Credit Card for Business Owners? Forget it!

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Posted on April 4, 2011 at 9:59 PM

“Anyone that owns a small business is automatically declined,” revealed an inside source at a major credit card issuing bank. A friend of ours that we’ll call Dave (name changed), is an underwriter in charge of approving credit card applications. We were discussing tighter credit standards for consumers, an issue we felt to be of little relevance to business credit, until it got interesting.

According to Dave, and the bank doesn’t make this information public, small business owners and the self-employed are issued automatic declines for cards. “Just to get a simple credit card?”, we asked. Dave explained that their data indicates consumers are less risky than the self-employed. We dug deeper and were told his:

  • Employed consumers are more likely to have a fixed budget and steady income.
  • Business owners experience continuous ups and downs. During a down, they are more likely to supply their employees with their steady paychecks and skip out on the credit card payment until cash flow improves. If they did it the other way around, they would lose their employees and the business wouldn’t last.
  • Employed consumers are better equipped to prove their income since they have verifiable documents such as W-2s or paystubs.
  • Business owners are less able to verify their income, more likely to show losses on their tax returns, and less willing disclose their true financial status. Though this may serve them well come tax time, it works against them on credit applications.

But that shouldn’t discourage small business owners from applying. Dave concedes they’ll consider extending credit to businesses open longer than 20 years so long as the applicant has above 720 credit. Ouch!

The Ugly Face of Business Credit Cards

So if you don’t make the cut, or even if you do, credit cards aren’t so attractive these days anyway. The Credit Card Act of 2009 made major changes for consumers but NONE for businesses. In an article by, titled “10 ways business credit cards are different“, is a list of many dangers to look out for. If you’re a business owner, these are the pitfalls:

  • A teaser rate can be as short as 6 months, 3 months, or even 1 day. That attractive 2% rate can be increased on a whim as soon as you sign up or start using the card.
  • There is no minimum amount of time to notify you of a payment due. Consumers are required to receive their bill at least 21 days in advance of the payment due date. For business owners, you might not get the bill until the day before!
  • Your due date can change every month. Don’t get too comfortable paying on the 30th every month, your card company can switch it up to throw you off and entrap you with late fees.
  • There are no late fee penalty limits.
  • Payments are applied to the balance with the lowest interest rate first, instead of to the highest interest rate like consumer cards.
  • The business owners are usually personally liable for the business card’s debt.

What’s the Alternative?

It’s bad news galore but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. A unique financial product known as a Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) offers all the positive features of a credit card and spits out the negative. Any business that accepts credit/debit card payments from their customers is eligible. Different than a loan, a MCA provider purchases the future card revenues of the business in exchange for a lump sum of cash today. The benefits and differences are truly astounding.

  • Good credit is not necessary.
  • Funds can be received in under a week. (You can barely get a credit card that quick)
  • A business can qualify with as little as 3 months in business.
  • The “rate” or the cost of the funds can’t change. Once the cost of funds has been established and executed, it remains the same. The balance does not increase with time nor is there any element of interest.
  • Because the balance is only reduced by withholding a percentage of card sales, less funds are withheld in slow periods, and more in strong periods. This tackles the issue of business ups and downs.
  • There are usually no personal guarantees.
  • Additional funds can be made available before the balance has been reduced to zero.
  • Personal income does not need to be verified, just the monthly credit/debit card sales volume.
  • Your credit can’t be negatively affected since it is not a loan.

Becoming a First Choice Option

A Merchant Cash Advance is not a last resort method of financing and is quickly becoming a first choice pick in the business world. Certainly better than business credit cards, they also rank better than SBA Loans. [SBA Loan vs. Merchant Cash Advance]

Before you fill out that credit card application, just remember what our friend Dave said. “You’re automatically declined.” Say goodbye to the card issuing naysayers and SBA Loan ploys. The lending system is too far broken to be aggravated about it anymore. If your business needs capital, you can simply sell your future card sales in exchange for cash today. Check out the true direct funding sources in our directory and walk away with flexible financing your business can depend on.

– The Merchant Cash Advance Resource

Last modified: February 21, 2013
Sean Murray

Category: Loans, MPR Authored, Small Business

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