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Secured business credit cards are intended for companies with limited or poor credit histories. According to a report released by the U.S. Small Business Administration, close to 1 in 5 start-up businesses have a score of less than 30 out of a possible 100, as measured by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). These firms may have difficulty getting approved for a standard business credit cards, and may need to consider secured options.
Unfortunately, there is not much in the way of choices when it comes to secured credit cards for businesses. There are currently only 2 cards of this type offered by major U.S. banks - the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card and the BBVA Compass Business Secured Visa® Credit Card. We explored the features and rewards provided by each of these in order to help you determine which one will provide your business with the better value. Further on, we also explore alternatives that companies can turn to, and obtain a better card despite a poor business credit score.
Best Secured Small Business Credit Card: Business Secured Credit Card
The Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card provides users rewards on their credit card spending. The rewards rate is 1.5% on all purchases; while measly compared to what we see with the top business credit cards, many secured credit cards actually don't provide any rewards at all. The rewards rate on the card is especially good for businesses that manage to spend at least $1,000 on their card every month. By doing so, the card will award an additional $10 in rewards each month. Note that to be eligible for the rewards program, you must have a business checking or savings account opened with Wells Fargo. The bank services most states, and has more brick and mortar locations than any other financial institution in the U.S., meaning it shouldn't be difficult to find a branch near you.
This card also has a generously low APR, making it ideal for businesses that need to carry a balance on their card month-to-month. The current rate stands at 11.90% - significantly lower than most secured cards, and the average business credit card APR.
Recommended For: Businesses with monthly average expenditures of $1,000+.
- 1.5% cash back on all purchases
- Credit line between $500 and $25,000; equal to the amount of your security deposit
- Low APR of 11.90%
BBVA Compass Business Secured Visa® Credit Card
The BBVA Business Secured Visa® Credit Card is yet another secured business credit card with a reward program – though it comes with some strings attached that hurt its overall value. Firstly, BBVA Compass Bank is not national. Its branches can be found in just a handful of states – Alabama, California, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. If you don’t live near a branch, you may not apply for a BBVA Business Secured Visa® Credit Card since there is no option to apply online. As a business owner, you'll probably want a local branch that you can use for other banking services.
In order to sign up for this card, you must also have a savings account opened with the issuing bank. Your credit limit will be equal to 90% of the money deposited into that account. This can be a hassle for companies that already have existing banking relationships with other banks, and want to keep their accounts centralized.
On the reward side of things, this card lets you Earn 1.5 points for every $1 in qualified purchases, which comes out to a rewards rate of 1.5%. Because the BBVA Compass credit card has a lower annual fee ($40), it will perform better for companies that spend less than $1,000 per month.
Recommended For: Small businesses that need to issue 2+ employee credit cards operating in area with BBVA branches
- Employee cards at no additional cost
- Capability to track spending trends, and download up to 6 months of past account statements
- 30% discount on select QuickBooks products
Business Secured Credit Card vs Business Secured Visa® Credit Card
Overall, the Business Secured Credit Card will offer the better value to most businesses looking to rebuild their credit, so long as they spend at least $1,000 per month on the card. There are, however, certain features of the BBVA Compass card that can give it the advantage - namely the fact that there is no additional cost for employee cards. To help business owners quickly discern among the key differences of the two cards, we present the two side-by-side below.
Business Secured Credit Card
Business Secured Visa® Credit Card
|$25 + $50 to enroll in the rewards program||$40|
|1.5% on all purchases||Earn 1.5 points for every $1 in qualified purchases|
Foreign Transaction Fee
|$500 - $25,000 (equal to security deposit)||$500+ (Equal to 90% of Money Deposited in BBVA Savings Account)|
|Additional $10 in rewards every month your business has at least $1,000 in spending on the card||30% Discount on Select QuickBooks Products|
Other Options For Businesses With Bad Credit
Even if your business has a low or nonexistent credit score, other options exist. A small business credit card account can always be opened in the name of a personal guarantor – that is a person, instead of a business. If one of the business owners is willing to open a new credit account in their name, and be responsible for all debts posted to it, they can do so.
The downside of this approach is the fact that all positive credit behavior – such as paying on time – will only benefit the accountholder. The credit worthiness of the company will not be improve. Still, if your business is in need of credit, this remains a viable option. If the accountholder has good to excellent, you can apply for anyone of the following business credit cards. Input your company’s estimated monthly expenditures into the tool, and it will estimate for you the value of each card, net any annual fees.