Ink Business Cash® Credit Card review: The perfect business card to start small
This card is an ideal choice for start-ups and small businesses with less-than-predictable expenses and incomes.
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If your spending habits line up with the Chase Ink Business Cash card’s bonus categories, it could be a very rewarding and flexible business rewards card.
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. Although the card’s maximum cash back rate only applies to the first $25,000 spent in bonus categories, Chase offers categories that are consistent with the majority of most businesses’ expenditures.
With features like a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases for 12 months (17.49 percent to 23.49 percent variable APR thereafter) and no annual fee, it’s clear that this Chase business credit card can offer a respite for businesses with irregular cash flows.
Not every business is identical though. Consider how you spend your money before applying because this card may be a great choice for office-based businesses, but it might be a poor fit for another type of business.
What are the pros and cons?
Currently offering its highest sign-up bonus ever, giving you more cash back to use for various business expenses or for paying down your balance
Introductory APR offer on purchases can help small businesses get off the ground quicker and improve cash flow
No annual fee makes this a fantastic choice for small business owners wanting a low-cost business rewards card
Flexible redemption options are a unique feature when compared to other small-business credit cards
Total boosted rewards are capped at $50,000 per year, so depending on the size and scope of your business, you may need more than one business card or a different card altogether to fully maximize rewards
Foreign transaction fees are 3 percent on this card, so if you or your employees will be traveling overseas, then a business card with no foreign transaction fees might be more suitable
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: $900 bonus cash back when you spend $6,000 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: 17.49 percent to 23.49 percent (variable)
Current welcome offer
The Ink Business Cash currently offers $900 bonus cash back when you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first three months. This is terrific compared to other small business credit cards on the market and is the card’s highest sign-up bonus to date. A bonus of this size on a card with no annual fee is nothing to balk at, so if you’ve been waiting for the right time to apply, now might be the time.
You could meet the spending requirement relatively easily if you coordinate your card application with a large purchase or with frequent routine spending, depending on the size of your business.
The Chase Ink Business Cash card doesn’t earn traditional cash back, but earns Chase Ultimate Reward points redeemable for cash back. As a result, you’ll have access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. This coveted program gives you more redemption options so you’re not limited strictly to cash back rewards.
How you earn
You can earn 5 percent cash back on the first $25,000 you spend. This rate is combined among your business expenses each account anniversary year in the categories of office supply purchases, internet, cable and phone services. That’s $1,250 in cash back annually if you meet the full cap, which is generous enough to pay off if you happen to make enough purchases in those categories.
You can also earn 2 percent cash back on the first $25,000 you spend in each account anniversary year on combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants. That’s another $500 in cash back. For gas and dining purchases there are certainly better rewards options, but if you only want one credit card these are nice inclusions on a card you will primarily use for office expenses.
Assuming you spend up to the $25,000 limit for both rates and their respective categories, you can receive up to $1,750 cash back each year — plus 1 percent on anything over the $25,000 limit for all other purchases.
How to redeem
Rewards redemption is where the Ink Business Cash Credit Card comes into its own. You can redeem rewards as cash or redeem them as gift cards, travel rewards or pay with points for select products or services.
A particularly strong strategy would be to pool the points you earn on this card with reward points you earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card. Cardholders with these premium, personal Chase credit cards benefit from a respective 25 percent or 50 percent increase to the value of their points when they redeem for travel using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
Fortunately, you’re able to pool points between your business and personal spending. This process is made simpler by using the same login for both accounts, but it’s still possible with separate logins. This convenience makes the Ink Business Cash card a strong choice for complementing personal travel with rewards earned from business spending.
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.
As previously mentioned, pairing this card with a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards card allows you to boost your rewards value. Like with the Sapphire Preferred card, pooling your points with the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card can make your points worth 1.25 cents apiece toward travel redemptions in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
Other cardholder perks
While this card doesn’t come with credits or many travel perks like lounge access, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credits, the benefits it does offer are ideal for small business owners looking for convenience and peace of mind.
Intro APR on new purchases
Particularly useful for startups with unpredictable cash flows, the 0 percent intro APR on new purchases for 12 months (17.49 percent to 23.49 percent variable APR thereafter) can offer a necessary reprieve during a time when your business may be doing more spending than earning.
This perk is widely available on many cards and can save you from interest charges temporarily. But don’t keep this benefit in the back of your mind for long because when your first account anniversary comes around you’ll owe your full balance if you want to avoid interest charges.
Free employee cards
To give you and your employees a convenient, fast way of accessing business funds, 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. You’ll also earn rewards for all the spending that your employees do with these additional cards.
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.
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.
While your purchases are without interest with the card’s 0 percent intro APR for the first 12 months, the 17.49 percent to 23.49 percent ongoing variable rate will apply after. However, this rate can be below the current average interest rate for people with exceptional credit. As a variable rate however, the rate you apply for will vary based on your credit score.
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 you spend the most money for your business. While the Ink Business Cash card makes sense if you spend heavily on office supplies, internet, cable and phone services, it may not cater to all your needs. It may not even cater to any of your needs.
It could be a better choice to get a card that rewards you in categories you spend the most in, or, if this card meets your category needs, maybe the spending limit will mitigate a lot of your cash back. In this case, you should consider a cash back card that earns without a limit or has higher spending limits.
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
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 categories not typically covered by business rewards cards and plan to use a single card for most of your purchases.
The Chase Ink Business Unlimited has the same welcome bonus, APR offer and perks as the Ink Business Cash card. The main difference is that you’ll earn 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase with no limits or bonus categories with the Unlimited card. This can work in your favor if your main expenses for your business are made for products or services that fall outside the realm of internet service, office supplies or another niche category.
Ink Business Cash Credit Card vs Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card makes more sense if you are focused on earning travel rewards instead of cash back. You can earn 3X points on the first $150,000 spent 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, predictable expenses and stable income.
It also carries a welcome offer of 100,000 points when you spend $15,000 within the first three months of owning the card. This can be out of reach for most small businesses or startups, so calculate what you’ll realistically spend before applying. A welcome bonus is a great indicator of a card’s affordability and caliber. If you won’t normally spend anywhere close to the amount asked for with the welcome offer in the designated time frame, the card might be out of reach for you.
You will also have to be aware of the card’s $95 annual fee and higher ongoing APR (20.24 percent to 25.24 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 a 25 percent increase in 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 huge welcome bonus, and the introductory APR period 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 flat-rate cash back card.
Frequently Asked Questions
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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.