Your business can receive credit cards issued in the business's name. However, most reputable credit card companies also require a person's legal name to appear on the credit card alongside the business name. This protects both your business and the companies you make purchases from when you use your business credit card.
To gain a credit card for your business that is linked solely to your business accounts and not your personal credit, you will need an employer identification number (EIN) for your business, which you get from the Internal Revenue Service. Credit card companies may also ask you to provide proof of your business's creditworthiness. You can do this by providing the company with contact information for any vendors that extend you credit.
For example, if you run a food cart business, you most likely make regular purchases of paper cups, plates and napkins. If your supplier for these items allows you to pay upon receipt of your order, that means the supplier has extended you credit. You can use this supplier as a business credit reference.
Name on Card
Your business name will appear on your business credit card, provided you have filled out the appropriate application from your credit card company. The company owner or an authorized user's name will also appear on the card, either above or below the company name. Having one or more people's names on the card lets anyone accepting the card as payment see whether the person signing for the purchase is an authorized user. Just as your personal signature helps protect your personal credit cards from fraudulent purchases, so does a personal name and signature on your business credit card.
Keeping your business credit card separate from your personal credit card can help you track spending in your business and lets you view your purchase history to get the most out of your tax deductions. If you follow the business application procedures, you can also keep poor personal credit from damaging your business credit, and vice versa. If you are the person responsible for your business finances, such as a business owner or partner, you are still legally responsible for the debt incurred by your company. However, keeping this debt separate from your personal credit can limit the financial hardship if a business fails.
Beware of Scams
Some online companies claim to offer credit cards with a business name only so you can remain anonymous. Research any company thoroughly before you apply for a credit card, as some of these companies may be "phishing" scams that seek the personal information you enter in the application. Do not apply for a business credit card that is not backed by a well-known bank. You can check the websites of any of the major credit card companies (Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover) for authorized business card suppliers of their cards.
Anne Hirsh has been writing and editing for over 10 years. She has hands-on experience in cooking, visual arts and theater as well as writing experience covering wellness and animal-related topics. She also has extensive research experience in marketing, small business, Web development and SEO. Hirsh has a bachelor's degree in technical theater and English and post-baccalaureate training in writing and computer software.