Of the business credit cards that are part of the Chase Ink family, the Bold and Plus cards offer the most benefits and reward opportunities. The biggest difference between Bold and Plus is that the Chase Ink Bold is a charge card – not a credit card. Charge cards do not impose credit limits, but they must be paid in full each month.
As a business owner, you need to consider not only which card provides the best benefits and rewards for your business, but whether a credit or charge card would suit your business needs best. This review covers the Chase Ink Bold® Business Card.
- Sign-up Bonus. As a new cardholder, you are awarded 50,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 within the first three months of opening an account. These points can be redeemed for $625 in travel rewards. The account must be open and not in default at the time of fulfillment.
- Fees. The annual membership fee for the Chase Ink Bold card is waived the first year and is $95 thereafter. There are no foreign transaction fees; however, there is a $15 late payment fee if the unpaid balance is less than $100, $29 if the balance is between $100 and $250, and $39 if the balance is $250 or more. There is also a returned payment fee of $39.
- APR. Since the Chase Ink Bold is a charge card, there is no APR, but if a payment is over 60 days late, a default APR of up to 29.99% may be applied.
- No Preset Spending Limit. The Chase Ink Bold charge card does not have a preset spending limit. Instead, each charge made to the card is evaluated based on account spending and payment patterns, relationships with Chase, information from credit reports and other creditors, and Chase’s own understanding of your resources.
- Earn Points on Purchases. Earn five points for every dollar on your first $50,000 spent annually at office supply stores and on phone, Internet, and cable TV services. Earn two points per dollar on the first $50,000 spent annually at gas stations and hotel accommodations when you purchase directly with the hotel. All other purchases earn one point per dollar, with no limitations on how much you can earn. Points do not expire so you don’t have to worry about redeeming them within a certain time period.
- Redeem for Rewards. While you are able to redeem your points for cash, merchandise, travel, and gift cards, you receive the highest return if you redeem through Ultimate Rewards, especially on travel, which provides a 20% discount. For example, points may be redeemed for cash (2,000 equals $20), which would make your bonus of 50,000 points worth approximately $500 in cash. However, if you use your points on travel with Ultimate Rewards, the 50,000 bonus points are worth $625.
- 20% Off Travel With Chase Ultimate Rewards. When you redeem your points with Chase Ultimate Rewards, you receive a 20% discount. This includes airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises. The Chase Ink Cash Card does not receive this discount.
- Transfer Points Without Fees. You are also able to transfer points to other travel programs at a rate of one-to-one without paying any transfer fees. For instance, if you are also a member of United MileagePlus or Marriott Rewards, you can transfer points earned with your Chase Ink Bold card. Other travel programs include the British Airways Executive Club, Hyatt Gold Passport, and Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
- Lounge Club Membership. Receive annual membership in Lounge Club plus two complimentary lounge visits each year. This membership includes access to more than 350 VIP airport lounges worldwide. After the two free visits, you pay $27 per person, per visit.
- Free Employee Cards. The employee cards that you add to the account are free and also earn points that can be redeemed for rewards. You are also able to set spending limits on the employee cards, allowing yourself, as business owner, the ability to manage the account.
- Jot. The Jot app is available with all Chase Ink cards and allows you to track receipts by snapping photos with your smartphone and then tagging and filing them away. You can also receive notifications when employees make purchases which you can save and file for future use with the Jot app.
- Trip Cancellation and Interruption Benefits. Only the Chase Ink Bold and Chase Ink Plus cards include trip cancellation or interruption benefits – the Chase Ink Cash card does not. This benefit simply allows reimbursement for airline tickets and hotel stays purchased with the charge card and canceled due to certain circumstances.
- 50,000 Bonus Points. The points offered at sign-up are worth approximately $500 in cash, gift cards, or merchandise, or $625 toward travel if you redeem them through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- Pay No Interest. Since the Chase Ink Bold is a charge card, no interest is imposed on your purchases. Generally, if you use rewards cards, you pay your balances in full each month in order to avoid interest and thus maximize your rewards potential. If anything, the Bold card provides further incentive to do so as you do not want to incur a default penalty APR or late fees.
- No Preset Spending Limit. One of the most convenient features of a charge card is not having the boundary of a credit limit to worry about.
- No Foreign Transaction Fee. There is no foreign transaction fee with the Chase Ink Bold charge card. The Chase Ink Cash charges a foreign transaction fee of 3%, which is the highest usually found on credit cards. If you travel frequently outside of the United States, you can save quite a bit of money not paying extra fees on transactions and purchases abroad.
- No Breathing Room for Hard Times. While it’s great to be free of interest rates and spending limits, you are obligated with charge cards to pay your balance in full every month. With credit cards, you may try to pay your balance in full to avoid interest but if for some reason you can’t, you have the option of making the minimum monthly payment. With charge cards, you do not have that option without incurring an added fee or penalty APR.
- Spending Cap. Because of the cap on bonus points earned on purchases over $50,000 per year, the Chase Ink Bold Business Charge Card may not be ideal for larger businesses that spend significantly more per year in the bonus categories. All purchases after you spend $50,000 only earn one point per dollar spent. If your business spends several hundred thousand per year in office supplies, for example, a card such as the Capital One Spark Cash for Business card which awards a flat, unlimited 2% on all purchases, could result in more rewards. Plus, it covers all purchases rather than just specific purchases.
- Annual Fee. Although the annual fee of $95 is lower than the annual fees commonly found with business charge cards, there are numerous business credit cards that carry significantly lower annual fees or no annual fee at all. For instance, the American Express Blue for Business and the CitiBusiness ThankYou Card both offer a rewards program with no annual fee for carrying the card. If you prefer the charge card option, the U.S. Bank Business Visa Charge card has no annual fee and a rewards program with minimal cash back opportunities.
You can benefit most from the Chase Ink Bold charge card if you purchase office equipment or supplies, and use it for phone services and cable, spending up to $50,000 per year. Additionally, the ability to earn two points per dollar on gas station and hotel purchases is helpful if you or your staff are on the road frequently. If your business spends more than $50,000 annually in any of the higher return categories, or if you’re not sure you can pay your balance in full every month, you may want to seek out a better card for your business.
The Chase Ink Bold® Business Card provides you with a number of opportunities and benefits for your business and offers one of the best sign-up bonuses available.
4.5 stars out of 5: One of the best cards available for small businesses, as long as you’re comfortable with a charge card and are certain you can pay your balance in full each month.