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JPMorgan Chase currently offers two distinct small business credit cards – the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card and the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. Picking the best one for your business may may not be the easiest task. We broke down their features to help you better understand which one can better serve your company’s needs, and discuss a few strategies and comparisons below.
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card vs Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
- Alternative Strategy: Getting Both Cards
- Other Business Credit Cards to Consider
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card vs Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card: Breaking Down The Differences
The major differentiators between the two cards are their reward structure and fees. Depending on the types of vendors your company deals with, and how big your annual transaction volume is, one card may be superior to the other. If you just want a quick answer, here is the simplest way to distinguish between the two:
- Apply for the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card if: Your business has travel expenses and makes enough purchases each year to justify paying the $95 annual fee.
- Apply for the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card if: You just want cash back rewards on some traditional office expenses, like supplies, as well as internet and telephone services.
The table below outlines the key features of both the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card and the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, so that you may get a quick overview of the most important factors.
|Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card||Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card|
|Bonus||$500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening||80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening|
|Promo APR||0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months||None|
|Ongoing APR||15.49% - 21.49% Variable||18.24% - 23.24% Variable|
|Read Full Review||Read Full Review|
Compare The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card & Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card Based On How Your Business Spends
As we already said, your businesses’ spending has a major impact on how effective each card will be for your company. Once you account for annual fees, however, figuring out the best business credit card may be time-consuming. You can use the tool below to estimate the value of each card, given your company’s expenses. Click the gear icon and input your approximate monthly expenditures. We threw in a few other small business cards in there to give better context for how these credit cards perform.
If you want to explore other cards, consider using our expanded small business comparison tool. The numbers aren't always the whole story however, so we encourage you to check out the respective review of a card you're interested in, before you apply.
In-Depth Analysis of Each Chase Business Credit Card
The above numbers alone may not be enough to help guide your decision. This section explicitly spells out the strengths and weaknesses of each of the cards in question, and how the above facts and figures play into that.
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card: Excellent for High-Spending Travelers
The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is the card to have for anyone running a high-spending company that’s also involved in a lot of travel. The card awards 3x points on the first $150,000 combined spending on travel, shipping, advertising through search engines and social media sites, and internet/cable/phone services. All other purchases get you just 1 point per dollar. On top of all of this, there is an 80,000 point bonus that you get after spending at least $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s a lot of potential points. However, they come at a cost. The card charges a $95 annual fee. Since we value each point at $0.0125, you’d need to gather at least 7,600 points each year just to break even. This is exactly why this card is best for businesses that tend to charge a lot of purchases to their card.
One other point worth noting is that the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is a tier-2 Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card. That means you have the ability to transfer the points you earn to participating hotel and airline partners, including Southwest, United and IHG. All transfers come at a 1:1 ratio. Transferring allows you to stretch the value of each point well beyond our $0.0125 estimate. You can use this feature to do things like pay for your next company trip.
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card: A Good No-Annual-Fee Option
The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is best suited for businesses with more traditional expenses, including office supplies and internet services. The card provides a 5% cash back rate on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year at office supply stores, cellular phone, landline, internet and cable services. You can also get 2% back on the first $25k spent in combined purchases each year at gas stations and restaurants. All your other business purchases will give just 1% back.
If you have expenses that line up with some, or all, of the above categories, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card will a solid option. The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card charges no annual fee, which makes it a good option for firms that end up not spending too much money annually. Unlike those with a Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, you never have to worry about earning enough cash back to break even. Therefore, as long as you always pay off your bills fully and on time, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card will be a net positive on your bottom line. The limits on the 5% and 2% bonus categories are also significantly lower on the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card than the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card -- $25k as opposed to $150k. This further lends itself to the fact that the no-annual-fee card better serves low-sending businesses.
What Do You Get With Both Cards?
It’s worth noting that certain benefits come on both cards, so you won’t be missing out on these, regardless of the card you choose to go with.
- Employee cards at no additional cost. If you want multiple employees to have the ability to make purchases on the go, you can issue them a card. Their purchases will earn cash back or points just like the main card does, and they all count towards a single maximum. If you have the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, you don’t have to pay multiple annual fees.
- Access to Mobile Ink App This app allows you to keep track of the purchases, and manage employee cards.
- Extended Warranty Protection. Extends the time period of U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year, on eligible warranties of three years or less.
- Purchase Protection. Both cards cover your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver. Allows you to decline the rental company's collision insurance and be covered, when you charge the entire rental cost to your card. The insurance is primary when you rent for business purposes.
Combining The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card & Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card Is An Option
Though it’s advertised as a cash back credit card, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card does, in fact, earn cardholders Chase Ultimate Rewards points. If you get both the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card and the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, you can pool these points together. This allows you the extra freedom to use the rewards earned through the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card on travel bookings, and not just straight cash back. Without the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, you can only use your Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card rewards on cash back.
This strategy also allows you to optimize your spending. You can charge all the things that can earn you 5% or 2% to the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, and put everything else on the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. If you are using the app, you can still see your expenses in one spot, which can make managing this set-up easier.
The major reason this combo is a popular choice, is the fact that the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card doesn’t charge an annual fee. If you already know you can benefit from having the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, but like some of the features on the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, there is no additional cost to get it. The only thing you have to contend with is a hit to your credit score, since opening two accounts instead of one will likely cause it to drop by a few points.
What Are Some Good Business Credit Card Alternatives?
Before you make a decision about opening any credit card account, it’s always worth considering other options for greater context. Therefore, this guide wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t go over some popular alternatives to the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card and the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.
SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express is a more flexible version of the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. You can get 5% back at U.S. office supply stores and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers. You can also get 3% back on a category of your choice, which is where the flexibility comes in. The categories include:
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- Hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels
- Car rentals purchased from select car rental companies
- U.S. gas stations
- U.S. restaurants
- U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
- U.S. purchases for shipping
- U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
The 5% and 3% apply to the first $50,000 in purchases per calendar year, and you get a 1% return after that. The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express also has no annual fee. One thing you may have to contend with, however, is the fact that the American Express network isn’t as widely accepted as Visa. Some vendors refuse to accept Amex credit cards due to the higher fees the vendors need to pay for accepting these cards.
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
Unlike the other cards on this list, the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business doesn’t shoehorn you into select spending categories. Instead, it offers a simple fixed cash back rate on all your purchases – 2%. This can be a good solution for businesses that have a lot of varied spending, and don’t want to deal with specialized categories, like office supply stores or travel.
Note that the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business comes with a $95 annual fee (waived year 1). Therefore, you need to make sure you are getting enough out of this card to justify paying for it. As a rule of thumb, businesses that have less than $19,000 in card purchases each year should instead go with the Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business, which gives 1.5% back everywhere and charges no annual fee.