Your business credit options will be limited when not using a DUNS Number or an SSN, but there are a few that only require an EIN to apply. A Brex Corporate Card is a good example where you can get approval without the need for any other business or personal identification number.
Other options include store cards, gas cards, and pre-paid corporate credit cards, which at times, can be more than enough to your business up and running.
What is an EIN?
An EIN (Employer Identification Number) is a nine-digit identifier that the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) issues to businesses operating in the United States. The EIN has two purposes, as it is used for both business identification and employment tax reporting.
On a loan application, however, you might see reference to a TIN, which is a catch-all phrase meaning Tax Payer Identification Number. For business loans, your TIN would be your EIN, and not your SSN (Social Security Number) or ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) which are used on personal loan applications.
How to Get EIN Credit
How can you get business credit without a DUNS Number or your personal Social Security Number? The answer is your use your EIN instead on the credit application.
When applying for business credit, the majority of creditors will ask you to provide an SSN or DUNS number. These are required for tracking your financial information and whether or not you have the ability to pay for the amount that you borrowed.
How limited are your business credit options with using an EIN over a DUNS Number? In many cases, using an EIN will limit your available options for corporate credit cards , store cards, gas cards, and prepaid business credit cards.
Depending on the lender, even with an EIN, you might still need to provide your SSN, so you have to be careful of this when you apply. Always inquire if it’s the only requirement to apply, as wherever possible you want to avoid any business credit association that has security tied to your Social Security Number.
EIN vs DUNS Number
Is using an EIN or a DUNS Number better when applying for business credit? Unfortunately, there is no real comparison here, as your tradeline, business credit, and loan opportunities will increase exponentially if you have a registered DUNS Number.
Credit reports from Duns & Bradstreet are well respected and positive ratings in our report will open up a lot of doors for you, especially when it comes to applying for business credit and loans.
With that being said, the second most viable option to get business credit beyond a DUNS Number is to use your EIN.
While your options will be limited when only using your EIN, you’ll still be able to apply for:
- Some corporate credit cards, like Brex
- Some store cards, like Office Depot or Home Depot
- Most gas cards
- Most pre-paid business credit cards
Getting business credit through a DUNS number will limit your personal risk and really, all you have to do to get one is register at the Duns & Bradstreet website.
EIN vs SSN
Why is it better to apply for credit using an EIN (Employer Identification Number) over an SSN Social Security Number? Using an EIN to get business credit is better because it allows for easier approval and avoidance of personal liability.
There are two kinds of credit scores, one for business (tied to your EIN or DUNS Number) and one for personal credit (tied to your SSN).
When using an EIN on your credit or loan application, approval will be mainly based on your business’s financial status rather than your personal financial status.
Unless you have poor business credit, it will always be better for your business’s financial status to be evaluated and to limit your personal liability. If you need to build up your business credit, then you may still need to provide your SSN when applying for credit to tack on some personal security. Without an EIN, however, every dollar of credit you apply for will need to be personally secured.
If you have bad personal credit and use your SSN on the application, this can also be a reason for denial. Poor personal credit scores will reflect badly on your business, even if your business credit score is good.
Having an EIN is optional. However, not having one, will limit your business to certain degrees. For example, your business can’t become a partnership, a non-profit organization, a limited liability company (LLC), or an S corporation without an EIN.
Ultimately, the absence of an EIN or a DUNS Number means you will have to use your personal SSN (Social Security Number) for business identification, which can be very disadvantageous when applying for credit or loans.
Another thing to consider is that other business entities may not even provide services or open tradelines to you if your business does not have an EIN.
Reasons to Apply
There are many reasons why you need to apply for an EIN, which start from a perception of legitimacy, to establishing tradelines, obtaining credit, getting a business loan, hiring a workforce, or setting up a pension plan.
- You want your business to be shown as being legitimate on the IRS website
- You want your business to become a corporation, LLC, or partnership
- You want to have a tax-deferred pension, such as a Keogh plan
- You want to file employment, alcohol, tobacco, or firearms tax returns
- You want to hire a full-time workforce
- You want to withhold income tax to a non-resident alien employee
When to Apply
When do you need to apply for EIN? The IRS leaves the decision up to the business owner as to when they want their EIN issued. Generally, you’ll want an EIN as soon as you want to do business or want to apply for business credit.
An exception for not filing for an EIN quickly is if you are NOT planning on doing business any time soon and simply wanted to register your business name before someone else does.
After filing, look for credit lenders who only require EIN for business credit, such as the Brex Company.
When applying for business credit, using an EIN (Employment Identification Number) is preferable your personal SSN (Social Security Number) instead.
When using your EIN, you won’t be personal liability over the credit incurred by your business. So, if your business fails, creditors can’t touch the money stored in your personal bank accounts, just business accounts, should you lose the ability to pay for credit obtained with your EIN.