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

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Ink Cash® Business Credit Card Editor's Rating: 4.9 / 5

The Ink Cash® Business Credit Card is a solid business credit card — offering 5% cash back on typical office purchases, as well as a $0 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.

Ink Cash® Business Credit Card

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Pros

  • Bonus cash back categories
  • $0 annual fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers

Bonus Offer

Earn $300 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months

APR

  • APR: 13.49% - 19.49% Variable APR
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • Earn $300 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 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
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No Annual Fee

At a glance
Annual fee $0
Foreign transaction fee 3%
Rewards program Cash back
Signup bonus Earn $300 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

The card starts off with a bang: Earn $300 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% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.49% - 19.49% Variable APR, 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 of $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
Type of card Credit card Credit card
Annual fee $0 annual fee $95
Foreign transaction fee 3% 0%
Sign-up bonus Earn $300 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 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
Learn More

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, a $0 annual fee, and no foreign transaction fees. The Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business also comes with a one-time sign-up bonus: Plus, a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months of approval.

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

Chase Ink Plus® Business Credit Card
Learn More

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
Learn More

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. And don’t worry–there’s no 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+.


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