What should you use as a business name on your business card application?

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Having a small-business credit card can be a great way to boost your rewards balances because many business cards have big bonuses and great bonus spending categories, like the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card which has an increased introductory bonus of 100,000-points after spending $15,000 in the first three months of account opening. The information for the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

We get a lot of questions about how to apply for the best business credit cards because the application is a little different than signing up for a personal card. You might wonder what you should use as your business name on the application. Here’s what to do.

What name should you use on your business credit card application?

Million Mile Secrets reader Lenny asked:

When applying for small-business cards, I am always asked the legal name of my business. I am an independent contractor, so I do own a business, but do not have a “legal” name for the business. How do I answer this question?

If you’re applying as a sole proprietor (meaning you’re not in any type of partnership and haven’t set up a business entity, like an LLC), you can use your name as the legal business name. This is true for most independent contractors, like Lenny. So, if your name is John Smith, you can put John Smith as the name on your application and as your small-business name because, when you work for yourself (freelance writers, photographers, editors, website developers, Uber drivers, etc.), your name is your business.

You could even have an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your business and still use your name as your business name. Many MMS team members do the same even though they usually apply for business cards as sole proprietors using their Social Security Number as their business tax ID.

Having an official name is more important if you have a storefront or sell goods. For example, no one wants to eat at a restaurant called John Smith, but they might want to hire John Smith for his skills as a writer. So in Lenny’s case, he should be fine to use his name as his “official” business name on a small-business card application.

For more tips, check out this post on how to qualify for a business credit card. We also have step-by-step guides on how to fill out a Chase business card application and an Amex business card application.

Bottom line

You can use your name as your “official” business name on a small-business card application, as long as you’re applying as a sole proprietor. Business rewards credit cards are worth considering because if you run a small business or even have a side hustle, you can earn lots of miles and points toward travel with everyday spending for your business.

Thanks for the question, Lenny.

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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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