What Name Should Be on Your Business Credit Card?



Getting a business credit card can be a great way for companies to separate business expenses from personal expenses. But when applying for a business card, one question that often comes up is: what name should be on the card?

There are a few options for the name you can put on a business credit card. The right choice depends on your business structure and preferences. Below is an overview of the most common options for business credit card names and the pros and cons of each approach.

Using Your Personal Name

If you are a sole proprietor or freelancer, the simplest option is likely putting your own personal name on the business credit card.

Pros of using your personal name:

  • Easy and straightforward application process since the card name matches your business legal name.

  • Can use personal identification documents like driver’s license for application verification.

  • Business expenses remain separate from personal on credit reports when payments are made from the business card.

  • No extra paperwork like DBA filings required to operate under personal name.

Cons of personal name:

  • Less professional branding since your personal name is on all card transactions.

  • Business name is not built up as a separate entity from yourself.

Using your personal name is the easiest route for sole proprietors and independent contractors. Just make sure business finances still remain separate from personal for taxes and liability purposes.

Registering a DBA

If you want your business credit card to have a different name than your personal legal name, you can file for a DBA (doing business as) name.

Pros of DBA name:

  • Allows professional business name on credit card instead of personal name.

  • Builds brand recognition when customers see consistent business name.

  • Separates business further from personal finances and liability.

Cons of DBA name:

  • Need to register DBA name properly with state and local governments.

  • Application process can be more complex with extra business verification steps.

  • Changing card name later can be difficult if business name changes.

Filing for a DBA name registration allows you to apply for cards using your chosen business name rather than personal name. Just be aware this involves extra paperwork and paperwork changes if the business name is modified down the road.

Using a Corporation or LLC Name

If your business is registered as a corporation, LLC, or other legal business entity, you will apply for credit cards under the registered business name.

Pros of legal business name:

  • Business finances and liability are fully separate from personal.

  • Professional branding having company name on card.

  • Business builds credit history under registered business name.

Cons of legal name:

  • More complex application process since business must be registered.

  • Changing company name can mean reapplying for credit under new name.

  • If business fails, creditors can pursue business assets.

The registered legal name is required if your business is incorporated or an LLC. This provides the most credibility as a separate business but also more risk if the business fails since creditors can target business assets directly.

Using an Employee Name

Some business credit cards support adding employee names to additional or supplementary cards.

Pros of employee names:

  • Employees can make purchases without using primary cardholder’s name.

  • Sets employee card spending limits and oversight separate from main account.

  • Employees build business credit history for their work expenses.

Cons of employee names:

  • Employee misuse of card could impact business credit standing.

  • Complex for card issuer to recoup losses if employee fails to repay.

  • Business is liable for all employee card charges, even improper ones.

While less common, employee names can be used on supplementary business credit cards. Be careful with risks like employee misuse. Set clear policies so employees use properly.

Key Factors in Deciding on a Business Credit Card Name

When choosing the best name for your business credit card, keep these key factors in mind:

  • Business structure – If registered as a sole proprietor or partnership, your personal name may be simplest. If incorporated, the legal business name is required.

  • Branding – Do you want your brand name on the card or your personal name? Registering a DBA provides more branding options.

  • Application process – Using a DBA or registered business name often involves more verification steps when applying.

  • Separation of finances – Business names help keep company finances fully separate from personal.

  • Liability risks – With a corporation, creditors can legally pursue business assets if in default.

  • Credit history – The name used will build credit history, so consistency with future applications is key.

Think about which name aligns best with your business needs and brand when applying for a small business card.

Options for Business Credit Card Names

When applying for a business credit card, here are some of the specific name options you may encounter on applications:

Sole Proprietor Name Options:

  • Your personal legal first and last name

  • Your personal name “doing business as” (DBA) a company name

Partnership Name Options:

  • Legal names of all partners

  • DBA name filed by the partnership

Corporation Name Options:

  • Legal incorporated business name

  • Name of parent company or umbrella corporation

LLC Name Options:

  • Official LLC name

  • Parent company or corporation name if part of larger organization

Be sure to use the business’s legal name depending on its structure. Nicknames or abbreviations may cause issues unless registered as the legal DBA name.

How to Change the Name on a Business Credit Card

Sometimes a business may need to change the name printed on their existing credit card after it has already been issued. Here are some tips for changing a business credit card name:

  • Contact issuer – Call or login online and request a card name change through the provider.

  • Update business name – If changed legally, provide updated registration documents for verification.

  • New card – Issuer will likely issue a new credit card with updated business name.

  • Activate new card – Once received, the old card will be deactivated and new one must be activated.

  • Update payment info – If card number changes, update any subscription services with new payment card details.

  • Destroy old card – Cut up and safely dispose of old business credit card to prevent unauthorized use.

Changing the name on a business card is usually straightforward. Some credit history may be temporarily lost with the transition so request issuer to link old and new accounts if possible.

How to Build Business Credit History

To build strong business credit history, follow these tips when applying for and using business credit cards:

  • Use registered name consistently – Always use legal business name so all accounts are linked together.

  • Make payments on time – Responsible payment history is the main factor in scoring models.

  • Keep balances low – High balances relative to limits will lower business credit scores.

  • Apply for multiple accounts – Having 3 or more active trades will strengthen credit profiles.

  • Check credit reports – Monitor both personal and business credit reports regularly for accuracy.

  • Dispute errors – If errors found, file dispute and provide documentation to correct.

  • Don’t co-mingle finances – Keep business revenue and expenses completely separate from personal.

Following these best practices when getting started with business credit cards will help establishment strong company credit history and profiles as you take on more financing.

Which Business Expenses Should Go on Credit Cards?

Business credit cards can be used for nearly any type of expense, but some of the most common and suitable purchases include:

  • Office supplies – Stationery, printers, computers, and other equipment

  • Business travel – Airfare, hotels, rental cars, meals

  • Online services – Software, cloud storage, subscriptions

  • Contractors/freelancers – Hiring outside specialists for projects

  • Advertising – Online ads, printed marketing materials

  • Inventory – Product wholesale orders and materials

  • Shipping – Postage, delivery services

  • Events – Venue, food, supplies for client events

  • Utilities – Electric, phone/internet, other recurring bills

Separating these common expenses from personal credit cards helps track spend and makes tax reporting much easier.

Setting Employee Spending Limits

If employees are issued business credit cards, it’s important to set proper spending limits tailored to their roles:

  • Purchasing manager – Can have higher limits, like $5,000+ per month for inventory orders

  • Sales staff – Moderate limits around $1,000 for travel, meals, client gifts

  • Assistants – Lower limits approximately $500 for office supplies reorders

  • Temporary staff – Strict limits like $100 for incidental expenses only

  • Set alerts – Get notified if charges exceed the norm or reach set thresholds

  • Check statements – Review charges regularly to monitor for irregularities

  • **Enforce limits

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