Q: Our LLC was recently formed, we have our EIN and D&B number, and we just opened up our business checking account not too long ago (in the business name). We would like to get a credit card but have no credit history for the company. What can we do for 2013?
A: It’s extremely hard to get a credit card with only your business employer identification number (EIN). Most issuers require your Social Security number too (and therefore you are also personally responsible for any debts). Before “the great recession” there was one national issuer, Advanta, that would allow businesses to apply under just their EIN (and no SS#) if their EIN had an established credit history, however Advanta went bankrupt in 2009 so their cards are no longer available.
Now down the road after you build up a good credit history for your business using the EIN and Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) number, it may be possible to get a corporate credit card using just your EIN. A corporate credit card is issued under the business credit only and not your personal credit. However getting to that point usually takes you at least a couple years of having multiple credit accounts, audited healthy financial statements, etc. (and that process is a whole other discussion!).
So in summary, getting credit cards for businesses with no credit will require your Social Security number. However you need to make sure the issuer actually reports your business credit card history to Dunn & Bradstreet! American Express does NOT report business card history to D&B, however the following do: Chase, Citi, Bank of America, and Discover (so any of those issuers would be the best for businesses with no credit history that are trying to establish it).
One business credit card we highly recommend is the Chase Ink (which I use myself). As a sponsored affiliate of Chase, there is a special promotional offer for our readers: