The Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card are two lucrative cash back credit cards from Chase. As the names suggest, these cards share many similarities. With cash back rewards, generous welcome bonuses and low intro APRs, these cards are very comparable.
That said, there are a few big differences that distinguish these cards. First and foremost, the Ink Business Unlimited is geared toward business owners, while the Chase Freedom Unlimited is more for individual consumers. The cards also differ when it comes to welcome bonuses, rewards rates and a few other details.
|Ink Business Unlimited||Chase Freedom Unlimited|
|Welcome bonus||$750||Additional 1.5% cash back|
|Rewards rate||1.5% cash back||5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, 1.5% on all other purchases|
|Intro APR||0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.74% – 20.74%.||0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49% – 25.24%.|
Ink Business Unlimited vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited highlights
If you’re deciding between the Ink Business Unlimited and the Chase Freedom Unlimited, there are a few key differences you should keep in mind, including the respective welcome bonuses and rewards rates for these cards.
Welcome bonus winner: Ink Business Unlimited
With a welcome bonus of $750, the Ink Business Unlimited is the clear winner. However, it does come with a higher spending requirement: $7,500 on purchases in the first three months. This threshold may not be challenging for businesses with over $2,500 in monthly expenses, but it may be a stretch for smaller operations without as much overhead.
If you’re unable to meet the spending requirements for the Ink Business Unlimited, the Chase Freedom Unlimited has a much more attainable spending threshold. Borrowers qualify for an additional 1.5% cash back on everything (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) – worth up to $300 cash back.
Rewards rate winner: Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom Unlimited Card has the edge when it comes to rewards. Like the Ink Business Unlimited card, it offers a base rate of 1.5 percent cash back. But unlike the Ink Business Unlimited, it also rewards spending in certain categories with higher cash back rates, including 5 percent back for travel purchases booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 3 percent cash back on dining and drug store purchases.
Annual fee winner: tie
Neither card charges an annual fee, meaning cardholders are always likely to turn a profit with this card in their wallet as long as they use the card responsibly, no matter how much or little they spend.
Foreign transaction fee winner: tie
Both cards charge a 3 percent foreign transaction fee. While this may not seem like a significant fee, it can add up quickly if you make a lot of purchases while traveling abroad. If you travel outside the U.S. frequently, you should consider a card with no foreign transaction fees.
Which card earns the most?
Which card earns the most depends on how much you spend, what you purchase and whether or not you qualify for the welcome bonus in the first year. In general, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card has the edge for earning potential since it earns boosted rewards in certain categories on top of the 1.5 percent cash back on general purchases. However, the Ink Business Unlimited’s generous welcome bonus may be enough to surpass the Chase Freedom Unlimited’s higher rates in the first year.
Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Ink Business Unlimited spending example
|Expenses||Chase Freedom Unlimited rewards||Ink Business Unlimited rewards|
|Travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards: $1,000||$50||$15|
|Drugstore purchases: $2,000||$60||$30|
|Other spending: $10,000||$150||$150|
|Total without bonus||$410||$270|
|Welcome bonus||1.5% cash back (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year)||$750|
|Total with bonus||$610||$1,020|
As illustrated in the above example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited earns more cash back without factoring in the welcome bonus. However, once you add the welcome bonus to the equation, the Ink Business Unlimited is more lucrative overall for the first year. With the Chase Freedom Unlimited earning $140 more per year in base rewards in the above spending example, it would take a little under three years for the card to surpass the Ink Business Unlimited in terms of overall earnings.
Why should you get the Ink Business Unlimited?
If you’re a small-business owner looking for a cash back credit card, there’s a lot to like about the Ink Business Unlimited. With a flat cash back rate of 1.5 percent and a generous welcome bonus of $750, this card comes with a high earning potential without the hassle of monitoring spending categories.
While the card is only available for individuals who have their own business, that definition is fairly broad and can include side hustles and freelance gigs.
In addition to the above benefits, this card also comes with some nice perks. These include free employee cards, fraud protection, purchase protection and personalized account alerts. The Ink Business Unlimited also comes with travel benefits like travel and emergency services, auto rental collision damage waiver and roadside dispatch.
There are several ways that you can redeem rewards with this card. The most straightforward option is cash back, which can be accessed either as a statement credit or a cash deposit to your bank account. Other redemption options include purchasing gift cards, booking travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and purchasing items from the Apple Ultimate Rewards store.
Recommended credit score
To qualify for the Ink Business Unlimited card, you should have good to excellent credit. In most cases, lenders will reference your personal and business credit when reviewing your application for a business credit card.
Why should you get the Chase Freedom Unlimited?
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is worth it for consumers looking for a simple cash back credit card with no annual fee and high rewards rates. The base cash back rate of 1.5 percent is solid, and the additional cash back rewards for spending categories like travel, dining and drugstore purchases are a great bonus.
This card comes with a modest welcome bonus of an additional 1.5% cash back on everything (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year), which may not compare as favorably to other cards with more generous offers. But with no annual fee and an intro APR for the first 15 months, borrowers on a budget looking to earn some extra cash back will love the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
In addition to the above benefits, the Chase Freedom Unlimited comes with various other perks and features. These include complimentary the Chase Pay Yourself Back program, three months of DashPass, fraud protection and zero liability protection.
The easiest way to redeem rewards from the Chase Freedom Unlimited is through cash back in the form of a statement credit or direct deposit. Other redemption options include shopping with points on Amazon, purchasing gift cards and booking travel with Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Recommended credit score
Those with good to excellent credit are most likely to be accepted for this card.
The bottom line
Both the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Ink Business Unlimited are solid cash back cards with nice welcome bonuses, rewards rates and no annual fee. The most important difference between the two cards is that the Ink Business Unlimited is geared toward business owners. This covers not only those who are completely self-employed or entrepreneurs, but also anyone who has a side hustle or freelance gig. In general, it’s a good idea to keep your business and personal finances separate, so you shouldn’t use a Chase business credit card like the Ink Business Unlimited to fund personal expenses.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited has many of the same features as the Ink Business Unlimited but is tailored to consumers rather than business owners. While it comes with a smaller welcome bonus, it also has higher rewards rates in certain spending categories, including travel, dining and drugstore purchases. Which card is right for you ultimately depends whether or not you run a business, your spending patterns and how you plan to use the card.