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The Chase Ink Cash: A No-Fee Winner for Small Business

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Chase Ink Cash: A No-Fee Winner for Small Business

The Ink Cash® Business Credit Card is a solid business credit card — offering 5% cash back on typical office purchases, as well as No Annual Fee. Its simplicity and high rewards rate make it one of the most popular small business cards on the market, though it may not be ideal for bigger spenders. Read on for a breakdown of the pros and cons of the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card.

Chase  Ink Cash Business Credit Card
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At a glance
Annual fee No Annual Fee
Foreign transaction fee 3%
Rewards program Cash back
Signup bonus Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Verdict: Ideal for businesses who spend on office supplies
Good for:
  • Businesses that spend a lot of money on office supplies and cable/telecom
  • Earning rewards on gas and dining
  • Businesses that prefer the simplicity of a no-fee cash-back card
Bad for:
  • Companies that don’t spend much in the 5% bonus category
  • Businesses that spend more than $25,000 annually (about $2,000 a month) on office supplies and cable/telecom services
  • Business travel

In this article:

The Ink Cash® Business Credit Card: The basics
Ink Cash® Business Credit Card vs. Ink Plus® Business Credit Card
Where the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card shines
Where the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card falls short
Will the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card require a personal guarantee?

The Ink Cash® Business Credit Card: The basics

The Ink Cash® Business Credit Card is a cash-back credit card that offers solid ongoing rewards:

  • 5% on office supplies and cable/telecom services, up to $25,000 spent annually
  • 2% on gas and restaurants, also up to $25,000 spent annually
  • Unlimited 1% elsewhere

Example image of Ink Cash<sup>®</sup> Business Credit Card

Ink Cash® Business Credit Card

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Pros

  • Bonus cash back categories
  • No annual fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers

Sign-up Bonus

Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Annual Fee

No Annual Fee

Intro APR Promotions

0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers

APR

  • APR: 13.24% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%, Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.99%, Variable

Card Details

  • Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account
  • Named "Best for Rewards for Small Business" MONEY® Magazine, October 2014
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Free employee cards
  • No Annual Fee

The card starts off with a bang: Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Moreover, the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card comes with a solid APR deal: 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.24% (Variable), so it’s perfect for a company that needs to set up a new office.

You can earn substantial rewards from Office Depot or your office supply store of choice, and take some time to pay off the big purchases interest-free. This makes it one of the most lucrative cards out there for a business that spends the bulk of its money on office supplies or cable/telecom.

Ink Cash® Business Credit Card vs. Ink Plus® Business Credit Card

Unlike the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card, the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card charges an annual fee. It comes with a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95. But it makes up for the fee with a higher sign-up bonus, a higher rewards cap and business travel perks.

Ink Cash® Business Credit Card Ink Plus® Business Credit Card
Chase  Ink Cash Business Credit Card
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Chase Ink Plus with Ultimate Rewards Credit Card
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Type of card Credit card Credit card
Annual fee No Annual Fee $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95
Foreign transaction fee 3% 0%
Sign-up bonus Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Bonus rewards 5% on office supplies and cable/telecom
2% on gas and restaurants
5% on office supplies and cable/telecom
2% on gas and lodging
Rewards cap on each category $25,000 $50,000
Value of points 1 cent 1.25 cents when redeemed for travel booked through Chase
Extra perks N/A 2 complimentary Lounge Club passes per year
Best for Non-travelers; smaller spenders Business travel

 

Typically, we think that the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card is the better of the two, because its sign-up bonus well outweighs the annual fee for years. Plus, your points are worth 25% more if used for travel. The card also has a higher limit on bonus rewards earning, and the two free lounge passes are nothing to scoff at.

Where the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card shines

The card’s main appeal is its simplicity and strong rewards program. If you don’t want to commit to an annual fee, the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card will still provide you with a solid 5% cash back on business-friendly spending categories. Plus, its sign-up bonus well exceeds most other no-annual-fee business cards. In fact, few no-annual-fee business cards on the market give any sign-up bonus at all. If you’re looking for top-tier rewards with no fee, the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card is your card.

Where the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card falls short

There are three cases where the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card may not be the best card for your company.

Companies that don’t spend much on the 5% bonus categories

Capital One Spark Cash Select Business Credit Card
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If you’re not going to be spending a bundle on office supplies or cable/telecom, the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card is probably not ideal. In that case, you might prefer the Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business. It gives a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no rewards caps or annual fee, and doesn’t have foreign transaction fees. The Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business also comes with a one-time sign-up bonus: Earn $100 bonus after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

Businesses that spend more than $25,000 annually on office supplies and cable/telecom services

Chase Ink Plus with Ultimate Rewards Credit Card
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If you find yourself brushing up against the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card’s $25,000 rewards cap, you should check out the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card. For the reasons outlined above, it’s a pretty great deal, and the higher sign-up bonus, better rewards rate and travel perks more than make up for the annual fee. Bigger spenders will probably get more value out of the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card than the no-fee Ink Cash® Business Credit Card.

Business travelers

American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card
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If you travel a lot for work, you may consider the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. This card earns up to 5 Starpoints per $1 spent at SPG hotels and 1 point per $1 elsewhere, but the kicker is that we value Starpoints at 2.3 cents each. This means you’re effectively getting 2.3% rewards anywhere you go, when you redeem for SPG hotel stays. Just be wary of the 2.7% foreign transaction fee.

Will the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card require a personal guarantee?

Unfortunately, almost every business credit card on the market requires that you personally guarantee the credit card debt. Businesses often fail, so lenders are going to require that you backstop the debt. The Ink Cash® Business Credit Card and all other business credit cards will end up on your credit score to some extent, but issuers’ reporting policies differ. Check out our Q&A section to learn more about personal guarantees and how business cards affect your credit history.

Erin El Issa is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @Erin_Lindsay17 and on Google+.


Image via iStock.