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The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card provides a way for small business owners to earn cash back on some common business expenses, for no annual fee.
On your first $25,000 of spending at office supply stores and on internet, cable, and phone services, you’ll get 5% cash back. And on your first $25,000 in spending at gas stations and restaurants, you’ll get 2% cash back. If your business spends a lot in these categories, this card may be a good option.
There’s also a 0% Intro APR on Purchases intro APR on purchases for 12 months to help with cash flow, and you can get up to 70 free employee cards with individual spending limits. After the 0% Intro APR on Purchases introductory period, the regular 15.24% - 21.24% Variable APR applies.
There’s another Ink Business card from Chase, the Ink Business Preferred. It’s designed for small business owners who tend to travel often, and has a $95 annual fee.
Our Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
We give the Ink Business Cash card 5 out of 5 Stars because it offers good cash back on your small business expenses for no annual fee.
Why we like this card
- The 5% and 2% categories include some common business expenses.
- 0% Intro APR on Purchases intro APR for 12 months for purchases (before the regular 15.24% - 21.24% Variable APR starts).
- No annual fee.
- Reports positive activity to Dun & Bradstreet.
Why this card could be better
- This card won’t be a good option if you spend much more than $25,000 in the 5% or 2% bonus categories per year.
- You’ll have to pay a fee for foreign transactions.
- There isn’t much in the way of extra perks or benefits.
This card would work well for small businesses that spend a lot in the bonus reward categories, as long as they don’t go over the category spending limits. See our alternatives below for some business reward cards with different categories or higher limits.
Insider Advice: Using This Card as Part of Your Credit Card Strategy
- Use this card to earn cash back on office supplies, internet/cable/phone services, gas, and at restaurants.
- You’ll get 5% and 2% back on the first $25,000 you spend at each of those rates. If you’re going to spend much more than that per year, consider using a different business rewards card.
- Be sure to get the $500 introductory bonus by spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.
- You can get up to 70 employee cards, all for free. If you need more you may be able to request a split account.
- Use this card responsibly, and your positive activity will be reported to the business credit bureau Dun & Bradstreet. This will help you improve your business credit scores.
- This is a business credit card, so it has a few important differences from regular consumer credit cards.
- 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent each year:
- at office supply stores
- on internet, cable, and phone services
- 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent each year:
- at gas stations
- at restaurants
- 1% cash back on all other purchases, with no limit
- Introductory bonus: $500 bonus cash back for spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
So you’ll be limited in how much cash back you can earn each year, which isn’t uncommon for rewards cards. In this case, you’ll be able to earn a maximum of $1,250 cash back per year in the 5% categories, and $500 cash back per year in the 2% categories.
After you reach those limits you’ll get 1% back for additional purchases in those categories. If you know that your business will spend more than that each year in these categories, you’d probably be better off with a different business rewards card with higher bonus category spending limits.
You can earn an unlimited amount of cash back, and it won’t expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.
The rewards you earn will actually be tracked as points, rather than cash back. But these points function just like cash back for the most part, and Chase usually refers to them as such, so it’s best to just think of this as a cash back card.
You’ll have a few options when redeeming your cash back:
- Statement credits
- Gift cards
- Travel expenses
- Merchandise from participating retailers
We recommend always redeeming your cash back for statement credits. They simply reduce your account balance, and will always provide the full value of $1 for every $1 in cash back that you earned.
The other methods will offer varying redemption values, and you won’t typically get the full $1 for every $1 that you earned. They are also more of a hassle and take longer to process. So stick with statement credits.
In many cases some terms and restrictions will apply to your card benefits. Check your Guide to Benefits to learn the exact details of your benefits.
Free Employee Cards
You can get up to 70 employee cards, and set individual spending limits for them. You’ll earn cash back for all spending on employee cards.
If you need more than 70 cards, you can request to have your account split. You’ll get a separate credit limit, which will give you access to 70 more employee cards.
Reports to a Business Credit Bureau
The Ink Business Cash will report positive account activity to Dun & Bradstreet, a business credit bureau.
But if the account enters a negative status by becoming 60 days past due, your card activity will be reported to the three major consumer credit bureaus:
This is pretty typical for many business cards, but some other business credit cards will report your card activity differently.
Eligible purchases are covered for 120 days against damage, theft, or “involuntary and accidental parting with property.” Up to $10,000 per claim is available, and up to $50,000 per account.
To be eligible, an item must be purchased at least in part with the Ink Business Cash. This is different from some other cards, which might require the entire item to be purchased with the card. But there are quite a few other restrictions, making this benefit only narrowly useful.
Be sure to keep all documentation related to the purchase, as well as the damage or loss. If you have personal insurance that covers the occurrence, you must file it.
Reimbursement may come in the form of a statement credit to your account. Or, an item may be repaired or replaced if possible.
You must notify the Benefit Administrator by calling customer support within 90 days of the occurrence. You’ll be given instructions and a claim form. This form must be submitted within 120 days of the loss, theft, or damage.
- If the item is damaged, you must keep the item. You’ll probably be asked to send it in at your own expense.
- If the item is stolen, you must file a police report within 48 hours of the theft.
- “Involuntary and accidental parting with property” refers to being separated from the item unintentionally, while knowing where it is but being unable to recover it.
We’re not quite sure exactly what will be covered under that last item. Maybe it will apply to that frisbee you accidentally threw on the roof, and you could see it but couldn’t get it down. You’ll have to call customer support to find out for sure.
Although many items are covered, there are quite a few types of purchases that are not covered.
Purchases That Are Not Covered (Partial List)
- Items purchased for resale
- Items that “mysteriously disappear” (defined as vanishing in an unexplained manner, with no evidence of wrongful acts)
- Items damaged by inherent product defects
- Items damaged by normal wear and tear
- Animals and living plants
- Computer software
- Automobiles, boats, aircraft, and any other motorized vehicles (including equipment and accessories, like trailers)
- Items under the care and control of a common carrier (airplanes, delivery services, USPS, etc.)
- Rented or leased items, or anything bought on an installment plan
- Used or pre-owned items
So there are quite a few terms and restrictions when it comes to purchase protection, and this doesn’t even cover everything. If you bought an item that you think might be covered, it will be best to call customer support and ask about it.
Extended Warranty Protection
Eligible items with warranties of three years or less can have those warranties extended by an additional year. Up to a maximum of $10,000 is available per claim, and $50,000 per account.
You must charge some portion of an item’s purchase price to your card, and keep documentation related to the purchase. You’re encouraged to register an item’s extended warranty with Chase as soon as you purchase it, but this is not necessary to receive the benefit. If you do register, you’ll be able to get information about your coverage status by calling the Benefit Administrator.
If a product with an extended warranty fails, you must notify the Benefit Administrator within 90 days. If you fail to do this, your claim may be denied. When you call, you’ll be sent a claim form, along with instructions for what to do next. Be sure to keep any documentation related to the product failure.
To be eligible, the item must have a valid original U.S. manufacturer’s repair warranty of three years or less. Items purchased outside the U.S. are eligible if they meet that requirement, or if they have a store-purchased dealer warranty, or an assembler warranty.
Many items and costs are not covered by this benefit.
Purchases And Costs That Are Not Covered
- Items purchased for resale
- Automobiles, boats, aircraft, and any other motorized vehicles (including equipment and accessories, like trailers)
- Rented or leased items, or anything bought on an installment plan
- Computer software
- Medical equipment
- Used or pre-owned items
- Any costs other than those specifically covered in the original warranty
There are many terms and limitations with this benefit. So if you buy something and are interested in extending the warranty, it will be best to call customer support to learn if it’s eligible.
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
Call the number on the back of your card for emergency help of many kinds while traveling. Third-party fees will apply for any services obtained.
This benefit provides:
- Pre-trip assistance
- Emergency message service
- Medical referrals
- Legal referrals
- Emergency transportation assistance
- Emergency ticket replacement
- Lost luggage locator service
- Emergency translation service for all major languages, and help finding local interpreters
- Prescription drug assistance
- Valuable document delivery service
Even if you need help beyond what’s listed here, the Benefit Administrator will do his or her best to provide whatever emergency assistance you might need.
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
Your eligible rented vehicles are covered against theft and damage, as long as you decline the rental company’s own insurance. You must pay for the entire rental using the Ink Business Cash.
To take advantage of this benefit, be sure to call the Benefit Administrator immediately if your rented vehicle is damaged or stolen.
This coverage is primary if you’re renting for business purposes, or if you’re renting a vehicle outside the U.S. Otherwise it will be supplemental to your own personal auto insurance.
This benefit covers vehicles that are rented for periods of 31 days or less. Physical damage and theft of the vehicle are covered, along with any reasonable related towing charges.
There are many types of vehicles that are not covered by this waiver.
Vehicles Not Covered by the Waiver
- Vehicles with open cargo beds
- Vans not exclusively designed to carry people, or which can transport more than 8 people
- Motorcycles, mopeds, and motorbikes
- Recreational vehicles
- Expensive and exotic automobiles (Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Porsche, Rolls Royce, among others)
- Antique automobiles (any vehicle over 20 years old, or any vehicle that has not been manufactured for 10 years or more)
So unfortunately it won’t cover your moving truck, which is one expense that many people will share.
There are other terms and limitations as well. If you want to use this benefit, we recommend you call the Benefit Administrator to learn if it will apply to your situation.
This card comes with a few other minor benefits, mostly about security or account management. They include:
- Fraud Protection: real-time fraud monitoring for unauthorized activity
- Zero Liability Protection: you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized activity on your account
For more, check out the full set of benefits for the Ink Business Cash card.
The Costs & Fees
|Intro APR for Purchases||Purchase APR||Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months||15.24% - 21.24% Variable||15.24% - 21.24% Variable||26.99% Variable|
|Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee|
|$0||3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars||Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.||Either $15 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.|
|Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|Up to 29.99% Variable||None||$39|
The terms are pretty simple and straightforward, as far as credit cards go.
No annual fee, and you’ll have 12 months at 0% Intro APR on Purchases interest for purchases. This is a nice feature for a business card, giving you time to pay off some startup expenses, for example.
After your 0% Intro APR on Purchases rate runs out, you’ll begin accruing interest at the regular rate. But you can completely avoid being charged interest for your purchases if you pay your balance in full each billing period. Not only will that help you avoid credit card debt, it will also be good for your credit utilization.
|Chase Credit Card Customer Support||1-800-432-3117|
We spoke with Chase’s customer support to learn a few things about the Ink Business Cash that we couldn’t find on their website.
Chase will check your Equifax credit report when you apply to process your application. Then, as you use the card, your normal activity will be reported to the business credit bureau Dun & Bradstreet. But if your account enters a delinquent status by being 60 days past due, the negative activity will be reported to the three main consumer credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
So you can use this card to build up your business credit scores, while not affecting your own. But if you’re late paying the card, you can still hurt your own credit.
Next, we found out that you can get up to 70 employee versions of this card. That should be plenty for most small businesses. But if you need more, you can request to have your account split, getting a separate credit line and access to 70 more employee cards.
This was a pretty good customer support interaction overall. However, it can be a little tricky finding a customer support rep to speak to over the phone, especially if you’re not yet a Chase cardholder. We suggest trying to press “0” in their phone menus. This will bring you to a representative in some cases, even though they won’t tell you this until you wait for a little while. So try to take this shortcut if you need to speak with them over the phone.
Every year J.D Power conducts their Credit Card Customer Satisfaction Survey, and in 2017 Chase came in fifth, just below the industry average. This is usually about where they rank, however when we call we’re typically satisfied with the responses we get (once we reach a human being).
|Chase Twitter Support||@ChaseSupport|
Chase provides all the card information you’re likely to need on their card page. There isn’t a whole lot to learn about the Ink Business Cash, mainly just the rewards, benefits, and interest rates.
Anyone can send a message to their customer support team on Twitter, @ChaseSupport. And cardholders also have the option of sending a secure message to Chase with any questions they have about their accounts.
The Bottom Line
The Chase Ink Business Cash Card has some good features for a small business. If your business spends a lot on office supplies or phone, internet, or cable TV services, you could stand to earn quite a bit of cash back with this card.
The 5% bonus categories might be perfect for your business, but there’s a $25,000 yearly limit for each set of categories. That might not be enough for some businesses. So if you’ll spend a lot more than that you should probably go with a card that will provide good rewards for all of your spending.
The extra benefits are pretty basic with this card, so you should mainly judge it by the rewards. The 0% Intro APR on Purchases intro APR is a nice offer on top of that, giving you a little while to get your funds in order before interest will be charged.
There are quite a few other business credit cards out there, some with annual fees and some without. One of them might fit your business better than the Ink Business Cash, so check some out below.
How to Apply for the Chase Ink Business Cash
You can apply for the Ink Business Cash card securely on Chase’s website.
In many cases applicants can get an instant response, but sometimes it might take longer. In certain cases Chase may request more information to process the application.
Qualifications and Requirements
When applying, you’ll need to provide:
- Your personal information, including SSN
- Your business’s legal name and Tax ID number or EIN (Employer Identification Number)
- Years in business
- Number of employees
- Annual business revenue/sales
Alternatives to the Chase Ink Business Cash
- American Express® Business Gold Card (Review): $295 annual fee (Rates & Fees); 4X points per dollar in the two categories your business spends the most in
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card (Review): $95 annual fee; 3X points on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, advertising purchases
- Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business (Review): $95 annual fee; 2% cash back on all purchases, $500 intro bonus for spending $4,500 in the first 3 months
The American Express® Business Gold Card (Review) has a $295 annual fee (Rates & Fees). That’s a lot more than the Ink Business Cash, but for that you get flexible bonus categories that adjust to match your spending.
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
So you’ll have more bonus reward categories with the Business Gold than the Ink Business Cash, but you won’t always earn 4X points in all of them. Instead, you’ll get 4X points in the two categories that your business spends the most in each month. This is a handy feature because it adapts to fit the changing needs of your business throughout the year.
Membership Rewards points are worth about 1 cent each through the normal redemption methods, but you might get as much as 2 cents per point by transferring them to a partner loyalty program, or more.
That means you can get the equivalent of 4% to 8% cash back when earning in the 4X categories, depending on how you redeem. Or, 2% to 4% back in the 2X category.
This rewards program is very flexible, providing 4X points on your heaviest business expenses each month. Then you’ll have some opportunities to earn 2X points through Amex Travel, on eligible flights and prepaid hotels.
There’s some overlap in the reward categories between these two cards, but not much. They both provide rewards for some common business expenses, but only the Chase card includes office supplies. It also covers phone and internet services, which could be a big spending category.
The Amex card’s categories are different but they might be equally useful, depending on your business needs. If you spend a lot on travel, the Amex card has more categories for you. It also includes certain hardware, software, and cloud computing services, which could be an important factor to consider.
The Business Gold card has some decent other benefits as well. In addition to the basic shopping and travel protections, there are also some perks that could make traveling a bit cheaper and more comfortable. It comes with the Amex OPEN set of business benefits, which includes a forum to speak with other cardholders and other business resources.
The Chase card has a less impressive set of benefits, mostly just sticking with the basics. Its employee cards are free, while the Business Gold’s first employee card costs $50 per year; subsequent employee cards are free.
The Amex card is a charge card, which means you have to pay off the balance in full each billing period. You won’t have an interest rate at which you can revolve a balance from month to month.
When it comes to reporting account activity, Amex does it slightly differently than Chase. Positive account activity with the Business Gold will be reported to two business credit reporting agencies, Dun & Bradstreet and Small Business Financial Exchange. If the account enters a negative status, it will be reported to all three of the consumer credit bureaus, as well as Dun & Bradstreet.
The extra benefits probably won’t be a major deciding factor between these two cards. Instead, look to their rewards programs and think about the types of purchases your business makes the most. If you can’t decide on one, you could always use both.
Together they offer rewards for a very wide set of categories, and it wouldn’t be too expensive because only one card has an annual fee. Just use whichever card will earn you the most rewards whenever you make business purchases. You’d also be building credit at two business credit bureaus by using both cards.
Read more in our Review of the American Express Business Gold Card
The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card (Review) is the other offering in Chase’s Ink Business line of cards. This one comes at a price of $95, but more expensive doesn’t always mean better. For that price you’ll get a card that’s geared more towards paying for travel expenses, which could be more profitable for some small business owners.
The main difference between these cards is the type of rewards program they come with. This card offers points instead of cash back, which can be redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal. Chase Ultimate Rewards includes travel services as well as merchandise from retailers.
The Ink Business Preferred gives cardholders:
- 3X points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent per year on:
- shipping purchases
- Internet, cable, and phone services
- Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
- 1X point per dollar on all other purchases
- Introductory bonus: 80,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
- 25% point bonus when you redeem for eligible travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards
So you’ll have four bonus reward categories related to business. Points are typically worth 1 cent, but you’ll get a 25% bonus on eligible redemptions through Chase Ultimate Rewards, bringing that to 1.25 cents. That means you’ll be getting a cash back equivalent of 3.75% for the bonus categories. Eligible redemptions include flights, hotels, car rentals, vacation packages, and cruises.
You can also transfer the points you earn to a variety of frequent traveler programs at a 1:1 rate. This could potentially let you get a better value for them, but the value of your points can vary quite a bit depending on the deal you get. Many airline mile and hotel point-programs are available, like United MileagePlus®, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®, Marriott Bonvoy™, and IHG® Rewards Club.
That 3.75% equivalent basically splits the middle between the 5% and 2% bonus categories of the Ink Business Cash, so you can potentially get a similar value overall. But you can earn 3X points on the first $150,000 you spend, a much higher limit. They also don’t share all of the same categories. The Ink Business Cash has office supply stores, gas stations, and restaurants. And the Ink Business Preferred has travel, shipping, and advertising.
You’ll get a much bigger signup bonus with the Ink Business Preferred. Those 80,000 points are worth $1,000 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and that’s much better than the $500 you’ll get with the Ink Business Cash. You could think of those 80,000 points as paying for the annual fee for over 10 years. But you’ll need to spend $2,000 more to earn this signup bonus.
The extra perks and benefits are pretty much the exact same for both cards, as they’re both Visa Signature Business cards.
Which rewards program is more appealing to you? The bonus categories are probably the most important difference between the cards.
But also take note that the Ink Business Preferred is designed for travelers, and you’ll need to redeem your points for travel expenses to get the best value. If you don’t have any travel expenses to redeem them for, you’ll be out of luck until you do (but points don’t expire, so you can hold on to them and wait). The Ink Business Cash makes it easier to get your rewards, and just provides your cash back as a statement credit applied to your account, simply lowering your balance.
Read more in our Review of the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business (Review) has a different kind of rewards program than the cards above. For a $95 annual fee, waived the first year, small business owners don’t need to worry about bonus categories:
- 2% cash back on every purchase, with no limit
- Introductory bonus: $500 cash bonus for spending $4,500 in the first 3 months from account opening
So there are no categories, no reward limits, and, if you only use this card, no time spent thinking about how to earn the most points on this purchase or that. If you want to keep things simple while earning a bit of cash back, this card would work for that.
However, you could use a more profitable strategy, which would also be a bit more complicated. You could use both the Ink Business Cash and the Spark Cash together.
Pay with the Ink Business Cash whenever you’ll earn 5% or 2% back, and then use the Spark Cash for every other purchase. If you go over the $25,000 limit with the Chase card, you can use the Spark Cash to get 2% for every purchase. This will ensure you always get at least 2% back, and it will split up your spending which is a bit better for your credit.
The Spark Cash comes at the Visa Signature Business level, so these cards will have pretty much the same extra benefits.
- 1.5% cash back on all purchases
- Introductory bonus: $200 cash back for spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
The Spark cards from Capital One will report your positive card activity to Dun & Bradstreet, Small Business Financial Exchange, and Experian. This is a better variety than most credit card issuers, which typically only report to one business bureau — like Chase for the Ink Business Cash.
Read more in our Review of the Capital One Spark Cash Back Business Credit Cards
If you have the Chase Ink Business Cash Card, how do you like using it? Let us know by leaving your own review.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, please click here.
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