At least several times per week, I get asked about how to get business lines of credit ESPECIALLY since the lenders are tightening up these days. Now, when I am applying for credit, I’m not too picky if it comes in the form of a credit card with courtesy checks or an actual line of credit.
I’m not too concerned about interest rates because I’m using them for a tool. Certainly, the lower the interest rate, the better, but if I have to get a card at 15%, I’ll take it. I won’t carry a balance on it or use it unless I come across a deal that I simply must use the card for and it makes sense.
Some people may wonder why I don’t fight for great rates, and I definitely try to get the best rates I can, but I’m not accumulating business credit for the sole purpose of maxing out my debt :-0! You see, I want to have as MUCH money available to me at any given time in case the right deal comes along and I need immediate cash OR in case I need some extra funds to grow my business.
There are a handful of things you need to know about the business lines of credit I’m talking about here:
- The credit issuers WILL look at your personal credit to make their decision
- Your personal credit doesn’t have to be as high as you might think, however!
- The inquiries will show on your credit report (you may or may not be able to get them removed)
- The actual credit cards will not show up on your personal credit unless you default on the payments
Now, I have a strategy that has proven to work for me and my partners. A mortgage broker or credit expert or credit repair person may have a different opinion, but this strategy has helped me acquire PLENTY of lines of credit for multiple companies. And, believe it or not, it’s helped me boost my personal FICO score because I no longer carry any business expenses on my personal cards. And remember… the business lines of credit don’t show up on my personal credit report. (My score’s gone up over 50 points in the last 6 months despite all the inquiries).
By the way, it’s a good idea to pull your Annual Free Credit Report once per year and make sure there are no inaccuracies on it. If you need to work on it, then this is a good time to start. If not, it’s like having a credit checkup once/year (NOTE: You do not get your score with this report)
So here’s my strategy:
- Every 6 – 8 months, I go on a “credit run”
- I apply in one night for as many credit cards as I can. I hold all the offers I get in the mail until I’m ready to do this. I actually have a mortgage friend that pulls a report for me complete with scores and all for my own knowledge. (The reason I do it every six months is because the inquiries can affect the credit decision. Six months gives you time to remove inquiries that you can have removed and it also gives enough time for those which stay on the report to carry less weight)
- Then, I file all the cards when they arrive and keep notes on credit lines, how to access, etc. I keep 1 card/company in my wallet so I can use credit cards only for business expenses
That’s it! I know you’re looking for something more complicated, but that’s it. Sure, you can get business lines of credit from larger institutions once your company is established. There are also companies out there that you can hire for a few thousand dollars to go and get your business lines of credit in place. That’s up to you, but this is a great place to start. Plus, you can use this strategy to increase your personal credit score, which these companies will STILL need in order to get credit on your behalf. Remember, they’re looking at your credit as the guarantor.
The last time I did this “credit run”, I got over $100,000 with 45 minutes of my time.
There’s a cyclical effect to this as well and that’s when you start using your business credit for all of your business expenses (and if you’ve used your personal cards for business expenses, you can do a balance transfer and get them off your personal cards). This helps increase your score because your balance to limit ratio is reduced and now your personal cards begin to increase your limits and send you 0% offers!
There’s a myth out there also and that’s that once you have one business card with a company, that you can’t get another. There are some companies where this is the case, but many do not have a problem extending you multiple lines of credit. In some cases, they’ll extend you multiple lines of credit for a single business. I had AMEX once give me 2 lines of credits totaling $45,000 for the same company.
You can try virtually any credit card company, but the following have proven to be very easy to work with and extend credit quite simply. I have at least one line of business credit with each, and 2-4 lines with most of them for different companies:
- Bank of America
- First Equity
- Capital One
- American Express
Even if your credit’s not where you think it needs to be, it’s a good idea to apply for a line of credit from at least one of these sources (American Express and Capital One are pretty easy to get). If you get denied, you can get a free copy of your credit report and go from there.
If you DO need to work on your credit, I recommend a few things – in this order:
- See if there’s anything you can do on your own to improve your credit. I used Donna Fox’s Credit Millionaire System years ago to bring up my credit 80 points in just over 30 days by following just one piece of her advice (Click Here listen to an interview I did with her a few months back)
- Hire a credit expert to fix anything that you can’t do
- Follow the strategy outlined above for the “Credit Run”
- Be patient. Unfortunately, you can bring your score down instantly, but it takes time to bring it back up…
Let us know what results you have with the companies above (or if you have any others that have provided you with lines of credit that you wan to share)
The time is now to build as much credit as you can to be in a position to capitalize on the current real estate market. The truth is, if you have the money, you have the power! You can buy non performing paper at MASSIVE DISCOUNTS. You can buy tax liens. You can buy REOs directly from the bank for big discounts. Just do whatever it takes to legally and ethically build your credit lines!
Oh yeah… and by the way… an agent in my real estate office told me that she’s gotten offers for business credit cards even though she’s had a short sale on her personal credit and hasn’t paid two other mortgages since October and is negotiating short sales on both of them. Maybe the banks are just trying to keep as much performing credit as possible on their books!