Several readers have asked me how to apply for a card if they do not have a business (but might start one soon) and get the sign-up bonus for the Chase Ink Plus with 70,000 Ultimate Rewards points.
Here is how to do it:
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A business application will ask for an Employer Identification Number for your business.
The key to this stumbling block is the ability to do business as SOLE PROPRIETOR. A sole proprietor is an individual who runs a business (under his/her name or another name) but accepts full liability for the business operations.
Often, (but not required), the owner is also the only person working for the company.
Several states require a business license for a sole proprietor (like Washington) but many states do not.
A sole proprietor does not apply for an Employer Identification number (EIN) but instead uses her/his social security number.
An example for a sole proprietorship is the owner of a bike shop, the person helping folks book award tickets or the individual playing travel agent to friends and colleagues. You may use your professional skills (e.g. if you are an architect) or not.
Let's assume you are helping friends and extended family with interior design and they are paying you for this work.
How to fill out the business credit card application
Let's see how this would work out for the current Chase Ink Plus Business credit card application.
1) Legal Name of Business
Golden Gate Interior Design.
2) Business Mailing Address
Use your regular address for your business.
3) Tax Identification Number
Use your social security number for this field.
4) Type Of Business
This is where the 'Sole Proprietorship' comes in. Mark this field.
5) Years in Business Under Current Owner
Mark how many years you have been in business helping your friends design their homes. You didn't just start yesterday – did you?
6) Number of Employees
That is only you – so mark one.
7) Nature of Business
Explain in more detail what you are doing for your clients. For example:
We develop solutions for feng shui-compatible single family homes. We customize our plans according to our clients' needs and tastes. We then supervise construction of the homes.
8) Annual Business Revenue/Sales
Be truthful. If it is just $1,000, then that is the information you should put in here. Credit card issuers are very interested in start-ups and are ready to bet on your start-up.
Fill out the rest of the application just as for any other credit card you have applied for in the past.
Most applications with Chase will most likely go into a 'pending' state after you submit them. You will need to call the Chase Reconsideration line for Business credit cards at (800) 453-9719.
The agent will ask you the same questions that you have filled in above and inquire about the nature of your business. Again, be confident and truthful and explain the nature of your start-up.
I have had a number of reconsideration calls with the Chase Business line and while they used to be harsh in tone, they have been VERY friendly recently.