Fast Approval Business Credit Cards For Small Business Owners
When you run a small business, funding needs can arise out of nowhere, leaving you scrambling for the fastest cash possible. This is clearly shown by the frequency with which people search for terms like “instant approval credit cards.” So, how quickly can you really get a new business credit card in your hands, and what can you do to ensure the process goes as rapidly as possible?
Table of Contents
- What Are Fast Approval Credit Cards?
- Timeline For A Typical Business Credit Card Application
- How To Increase Application Speed
- Best Overall Fast Approval Business Credit Card
- Best Fast Approval Credit Card With 0% Intro Rate
- Best Fast Approval Credit Card For Cash Back
- Best Fast Approval Credit Card For Travel Rewards
- An Alternative To Fast Approval Credit Cards: Online Business Lines Of Credit
- Final Thoughts
What Are Fast Approval Credit Cards?
The terms “fast approval credit cards” and “instant approval credit cards” are used interchangeably to refer to the same kinds of credit cards. Of course, “instant” is an appealing word to use from a marketing perspective. Just remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.
Are Instant Approval Credit Cards Really Instant?
In a word: No.
You’ve probably received credit card mailers marked as “preapproved offers,” or, similarly, as offers with “preliminary approval.” Does this mean that if you accept the offer, you get a card to use immediately? Sadly, no, it does not.
When you get that “preapproved” credit card offer, all that means is that the credit card issuer has done a soft pull of your credit score and found that you’re likely to be in the card’s target demographic. However, if you respond favorably to the offer, the card issuer will continue with the underwriting process. Only after the successful completion of this process will you be sent a card — a process which is, of course, not instant, as snail mail is not instant!
Now, there are certain instances where you can get instant (or near-instant) approval for a business credit card and get issued an instant card number after approval. However, keep in mind that most credit card issuers either won’t do this or will only do this with particular cards. American Express is one of the few big players in the industry offering instant card numbers for all its credit cards, yet some consumers still report being unable to get an instant card number after getting approved.
While it may be possible for you to get an instant card number with your fast approval credit card, don’t count on being able to do so. It’s one of the more opaque aspects of the credit card industry, and you might not get an instant number despite getting instant approval for a card that putatively offers this feature. Plus, the instant card number is of limited utility anyway — you won’t be able to use it for in-person purchases.
If My Application Is Approved Instantly, Can I Start Using My Card Immediately?
No matter how quickly you’re approved for a business credit card, you’ll still have to wait for your card to arrive in the mail. Just as there is no such thing as a free lunch, there is no such thing as a truly “instant” business credit card, unless you’re able to obtain an instant card number.
Who Qualifies For Fast Approval Credit Cards?
Fast approval credit cards don’t work similarly for all applicants. The truth is, whether the card you apply for is a “fast approval” card or not, you’re going to be approved more quickly if you have good-to-excellent credit. It’s quite the catch-22, as those most likely to require a credit card in as little time as possible are largely not those with the best credit.
With good or excellent credit, you may well be approved nearly instantly upon meeting the card issuer’s credit and income requirements. When an applicant has less impressive credit, a credit card issuer has more work to do to determine the applicant’s financial worthiness. This results in a process that is less instant than many business applicants would prefer.
To see how credit card approval typically plays out, have a look at the following (taken from Capital One’s application FAQ):
Capital One will attempt to provide a decision in 60 seconds or less. Sometimes system availability affects our ability to make a credit decision or, in some cases, we need to collect additional information. If so, you will receive further details either via email or letter within 7-10 business days.
If your credit isn’t so hot, card issuers are more likely to require “additional information” of you.
Timeline For A Typical Business Credit Card Application
When you’re seeking to get a business credit card in as little time as possible, there are some simple things you can do to ensure that you don’t end up waiting any longer than is absolutely necessary.
How To Increase Application Speed
If everything goes right, you can often be approved for a new business credit card in less than a minute. Let’s go through what you can do to make this happen.
Check Your Credit Score
When you know your credit score, you can apply for the business credit cards you know you’ll be likely to qualify for. Remember, the more your credit score exceeds the card issuer’s minimum requirements, the more likely it is that you’ll be approved quickly.
Not sure what your credit score is? Don’t pay the credit bureaus just to learn your own credit status! Instead, read our piece on the best free credit score sites and check your credit score without giving a dime to anybody.
Gather Your Business & Financial Information
Be sure to have the following information ready before you apply for a business credit card.
- Business Name (if you’re a sole proprietor, use your name)
- Business Address
- Type Of Business (corporation, partnership, LLC, etc.)
- Your Business Role
- Tax ID Number (use your Social Security number if you’re a sole proprietor; use your Employer Identification Number (EIN) for other business types)
- Years In Business
- Number Of Employees
- Annual Business Revenue
- Estimated Monthly Spending
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Head To The Internet
Getting approved for a credit card online is quicker than getting approved via phone or snail mail. Take advantage of that big beautiful Information Superhighway when applying for that business credit card.
Best Overall Fast Approval Business Credit Card
Spark Classic From Capital One
The Capital One Spark Classic For Business is a very solid business credit card — one that offers fast approval to business owners with at least fair (or average) credit.
Spark Classic is the most egalitarian of Captial One’s triumvirate of business credit cards. The card’s minimum credit score is 580, making Spark Classic the only Capital One business card available to entrepreneurs with fair credit. Meet the credit requirements, and you’re likely to get that elusive Instant Approval.
The card’s APR is relatively high and the rewards program is rather modest (you get 1% cash back on all purchases), but the card’s true value lies in its ability to build your credit. Capital One will report your credit activity to multiple credit bureaus (not all issuers of business credit cards do this), which means that with every monthly payment you make on time, you improve your credit score. With enough use, the Spark Classic can help boost your credit score to the point where you’ll be eligible for business cards with lower APRs and better rewards programs.
Best Fast Approval Credit Card With 0% Intro Rate
Chase Ink Business Unlimited Annual Fee: $0 Purchase APR: 15.49% - 21.49%, Variable
Chase Ink Business Unlimited
15.49% - 21.49%, Variable
Chase Ink Business Unlimited — Chase’s newest business credit card — may have a higher standard for instant approval than the Spark Classic (the Ink Business Unlimited requires an applicant to have good or excellent credit), but if you meet this threshold and are able to get instant approval, the Ink Business Unlimited is an excellent choice for business use, particularly if you have some large purchases to make within a year.
Chase Ink Business Unlimted offers a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months. This means that if you need to make a large emergency purchase, you can do so without the added pressure of having to pay off your entire balance right away to avoid being hit with interest charges.
The Ink Business Unlimited also offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases, as well as a $500 cash back bonus after you spend $3,000 within the first three months.
Best Fast Approval Credit Card For Cash Back
Spark Cash Select From Capital One
15.24% - 23.24%, Variable
Capital One Spark Cash Select For Business is a business credit card offering instant approval only to those with excellent credit. But if you make the grade, you stand to be handsomely rewarded with a generous cash back program.
Spark Cash Select offers a flat 2% cash back on all purchases. It’s a higher cash back earning rate than you’ll find with most competitors offering a flat cash back rate, and as such is an excellent choice for entrepreneurs with excellent credit looking for a fast approval card with great cash back earning potential. You won’t have to bother tracking spending categories — just earn 2% cash back on all purchases.
As nice as that unlimited 2% cash back is, the card does carry a $95 annual fee after the first year. If you’re dead-set against paying an annual fee, consider Capital One’s Spark Cash card instead.
Spark Cash From Capital One
$95 ($0 the first year)
You’ll earn unlimited 1.5% cash back instead of 2% and your card won’t have Select in the name, but on the plus side, the Spark Cash carries no annual fee.
Best Fast Approval Credit Card For Travel Rewards
Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express
15.49% - 21.49%, Variable
The Amex Blue Business Plus card is a great business card for those looking for travel rewards value. Furthermore, as I mentioned, American Express is one of the few card issuers that will, in many cases, issue you an instant card number after you get approved.
With the Blue Business Plus, you’ll earn 2x rewards on all purchases up to $50,000 each calendar year. Your points can be used to book travel via American Express Travel, a well-regarded travel rewards program. Your points can even be spent on taxi fare in New York City!
An Alternative To Fast Approval Credit Cards: Online Business Lines Of Credit
If you need funding for your business ASAP but are not enthused about the fast approval business credit cards currently available, consider a business line of credit. Lines of credit work more like credit cards than term loans. You borrow funds up to a certain limit and you only pay interest on what you borrow.
Some lenders offer instant approval, in which case the only waiting you’ll need to do will be for the funds to arrive in your account. Let’s take a look at a few business lines of credit offering instant approval.
Kabbage is well-known for its remarkably quick application process. With Kabbage’s streamlined approval process, you may well be able to start drawing funds within a few minutes of getting approved. Want fast money? Kabbage can deliver.
However, that doesn’t mean Kabbage is all sweetness and light. The costs associated with a Kabbage line of credit are relatively high. You may end up paying 10% of your borrowing amount each month in fees. Your effective APR ranges from 24% to a whopping 99%.
With rapid approval and a maximum borrowing amount of $250,000, Kabbage’s lines of credit hold significant appeal for the entrepreneur in need of fast cash, despite the drawbacks. Now, let’s check out another online lender offering business lines of credit.
Fundbox’s business lines of credit are easier to qualify for than those of Kabbage — you only need to have a compatible business bank account for at least six months or compatible accounting/invoicing software for at least three months. There are no time-in-business requirements and there’s no strict credit score requirement to meet.
You can establish a maximum credit line of $100,000 with Fundbox, so larger businesses might find Kabbage’s lines of credit more fitting of their needs.
It always helps to be aware of your full range of options when looking for expedited business funding. If your poor credit score and/or lack of business track record puts you out of the range of most of the products listed here, you can always consider a secured business card. They don’t typically offer instant approval, but secured business cards are among the easiest business cards to obtain due to the requirement that you post collateral. The arrangement means you’re essentially borrowing from yourself. Read our piece on secured business credit cards for more information.
Want to learn even more about business funding? Check out the following resources.