Published on February 24th, 2016 | by Chuck70
All You Need to Know about Credit Reporting on Business Cards
In this post, we’ll discuss how business credit cards affect your credit report, and how banks will report the details of a business credit card on your credit report.
When applying for a new credit card, the bank will check your credit report to determine credit worthiness. Even when applying for a business credit card using an EIN, your personal credit report is almost always used in making the decision, and this does result in a hard inquiry on the report.
Aside from the inquiry performed when applying for a credit card, the new account will soon show up on your credit report as an additional liability in your name. And, subsequently, the balances and payments of the card show up on the credit report as well.
- Inquiry hits your credit report
- New account appears on the report
- Monthly balances and payments appear on the report
A business credit card is associated with a business, and not fundamentally with the business owner personally. For that reason, some card issuers will not report the card as a liability on the business owner’s credit report, nor will any future balances and payments get reported there. A hard credit inquiry will take place with the initial application, but the account won’t appear on the credit report at all.
Below, we’ll break down which card issuers follow this practice of not reporting business cards.
It’s important to note that a delinquency from a business credit card will usually show up as a black mark on your personal credit report. The business card is tied to the business owner, and it’s his responsibility to pay off those debts.
Business Credit Report Vs. Personal Credit Report
Aside from the personal credit report of each individual, every business has a credit report that records the credit accounts connected with it. When applying for a business credit card, the business report is often referenced in the card approval process to augment information on the business. Things like size and age of the business can be gleaned from the report.
The business credit report is not typically used in the decision for approval since the data there is fuzzy and lacking. Even someone who doesn’t have any reporting on their business (e.g. a new business that’s applying for its first credit card) can get approved for a business credit card based on their personal credit worthiness. After getting a business card, most banks will report the new business and associated account to the business credit bureau, and a business credit report is thus established.
While most banks will report a business credit card on your business credit report, many will not report it on the all-important personal credit report (exact details below).
Even reporting on the business credit report is inconsistent, though. Some banks will report to all bureaus while others will only report to one. Amex officially says that they report business cards to the business, but from what I’ve heard, they don’t report at all to business bureaus (nor to personal bureaus as we’ll see below).
Why Reporting Matters
There are a few reasons it matters whether a business credit card is getting reported on your personal credit report.
- A whopping 30% of your FICO score is based on your credit utilization. Only accounts and debts that are reported on the credit report will affect the score. (If you run up large balances, you may want to pay them down before the reporting date to help keep your credit score high, see Credit Utilization Reporting Dates For Each Card Issuer for exact dates when card issuers report your balance.) A business card won’t always get reported to the personal bureau and thus won’t affect the FICO score, no matter what balances you have, so long as you were never delinquent on a debt.
- On a similar note, if you have large balances running through your credit cards, it could make a credit analyst nervous about extending credit. Whether it’s a loan, mortgage, or just a credit card that needs manual review, you’re better off keeping a ‘clean’ credit report, without high charges and payments readily apparent there. See also Can you REALLY Hide Manufactured Spend from your Credit Report?.
- Lastly, many card issuers are hesitant to approve you for a new credit card if you’ve been gotten many new cards recently. Notably, Chase has a rule not to approve someone with more five new accounts that have been opened within the past 24-months. A business card won’t always get reported to the personal bureau and thus won’t affect your ability to sign up for new accounts. While business cards do result in a hard credit inquiry on your personal credit report, the credit account won’t appear, and a card issuer may be more willing to approve you for a new card.
Remember that each bank will always be able to see any business credit cards that they issued themselves, just they won’t see business cards issued by other banks on your personal report.
List by Card Issuer
Let’s take a look at the major U.S. credit card issuers, which banks report business cards to the personal credit bureaus and which don’t.
One report quotes Amex as saying they do report that information, but they’re probably just covering their bases with that, or else it was a miscommunication.
Bank of America
There have been reported cases of the business cards showing up, and you should be able to contact Chase and have them remove that. You can probably do this via secure message.
Does not report your business cards to your personal bureau: 1
Corporate Credit Cards
For the employer
A business that is a legal corporation can apply for a corporate card using their EIN, and this account won’t show up on the business owner’s personal credit report.
Typically, to be eligible for a corporate card, the business will have to show three years of financial statements and also meet minimum expected transaction volume.
Check out Amex’s corporate card program here, Citi’s here, Chase’s here, and Capital One’s here. Some of them have rewards programs, some come with other types of benefits, and others focus on streamlining and tracking business expenses.
For the employee
How does a corporate credit card affect the employee who joins on the company account?
When an employee gets a corporate card, liability for the card usage is principally that of the corporation. While some card issuers disclaim that there may be an inquiry for the employee, this doesn’t usually happen in practice. The monthly balance and payment information would not be reflected on the employee’s credit report either. Note, however, that a delinquency will sometimes show up and ding the employee’s credit.
When most of us apply for business cards, Citi, Amex, and Chase are arguably the most important, and those banks are known not to report business cards on the personal report. Capital One, on the other hand, does report business cards.
For those who charge up large balances on their credit cards, using a business credit card can be a way of keeping your FICO score high and your credit report clean. We do have to consider, however, the rewards potential of the business card versus a personal card.