Dear Penny: I’ve Paid Off My Business Credit Card for 11 Years. What Gives?

Dear Penny: I’ve Paid Off My Business Credit Card for 11 Years. What Gives?

Dear B.,

I think your gripe here is more with your card issuer than it is with the credit bureaus.

It sounds as if the information you got from the credit bureau isn’t entirely correct. It’s not that the bureaus refuse to acknowledge the use of business cards. More likely, your credit card company isn’t sending them the information in the first place, and the bureaus can only report information if your creditors provide it to them.

When you have a personal credit card, your activity is reported to the consumer credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and Transunion. So when you check your credit, you’re receiving a report from one of those three bureaus.

And when you applied for your business credit card, your bank probably checked your personal credit. You also most likely signed a personal guarantee that made you responsible for any debt incurred even if your business goes under. (I’m assuming here that this card is for a business you own rather than a card issued by an employer since you’re the one responsible for payments.)

But once you have a business credit card, things work a little differently. Most credit card issuers don’t report activity on a business card to the consumer credit bureaus. Or they only do so if your account becomes seriously delinquent.

Instead, most issuers report activity on a business card to the commercial credit bureaus. There are a lot of commercial credit bureaus — the largest three are Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax and Experian — and they create business credit reports and scores.

A business credit report contains a lot of the same types of information as a personal credit report. So that means that your business credit reports would probably document your history of responsible credit usage, which is good news if you’d want to obtain more credit or a loan for your business.

Still, I get your frustration. You’ve used your credit card responsibly for 11 years, yet your personal reports contain no evidence of that. But since you and I probably don’t have much sway with big banks or credit bureaus, let’s talk about what you can do.

If you want a credit card that reports payments to the consumer bureaus, you have two options: You could switch to a business credit card that actually does report activity to the consumer bureaus, or you could open a personal credit card.

I think Option B is the clear winner here.

Not only will you build a payment history that shows up on your personal credit reports, but personal credit cards have more protection for borrowers compared to business cards. Plus, it’s generally recommended that you keep your personal and business accounts separate.

Just maintain the same habits you’ve built with your business credit card, i.e., paying off the balance in full each month, when you use personal credit. In time, your consumer reports will have evidence of what a disciplined credit card user you are.

Robin Hartill is a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder and the voice behind Dear Penny. Send your questions about credit cards to

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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