We think the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is an excellent choice for small businesses with irregular cash flow, and low spending needs. The card comes with 0% introductory APR for 12 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, providing businesses that may have trouble paying down their balances some much needed breathing room. Furthermore, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card doesn’t weigh down too heavily on entrepreneurs whose spending won’t earn them enough rewards to justify paying an annual fee. As we'll explain, we think the card is ideal for companies with less than $25,000 in spending per year, with no significant travel expenses.
Features we like best about the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card:
- No annual fee
- 0% introductory APR for 12 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers
Where we think the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card fell short:
- No travel rewards for companies whose employees fly or visit clients frequently
- Not a good value for businesses spending more than $25k per year
We'd recommend the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card for small businesses - as long as your company spends $25k or less on bonus categories, you will find some of the highest savings with the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card over any other business card. The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card gives up to 5% back on most office expenses, such as cellular and landline phone services, internet costs, and purchases at office supply stores. This last bit gives users the most flexibility, as one can purchase a variety of products through large office supply stores such as Office Depot or Staples. The 5% applies to the first $25,000 in combined purchases per year - any spending after that will yield just 1% back. Unlike most business credit cards we see, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card comes with no annual fee, extending its value slightly past the $25k per year budget.
If your company has any travel expenses - such as airfare or hotel stays - then cards like the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express or Ink Plus® Business Credit Card are a better deal for your company. They can offer 2.4% to 4.8% back in these categories. The only travel-related expenses covered by the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card are purchases at gas stations (2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year).
When it comes to the welcome bonus, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card fails to impress. It offers $300 cash back for those who spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening - that is a low bonus for a high spending requirement. This is unsurprising, however, since most no-annual fee cash back credit cards offer few or no sign up bonuses. Still, in the realm of business credit cards, bonus offers can make a huge impact. For instance, the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card bonus is worth $750 toward travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards® —enough to cover the card's annual fee for 7 years. If you're on the fence between the two cards, and believe that you can qualify for the Ink Plus' bonus, we recommend going with the Ink Plus version instead.
We also like the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card 0% introductory APR for the first 12 billing cycles, which creates more breathing room for small businesses. This is a feature we don't see often in other business credit cards. This can turn into big savings for companies that tend to operate in the red, and have irregular cash flows. If your business will be unable to pay off your credit card bill in full each month, having 0% introductory APR for a year can save a significant amount of money from interest. We anticipate this being especially useful to young start-ups and small personal businesses, which may require larger capital investments in the beginning before generating cash flow.
There are a number of rewards and perks that make the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card a great choice for entrepreneurs or small business owners to consider.
|Purchase APR||13.74% - 19.74% Variable|
How do I earn Cash Back Rewards on the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card? The card gives anywhere between 5% and 1% cash back on purchases. The highest returns of 5% can be found on the most common business expenses – office supplies, cellular phone landlines, internet and cable TV services. Purchases at gas stations and restaurants earn 2% back, and everything else rewards just 1%. The two bonus spending categories (of 5% and 2%) are each capped at the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases per year – after that your savings drops down to the 1% camp. That means if you make $50,000 in purchases at gas stations in a one year, you will receive $750 back ($500 from the first $25,000 you spend, and just $250 from the spending over that).
Cash back bonus: Businesses that manage to spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening their account will be rewarded a bonus $300 cash back. As mentioned above, this is not outstanding when we look at bonuses offered by other business cards, but as far as no annual fee cash back credit cards go, the Chase Ink's bonus is quite generous.
Ultimate Rewards: The rewards you receive from spending and bonuses on the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is given in the form of Ultimate Rewards points. These can then be used for cash back, gift card, or more using Chase's online Ultimate Rewards portal. In order to redeem points, you must accumulate a minimum of 2,500 points. Tracking how many points you earn is easy, as it directly correlates to the cash back categories. Anything that is advertised as earning you 5% back gets you 5 UR points per dollar; 2% back correlates to 2 points per dollar, and so on.
Businesses that use the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card will be afforded certain protections on their purchases that come in handy when running a company:
Car Rental Coverage: Firstly, by paying for auto rentals in full, using your Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, you and your company will be automatically covered for any damages to the rental car resulting from theft or collision. You don't need to purchase any insurance from the car rental agency.
Purchase Protection: All purchases to the card - ranging from employee computers to furniture for the office - are also insured by the bank for up to $10,000 per claim and up to $50,000 per account. The coverage for each item lasts for up to 120 days from the initial date of purchase. Additionally, all purchases on the card will receive 1 year of extended warranty protection. This applies only to eligible warranties of up to 3 years (meaning that you may qualify for a maximum warranty of 4 years by using your Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card).
Monitor spending: The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card gives business owners the ability to control and monitor their credit spendinding. Account holders are able to set up individual spending limits on employee credit cards. They can also take screenshots of different purchase receipts, and file them directly using the Chase Ink mobile app. This can help in making sure you are keeping track of all business expenses come tax season. In this way, Chase Ink business cardholders are given tools to better manage their expenses - a feature we believe to be extra useful for small companies with no dedicated accounting departament.
All businesses know that they must always be aware of all options and details, in order to come to an optimal decision. To that end, we have outlined other credit cards which are competitive with the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, in the sections below. We hope that by understanding the competition, small business owners will be better equipped to make the decision about which credit card is best for them.
Ink Plus® Business Credit Card is best for businesses whose office supply needs exceed $27,300 per year. The card's have the same rewards rate on the first $25k in combined spending, but since the Ink Plus has a $95 fee, it takes another $2,300 in spending before it starts making up for that fact. The card's bonus categories are capped at $50,000 in combined spending per year, compared to the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card's $25,000. Rewards on the card are also advertised as points, instead of cash back, but there is little actual distinction since both cards require you to redeem points for rewards. The higher spending cap comes with an added price - the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card has an annual fee of $95. But as long as you spend at least $9,500 within a year, that cost will be covered by your rewards.
Any business that finds it has significant travel expenses will benefit more from a card like the Ink Plus® Business. Cardholders can use points to book travel via UR at a 20% discount, which boosts their point value from $0.01 to $0.0125. In addition to the higher rewards on travel bookings, Ink Plus® Business cardholders are awarded 2 points per $1 spent on hotel accommodations (instead of restaurants with the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card).
We recommend the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card over the Ink Plus® to any business which spends less than $27,300 per year on office supplies. The bonus on the Ink Plus is significantly larger than that of the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, but if your spending is not up above that threshold, any rewards will continue to be wasted on covering the $95 annual fee.
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card vs Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
For any business with a lot of travel expenses, we like the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express as the optimal choice. The card offers anywhere from a 2.4% to a 4.8% rewards rate on all the spending you do - 2 Starpoints per $1 spent at Starwood properties, and 1 point per $1 everywhere else. We estimate the value of a single Starpoint to be, on average $0.024, when redeemed for hotel stays. The Starpoints your business earns can also be transferred to one of Starwood's many airline partners, which include American Airlines, Delta, Virgin Atlantic, and more. Plus, whenever you transfer 20,000 Starpoints you receive a 5,000 mile dividend.
As noted in the sections above, virtually all business cards have a better welcome bonus than the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express is no exception. For those who make at least $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express currently awards 25,000 bonus Starpoints, which are worth $600 in hotel stays. Plus, for a limited time (until 04/05/2017) those who spend an additional $3,000 in purchases within the first 6 months get an additional 10,000 points.
One reason we prefer the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card to the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express is the flexibility the former allows. If you want a credit card for your business that will earn you rewards in other forms than airline tickets and hotel stays, we recommend going with either of the Chase Ink credit cards.
The Chase Freedom is another popular cash back credit card from Chase bank, offering up to 5% back on rotating categories throughout the year. Unlike the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, the Chase Freedom is a personal credit card - not meant for business. Because of that, the caps on spending are much lower for Chase Freedom cardholders ($1,500 per quarter). Also, the categories which award 5% back tend to be consumer-focused, not always matching business related spending.
One reason to consider the Chase Freedom over the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is if your companies' credit score isn't sufficient to qualify for a proper business credit card. In that case, we recommend applying for something like the Citi Double Cash (as an individual) in order to get a decent rewards credit line. The Double Cash offers unlimited 2% back on all spending, which is sure to fit a businesses’ needs than the limited, and capped bonus rotating categories of the Chase Freedom.
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business is yet another cash back business credit card, which allows businesses to earn rewards that can be used on things other than travel. One major difference between the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business and the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is that the former comes with an $0 intro annual fee the first year, and $59 after that. This immediately puts it at a disadvantage for any business with small spending requirements.
The Spark® Cash does offer a better sign-up bonus of $500, if you spend $4,500 within the first 3 months of your account being opened. This bonus is enough to cover the cost of the annual fee for approximately 8 years. However, as long as your spending does not fall too much outside of the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card's bonus categories, we recommend it over the Spark® Cash due to its higher rewards rate (5% vs 2%).
If your spending far exceeds $25,000 per year, however, you should consider the Spark® Cash from Capital One® a better deal. The 2% back with the Spark® Cash is unlimited, meaning that the more you spend beyond the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card's $25k bonus cap, the more savings you'll have.
If your business has relatively low expenses (under $25k per year) and no travel expenses, then the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is a worthwhile investment. It will provide decent rewards, at no annual cost. It is also a good choice for companies with irregular cash flows, due to having 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 billing cycles – this can save a small business a ton of money on interest.
How do I receive my cash back rewards? Your rewards are earned in the form of Ultimate Rewards points. You need to log into the Chase Online banking system, and choose to redeem your points for cash back, in order for the rewards to be applied to your account. You need a minimum of 2,500 points in order to redeem.
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