Can you get a business credit card without an EIN?

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Earning welcome bonuses and ongoing rewards from the top business credit cards is an excellent way to grow your miles, points and cash-back balances to get you closer to your financial and travel goals. Because these welcome offers can be very enticing and valuable, we get lots of questions regarding how to qualify for small business credit cards — one of the most frequent being whether you need an EIN (Employee Identification Number) to apply for a business card.

Here’s what you need to know:

Small business owners will appreciate knowing this business card application tip. (Photo by

Do you need an EIN to apply for a business card?

Like a lot of our readers, many of the Million Mile Secrets writers have side gigs like reselling items on eBay or offering resume writing expertise. I own a vacation property that I rent on a short-term basis to tourists visiting my hometown in Montana. None of us operate our businesses under a formal business name or LLC and we report our business income on our individual tax returns. Yet a lot of us carry many of the best business cards in our wallet — the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card being our favorite.

Even without an official business name or corporate structure, you can still qualify for small business credit cards like the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. You’re eligible to apply for business cards as long as you’re trying to earn a profit with whatever type of business you’re operating.

The good news is that you have the option to enter your Social Security number on a business card application instead of an EIN (Employer Identification Number). So no, you do not need an EIN to apply for a business card.

Now let’s take a look at how you can earn rewards with a small business.

Earn miles and points with a small business

Again, qualifying for a small business credit card might be easier than you think. But remember, you’re personally responsible for the charges on a business credit card, so banks look at your total income and credit score when evaluating your business credit card application.

This means you’re not required to have significant revenue and profit to get approved for a business card. For example, my friend was instantly approved for the Chase Ink Business Preferred after listing just a few hundred dollars in profit for his eBay side business.

Here are some other side ventures you might already be doing that can qualify you for a business card:

  • Airbnb host
  • Babysitter
  • Dog walker
  • Freelance graphic designer
  • Handyman
  • Landlord
  • Landscaper
  • Makeup artist
  • Property manager
  • Real estate agent
  • Ride-hailing service driver
  • Social media or marketing consultant
  • Travel agent
  • Tutor

Remember, you can apply for business credit cards with just your name and Social Security number. This is considered applying as a sole proprietor, so there’s no requirement to have a formal business name or EIN (Employer Identification Number).

Bottom line

You can qualify for small business credit cards like the Ink Business Preferred as long as you’re aiming to earn a profit with a side activity, and you aren’t required to have a formal business name or EIN (Employer Identification Number). Instead, you can apply as a sole proprietor using your name and Social Security number.

Because you’re personally responsible for the credit line on a business credit card, banks look at your total income and credit score when evaluating your business card application. So even with little business income, it’s possible to get approved.

Meghan Hunter is an editor for Million Mile Secrets. She covers points, miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels and general travel. Her work has also appeared in The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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