & Fees

Regular APR 

18.49%-26.49% Variable APR

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Intro APR 

0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months

Intro APR 

N/A

Intro APR 

0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening

Recommended credit score 

690-850
(Good - Excellent)

Recommended credit score 

720-850
(Excellent)

Recommended credit score 

690-850
(Good - Excellent)

Why you might want a business credit card

Small-business credit cards have a lot going for them, such as big sign-up bonuses, high rewards in specific categories, expense-tracking tools and the ability to get additional cards for people who work with you.

Beyond that, business credit cards can be used to build your business credit history. Maintaining a separate credit card for business expenses can also simplify business tax filing. And, yes, even casual entrepreneurs need to file business tax returns.

How to apply for a business credit card without a business

Business credit card requirements are relatively straightforward whether you have a business or not. You'll need to provide personal details such as your Social Security number, date of birth and annual income.

You’ll also need to supply the following information about your business:

  • Business name: Use your name if you don’t have a formal business name.

  • Business structure: Select sole proprietor if you don’t have employees and haven’t filed paperwork to establish a legal business structure.

  • Federal tax ID: If you have an Employer Identification Number (EIN), use that; otherwise use your Social Security number.

  • Business description: Select the industry and business type that best describes your company or side hustle.

Other details, including business revenue and expenses, number of employees if any, and the amount of time you've been in business are also required on most business credit card applications. These factors typically matter less than your personal details when it comes to whether issuers will approve you — provided they’re honest.

Don’t make up a business name if you haven’t registered one with your city or state, and don’t inflate business revenue if you don’t have any yet. It’s perfectly reasonable to put $0 on your application, especially if you’re looking to get a business credit for a new business.

Can you get a business credit card with no business income?

Yes, you can be approved for a business credit card without any business income.

Approval for a business credit card is typically based on your personal credit and financial history rather than your business financials, which is good news for new businesses and sometimes side hustlers with no discernable business income.

Business credit cards do require a personal guarantee, though, which means the cardholder — not the business — is ultimately responsible for any unpaid balances.

There are some business credit cards that don’t have a personal guarantee. However, these will almost always require that your business be incorporated and meet specific revenue requirements.

Can you use a business credit card for personal expenses?

There’s no law that prohibits using a business credit card for personal use. The same is true for using a consumer card for business expenses.

Most issuers do specify in the terms and conditions that business cards should only be used for business purposes. But if you happen to put personal charges on your business card, you’re unlikely to face any consequences — though it’s possible the card issuer could eventually close your account.

The more likely impact of mixing business and personal charges: spending extra time sorting through business card statements at tax time to identify deductible business expenses.

Businesses that have limited liability protections, including LLCs, could also jeopardize those safeguards by commingling business and personal expenses.

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