Anyone can apply for a business credit card, even if they don’t have a business. This fact is unknown to many people, but it’s the plain truth. What most people believe is that only full-blown businesses can apply for and obtain business credit cards.
However, if you are a small business owner or just an individual without a business of your own, you can get a business credit card. All you have to do is select “sole proprietor” as your business type, use your name as the Business Name, and use your social security number as the tax ID number when you are filling the applications from a for your business credit card. Now, you are probably wondering if that’s ethical, right? Well, it’s 100 percent ethical. And I will explain why.
Is it Right to Claim Being a “sole proprietor?”
First, get it clear that anyone can claim to be a sole proprietor. After all, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the U.S defines a sole proprietor as “someone who owns an unincorporated business by himself or herself.” This means anything you do can be considered a business. This can include holding garage sales, running a small company, babysitting, freelancing, consulting, or anything else.
Even though a sole proprietorship is a legal business, there are no formal requirements such as paperwork or registration for becoming a sole proprietor. The only qualification to be a sole proprietor is to claim you are one. It’s as easy as that. And this is why calling yourself a sole proprietor even without a “real” business isn’t unethical in the least. If it were unethical, credit card issuers would have frowned at it.
When you apply for a business credit card as a sole proprietor, banks assess your credit score, assess your income, and use the information you have provided in your application form in order to make a decision to approve your decline your application for a business credit card. That’s because you are liable for your business debts as a sole proprietor who might not necessarily have a state-recognized business.
So, if you have a decent or impressive credit history and adequate income, you will most likely be approved for a business card as a sole proprietor. Now, here’s how to complete the application form for a business credit card.
How to Apply for a Business Credit Card as an Individual or Sole Proprietor
You must bear in mind that there are variations in the way credit card application forms are arranged in terms of questions and sections. But here we will explain based on the sections and questions you will typically find in most credit card application forms.
1. Legal name of Business
Since you are an individual or sole proprietor, your own name will be used as the name of the business. While it’s more common for people to use business names like “Relgax Snacks,” it’s absolutely okay to use your name, for example, “Jimmy Stone.”
Note, however, that you may be required to verify your chosen business name later on. And you need to prepare for that possibility by having the legal name of your business, be the same name that appears on your utility bill or bank account statement.
2. Years in business
You don’t have to fill “zero” or “none” here because you have never started any real business. If you have been nursing a business idea for the past one year and have since been working on how to make it better, you can enter “1” in space for years in business.
3. Name of Business for Card
This refers to the name you would like to have printed on the credit card. You can use your name here too, especially if you intend to use it as your business name when your business finally gets up and running—if that will ever happen.
In addition to these, you will be asked if your business address is the same as your home address (enter “Yes”), and you will be asked to provide your business phone number (enter your home telephone number). You will also be asked for the number of employees your “business” has (tick the “1-5”) option. Other questions you will be required to answer include your line of business, occupation, and annual revenue.
On a final note, it is very important to fill out all the information required in the credit card application truthfully. Stating that you have no annual sales is much better than entering a fictitious amount. If you enter an annual revenue of “less than $200,” you will most likely still be approved for the card.