Ink Business Cash® Credit Card review: The perfect business card to start small
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Ink Business Cash® Credit Card Overview
If your small business spends a fair amount on office supplies and telecommunications services, the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card is probably a great fit for you. While the maximum cash back rate only applies to the first $25,000 spent on bonus categories, we love how they are consistent with typical business spending.
With features like a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases for 12 months (13.49 percent to 19.49 percent variable APR thereafter) and a no annual fee, it’s clear that this Chase business credit card can offer much-needed respite for businesses with irregular cash flows.
What are the pros and cons?
- Total boosted rewards are capped at $50,000 per calendar year
- Foreign transaction fee of 3 percent
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: 5 percent cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores, internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year; 2 percent cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year; 1 percent back on all other purchases
- Welcome offer: $750 bonus cash back when you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first three months
- Annual fee: $0
- Purchase intro APR: 0 percent intro APR for 12 months
- Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 13.49 percent to 19.49 percent (variable)
Current welcome offer
The Ink Business Cash’s welcome offer of $750 bonus cash back when you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first three months is solid compared with other small business credit cards on the market—particularly those with a $0 annual fee—and the spending requirement can be met if you time your card application with a big purchase.
One of the best things about having the Ink Business Cash Credit Card is being a part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program since it earns Ultimate Reward points. This coveted program gives you more redemption options so you’re not limited to cash back rewards. What’s also great about the program is that your points won’t expire as long as your account stays open.
How you earn
You’ll earn 5 percent cash back on the first $25,000 in combined business expenses each account anniversary year, including office supply purchases, internet, cable and phone services. That’s $1,250 in cash back annually if you meet the full cap. You’ll also receive 2 percent cash back on the first $25,000 spent per account anniversary year on combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants; that’s another $500 in cash back.
Assuming you spend up to the $25,000 limit for these rewards categories, you’ll receive $1,750 cash back each year—plus 1 percent on anything over the $25,000 limit and for all other purchases.
How to redeem
Rewards redemption is where the Ink Business Cash Credit Card comes into its own. You can receive rewards as cash or redeem them as gift cards, travel rewards or pay with points for select products or services. You can also combine points with another Chase credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards in order to utilize Chase’s transfer partners.
Other cardholder benefits
While this card doesn’t come with fancy travel perks, the benefits it offers—a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases for 12 months (13.49 percent to 19.49 percent variable APR thereafter), free employee cards and travel as well as purchase insurance—are spot-on for small businesses looking to get more from their spending.
Intro APR on new purchases
Particularly useful for startups with unpredictable cash flows, the 0 percent intro APR on new purchases for 12 months (13.49 percent to 19.49 percent variable APR thereafter) can offer much-needed cash flow respite and save you from interest charges if you’re struggling to repay your credit card balance in full each month.
Free employee cards
To accumulate points faster for more rewards, you can request employee cards at no additional cost. For extra security, the account holder can set individual spending limits on employee cards, and you can subscribe to account alerts to monitor spending.
Travel and purchase protection
Other useful benefits include purchase protection for up to 120 days against damage or theft (up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account) and a 12-month extended warranty when you make an eligible purchase with your card. The extended warranty only applies to qualifying warranties of up to three years.
Using your card to pay for car rentals provides primary car rental coverage, so you can have peace of mind knowing your rented vehicle is covered up to the cash value of the vehicle in case of theft or collision in qualifying locations.
How much are points worth?
Cash back rewards are tracked as points, so every dollar you earn in cash back rewards equals 100 points. This same 1 cent per point value carries over to cash, gift cards and travel through Chase.
However, pairing this card with a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards card allows you to boost your rewards value. For example, pooling your points with the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card will make your points worth 1.25 cents apiece toward Chase travel or up to 2 cents each with the right transfer partner (according to The Points Guy’s latest valuation).
Rates and fees
There is no annual fee, but before applying for this business card, you should know a late payment will attract a $39 fee, and there’s a 3 percent foreign transaction fee despite the travel perks. Luckily, your purchases are covered by its 0 percent intro APR for the first 12 months, and the 13.49 percent to 19.49 percent ongoing variable rate can be below the current average interest rate too. Unfortunately, a balance transfer with Chase will subject you to the full ongoing rate and a $5 fee or 5 percent of the amount transferred, whichever is greater.
How the Ink Business Cash Credit Card compares to other small business cards
When choosing among Chase’s Ink Business cards, the best option for you will depend on where your business spends the most. While the Ink Business Cash card makes sense if you spend heavily on shipping, internet, cable and phone services and advertising purchases, it may not cater to all your needs depending on your business. It may be better to get a card that rewards different categories or has higher spending limits for cash back.
Ink Business Cash Credit Card vs Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
A flat-rate business card like the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card may be a better fit if you are looking for a simple rewards structure, spend in multiple categories not typically covered by business rewards cards and plan to use a single card for most of your purchases. With the same welcome bonus, APR offer, and free employee cards, the main difference between cards is you get 1.5 percent cash back on every business purchase with no limits or categories with Ink Business Unlimited.
This can be an upside if your main expenses for your business are outside of services like internet and supplies as you will earn more with the Unlimited card. All and all, it depends on how your business expenses on which card is better for you.
Ink Business Cash Credit Card vs Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, meanwhile, will make more sense if you are focused on earning travel rewards instead of cash back. You earn 3X points on the first $150,000 on travel and 3X points in the same business categories as the Ink Business Cash along with 1X points on all other purchases. There’s also no spending cap on the business categories.
The Ink Business Preferred is a good choice for established businesses with large budgets and well-known expenses. The welcome bonus can be quite steep for smaller businesses at 100,000 earned when you spend $15,000 within the first three months of owning the card. You will also have to be aware of the $95 annual fee and higher ongoing APR (16.24 percent to 21.24 percent variable). That being said, if your business has high monthly expenses and involves frequent travel, this card can be worth it.
Best cards to pair the Ink Business Cash Credit Card with
If you spend a lot on travel, then it makes sense to pair this card with a travel credit card. The Ink Business Preferred card, for example, is ideal as it’ll fast track your Ultimate Rewards points by awarding you 3X points on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines. You’ll have to spend enough to justify the $95 annual fee, but that shouldn’t be too hard considering it would only take $132 in spending per month in your 3X category to break even.
Plus, you can use the Ink Business Preferred to redeem your points for 25 percent bonus value toward travel or potentially get more value by utilizing transfer partners.
Bankrate’s Take—Is the Ink Business Cash Credit Card worth it?
It’s clear the Ink Business Cash Credit Card is best suited for small businesses with significant office supplies and telecom service expenses. It comes with a solid welcome bonus, and the introductory 0 percent APR on purchases for 12 months (13.49 percent to 19.49 percent variable APR thereafter) will be handy for those with irregular cash flows or who need to pay off large purchases while establishing their business. However, businesses that spend more outside this card’s categories may question whether the Ink Business Cash Card is worth it compared to a travel rewards card or a flat-rate cash back card.