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Eight differences between personal and business credit cards

Personal and business cards can both give you access to lines of credit, but the two are different in how they operate. Personal credit cards are meant for individuals and their daily spending habits, like household items and groceries. Business credit cards are meant to be used by businesses for business expenses. If a business is using a personal credit card for its payments, the account can be flagged and potentially terminated.

This article will go over eight of the main differences between the two, which include:

  • Credit limits
  • Zero percent promotional APR terms 
  • Interest rates
  • Consumer protection laws 
  • Separate lines of credit
  • Rewards categories
  • Perks
  • Balance payments applied

Personal credit cards vs. business credit cards

The differences between personal and business credit cards include:

1. Credit limits

Business credit cards typically have higher limits than personal credit cards because they take into account both business revenue, personal income and your current credit score. If your business revenue is higher than your personal income, you'd most likely get a higher credit limit than on a personal card alone.

2. Zero percent promotional APR terms

Zero percent promotional APR offers typically have longer periods on personal cards than on business cards. While personal card zero percent periods could last anywhere from a couple of months to over a year, business card promotional periods usually last about a year.

3. Interest rates

In general, rates and fees are similar across personal and business cards but vary by credit card product. It's important to remember that your interest rate for both types of cards is based on creditworthiness.

4. Consumer protection laws

Consumer protection laws are usually stronger with personal cards. For example, the late fees on a business card could be much higher than on a personal credit card. We offer protection from these hikes for our business cardmembers.

5. Separate lines of credit

Personal card usage affects your personal credit score, but personal credit cards won't help you build credit on your business card. Business card usage affects your business credit score, but, depending on the issuer, it can also affect the business owner's credit score. This is because you secure your business card with a personal guarantee that you'll be able to pay back any business debts you accrue. Most issuers look at the business owner's score to determine your business card credit limit. So, business card activity can affect both business and personal credit reports.

6. Rewards categories

Business cards offer a variety rewards categories, many of which are targeted toward business needs like office supplies or phone bills. Other categories, like miles, are available on both types of cards.

7. Perks

In addition to added rewards categories, business cards also offer business-related benefits. For instance, employee cards at no additional cost allow employees to spend on your business account, and you can track their activity. Account management tools often come with business credit cards and may help with financial organization, future expense reporting and other purposes.

8. Balance payments applied

Payments on credit card balances may be applied differently on each type of card. Chase, however, handles both personal and business cards similarly, where we apply payments for both consumer and business cards in the same way. Make sure to read over your card agreement for further information on how payments are applied.

Personal and business credit card FAQs

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

You can use either your EIN or SSN to apply for a business credit card.

How do personal credit scores differ from business credit scores?

The main differences between the two scores are:

  • Personal credit scores are private, while business credit is public —meaning anyone can look up your business score.
  • Personal credit scores are connected to your social security number, while business credit scores are tied to your EIN (unless you don't have one).
  • Personal credit scores range from 300 to 850, while business credit scores range between zero to 100.