The Ink Cash® Business Credit Card from Chase is a popular small business credit card that earns up to 5% cash back on select category purchases, has a healthy sign-up bonus, and doesn’t charge an annual fee. It’s basically the cash back, no-annual-fee version of Chase Ink Plus, which has a points-based rewards system and comes with a $95 annual fee.
Chase Ink Cash is great for small business owners who prefer to earn cash back on everyday purchases, such as office supplies, gas, and restaurant meals, rather than deal with a points-based rewards system. In fact, it has one of the best cash back rewards programs of any no-annual-fee business credit card on the market today. A 12-month 0% APR for purchases and balance transfers makes it a good card for financing big-ticket purchases right out of the gate or transferring high-interest balances from other business credit cards, though the high (5%) balance transfer fee is cause for caution.
If you’re a freelancer or sole proprietor who doesn’t really think of yourself as a business owner, you can still qualify for Chase Ink Cash. Chase simply requires that the primary cardholder be the owner or representative of an incorporated business, including a sole proprietorship, and affirm that the card is to be used exclusively for business expenses.
- Sign-up Bonus. If you spend at least $3,000 within 3 months of opening your account, you get a $200 cash bonus that can be redeemed for a statement credit, bank account deposit, Ultimate Rewards merchandise purchase, travel purchase, or special experience, such as a dinner cruise.
- Introductory APR. Ink Cash has a 12-month 0% APR for purchases and balance transfers. Qualifying balance transfers can be made at any time during the introductory window.
- Cash Rewards & Redemption. Ink Cash earns 5% cash back on office supply and telecommunications purchases (including cell phone, landline, Internet, and cable TV), up to $25,000 per year; 2% cash back on gas station and restaurant purchases, up to $25,000 per year; and an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. After you hit the $25,000 annual limits, additional purchases in the 5% and 2% categories earn an unlimited 1% cash back. Each “year” begins and ends on the anniversary date of your account opening. You can redeem your accumulated cash back for statement credits, bank account deposits, gift cards, general merchandise purchases through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards shopping portal, travel purchases, and special experiences, such as cooking lessons and dinner cruises. Redemptions start at $20.
- No-Fee Employee Cards. You can apply for additional Ink Cash cards for authorized employees at no additional charge. Employee cards earn rewards at the same rate as primary cards.
- Ink App. Chase’s free Ink app lets you track purchases in real-time, category-tag purchases for record-keeping purposes, change authorized cardholder (employee) spending limits, analyze spending over time, and perform other useful functions from your mobile phone or tablet. You can sign up for free, real-time alerts that provide location, transaction, and balance information for every employee purchase.
- Chase Checkout. Chase Checkout is a mobile point-of-sale system, similar to Square for Business, that allows you to accept credit card payments wherever there’s a wireless Internet or 4G broadband connection. Chase Checkout’s mobile version comes with mobile card swipers (dongles) that attach to your phone or tablet. You do need to fill out a separate application for Chase Checkout, and additional payment processing fees apply (2.75% to 3.75% of the total transaction amount, with a $25 monthly minimum).
- Regular APR. After the 0% APR introductory periods, the APR for purchases and balance transfers varies from 13.49% to 19.49%, depending on prevailing interest rates. The cash advance APR is 25.24%, also variable with prevailing rates. The penalty APR is 29.99%.
- Important Fees. Ink Cash doesn’t have an annual fee. However, foreign transactions cost 3% of the total transaction amount, cash advances cost the greater of $15 or 5%, and balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5%. Depending on the size of the late balance, late payments cost $15 to $39. Returned payments cost $39.
- Purchase Protection. Chase’s Purchase Protection plan provides up to $10,000 per item in damage and theft coverage, good toward replacements and repairs. The benefit lasts for 120 days from purchase and is capped at $50,000 total per account.
- Extended Warranty Protection. Chase’s Extended Warranty Protection plan provides a complimentary 12-month warranty extension on all warranties with original terms of three or fewer years.
- Credit Required. Chase Ink Cash requires excellent credit. Any notable credit blemishes are likely to be disqualifying.
- No Annual Fee. Ink Cash doesn’t charge an annual fee. That sets it apart from many competing cash back business credit cards, including Capital One Spark Cash.
- Flexible Reward Redemption. Like Chase Freedom and other popular Chase rewards credit cards, Ink Cash lets you redeem your accumulated cash back for virtually anything: statement credits, bank account deposits, travel, general merchandise, gift cards, and even exotic experiences. Other no-annual-fee business cards, such as Capital One Spark Classic (statement credits and bank account deposits only) and U.S. Bank Business Edge WorldElite (statement credits, bank account deposits, and gift cards only), are much more restrictive.
- 0% APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 12 Months. Ink Cash’s 12-month 0% APR purchase and balance transfer promotion is actually pretty unusual in the no-annual-fee business credit card world. Many business credit cards, including American Express Blue for Business and Capital One Spark Select, only have 0% purchase APR introductory periods – their balance transfers accrue regular interest from day one.
- No Fees for Employee Cards. You don’t have to pay for additional authorized users on your Ink Cash account, no matter how many you add. That’s a big perk if you’re looking to hook multiple employees up with Ink Cash cards. The American Express Business Platinum Card charges $175 total for the first three additional authorized users, and then $175 for each additional authorized user after that.
- Chase Checkout Simplifies Payment Processing. Chase Checkout is a great payment processing aid for small, mobile businesses that don’t want to invest in bulky cash registers or payment terminals. Many other business card issuers, including Capital One, don’t offer their own payment processing systems.
- High Sign-up Bonus Threshold. You need to spend $3,000 within 3 months to earn Ink Cash’s $200 sign-up bonus. While that’s more than doable for established, thriving businesses, it’s likely to be tougher for penny-pinching startups. The SimplyCash Business Card from American Express requires just $500 in spending within 6 months – achievable for virtually any business – to earn its $250 sign-up bonus.
- High Foreign Transaction Fees. Ink Cash’s 3% foreign transaction fee is higher than that of many competitors. Capital One Spark Cash and Spark Miles don’t charge any foreign transaction fees.
- High Balance Transfer Fee. Ink Cash’s balance transfer fee is the greater of $5 or 5% of the transferred amount. On a $500 transfer, that amounts to $25. By contrast, the Capital One Spark Miles Select and Cash Select cards don’t charge for balance transfers at all. And many other business credit cards charge just 3% for transfers, cutting the cost of a $500 transfer by $10.
- Relatively Low Spending Caps for the 5% and 2% Categories. Ink Cash caps spending in the 5% and 2% categories at $25,000 per year. That’s a low limit in the business credit card world, where caps of $50,000 or $100,000 – or none at all – are commonplace. For instance, Chase Ink Plus caps each category’s spending at $50,000 per year, while U.S. Bank Business Edge WorldElite MasterCard’s 3% category allows unlimited spending.
The Ink Cash® Business Credit Card from Chase is a great business financing option for small business owners, but it’s not suitable for everyone. Compared with some other business credit cards, Ink Cash’s spending caps are relatively low, meaning it’s hard for heavy-spending business owners to maximize the card’s value. If you find yourself regularly exceeding the $25,000 annual spending limits in the 5% and 2% categories, consider upgrading to Chase Ink Plus (which does come with a $95 annual fee) or another business rewards credit or charge card better suited to larger companies.
Conversely, Ink Cash is a good choice for business owners in the midst of downsizing or cutting back on their credit card use. However, since Ink Cash’s spend-$3,000-in-3-months sign-up bonus is hard for cash-strapped businesses to attain and the fee-free employee card benefit is useless for business owners without multiple employees, it’s not the ideal card for very small companies or scrappy sole proprietors.