Being an entrepreneur or owning a small business can be stressful enough, without adding financial worries to the equation. Access to a good business credit card can help support business goals, alleviate cash crunches and earn rewards on essential business spending. If your card can help secure protections for things like travel, cellphones and other purchases — even better.

In general, Chase has a great selection of business cards, all of which come with benefits for small business owners. Below, we’ll compare two of its popular business cards: the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card and the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card.

Essentially, the Ink Business Cash Credit Card works for businesses with moderate annual spending, and it provides the opportunity to earn rewards without paying an annual fee. The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card works better for businesses that spend more on travel and in select business categories.

Main Details

Cards Ink Business Cash Credit Card Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
Welcome bonus $750 bonus cash back when you spend $7,500 in the first 3 months 100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards rate
  • 5% cash back at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services (on the first $25,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year)
  • 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (on the first $25,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • 3X points on travel and select business categories (on up to $150,000 each account anniversary year, then 1X points)
  • 1X points on all other purchases
Intro APR 0% intro APR for 12 months, then a variable APR of 17.49% to 23.49% N/A
Annual fee $0 $95

Ink Business Cash vs. Ink Business Preferred highlights

There are a few finer details to pay attention to in this card comparison, so we’ll take a look at some important card features to help you choose the card that works best for your business needs.

Welcome bonus winner: Ink Business Preferred

With the Ink Business Preferred, you can earn 100,000 points after spending $15,000 in the first three months of account opening. If you redeem the welcome bonus for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, your bonus points could be worth up to $1,250 since you’ll get a value of 1.25 cents per point when redeeming points for Chase travel.

The Ink Business Cash offers a $750 welcome bonus after you spend $7,500 within the first three months of opening your account. In terms of dollar amount, it’s lower. But if you’re not sure you can spend the $15,000 for the Ink Business Preferred, then this welcome bonus would be more attainable for you.

Rewards rate winner: Ink Business Preferred

For the Ink Business Cash, you’ll earn 5 percent cash back at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services (on up to $25,000 in combined purchases per year) and 2 percent cash back on restaurant and gas station spending (on up to $25,000 in combined purchases per year). All other spending will earn 1 percent cash back. For the 5 percent and 2 percent categories, your cash back is capped at $25,000 in each category, which limits how much cash back you can actually earn each year.

The Ink Business Preferred offers 3X points on travel and select business categories on up to $150,000 each account anniversary year, along with 1X points on all other spending. Once you’ve reached that $150,000 limit, you’ll earn 1X points in these categories. For reference, here are the select business categories that earn 3X points:

  • Travel
  • Shipping purchases
  • Internet, cable and phone services
  • Advertising purchases made with social media and search engines

Even with the Ink Business Preferred’s lower 3X points rate on select business spending, we think you’ll earn more with this card since it provides more bonus categories and a higher annual spending limit. For this reason, we’re choosing the Ink Business Preferred as the rewards rate winner.

Annual fee winner: Ink Business Cash

The Ink Business Cash comes with no annual fee. However, the $95 annual fee for the Ink Business Preferred will give you access to additional benefits and perks that could more than justify the fee. Still, if saving money on fees is the goal, then the Ink Business Cash would be the better choice here.

Foreign transaction fee winner: Ink Business Preferred

The Ink Business Cash has a 3 percent foreign transaction fee. The Ink Business Preferred has no foreign transaction fees, making it a better card for business travel overseas.

Which card earns the most?

Below, we’ll show that you stand to earn much more with the Ink Business Preferred, even when you factor in the annual fee. The caveat is that your business must spend a significant amount on an annual basis and in the card’s bonus categories to earn boosted rewards.

Depending on your business, this could be an easy task. For instance, an online business could easily hit the Ink Business Preferred’s spending limits for shipping and social media advertising alone. If your business is dependent on travel and you cover employees for business trips, you could reach the $150,000 pretty quickly as well. And if your business model requires spending in the 3X categories, you could rack up points quickly and easily with the Ink Business Preferred card.

Ink Business Cash vs. Ink Business Preferred spending example

For the Ink Business Cash card, there are two bonus category earning rates: 5 percent and 2 percent. Each category is capped at $25,000 in combined purchases per account anniversary year. If you reach these limits each year, you could earn $1,250 back for the 5 percent back category and $500 back for restaurant and gas spending. Add your $750 welcome bonus and you’ll earn $2,500 in cash back for the first year and $1,750 back in the following years.

With this card, there’s no annual fee to subtract, so your cash back is pretty much all profit. As long as you pay your balance off each month, you’ll avoid paying interest fees, increasing the value of this card even more.

For the Ink Business Preferred, the rewards rate for the bonus categories is a tad lower at 3X points, but the annual spending limit is much higher. If you spend $150,000 in combined eligible spending each year, you could earn 450,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Although you could redeem these points for $4,500 in cash back, if you redeem them for travel through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal, your points will be worth $5,625. Add the 100,000-point welcome bonus (worth $1,000), and your rewards could be worth $5,500 — or $6,875 in travel — for the first year of card membership.

If you subtract the $95 annual fee, you’ll still net between $5,405 and $6,780 in rewards value with the Ink Business Preferred. After the first year, you’ll still make out with $4,405 in rewards ($4,500 minus the $95 annual fee) or $5,530 ($5,625 minus the $95 annual fee).

Why should you get the Ink Business Cash?

You should consider this card if you have moderate business spending each year ($50,000 or less in the designated bonus categories) and don’t need travel rewards or perks.

Additional benefits

The Ink Business Cash includes benefits like:

  • 0 percent intro APR. This card features a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases for 12 months. After this term is over, you’ll pay 17.49 percent to 23.49 percent variable APR. This could be useful if you have a large purchase you need to pay for over time.
  • Purchase protection. You’ll enjoy purchase protection for up to 120 days against damage or theft (up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account).
  • Extended warranty protection. You’ll get 12-month extended warranty coverage when you make an eligible purchase with your card. The extended warranty only applies to qualifying warranties of up to three years.
  • An auto rental collision damage waiver. This primary car rental coverage means your rental vehicle is covered up to the cash value of the vehicle in the event of theft or collision in qualifying locations.
  • Free employee cards. If you have employees, you’ll get employee cards at no additional cost and have the ability to set individual spending limits for them.

Redemption options

You can receive rewards as cash back, gift cards, travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards or merchandise when you pay with points for select products or services. You can also combine points with another Chase card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points so you can redeem your rewards for travel with Chase’s transfer partners. However, note that the Ink Business Cash doesn’t allow you to transfer rewards to Chase partners on its own.

Recommended credit score

You’ll need good to excellent credit (670 to 850) to qualify for this card.

Why should you get the Ink Business Preferred?

The Ink Business Preferred card is best for businesses that spend more per year and in the 3X categories. The rewards potential is maximized if you can reach the $150,000 annual limit and redeem rewards for travel.

Additional benefits

The Ink Business Preferred offers a number of benefits:

  • Free employee cards. Like the Ink Business Cash, you’ll get free employee cards and the ability to set individual spending limits for them.
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance. Prepaid or non-refundable travel expenses (including passenger fares and hotels) can be reimbursed up to $5,000 per person and $10,000 per trip in the event of covered situations like sickness or severe weather.
  • An auto rental collision damage waiver. Pay for your auto rental vehicle with your card, then decline the rental agency’s insurance. From here, you’ll get primary coverage up to the cost of the vehicle in the event of theft or collision.
  • Extended warranty protection. Eligible purchases with U.S. manufacturer’s warranties of three years or less will be protected for an additional year.
  • Purchase protection. New purchases are covered for 120 days against damage or theft for up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.
  • Cellphone protection. Cardholders — and the employees listed on the monthly cellphone bill — can get up to $1,000 per claim (maximum of three claims in a 12-month period; $100 deductible per claim) in cellphone protection against covered theft or damage.

Redemption options

With the Ink Business Preferred, you can redeem points for:

  • Travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Transfers to Chase airline and hotel partners
  • Cash back in the form of a statement credit or direct deposit
  • Gift cards
  • Merchandise via Shop Through Chase and the Apple Ultimate Rewards Store
  • Shopping with points at eligible merchants like Amazon and PayPal

Recommended credit score

You’ll need good to excellent credit (670 to 850) to qualify for this card.

The bottom line

Both the Ink Business Cash Credit Card and the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card offer business owners the chance to earn rewards on their typical business spending. While the Ink Business Cash has a lower spending limit for rewards and no annual fee, the Ink Business Preferred has a higher spending limit, better points value for travel and a $95 annual fee.

The card you choose will depend on the stage your business is in. If you are a smaller business that doesn’t hit $150,000 in annual spending and you have no need for travel perks, then the Ink Business Cash card would be a better choice. If you spend at least $150,000 per year in select bonus categories and value travel perks, the Ink Business Preferred would be the better choice. However, because these cards are in the same card family and by the same issuer, you’ll have the option to upgrade or downgrade your card, if needed.