Getting Your Employer Identification Number
If youre using an ITIN, you will next need to get your EIN. If you already have an EIN, this is a simple matter of getting the information handy. If you dont have one, you will need to apply. This can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks depending on the method you use. For the fastest results, apply online.
If you use a passport for identification, your credit-card provider may not necessarily require an EIN. However, if they require proof of business income, you will need to have a business bank account, and your bank will often require an EIN to open a business bank account. Some financial institutions may allow you to open a business bank account without an EIN if youre a sole proprietor or LLC .
How To Decide Between A Corporate And Business Credit Card
Here are some of the issues you should consider as you decide between corporate cards and small-business cards:
- Do you want employees to be jointly liable for purchases made with their cards? If you want employees to be jointly liable for any purchases they make with their card , then a corporate card is your best bet. If you just want your employees to have a way to charge purchases but dont mind taking on all the liability, however, a small-business card account may be just fine.
- Do you want to earn traditional credit card rewards? Small-business credit cards tend to offer better rewards programs than corporate cards, and you may even be able to earn the same type of rewards you earn on your regular spending. If you have a personal credit card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, for example, you could sign up for a Chase business credit card that offers the same rewards and pool all your points in a single account.
- What kind of cardholder perks are you hoping for? Perks offered by both types of cards vary. If youre hoping for a business card with a 0 percent APR offer or consumer protections like travel insurance, a small-business credit card is probably a better bet.
Alternative Business Credit Cards
There are a few business credit cards that wont require a personal guarantee, though they do come with some limitations.
Secured 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. One such card is the Wells Fargo Business Secured credit card.
The Wells Fargo Business Secured card requires a security deposit of between $500 and $25,000 while giving you a choice between earning cash back and earning reward points. Responsible use of the card can help you build your business credit while not requiring a personal guarantee or your SSN.
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Ramp Corporate Card: Best For Flat Rewards
The Ramp Corporate Card*, which is also a charge card, doesnt require a credit check or personal guarantee. It also comes with no fees of any kind, such as annual fees, foreign transaction fees or setup fees. Plus, youll get unlimited physical and virtual cards, all of which can be monitored or locked in real time.
The Ramp Corporate Card earns a flat 1.5X points on all purchases, making it best suited for business owners who dont want to keep track of bonus categories or worry about meeting certain requirements to earn rewards.
Using Employer Identification Number
In some cases, you might be able to apply for a business credit card with an employer identification number, or an EIN. This identification number works much like a social security number for your business. The thing here is that manyâif not mostâcredit card issuers will hesitate to let you apply for a business credit card with only an EIN.
The reason? Well, applying with only an EIN will not only make it impossible for a card issuer to run a personal credit check on you, but itâll also exclude them from requiring you to provide a personal guarantee for any of your spending on the business credit card.
As a result, your business will have to have some stellar financial credentials and a robust financial history in order to access the ability to apply for a business credit card with an EIN.
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Best For Immigrants With Limited Us Credit: Capital One Platinum Credit Card
Capital One is one of a few credit card companies that doesnt require an SSN for certain card applications. With the Capital One Platinum Credit Card, you can use an SSN or ITIN to apply.
This card doesnt offer much in the way of rewards or benefits, but it has a $0 annual fee and could help you build your U.S. credit history if youre just getting started. Capital One describes the credit requirements for this card as fair, which includes a limited credit history. Someone new to the U.S. who barely has any credit history might find this card to be an ideal fit.
For more details, check out our Capital One Platinum Credit Card review.
Deserve Edu Mastercard For Students
International students don’t need a Social Security number to apply for the Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students, nor do they need a U.S. credit history. They can apply using other documentation, including a visa, passport or specific school documents. Deserve is able to evaluate creditworthiness using its own underwriting formula, weighing factors such as the school you’re attending, what you’re studying, how likely it is that you’ll graduate and get a job, and what your bank account balance is. The $0-annual-fee card earns rewards and charges no foreign transaction fee, and NerdWallet named it its best credit card for international students for 2020.
» MORE: Review of the Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students
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How To Get A Business Credit Card With Just Your Ein
Last updated Dec. 19, 2022| By Jennifer Calonia
FinanceBuzz is reader-supported. We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author’s own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.
Applying for a new business credit card expands your purchasing power, allowing you to make needed enhancements and upgrades for your business. And since youre making these purchases for business purposes, using a business credit card helps you keep a strict separation between your company and your personal transactions.
However, the reality is that card issuers commonly ask for your Employer Identification Number and your Social Security Number when you apply for a business credit card. If youre wondering how to get a business card using an EIN only, heres what you need to know.
American Express Global Card Relationship
For existing American Express customers, the American Express Global Card Relationship program is a great option for discovering new credit cards. You can access information on available cards simply by logging into your active international Amex account.To qualify for the program you will need to provide the number for your existing international account. This account must be in good standing and have been active for at least three months prior to submitting an application for a new U.S. card.
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No : Obtain A Passport
Another form of identification some credit-card providers accept instead of an SSN is a passport. For instance, Bank of America accepts passports as identification for certain business credit cards. You can apply for a passport from the U.S. Department of State. You will need to submit supporting documents and a photo ID and pay a fee.
The application process normally takes 6 to 8 weeks. For an expedited fee, you can cut this to 2 to 3 weeks. Applying through an agency or center also can speed up the process.
If your credit-card provider allows a passport, you also may need to submit additional documentation verifying your identity and income.
How To Apply For A Student Credit Card Without An Ssn
You may consider applying for a student credit card without an SSN by following different measures. If youre in the U.S. on an F-1 or a J-1 visa, you may consider applying for an SSN to increase your options. If not, you have these alternatives:
Apply for an ITIN
No matter your student visa status, you may apply for an individual taxpayer identification number . Some credit card issuers let you use your ITIN instead of an SSN during the application process.
If you are 18 to 21 years old, you need to show that you earn adequate independent income to repay any possible debt or get a co-signer to apply with you. If youre over 21 years old, you may show income from different sources, including money you regularly receive from your parents.
Build credit history
Since most student credit card providers look at applicants credit histories, international students might have problems dealing with this aspect. With no credit history at all, you may consider applying for a secured credit card and using it to build your credit history. You may then consider applying for a student credit card by using your ITIN.
Look for cards that dont require SSNs
Look for credit cards that dont require an SSN during the application process and make do with your ITIN instead. Some let you go through the application process without both.
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What Is Needed To Qualify For A Business Credit Card
Youll need to be a business owner and provide various information about your business. This may include your annual business revenue, number of employees, and how long youve been running your business.
Youll also need to provide various personal information, such as your name, address, birthdate, total gross annual income, and SSN.
What If I Dont Have A Social Security Number
If youre a non-resident without a Social Security number, you can still get a business credit card just be prepared to do a little extra legwork.
Before you can apply, youll typically need to apply for an individual taxpayer identification number, also called an ITIN. That said, some credit card issuers will settle for a copy of your passport.
Keep in mind, though, that not all business credit card issuers will accept these alternate forms of identification. And among the banks that do, they may only accept them on certain credit card applications.
Heres a sampling of some major card issuers and their policies:
- American Express: Will accept an ITIN, foreign passport, or other government-issued ID.
- Bank of America:Will accept an ITIN, foreign passport, or other government-issued ID. However, youll need to apply over the phone or at a branch.
- Citi:Will accept a passport, national ID card, or other government-issued ID. The bank only accepts these forms of identification with certain cards and requires that you apply at a local branch.
- Capital One:Will accept an ITIN.
If you have your eye on a card with another bank, reach out to their customer service team to get more information on what theyll accept.
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Build Credit Without A Social Security Number
Simply by obtaining a credit card, whether you used a Social Security number or not, you begin to build credit. The key is managing credit payments in a responsible way by always paying on time in full and not exceeding a credit utilization ratio of about 30% across all accounts.
Other types of loans also build credit, so a credit card is not required to build credit. Mortgages, car loans and any other type of loan from an issuer who reports payments to the three credit bureaus will work to help build credit.
How To Apply For A Credit Card Online
Determine your credit health. Before you shop around for credit cards, consider ordering a copy of your credit report to review your credit history and look for errors. You can get one free annual copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus at annualcreditreport.com. Your credit scores are not included on these free credit reports so it is recommended to check other sources for your credit scores to help you identify which cards you’re eligible for.
Do your research. There are hundreds of different credit cards available with a variety of offers, fee structures and rewards programs. Chart your spending behaviors so you know which categories you spend most heavily in, and then shop around for the card that matches your credit profile and best fits your needs.
Pull together all of the required information. You won’t need a lot of personal information to apply for a credit card, but it’s important that all of your data is up-to-date and accurate.
Follow internet security best practices. When you’re ready to apply, make sure both your web browser and operating system are up to date. Consider filling out the application on a mobile data connection or a safe, private network to prevent the risks of someone intercepting your personal information. And if you have any doubt about the legitimacy of an email from a card issuer, navigate directly to the issuer’s website rather than clicking on any links in the email.
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Best For Registered Us Business Owners: Brex Credit Card
Small business owners who dont have an SSN still have options for credit cards, including the Brex Card. Brex uses employer identification numbers instead of SSNs for its credit card application process. You can typically get an EIN if you have a business located in the U.S. and you have a valid taxpayer identification number, such as an SSN or ITIN.
Brex also requires your business to be organized and registered within the U.S., which includes C-corps, S-corps, LLCs, and LLPs. If you qualify, you can earn up to 8X points on purchases without having to worry about any fees.
Learn more about the Brex Card.
Best For Building Us Credit: Tomo Credit Card
The Tomo Credit Card is similar to the Petal cards in that you dont need a credit score to qualify. Tomo allows you to apply using an ITIN, which is helpful if you dont have an SSN and arent eligible for one. In addition, the Tomo Card has no fees and can provide you with up to a $10,000 credit limit. It also provides 1% cash back on all purchases.
If you qualify for the Tomo Card, you can start using it to build credit history in the U.S., which will help you qualify for other cards and financial products from lenders. Tomo reports to all three major credit bureaus and offers expedited weekly payments to help your credit score grow faster. If youre new to the U.S. and looking to build your credit, the Tomo Credit Card could be a good fit for you.
Learn more about the Tomo Credit Card.
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What If I Have A Social Security Number But Dont Want To Share It
If you are a U.S. citizen with a Social Security number, it is possible to get a business credit card without providing one or an alternative form of personal identification but its not easy.
Typically, the only cards that dont require a Social Security number or any credit check at all are corporate credit cards. Unfortunately, these cards are typically reserved only for mid-size and large businesses with $4 million in annual revenue.
One option without a revenue requirement is the Brex Card, but it requires that you have $100,000 in a corporate bank account and venture capital backing when you apply.
If your business isnt quite there yet, youll likely need to share your Social Security number when you apply. The only exception is if you can get a partner to apply for the primary card account with their personal information then add you as an employee, so you have your own card linked to the account.
Why Would A Small Business Need A Credit Card With An Ein And Not An Ssn
A small business might prefer a credit card with an EIN rather than an SSN for several reasons. For starters, using an EIN rather than an SSN helps establish a separation between the personal finances of the founder or owner and those of the business.
Business owners who want to avoid taking on personal liability for their business expenses may be good candidates for small business cards that donât require an EIN. Cards that use an EIN only are one of the few types of business credit cards that will not affect personal credit
Using an EIN can help a business establish a credit history over time, as long as the card issuer reports payments to business credit-rating agencies. Your business credit reflects how well you manage your finances and pay your debt. Having better business credit can open up additional sources of capital to your business in the future, and make it more affordable for you to borrow money.
Another reason that a small business might want a credit card with just their EIN is that the founder or owner has poor credit. In that case, they might worry that theyâd be denied a business credit card based on their personal credit history.
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