Most business credit cards require an individual — often the business owner — to serve as a guarantor that the balance on the card will be paid. Whereas large companies can often offer their own assets as collateral for a line of credit, most small businesses don’t have that option.
A personal guarantee means the business owner or executive agrees to pay off the balance of the card with their own money if the business cannot. This might involve a hard inquiry on the owner’s credit report.
Nonetheless, some business credit cards are available without a personal guarantee. Here are some of the best available.
The Stripe Corporate Card
Stripe isn’t a bank, but a technology company. It began with a simple line of code that enabled businesses to accept payments online, which made Stripe an invaluable tool for the emerging e-commerce industry.
The Stripe Corporate Visa Card is available to businesses that already have a Stripe account. There is no paperwork required to apply for the card, and you don’t have to make a personal guarantee in order to get it. According to Stripe, you can “get up and running with a virtual card in minutes.”
Nonetheless, you can’t expect to get a decent line of credit if you sign up for the card immediately after starting your first Stripe account. Your credit limit is determined by your payment processing history on the platform as well as your bank history, and it will only grow as your business grows and you generate more payment volume.
The Stripe Corporate Card is also “invite-only.” You can request an invitation online, but there is no guarantee that you’ll be accepted for the card.
Key Features of the Stripe Corporate Card
There are no fees associated with the Stripe Corporate Card. It gives you 2% cash back on your top 2 spending categories (such as business software and advertising) and 1% cash back on every other category. After you spend your first $5,000 on the card, you qualify for $50,000 in free payment processing through Stripe.
Any rewards you don’t use are automatically applied to your monthly Stripe bill, so they never go to waste, according to Stripe. The card also provides benefits with some of Stripe’s partners. For example, you can get a $150 credit for Google Ads and a free 3-month Basic Shopify subscription with the card.
The Sam’s Club Business Credit Card
Sam’s Club is a membership-only retail warehouse where members can buy items in bulk at a discount. Consumers join Sam’s Club so they can save on items they need regularly, but Sam’s Club also provides supplies to businesses. There are nearly 600 Sam’s Club locations throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.
The Sam’s Club business credit card is a Mastercard that can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted. If you want to apply for it without a personal guarantee, there are some stipulations, however. According to the application form, your company must have more than $5 million in annual sales revenues, be more than 2 years old and have more than 10 employees. Partnerships and sole proprietorships must provide a personal guarantee to apply for the card.
Key Features of the Sam’s Club Business Credit Card
Sam’s Club’s business credit card isn’t just for use at Sam’s Club stores. It provides 5% cash back on eligible gas purchases on the first $6,000 spent, 3% cash back on dining and travel and 1% cash back on other purchases.
There are no annual fees for the card, and you can add another authorized user to your account for free. The card is exclusive to Sam’s Club members and it doubles as your membership card when you shop at Sam’s Club.
The Shell Small Business Card
Royal Dutch Shell is an oil and gas company most recognized for its gas stations, which feature its iconic shell logo. The Shell Small Business Card is available without a personal guarantee to qualifying businesses, but it is only for use at Shell gas stations.
Key Features of the Shell Small Business Card
There are no monthly or annual fees associated with the Shell Small Business Card, and you don’t have to pay off your balance at the end of the month. The card grants you rebates of up to 6 cents per gallon and you can even get discounts on some preventative maintenance services at participating Jiffy Lube locations.
The Bremer Bank Visa Signature Business Company Card
Bremer Bank is headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, and provides banking services to businesses and consumers in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. The Visa Signature Business Company Card is 1 of 5 business credit cards offered by the bank, but it is the only card available without a personal guarantee.
Key Features of the Bremer Bank Visa Signature Business Company Card
According to the Bremer Bank website, the card is designed for “medium to large businesses.” It comes with a “generous” line of credit as well as a potential free rewards program. However, specific information about the card’s benefits is available only upon request.
The Brex Corporate Card
Brex Inc. is a financial service and technology company headquartered in San Francisco. It provides credit cards and money management accounts to technology companies and startups.
The Brex Corporate Card is powered by the Mastercard network. It’s available without a personal guarantee and approval isn’t dependent upon credit scores or a security deposit.
Key Features of the Brex Corporate Card
The Brex Corporate Card comes in 4 different types, each with benefits specifically designed for startups, e-commerce businesses, life sciences companies and enterprise companies. For example, startups can enjoy uncapped points for travel and other categories as well as a higher-than-average credit limit. Meanwhile, life sciences companies can earn points when they purchase lab supplies.
The card comes with no annual fees and no foreign transaction fees.
There are no clear requirements for the Brex Corporate Card, but it’s clear that the company will only approve certain types of businesses and the program is tailored specifically for investor-backed startups.
The Office Depot OfficeMax Business Credit Account
Office Depot and OfficeMax merged in 2013 when Office Depot purchased OfficeMax, forming one of the largest office supply retail companies in the world. The Office Depot OfficeMax Business Credit Account is available without a personal guarantee and it comes with a card, but it doesn’t work as a traditional credit card. It only works at Office Depot and OfficeMax locations.
Key Features of the Office Depot OfficeMax Business Credit Account
When you sign up for the account, you can save $50 on your first purchase of $150 or more. The card comes with no annual fee, monthly detailed statements and free additional cards for other people at your business.
How Do You Apply for a Credit Card with No Personal Guarantee?
To apply for a business credit card without a personal guarantee, you’ll first need to ensure you meet the card’s requirements. Some providers list these requirements online, but you may also need to ask for more information. This should be your first step.
If you believe your business meets the requirements for the card you want, simply fill out the application and submit it. You might need to fill out a paper application, but most providers allow you to apply online. In some cases, you could be approved in a matter of minutes and immediately start using your card.
Why are Business Credit Cards with No Personal Guarantee So Scarce?
Issuing business credit cards is risky for banks and other financial institutions because businesses fail so often. If there is no guarantee that the credit account will be paid off in full, the bank could suffer a loss. Most banks require one or more people within the business to guarantee they’ll pay off the balance on their credit account with their personal funds, even if the business goes under.
As such, business credit cards without a personal guarantee are very rare. Most of the cards that are available are only for specific types of purchases, and many can only be used at a single retail location such as a gas station or supply store.
Nonetheless, if you qualify for a business credit card without a personal guarantee, you might be able to access a substantial line of credit without putting your personal wealth at risk. Even if you don’t qualify for a card that can be used for any type of purchase, you can still take advantage of perks at the stores your business uses most often.