Are You a Freelancer? Consider a Small Business Credit Card

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Last updated on March 22nd, 2023

The life of the freelancer and solo entrepreneur is one of constant hustle. Whether it’s trying to land a deal or attempting to devise the next big thing, a little financial help is always a welcome sight. If you have a side hustle, why not consider applying for a small business credit card? Here’s why freelancers should consider getting a business credit card:

What Are the Benefits of a Business Credit Card?

Business credit cards offer a variety of benefits versus personal credit cards:

Bigger sign-up bonuses Many business credit cards come with more significant signup bonuses than personal credit cards. Some of the best business cards offer bonuses of 100,000 points or more after meeting a minimum spending requirement.
Unique spending categories Business credit cards occasionally come with bonus points or miles for purchases in categories that personal cards don’t offer. Common bonus categories for business cards include office supplies, internet and telecommunications, advertising, shipping, and more. These categories may align better with your spending habits than other personal bonus categories.
Higher credit limits Most small business credit cards come with substantially higher limits than personal cards. According to Experian, the average credit limit for a personal card is about $30,000; for a small business credit card; however, the average credit limit is $56,000.
Expense and spend management tools Business cards come with a variety of business monitoring tools. These can help streamline your finances, track purchases, and even assist in writing off spending as a business expense.
Travel benefits Some business cards come with no foreign transaction fees, a sign up bonus worth a free flight after you spend a certain amount within the first few months of card membership, and more.

Who Qualifies for a Business Credit Card?

Most people assume that you need to have a physical location or an LLC to qualify for a business card. This, however, isn’t true. You do need a registered business, but the qualifications of what a “business” is are surprisingly broad.

If you are a freelancer, you sell your goods on eBay or Amazon, or even teach music to local children, you may qualify for a business credit card. If you engage in any work where you earn money – without being an employee for someone else – you probably qualify as having a business.

How to Apply for a Small Business Credit Card

If you fall into the category of freelancer, tutor, or any of the other types of business that you operate by yourself, you will need to apply for a business card as a sole proprietor.

Typically, when applying for a business card as a sole proprietor, there isn’t much more information than you’d expect from a personal credit card application. There are, however, two bits of information to keep an eye out for:

① The legal name and contact address of your business Even if you don’t provide your personal information, you will need to provide all relevant contact information for your business, including the company’s legal name, any names your company is doing business under, and the mailing and phone contact information.
② Basic information about your business Most banks and lenders want to know some basic facts about your company. These facts include your industry type, the structure of your company and number of employees, and your annual revenue.
③ Tax ID number Most business card applications require a tax ID number, which is the number the IRS uses to designate your company when you file your taxes. number

Many sole proprietorships have no employees – and never plan to hire additional help. Still, business credit card applications often ask for an EIN. An EIN is basically an SSN for a business – it is the same as a tax ID. If you are a freelancer, tutor, run an online shop, or other solo venture, chances are you won’t need your EIN or tax ID. The IRS stipulates that an EIN is only necessary for those companies that:

  • Have employees
  • Operate as a partnership or corporation
  • Withhold taxes on income (other than wages) paid to a non-resident alien
  • Have a Keogh plan
  • Are involved with trusts, estates, real estate mortgage investments, nonprofits, farmer’s co-ops, or plan administrators.
④ Estimated monthly spend on the card Lenders want to ensure that your business’ finances aren’t stretched too thin, so expect to answer basic questions about how much you – and your employees – typically place on credit cards each month.
⑤ Personal credit history If you need to provide a personal guarantee, expect to provide all relevant credit information for the primary account holder. This information includes full legal name, home contact information (phone number, mailing address, e-mail), and your Social Security Number.

If none of these apply to your side hustle – congratulations – you will only need to provide your personal SSN.

What Credit Score Do You Need?

Getting approved for a small business credit card generally requires a good credit score. If your personal FICO Score is 690 or above, you have a good shot at getting a small business card.

There are some secured business credit cards, but unless you are looking to establish a strong credit history for your company, they aren’t worth considering. The reason to avoid a small business secured card is that they require a much larger minimum deposit than regular secured cards – making them suitable for larger companies with a good deal of fluid capital.


So, should you consider a small business credit card for your side gig? If you qualify, the answer may be “yes.”

As a freelancer without an LLC, applying for a business credit card can be a great way to separate your personal and business expenses, build your credit score, and take advantage of rewards and perks. However, it is important to consider the issues involved and take the necessary steps to ensure a successful application and responsible use of the card.

The key things to think about before applying for a business card are:

  • Can you meet the spending requirements for any signup bonuses?
  • Do the bonus categories fit into your spending habits better than a personal credit card?
  • Will you make use of the business management tools?
  • Do you plan to write off some of your purchases as a business expense?
  • Do you mind tying your credit score in with your business ventures?

Once you answer these questions, you’ll know if a business credit card is right for you. From there, check out our Business Credit Cards page to find the perfect one to fit your needs.

Related Article: How to Protect Your Small Business Financially During a Crisis

About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is's "Jack of all trades" and resident credit expert, covering all facets of the credit card space. Cory holds academic degrees in both the U.S. and U.K. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.

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