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A business credit card is essential for an entrepreneur who wants to separate their personal and business finances, as well as for anyone who wants to establish a credit history for their business. It’s understandable why providing a personal guarantee to secure a business credit card can make some entrepreneurs nervous. Let’s take a closer look at why business credit cards often require personal guarantees—and how to avoid them.
Why Business Credit Cards Require Personal Guarantees
Getting a business card for a startup without a personal guarantee can be very difficult.
And here’s why: when you start a new business, card issuers take a big risk by lending you money. If the business fails, they want their money back. By asking you for a personal guarantee, they have the option of going after your personal assets (to get what they’re owed), which is likely to be more substantial than a brand new business.
However, not all startups are the same. If you built a high-yielding startup in your first year or two, you may qualify for a business credit card that doesn’t require a personal guarantee. In other words, card issuers may try to take over business assets if you can’t keep up with payments. However, these cards tend to have strict requirements for applicants.
The Best Credit Cards for Business Without Personal Guarantees
These are some of the best business credit cards that do not require personal guarantees and also come with a number of benefits:
Corporate Brex Card for Startups: Best Introductory Offer
Why did we choose this: Designed for venture capital-backed startups, the Brex Corporate Startup Card* has no annual fees, no unlimited points, and no personal guarantees.
- No annual fee
- No annual
- Points are awarded for all spending, including points for trips, trips, “recurring software” and restaurants.
- 30,000 Brex Rewards points on registration and fee waiver for the Lifetime Card (value over $300)
- Must pay balance in full each month
- Must be part of a corporation or non-individual limited company
- The business cannot be involved in certain activities, such as the sale of marijuana or weapons, or pyramid schemes.
Who should applyA: Corporations and non-individual limited companies are likely to be customers of this card.
Who should missA: If you are a sole trader, unincorporated partnership, or unregistered business, you should look elsewhere.
American Express Green Card: the best choice for business travelers
Why did we choose this: The American Express®Green Card* allows you to earn 3 points for every dollar spent on worldwide travel, transportation and meals, making it suitable for entrepreneurs who need to travel a lot for work.
- 3 points per dollar on travel
- Helps earn up to $100 credit towards CLEAR and LoungeBuddy credit up to $100.
- You can transfer points to various travel partners including Delta Airlines, British Airways and Hilton.
- Must go through American Express to book an award trip.
- The $150 annual fee is high despite the perks of the travel card.
Who should apply: Active travelers can benefit greatly from this card.
Who should missA: Business owners who never need to travel should consider other options.
American Express Gold Card Review: Best for Dinner and Dinner
Why did we choose this: The American Express®* Gold Card is a great option for businesses that have frequent customer service or have a large number of employees who stock food. It earns 4 points per dollar in restaurants and 4 points per dollar in US supermarkets.
- Points have not expired
- No blackout dates
- You can transfer points to multiple partner airlines, including Delta Airlines.
- Must use travel rewards through amextravel.com.
- High annual fee of $250
Who should apply: Companies that focus on sales or customer service should definitely consider this.
Who should miss: Businesses that do not spend money on food and dining will not get the maximum benefit from this card.
Striped corporate card: best without interest
Why did we choose thisA: The Stripe payment processor has also released a corporate card that does not require a personal guarantee for businesses using Stripe and does not charge any interest or fees.
- Without interest and commissions
- Unlimited 1.5% cashback on all corporate purchases (credited monthly to your statement balance)
- Eligibility based on company payment volume, Stripe history, and bank account
- Additional financial information is required if the company does not use Stripe.
Who should apply: This card will be useful for companies that use Stripe and want to get cashback.
Who should missA: Businesses with a low volume of payments should probably look elsewhere.
Bremer Bank Visa CommUNITY Credit Card: Best for Non-Profit Organizations
Why we chose it: If your startup is a non-profit, consider Bremer Bank’s Visa CommUNITY card, designed specifically for non-profit organizations and municipalities. It comes with generous credit lines and gives you access to a free rewards program.
- Free Online Expense Reporting Tools
- There is no charge for additional employee cards
- Mobile payment capability
- Only available to non-profit organizations and municipalities
Who should apply: Non-profit organizations and municipalities will appreciate the generous lines of credit and free rewards program.
Who should missA: Commercial companies do not have the opportunity to apply for this.
For most small business cards, you will need to provide a personal guarantee. If so, make sure you never borrow more money to grow your startup than you can personally afford to repay.
It is better to grow slowly and finance this growth with cash flow than to put yourself in a precarious financial position. No entrepreneur can make the right decisions in the face of crushing debt. By avoiding this, you will have the peace of mind you need to realize your vision for your business.
All information regarding the Brex Corporate Startup Card, American Express® Green Card and American Express® Gold Card has been independently compiled by CreditCards.com and has not been verified or approved by the issuer.