For any small business owner looking to separate personal liability from their company’s finances, obtaining a business credit card without a personal guarantee can be valuable. In this article, we’ll look at eight options that offer the convenience and flexibility of credit while protecting the business owner’s personal assets from potential financial setbacks. Let’s begin!
What Is a Personal Guarantee for a Business Credit Card?
When business credit card issuers require a personal guarantee, it means that the business owner is personally responsible for paying back any debts incurred by the card.
This guarantee is often required when a business has not yet established its own creditworthiness, and the issuer wants to ensure that it will be repaid. If you’re just establishing your credit, read about what are business credit cards and how can small businesses use them here.
The personal guarantee ties the business owner’s personal credit reports to the card, so if the business fails to make payments, it can negatively impact their personal credit scores.
Best Business Credit Cards Without a Personal Guarantee
Finding the right business credit card can be tough, especially when a credit card issuer requires a personal guarantee. Here are some of the best small business credit cards without a personal guarantee.
1. Sam’s Club Business Mastercard
Businesses incorporated for at least two years and earning a minimum of $5 million in yearly revenue can apply for this card without a personal guarantee. The card comes with a $0 annual fee and rewards on gas, dining, and other Sam’s club purchases. New accounts can receive a $30 statement credit. The rewards are earned as Sam’s Cash but can only be redeemed at Sam’s Club.
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2. Stripe Corporate Card
The Stripe Corporate Card is an invite-only card for businesses in the US, requiring only a Stripe account to apply. There are no fees, and the credit limit grows with your business. The card offers no rewards but instead provides partner benefits from over three dozen partners. The Stripe Corporate Card simplifies expense management, allows custom spend controls, and integrates with finance tracking software.
3. Shell Small Business Card
Shell Fleet Cards offer control, convenience, savings, and security. Users can set limits and get detailed fueling reports with ClearView, access their accounts with online and mobile tools, earn rebates and discounts, and cancel lost or stolen cards in real time. Shell Small Business Card allows carrying a balance with ongoing savings based on the number of gallons purchased, revolving credit, and no card fees.
4. Emburse Spend Card
Emburse Spend is a prepaid business card that offers unlimited 1% cash back on purchases, without personal guarantees, fees, or credit checks. The card can be loaded up to $100,000 and features an expense management system and accounting integration. Emburse Spend is suitable for businesses of all sizes, with the option to issue unlimited cards, and set card limits and expense restrictions. It can be set up in minutes and offers real-time expense reporting, eliminating manual reports.
5. Office Depot OfficeMax Business Credit Card
The Office Depot Business Credit Account is a closed-loop card with no rewards, a $0 annual fee, and a 23.99% variable APR. It offers a $50 welcome bonus for the first $150 spent within 60 days of account opening. To avoid a personal guarantee, organizations must meet specific criteria. Users can link their Office Depot OfficeMax Rewards account but otherwise, there are no significant benefits.
6. Brex Card
Brex Card offers a generous rewards program and welcome bonus with no personal guarantee. The corporate card comes in two varieties, paid daily or paid monthly. The Brex 30 Card sets credit limits based on cash flow, with no business or personal credit check requirement. The card offer rewards and perks, with the Brex Card being preferred by 1 in 4 startups in the US.
7. Charity Charge Nonprofit Business Card
Charity Charge offers a no-guarantee charge card for tax-exempt nonprofits operating for at least two to five years with annual revenue of $100,000 or more. The card offers automatic rebates on various services and goods via Mastercard Easy Savings. It has no annual fee, Mastercard Zero Liability and ID Theft Protection, and dedicated customer support. Charity Charge is a social enterprise aimed at providing financial tools and fundraising resources for nonprofits to thrive.
The Ramp Business Card is a charge card for businesses with excellent credit and at least $75,000 in a business bank account. It offers 1.5% cashback on all purchases, spending controls, and a five-in-one platform for expense management, corporate cards, accounting integrations, bill payments, and real-time reporting. The card features Ramp savings, free employee cards, free bill pay, free accounting automation, and no annual, interest, or foreign transaction fees. Sole proprietors are not eligible, and there are no rewards, welcome bonuses, or travel perks.
What Is Required to Get a Business Credit Card Without Personal Guarantees?
Most business credit cards require several documents to be able to qualify, such as a business license, articles of incorporation, and two years of financial records.
If a personal guarantee is not required, then most businesses should have an acceptable credit history, a current business license, and their most recent income tax returns to qualify for these business credit cards.
However, it’s important to check with the card issuer for specifics on what documentation is needed as requirements may vary.
What Are the Restrictions and Limitations of Cards Without a Personal Guarantee?
Business credit cards without a personal guarantee typically require a strong business credit score and may have lower credit limits than cards that do require a personal guarantee.
Rewards programs and other benefits may also not be as robust as those offered by cards with a personal guarantee. This is often considered one of the top reasons to use a business credit card. So go over the specifics offered by your card before signing up.
Some issuers may also have industry-specific eligibility requirements or require a certain minimum revenue level. There are many different types of credit cards for small businesses in this category. So check the details carefully.
Are You Personally Liable for a Business Credit Card?
Expanding on the personal liability of a business credit card, it’s essential for business owners to understand the implications and potential risks associated with these cards. Here are some key points to consider:
- Personal Liability: In most cases, business credit cards require a personal guarantee from the business owner. This means that the owner is personally responsible for any outstanding debts on the card, even if the business itself is unable to repay them.
- Protection with Business Structure: The legal structure of the business, such as a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation, can offer some degree of protection. While the business owner is still personally liable for the credit card, their personal assets may be shielded to some extent by the business entity.
- Business Credit Cards without Personal Guarantee: Some credit card issuers offer business credit cards without a personal guarantee. With these cards, the business owner’s personal liability is limited, and their personal assets may be protected if the business cannot repay the debts.
- Building Business Credit: Using a business credit card responsibly can help build the business’s credit profile, separate from the owner’s personal credit. This can be beneficial for obtaining financing and other business opportunities in the future.
- Responsible Credit Card Use: It’s crucial for business owners to use the credit card responsibly and avoid accumulating excessive debt. Maintaining a good payment history and managing credit utilization can positively impact the business’s credit standing.
- Impact on Personal Credit: Even with a business credit card, the owner’s personal credit may still be affected if the card issuer reports activity to personal credit bureaus or if they default on the card.
- Consultation with Financial Advisor: Before obtaining a business credit card, business owners should consult with a financial advisor or legal professional to fully understand their personal liability and explore options for protecting personal assets.
|Topic||Business Credit Card Liability|
|Personal Liability||The business owner is personally liable for card debts.|
|- Card issuer can pursue personal assets if the business defaults.|
|Business Structure Protection||Business structure (e.g., LLC, corporation) may offer some protection.|
|- Personal assets may have limited liability in certain cases.|
|Business Cards without Guarantee||Some cards offer limited personal liability without a guarantee.|
|- Personal assets may be shielded if business cannot repay debts.|
|Building Business Credit||Responsible card use helps build the business's credit profile.|
|- Separates business credit from owner's personal credit.|
|Responsible Credit Card Use||Maintaining good payment history and credit utilization is crucial.|
|- Positive impact on business credit standing.|
|Impact on Personal Credit||Personal credit may be affected if activity is reported to bureaus.|
|- Defaults on the card can impact personal credit.|
|Consultation with Financial Advisor||Seek advice to understand personal liability and asset protection.|
|- Get expert insights before obtaining a business credit card.|
In conclusion, business owners need to be aware of their personal liability when using a business credit card and take appropriate measures to protect their personal assets. While a personal guarantee is common for most business credit cards, exploring options for cards without this guarantee can offer added protection. Responsible use of the card and understanding the impact on personal credit are vital for maintaining a healthy financial standing both personally and for the business.
What Is the Best Business Credit Card With No Personal Guarantee?
The best business card with no personal guarantee is often determined by the individual business and its requirements. A great choice for many businesses is a low-interest card, such as a rewards card with no annual fee.
Some business cards provide extra benefits like cashback, discounts at select merchants, or even free travel insurance. Compare offers carefully to find the best fit for your business needs.
Business Credit Card Alternatives
While business credit cards offer numerous advantages, they may not be the ideal financial tool for every business. In this section, we’ll explore alternative options that entrepreneurs and small business owners can consider to meet their financial needs.
1. Business Line of Credit
A business line of credit provides a flexible borrowing option for businesses. It works similarly to a credit card but typically offers a higher credit limit. Business owners can access funds as needed and only pay interest on the amount borrowed. Lines of credit are suitable for managing working capital, covering unexpected expenses, or seizing opportunities for growth.
2. Small Business Loans
Small business loans, including term loans, SBA loans, and microloans, provide businesses with a lump sum of capital that is repaid over a set term. These loans are ideal for financing significant investments, such as equipment purchases, real estate acquisitions, or business expansions. While loans may require collateral or a personal guarantee, they offer structured repayment plans and fixed interest rates.
3. Business Grants
Business grants are non-repayable funds awarded to businesses, typically for specific purposes such as research and development, innovation, or community development. While grants can be highly competitive and may require businesses to meet specific criteria, they offer a valuable source of funding without the need for repayment.
Crowdfunding platforms allow businesses to raise capital by soliciting contributions from a large number of individuals, often through online campaigns. Businesses can offer rewards, equity, or debt in exchange for financial support. Crowdfunding is an innovative way to access capital and engage with a community of supporters.
5. Invoice Financing
Invoice financing, also known as accounts receivable financing, enables businesses to access funds by selling their unpaid invoices to a third-party lender. This option is suitable for businesses with outstanding invoices that need immediate cash flow. Invoice financing can help bridge gaps in revenue and maintain business operations.
6. Angel Investors and Venture Capital
For startups and high-growth businesses, seeking investment from angel investors or venture capitalists is a viable option. These investors provide capital in exchange for equity or ownership stakes in the company. While this path can lead to significant funding, it also involves giving up a portion of business ownership and adhering to investor expectations.
7. Personal Savings and Bootstrapping
Some entrepreneurs choose to finance their businesses using personal savings or by bootstrapping, which involves self-funding the company. While this approach may limit initial growth, it allows business owners to retain full control and ownership of their ventures without incurring debt or giving up equity.
8. Peer-to-Peer Lending
Peer-to-peer lending platforms connect businesses with individual investors willing to lend money. These loans often have competitive interest rates and flexible terms. Peer-to-peer lending can be a suitable option for businesses seeking alternative financing solutions.
9. Equipment Financing
If your business requires specific equipment or machinery, consider equipment financing. This option allows you to lease or purchase equipment while spreading the cost over time. Equipment loans are secured by the equipment itself, reducing the need for additional collateral.
10. Strategic Partnerships and Joint Ventures
Exploring strategic partnerships or joint ventures with other businesses can provide access to shared resources, expertise, and funding. Collaborative arrangements can help businesses pursue new opportunities and expand their reach.
Choosing the right financing option depends on your business’s specific needs, goals, and financial situation. It’s essential to carefully evaluate the pros and cons of each alternative and select the one that aligns with your long-term business strategy.
Ultimately, the best financing solution may involve a combination of various options to address different aspects of your business’s financial requirements. By exploring these alternatives, you can make informed decisions that support your business’s growth and success.
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