Secured Business Credit Cards: Where To Find Them In 2013?

Posted by CreditCardGuru

Are you a business with no credit or limited credit history? Can secured business credit cards help you? Here’s what you need to know (updated for 2013):

Building credit (or rebuilding credit) for your business has never been an easy task…. banks aren’t very generous in extending credit to businesses in these situations. And even though “The Great Recession” has come and gone, banks still remain stingy with credit cards and loans.

Fortunately, there are ways that you – a small business owner – can either (a) build up credit for your new business, or (b) re-build credit for your established business. Whether you have a LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp, let’s take a look at some of the best tips and tricks to build your business’ credit fast.

picture of generic business credit cardFirst, let’s talk about secured business cards

We all know secured credit cards are a great way to build up your personal credit. Since you’re putting down a security deposit to match your credit limit, almost anyone can qualify for them. So that means business secured credit cards can do the same thing for your business, right? Well, not necessarily…

Where can you find them?
If you look on Google for secured business credit cards, you will see all kinds of spammy “articles” that are trying to fool you to click on their ads, but you won’t find any actual secured business credit card offers anywhere. Why is this?

Unfortunately, there are no major banks in the U.S. that I know of that offer secured cards for business. Seems crazy, but there are probably two reasons for this:

1. Not profitable enough for the banks – Secured credit cards aren’t a big money maker for the credit industry. On the other hand, unsecured small business credit cards make them tons of money… so it’s no surprise that’s all we see them offer these days.

2. Better alternatives to a secured card – When you think about it, a secured card isn’t even necessary. Why? Because most business credit cards will allow you to apply under your personal credit. The advantage of going this route is that it allows businesses with no credit or bad credit to get a business card, assuming the owner’s personal credit is good. Then by adding your business D&B number to the card account, you will also be able to build credit for your business at the same time.

Here are the best ways to build business credit

Although secured credit cards may not be an option, there are still a couple easy and straight-forward ways to build/re-build your company’s credit:

Tip #1: Get credit accounts at office supply stores, gas stations, etc
Staples, Office Depot, and some gas stations offer business credit accounts with approval requirements that are typically less strict than the banks. These can be a great way to build business credit, but be careful, because the interest rates are astronomical so carrying a balance with them won’t be a good idea.

Tip #2: Get a secured business loan from your bank
Many banks offer secured business loans, even though they don’t offer secured business credit cards. For example, Bank of America gives secured business loans for amounts $10,000 or greater if you have a CD or savings with them that you are willing to put up as collateral.

Tip #3: Get an unsecured business card by piggybacking on your personal credit
The easiest way is to apply for business credit card(s) under your personal credit card. Then add your company’s Dunn & Bradstreet D-U-N-S number to the account, so it will also show up on your business credit report.

What is a D-U-N-S number? Think of it as a Social Security number for your business. It’s a 9 digit number issued by the business credit agency Dunn & Bradstreet. It’s considered to be the standard source for keeping track of a business’ credit and should be for all of your company’s lines of credit.

If you don’t already have a D&B number, don’t worry. Applying for one is easy but unfortunately it will take up to 30 days or so and you will receive it in the mail. Meanwhile, you can apply for your business credit card and get that going right away, and then call up the customer service and add the D&B number to your account once you receive it.

IMPORTANT WARNING: American Express business cards do NOT report information to D&B unless it’s negative (i.e. you have a delinquent account). For this reason, I recommend Chase if you are looking to build business credit. Go here to see my review of their Ink card offers.


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Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

21 comments... read them below or add your own

  1. Marko September 16, 2014 at 9:54AM

    You state in the above article >> “The easiest way is to apply for business credit card(s) under your personal credit card. Then add your company’s Dunn & Bradstreet D-U-N-S number to the account, so it will also show up on your business credit report.”
    How do I add my DUNS# to a personal CC?

  2. brandon June 25, 2014 at 8:58PM

    Wells Fargo offers a secured business card

  3. JD May 2, 2014 at 12:04PM

    Another way to begin to build credit is simple.
    Ask for terms from places like staples and other outfits you deal with.
    Term sales are reported to D&B. They don’t add up as fast as credit but they show as short term credit arrangements.
    These terms over time will help you establish credit and therefore build a credit rating.
    Terms are often easier to get than outright open ended credit. Be sure to treat terms as credit because negative reports still hurt every bit as much as negative credit cards.

  4. Bre April 24, 2014 at 5:13PM

    Name some good Business credit card who gives good line and aprove easy

  5. Chris Harwick February 27, 2014 at 3:01PM

    Don’t let the Wells Fargo Secure Business Credit Card fool you… It’s still just a personally guaranteed credit card with your business name on it. I just went through the hassle of opening a business checking and savings account there, transferring $25,000, and then applying for a secured business credit card. The banker was too stupid to be able to tell me ahead of time that they are still going to need my personal guarantee on the account (even secured with cash in my business account). Had to reverse all that work. Watch out for the weasel business bankers who just want commissions on securing your business checking account.

  6. T. Thomas December 27, 2013 at 11:34AM

    Tom P is correct about Wells Faro Business Visa program. Just signed papers for the app 7 days ago. being that it’s new, not all bakers are aware, much less the business acct support line staff.
    As of today 12/27/13, waiting on the arrival of the card. They are slow getting it out the door.
    proper IRS Ein # documentation is required. it’s a point of failure. slows up the whole process at underwriting.
    Heading down to Huntsville, Al to open a secured biz with Bbva Compass.

  7. Audrey Lucas October 4, 2013 at 6:18AM

    I just saw that Wells Fargo offers a secured business credit card from 500 to 25000. I didnt get to read all the details but at least we know wells fargo is a reputable company

  8. Annie September 28, 2013 at 8:56AM

    this better alternative applies to people with great credit. For the rest who have credit issues, possibly for things like being out of a job for a while and exploring entrepreneurship for the first time, your 2nd suggestion is simply not a possibility

  9. DW June 27, 2013 at 4:54PM

    I have a Florida corp. 3 years old as of june need to build credit. personal credit in the tank but i do have a duns number more than 30 day registered. don’t know were to apply to start building credit.

  10. Evans517 March 4, 2013 at 1:36PM

    My personal credit tanked after 2008.. no work.. cannot pay bills.. govt lets everyone slide without adjusting credit ranks to reflect spirit of the times..

    D&B:

    So if you (in this case, me) add D&B number to personal secured CC, does all of your personal negative info then influence your business score because personal negative information is now being reported to D&B by through association (linked / shared accounts with bad credit risk)?

    Data miners.. never know what they will do…

  11. Tom P February 27, 2013 at 4:43PM

    5th Third Bank also has a secured biz credit card. No credit limit. Crummy APR but has a grace period.

  12. Tom P February 27, 2013 at 12:55PM

    I just went into Wells Fargo to do a wire transfer today and asked about doing a secured biz loan. To my surprise they said that they just released (not yet to the public) a secured biz credit card (VISA) made specifically for building biz credit.

    I could not take the flyer with me b/c it was for “Internal use only” its that new!

    I am applying next week once I get some more dough into my savings acct. That’s the other thing…you can secure it with just a savings acct. No need to buy a CD! Whoo hoo! The good days are right around the corner!

    • Tom P February 27, 2013 at 1:11PM

      …plus the Wells Fargo card goes up to $25,000. Makes it easier to build biz credit w/o having to get a bunch of little $5K cards. Nice!

  13. mark November 13, 2012 at 4:49PM

    but the idea of a business CC is so that you separate the liabilities from your personal history..if I have to operate off my personal info, then that invalidates the vail of a corporation, so why would I open that up? I would think some bank would do a secured biz credit card with no personal guarantee?

    • Michael November 18, 2012 at 10:31PM

      You’re absolutely right Mark, but sadly, that’s the case. In order to get a biz credit card without a personal guarantee you need to have an established LLC/corp with substantial sales history.

  14. Tony Joyia April 15, 2012 at 5:07PM

    Thank you for the great information. I have limousine business in Washington, DC area for twenty years. I was doing fine till economy got bad. I have to file for personal bankruptcy in June 2010 as that was the last option for me. I still have my business & I have lot of business credit cards but obviously after bankruptcy every thing finished. How can I rebuild credit for my business. I did got couple of secured credit cards with $300 & $500 limit for my personal credit. Your kind advice will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank You,
    Tony Joyia

  15. Northstartx March 17, 2012 at 10:05AM

    They should do it automatically after about 45 days from your first payment. Sign up for DNB’s Self monitor or Iupdate to check your business tradelines.

  16. “E”ssentials for Life Ins. Serv., LLC February 12, 2012 at 10:08AM

    This information is extremely helpful. My associate and are actually putting into action what we’ve learned from your website, thank you.

    I will pass this information forward.

    NED&AED

  17. LUNTADILA LULENDO January 10, 2012 at 8:13AM

    I AM A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER (1 1/2 YEAR IN BUSINESS) AND BEEN LOOKING FOR HOW TO BUILD A CORPORATE CREDIT BUT TODAY I REALLY LEARN A LOT. THANK YOU VERY MUCH ABOUT THE INFORMATION. PLZ SEND ME MORE INFORMATION.

  18. Gerard Carr December 31, 2011 at 12:30PM

    How do I requests bank of america to add my duns number to my personal credit card.

    • MJ June 11, 2012 at 7:50AM

      Hey Gerard,

      Did you ever find out what you have to say to BOA to get them to add your Duns #? Will they even know what you are talking about?

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