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5 Best Credit Cards For Small Businesses & Startups With Bad Credit

    Jason Vissers
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Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

It may not be fair or just, but having bad credit brings serious complications to your life. This is doubly true if you’re trying to start your own business, which is when access to credit is of paramount importance. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of business credit cards that specifically cater to entrepreneurs with big dreams but poor credit scores.

Unfortunately, bad credit will impact your ability to qualify for the top-tier cards with solid rewards and great perks. However, there are still cards out there that help folks suffering from a low credit score. By correctly utilizing these business credit cards for bad credit, you’ll be able to boost your score — potentially giving you the option to apply for fancier cards down the line.

Your credit score shouldn’t determine your ability to turn your business dreams into reality. If you’re looking for the easiest business credit cards to get with bad credit, the cards listed below could help you sidestep bad credit and give your small business the jump start it needs.

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CompanySummaryNext StepsSummary
Spark Classic from Capital One

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Best unsecured credit card for business use.
Best unsecured credit card for business use.

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Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card

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Best secured credit card for business use.
Best secured credit card for business use.

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Credit One Platinum Visa For Rebuilding Credit

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Best unsecured personal credit card for rebuilding credit.
Best unsecured personal credit card for rebuilding credit.

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Discover it Secured

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Best secured personal credit card for rebuilding credit.
Best secured personal credit card for rebuilding credit.

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Brex Card

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Best no personal guarantee business card for bad credit.
Best no personal guarantee business card for bad credit.

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Best Business Credit Cards For Bad Credit

If you’re looking for business credit cards that are best for when you have bad credit, the following cards have low entry points, including Spark Classic from Capital One, Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card, Credit One Bank Unsecured Platinum Visa, and more.

1. Best Unsecured Business Credit Card: Spark Classic From Capital One

Spark Classic from Capital One



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Spark Classic from Capital One



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Annual Fee:


$0

 

Purchase APR:


24.49% (variable)

Here’s a card for the credit-challenged that doesn’t feature too many overwhelming frills: the Spark Classic from Capital One.

The Spark Classic is marketed by Capital One as a business card for people with “average” credit. It carries a high APR of 24.49% (variable), which is one of the card’s main drawbacks.

On the plus side, you’ll earn an unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase. Now, there are plenty of business credit cards that will see you earning cash back at a higher rate. However, the vast majority of those cards are not available to those with more modest credit ratings. The card also carries no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, and you can get additional employee cards at no extra cost.

As for benefits, you’ll get an auto rental collision damage waiver, travel and emergency assistance services, fraud coverage, and purchase security.

Another benefit of the Spark Classic is that Capital One will report your card activity to several business credit bureaus. This way, you can improve your business credit score if you regularly make your payments on time.

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2. Best Secured Business Credit Card: Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card

Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card



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Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card



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Annual Fee:


$25 per card

 

Purchase APR:


Prime + 11.90%

The Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card, as the name suggests, is a business credit card for bad credit that requires a security deposit, which establishes the amount of your credit line.

A deposit of at least $500 is required, though you can deposit as much as $25,000. The card is available to US citizens, permanent residents, and nonresident aliens. It’s also another card that reports your card activity to the credit bureaus, thus helping you build your business credit (assuming you make your payments on time!).

The card’s purchase APR is Prime + 11.90%. The card no longer carries an annual fee, which is good news to prospective cardholders. You can get up to 10 employee cards, but each card will be subject to that same $25 annual fee. Frequent flyers will like the lack of a foreign transaction fee.

As for rewards, you can choose to get either cash back or reward points. Choose cash back, and you’ll get 1.5% cash back on every $1 spent. Choose reward points and earn one point on every $1 spent and receive 1,000 bonus points when your company’s spending is $1,000+ in any monthly billing period.

If you make your payments on time, you may eventually become eligible for an upgrade to an unsecured Wells Fargo business card, in which case your security deposit will be refunded to you.

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3. Best Unsecured Personal Credit Card: Credit One Bank Unsecured Platinum Visa

Credit One Platinum Visa For Rebuilding Credit



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Credit One Platinum Visa For Rebuilding Credit



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Annual Fee:


$0 - $95 for the first yea; $0 to $99 thereafter

 

Purchase APR:


19.49% - 25.49% (variable)

The Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit isn’t a business credit card, but it certainly can be used by entrepreneurs with iffy credit as a credit card option. Should they, though? Let’s explore.

The Credit One Bank Platinum Visa (notice that it’s Credit One, not Capital One) carries an APR of 19.49% - 25.49% (variable), which is relatively average for a poor-credit card. Certain accounts will be given an interest grace period each month. For these accounts, your due date will be at least 24 days after the close of each billing cycle. Interest will not be charged on purchases if your entire balance is paid by the due date each month. If you aren’t granted an interest grace period, interest will start accruing on your purchases immediately, regardless of whether you pay off your entire balance by the due date.

What’s most unfortunate about the Credit One Bank Platinum Visa is the fact that you’ll owe an annual fee of up to $99 (with a cap of $95 your first year). The exact rate of your annual fee will depend on your creditworthiness. That means the primary audience of this article will likely be paying a fairly high fee each year.

The nicest benefit of the card is undoubtedly the 1% cash back you’ll earn on gas, groceries, mobile phone plans, and cable, internet, and satellite TV services.

There’s also a $19 charge to add another authorized user; this will come into play if you want to add an employee to your account. Lastly, there’s a 3% foreign transaction fee (with a minimum $1 charge) to keep in mind. So while using the Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit will see you earning cash back (always a nice bonus for a card aimed at those with poor credit), it might not be the most friendly card for some users.

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4. Best Secured Personal Credit Card: Discover It Secured

Discover it Secured



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Discover it Secured



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Annual Fee:


$0

 

Purchase APR:


24.49% (variable)

Discover it Secured is a secured consumer credit card that can be used for business. The minimum deposit is just $200, while the max reaches up to $2,500. Discover markets that this card is designed specifically for those looking to rebuild or start their credit history.

You can expect a high-ish APR of 24.49% (variable), and the card carries a grace period of 25 days until interest on purchases starts to accrue. That means if you pay your card off in full before the payment due date each month, you’ll avoid interest on purchases.

On the plus side, Discover requires no annual fee for this card. There’s also a lack of a foreign transaction fee, a boon for anyone who travels abroad.

For rewards, expect 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (up to $1,000 per quarter). This 2% rate is among the highest you can snag for poor-credit cards. All other purchases get 1% cash back. On top of those base rewards, Discover will match whatever you earn for your first year — effectively giving you 4% back on gas station and restaurant purchases and 2% everywhere else.

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5. Best No Personal Guarantee Card For Bad Credit: Brex

Brex Card



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Brex Card



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Annual Fee:


$0

 

Purchase APR:


N/A (this is a charge card)

The Brex card is uniquely tailored to the needs of startups with poor credit (or even no credit history whatsoever). For one thing, Brex doesn’t even check your credit score when you apply — factors such as your cash balance and your spending patterns are considered instead. What’s more, the Brex Card is one of the very few business credit cards that doesn’t require a personal guarantee, ensuring that you won’t be held personally liable for any business debt.

The Brex card is a charge card, so you can’t carry any of your balance over to the following month. Your entire balance comes due on your statement date.

The Brex card offers vastly higher points-earning rates than just about any other credit card available to borrowers with poor credit. You can earn as much as 8X points on rideshare and taxi purchases. If you opt into Brex’s remote work bonus program (conceived as a way to reward businesses that have shifted to a work-from-home model during the pandemic), you’ll earn 8x points on purchases of collaboration tools, such as Zoom and Slack. Additionally, you can get additional cards for your employees for no extra charge.

In the world of startup business credit cards, Brex offers a uniquely robust value proposition. As there is no credit check involved, this includes startups with bad credit. The big catch is that many such new businesses won’t meet Brex’s high cash flow requirements and/or won’t have enough cash in the bank to be considered.

Get Started with Brex Card

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Business Credit Cards For Bad Credit FAQs

Getting a credit card is never easy, especially when you have a poor credit history. Here are a few common questions about credit cards for poor-credit users.

Is a secured or unsecured card better for building credit?

Strictly in terms of building credit, an unsecured business credit card is better because issuers will more consistently report your activity to bureaus. However, it may be easier to qualify for a secured card, and secured credit cards can still provide an avenue to building and bettering your credit history.

What’s the difference between personal and business credit cards?

Business cards may offer rewards or benefits targeted toward business spending habits. For instance, a business card may provide a higher rewards rate for spending money on office supplies or allow you to request employee cards for free. Additionally, business credit card issuers may report your activity to business credit bureaus. In contrast, your personal credit card history only gets sent to consumer bureaus.

Otherwise, these types of cards are rather similar. Many offer rewards and benefits as well as ways to carry a balance. Note, however, that issuers of business credit cards may ask specific questions about your business.

Entrepreneurs and business owners can use personal credit cards for business purchases. However, you should follow some general guidelines to make sure you are utilizing your credit card in a way that will best benefit your business. Learn more about best practices for when using personal cards for a business in our guide.

How do I use a credit card to build credit?

The biggest key to improving your credit with a credit card is to always pay off your monthly balance. By doing so, you’ll show creditors that you are a trustworthy borrower. Once you’ve successfully paid off your balance with a credit card for a while, you may be able to graduate to better cards or apply for low-interest-rate loans.

For more of these tips, check out our article on building credit with a credit card.

Didn’t Find What You Were Looking For? Take A Look At Our Other Business Credit Card Resources

If you want more details on how to build credit with a credit card, we’ve got an article for you. Merchant Maverick also has you covered if you need a step-by-step guide to getting a business credit card. Finally, if none of the options presented in this article fit your business needs, take a minute to look over our favorite small business credit cards.

Featured Free Corporate Card

Divvy Card



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Read our Review

Divvy offers a free corporate card for virtually any business. Start earning rewards with your corporate spending today. Get your free card.

In Summary: Best Business Credit Cards For Bad Credit

  1. Spark Classic from Capital One: Best unsecured credit card for business use.
  2. Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card: Best secured credit card for business use.
  3. Credit One Platinum Visa For Rebuilding Credit: Best unsecured personal credit card for rebuilding credit.
  4. Discover it Secured: Best secured personal credit card for rebuilding credit.
  5. Brex Card: Best no personal guarantee business card for bad credit.
Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers

Expert Analyst & Reviewer at Merchant Maverick
Jason Vissers has been researching, analyzing, and writing about small business software and finance since 2015. His financial expertise has been cited in numerous publications, including The Ladders. Jason graduated with a Political Science degree from San Diego State University in 2001.
Jason Vissers
View Jason Vissers's professional experience on LinkedIn.
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