Corporate Credit Card: Whose Credit Is It?

I have a small business. We have a corporate credit card, which is in my business partner’s name as well as the company’s name. It’s worked out well, and as I’m going full-time on this small business shortly, I’m ready to add my name to the acct. and get my own card. But here’s the question: Whose credit is this?

They told my partner that they checked both his credit rating (fine) and the company’s (which is basically nonexistent) during the application process. But he has yet to see this acct. on his credit report. That made me think about my day job, and the corporate credit card I have through it, and the fact that it, too, has never shown up on my credit report.

So will these accounts ever show up on our personal credit reports? Will the company’s credit affect our personal credit ratings, and vice versa? Will mine affect his? Neither of us particularly wants huge credit lines on our personal credit reports, for starters. Is there a credit report for our company itself that we can order from Experian et al?

My corporate card will not affect my credit, but I’m not a partner. I hope, by the way, that you are in an LLP, to limit any damage. Since the company is in your name, I would think that problems might affect your credit rating, but that’s a guess. I’m sure a wiser head will chime in.

Corporate credit cards show up on your business credit report. There is a company called Dunn & Bradstreet that sells these reports. Rest assured, your corp. credit card will show there, and nowhere else.
However, if your employer defaults on payments, the credit card issuer will come after you in most situations, and it will wind up on your personal credit report.

The answer is, as usual, “it depends”.

If your company is a sole proprietorship (ie, John Smith DBA Smith Cleaning) the card will most likely be based solely on, show up on, your personal credit. If you are incorporated or an LLC, LLP, etc. the card will not show up on your personal credit report, though the issuance may be based at least partially on your personal credit history. You may be asked to sign a personal guarantee for the debt should the company be unable to pay. If the credit issuer has to invoke the personal guarantee the results may show up on your personal report.

How’s that for vague?

I have a sole proprietorship.
I have cards with American Express, Fleet and Citibank.
None of these cards shows up on my personal credit reports on Equifax, Experian or Transunion.

OK, let’s add another dependancy - the reporting practices of the credit issuer. I have seen instances, when reviewing credit reports, of “company” credit cards for a sole proprietorship on the owner’s personal credit report. Since a sole proprietorship is, in banking terms, no different than an individual* I can think of no legal reason that the card could be kept off your personal credit history.

*A corporation, LLC, LLP, etc. is an entity unto itself while in a sole proprietorship you are the entity. You can conduct business on your sole proprietor account exactly the same as if it were your personal account. For example, you can cash checks made payable to the business name where a check written to a LLC, LLP or corporation can only be deposited.

We’re an LLC, FYI. Thanks for the info, everyone. I’ll definitely check out Dun & Bradstreet, too. Never even knew there were corporate credit reports.