How Much Profit Does Your Business REALLY Have to Make to Qualify for a Business Card?

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Ever considered applying for a small business credit card but wondered if you actually qualify?

Million Mile Secret Agent Jeff asked:

I would love to open a small business credit card.  I don’t sell much on eBay, but do make a small amount.  Is there a minimum business income I need to show to open a small business card?   And do I need to register my business with my city, state, or the IRS, before I apply for a business credit card?

How Much Profit Does Your Business REALLY Have To Make To Qualify For A Business Card
Selling Items on eBay for Profit Can Be an Easy Way to Qualify for Small Business Credit Cards

Thanks for the great questions, Jeff!

Qualifying for a Small Business Credit Card

The good news is banks do NOT have any minimum business income requirements for opening business credit cards.  And you do NOT need to be officially registered as a business on a local or state level, or even with the IRS, to qualify for these cards.

In fact, you can apply as a sole proprietor by using your Social Security Number on the application!  And if you think your business will grow in the future, it’s easy to generate an EIN (Employer Identification Number) on the IRS website at any time.  So there’s no need to jump through any major hoops.

For example, team member Keith’s friend was approved for the Chase Ink Business Preferred card after listing ~$1,000 of business income on his application.

And team members Harlan and Meghan have always used their Social Security Numbers to apply as sole proprietors for small business cards.

How Much Profit Does Your Business REALLY Have To Make To Qualify For A Business Card
Do You Provide a Service or Product, Like Coaching, Photography, Design, or Real Estate, and Get Paid for It? You May Already Have a Small Business!

Just remember, there are multiple factors the banks consider when evaluating your application, like your personal credit score and total income.  And it’s ultimately up to the bank to decide whether they’ll approve your for a card.

In the end, the most important thing is to be honest on the application.  But Jeff has nothing to worry about because he has a legitimate small business.

You need a for-profit venture to qualify you as a small business.  This could be things like:

  • Child Care
  • Coaching
  • Freelance writing
  • Selling items on eBay or Etsy (like Jeff!)
  • Tutoring

American Express is actually known for being generous with business card approvals without showing much income.  And even better, AMEX small business cards don’t show up on your personal credit report.  So they do NOT count against Chase’s 5/24 rule, and won’t hurt your chances of being approved for Chase cards in the future!

You can read more about my top 3 credit cards for small business owners.

Bottom Line

There’s NO minimum business income needed to qualify for a small business credit card.  And you can apply as a sole proprietor with your Social Security Number, without needing to register your business with your city, state, or the IRS.

Lots of folks qualify for small business cards without even realizing it!  And business cards are definitely worth considering, because they are an excellent way to boost your points balances!

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