How To Get Business Credit Cards With An EIN Only
Though they can be hard to find, getting a business credit card with an EIN only is possible if you don't want to use (or don't have) a Social Security Number.
Can you get a business credit card with only your EIN (Employer Identification Number) without submitting your Social Security Number (SSN)? The answer is yes! In certain circumstances, it may be possible to obtain business credit using only your EIN without providing your SSN.
Most business credit card issuers require your SSN when you apply, as this allows them to perform a hard inquiry on your personal credit report and to establish the personal guarantee required by most business credit cards. However, you avoid personal liability and a hard credit pull by using your EIN and not your SSN.
This article will detail the circumstances in which you can apply for business credit cards with an EIN only.
Table of Contents
- What Is An EIN (Employer Identification Number)?
- Startup Business Credit Cards With An EIN Only
- What Types Of Business Credit Cards Can You Get With An EIN Only?
- Why Get Business Credit Cards With Your EIN Only?
- How To Build Business Credit With Your EIN
- Should You Apply For A Business Credit Card With An EIN Only?
- FAQs About Business Credit Cards With An EIN Only
What Is An EIN (Employer Identification Number)?
Your Employer Identification Number is a nine-digit number assigned to your business by the IRS for tax ID purposes. Unlike your SSN, your EIN is associated with your business and not with you personally. In some circumstances, you may be able to use your EIN to apply for and obtain a credit card for business use.
Why It’s Harder To Get A Business Credit Card Without An SSN
If you’re looking for a business credit card you can apply for without submitting your SSN, the unfortunate reality is that cards marketed as “business credit cards” typically require you to supply your SSN during the application process.
However, as we’ll explain, there are credit products you can obtain without providing your SSN — products you can use to fund your business. Some of these credit products happen to be top-tier business credit cards.
Startup Business Credit Cards With An EIN Only
Some startup owners may be able to qualify for startup business credit cards with their EIN only. These cards are known as corporate credit cards (or corporate business credit cards).
Corporate credit cards often don’t check your credit and instead rely on factors such as your business’s revenue, spending patterns, and cash balance to determine creditworthiness. However, as we’ll explain in the next section, corporate credit cards aren’t suitable for all startups.
What Types Of Business Credit Cards Can You Get With An EIN Only?
You can get a number of business credit products while only providing your EIN on the application. Let’s go through your EIN-only card options.
Chase Ink Business Credit Cards
Chase’s popular line of Ink Business credit cards comprises some of the few bona fide business credit cards you can obtain by providing your EIN in place of your SSN.
While Chase’s Ink Business cards are some of the most highly-regarded business credit cards out there, keep in mind that Chase does require a personal guarantee from Ink Business card applicants and will perform a hard credit pull on you as part of the application process. Applicants must typically have good to excellent personal credit to get approved.
This means that if you’re trying to avoid personal liability and a hard credit check by using your EIN to apply for a business credit card, you won’t be able to do so by applying for an Ink Business card. However, if the issue is that you don’t have an SSN — or if you’re trying to avoid disclosing your SSN for data security reasons — you can apply and qualify for one of Chase’s Ink Business cards without supplying your SSN.
- Check out our Chase Ink Business Cash review. Highlights include a 12-month 0% intro APR on purchases, no annual fee, and up to 5% cash back on some common business purchase categories.
- As explained in our Chase Ink Business Unlimited review, this card sports the same intro 0% APR period and lack of annual fee as the Ink Business Cash, but its rewards scheme is much simpler: 1.5% cash back on all business purchases.
- Read our Chase Ink Business Preferred review if, in exchange for a $95 annual fee and no intro 0% APR, you want 3x points on several common business expenses and an early spend bonus worth $1,000 ($1,250 when used for travel).
Corporate Business Credit Cards
Corporate business credit cards (commonly known as corporate cards) differ from traditional business credit cards in that legal responsibility for all charges falls to the corporation/business, not the business owner. Additionally, corporate card accounts let you issue employee cards to your staff, typically for no extra cost. Their business-related spending will be covered, and all rewards/points/miles earned will go to the corporate account.
While corporate credit cards have many benefits, the downside is that they typically require your business to be a corporation/LLC and often have stringent requirements relating to your business cash flow, money in the bank, investor capital, etc. However, as you’ll see, some corporate credit card programs are available to corporations and unincorporated businesses alike.
The Divvy Card
Divvy’s corporate charge card is available to corporations, LLCs, sole proprietorships, and partnerships. Your spending rewards are tied to your bill payoff frequency — pay off your statements more frequently, and you’ll earn rewards at higher rates. Your credit line will scale with your business, and you won’t have to sign a personal guarantee.
- Make weekly repayments and earn 7x points on restaurants, 5x points on hotels, 2x on recurring software subscriptions, and 1.5x on everything else.
- Make semi-monthly repayments, and these points-earning rates go down to 4x, 3x, 1.75x, and 1x, respectively.
- Make monthly repayments, and these rates go down to 2x, 2x, 1.5x, and 1x.
Read our Divvy review to learn more about this accessible corporate credit card and its associated spend management and bill pay features.
Corporate Gas Cards
Corporate gas cards, also known as fleet fuel cards, can be handy payment instruments if you and your employees do a lot of business-related road travel. Some of these cards can be applied for using just your EIN and do not require a personal guarantee. Of course, these cards can only be used for purchases at gas stations, so their utility is limited.
Our list of the best fuel cards for trucking companies covers some of the best fleet fuel cards currently on offer.
Secured Business Credit Cards
With a secured credit card, you make a security deposit that establishes the amount of your credit line. With some secured business credit cards, you can apply with your EIN instead of your SSN and avoid personal liability. Let’s discuss one such card.
Capital One Platinum Secured Card
Capital One’s Platinum Secured card is a personal credit card that can be used for business purposes. It doesn’t offer spending rewards, but if you use this card to build up your credit, you can eventually qualify for a card that does give you spending rewards.
Plus, you may not have to enter your SSN on the application — if you have one, you can use your ITIN or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number instead. The IRS issues ITINs to immigrants who do not have an SSN.
Corporate Store Credit Cards
While a corporate store credit card isn’t quite a true business credit card, it can be a source of credit for stores where you make frequent business purchases. Moreover, certain store-specific credit cards don’t require a personal guarantee and can be obtained with just your EIN. You may be able to earn discounts and/or cash back/points with your spending as well.
Why Get Business Credit Cards With Your EIN Only?
The main benefit of getting business credit cards with your EIN only is that you won’t be held personally liable for any debts incurred — only your business will be liable. Here are a few other specific situations where you might benefit from EIN-only credit cards.
Apply For EIN-Only Business Cards If…
- You Have Bad (Or No) Personal Credit: Applying for a credit card with your SSN usually (though not always) means that your personal credit will undergo a hard pull, and applicants with an insufficiently strong credit profile won’t qualify. When you apply for a business credit card with an EIN only, your personal credit won’t be a consideration.
- You Don’t Have A Social Security Number: People who are not US residents and who use an ITIN to request an EIN from the IRS can apply for and use an EIN-only credit card. And as we discussed, some cards, such as the Capital One Platinum Secured, can be applied for with just an ITIN.
I’ll note that if avoiding a personal guarantee is your primary concern, there are credit cards that won’t make you sign a personal guarantee but require your SSN on the application. Our summary of the best business credit cards that don’t require a personal guarantee contains several such options.
Don’t Apply For EIN-Only Business Cards If…
- Your Credit Health Is Decent: If your credit health is decent (or at least meets the minimum requirements of the business credit card in question) and you don’t specifically stand to benefit from specialized products, such as corporate business credit cards, you may as well apply for a business credit card with your SSN. Any hit that your credit score takes from the resulting hard credit inquiry can be more than counteracted by responsible card use. Read our guide to improving your personal credit score for more details on building a strong credit profile.
How To Build Business Credit With Your EIN
When you use your EIN to apply for a credit card in place of your SSN, your credit card issuer will typically report your credit card use to the business credit bureaus (though you should confirm this with the issuer) but not the personal credit bureaus. This means that so long as you use your credit card responsibly, you can build your business credit and eventually become eligible for better credit products as your business credit score rises.
Read our guide to improving your business credit score for more helpful tips.
Should You Apply For A Business Credit Card With An EIN Only?
If you’re seeking to apply for business credit cards with your EIN only, you’ll be narrowing your range of options significantly. That’s why you may not want to exclude business credit cards requiring an SSN from consideration (unless you don’t have an SSN).
However, if you’re determined to get an EIN-only business credit card, many of the options presented here can both help you fund your business and build up your business credit, provided you make your payments and don’t carry an excessive balance.
Our step-by-step guide to getting a business credit card is a must-read for a great overview of how to proceed. Checking it out should put you in a good position in your search for business credit!