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Who should (and shouldn’t) get the Ink Business Unlimited?

Aug. 12, 2022
10 min read
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When it comes to Chase’s Ink Business credit cards, the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card typically garners the most attention. However, there’s a lot to like about its no-annual-fee sibling, the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card. With a fixed-rate rewards structure and generous sign-up bonus, small-business owners should seriously consider adding this card to their wallets.

Here are the benefits of the Ink Business Unlimited — and a discussion of uses for different individuals and businesses.

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Quick overview of the Ink Business Unlimited

The Ink Business Unlimited is Chase’s basic business credit card, offering an easy way to earn rewards on everyday business expenses. Here are a few of the card’s standout benefits:

  • It has a great welcome bonus. Earn a $750 bonus after you make $7,500 in purchases within the first three months after account opening. That’s a good return for a business credit card without an annual fee. Even better, the bonus can be even more lucrative if you pair this card with one in the Ultimate Rewards program, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Ink Business Preferred. (More on that below.)
  • It offers solid rewards on everyday business spending. You’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all spending, so you can use this card on spending not covered by the bonus categories of your other business credit cards.
  • It complements the other Ink Business credit cards. The Ink Business Unlimited fits nicely among Chase’s existing business credit cards — the Ink Business Cash Credit Card and the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. None of the three cards offer overlapping rewards (with the exception of the Ink Cash and Ink Preferred both offering rewards on internet, cable and phone services), meaning you can combine all three to maximize rewards across most business spending.
  • It can help you finance large business purchases. The card offers a 0% annual percentage rate for 12 months on new purchases, which can help new and growing businesses finance larger expenses. Make sure you pay off the balance before the introductory period ends, or you’ll end up paying a 15.49%-21.49% variable APR (knocking out any rewards you would earn with the card).
  • It’s free. There’s no annual fee, so you don’t have to figure out how much spending you’ll have to put on this card to justify owning it.

Want to learn more about the Ink Business Unlimited? Read our full credit card review.

Who should get the Ink Business Unlimited?

There are a lot of business owners who could benefit from using the Ink Business Unlimited. Consider adding this card to your wallet if:

You don’t already have a business card for everyday spending

Look at your existing business credit cards. They likely reward only 1 point per dollar or 1% back on non-bonus spending. That’s where the Ink Business Unlimited comes in. Use the card to fill in that gap and boost your rewards-earning potential on everything from paying taxes to shopping for your business at a hardware store. The goal of a robust rewards credit card portfolio is to earn more than 1 point per dollar (or 1% back) on a purchase. Having a card dedicated to everyday expenses that do not fall into common categories on other cards can earn you hundreds of dollars in additional rewards every year.

You have other Ink Business or Chase Ultimate Rewards cards

The rewards structure on the Ink Business Unlimited is especially valuable if you hold other Chase cards, particularly other Ink Business cards or those that fall within the Ultimate Rewards program.

With the Ink Business Cash, you’ll earn 5% 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. Then the Ink Business Preferred can be your go-to card for travel and advertising. It pays 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases for travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services, as well as advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year.

However, the real value comes for those with the Ink Business Preferred, the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

That's because holding at least one of those cards allows you to convert the Business Unlimited’s cash back into fully transferable (and thus more valuable) Ultimate Rewards points. You’ll get at least 1.25 cents apiece with the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Preferred, or 1.5 cents apiece with the Sapphire Reserve when you book travel directly through the Chase travel portal. However, you can expand that even more by transferring to one of the program’s valuable transfer partners. Doing this could increase the value of points to 2 cents each or more, according to TPG’s most recent valuations. That makes the effective return on Business Unlimited spending an impressive 3%.

You are a freelancer or have a side hustle

Although you need to have some sort of business to qualify for a small-business credit card, you don’t have to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or be a registered LLC to apply. Freelance writers or photographers, online Etsy or eBay sellers, those who teach music or coach a sport on the side and just about every side hustle in between can benefit from a business credit card — especially one that comes with no annual fee.

If you’re only spending a couple of hundred dollars a month on an array of business expenses, a card that offers specific bonus categories and comes with an annual fee may not make the most sense. The Ink Business Unlimited offers a flat 1.5% cash back on everything without charging a fee, which makes it perfect for any sole proprietor or business with lower spending habits — especially if you have the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve as your personal rewards card.

Related reading: You might be eligible for a business credit card without realizing it

Who shouldn’t get the Ink Business Unlimited?

(Photo by Hero Images/Getty Images)

There are many reasons to apply for the Ink Business Unlimited, but that doesn’t make it the best option for everyone. You should consider other small-business card options if:

You have another fixed-rate business credit card

If you already have a card that offers rewards on everyday expenses (such as one of Capital One’s Spark business cards), owning the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card may not make sense. Having multiple fixed-rate cards can be redundant while unnecessarily splitting your potential rewards across multiple accounts. That makes it hard to rack up enough rewards for a worthwhile redemption, especially for a small business. Of course, if you currently have a non-Chase fixed-rate cash-back business card, switching your everyday expenses to the Business Unlimited in order to use transferable points is still something to consider.

Related reading: The best no-annual-fee business credit cards

You’re looking for a card that offers bonus categories

As mentioned earlier, this is a fixed-rate card. Although it offers hard-to-beat rewards on spending that doesn’t fall into other cards' bonus categories, its rewards are fairly weak when it comes to travel and office supply spending. If you need a new credit card and you don’t already have one that offers top-of-the-line bonus categories for the areas in which your business spends a great deal of its budget, you should pass on the Ink Business Unlimited. This should be a complementary card, not one you choose for all of your business expenses.

Related reading: Best business credit cards of 2022

Your other cards earn Amex Membership Rewards

It's important to diversify your points portfolio across both business and personal accounts. However, if you are someone who only has American Express cards, there's an Amex option that helps you maximize points in the same way as pairing the Business Unlimited with other cards. The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express offers 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar on the first $50,000 in spending each calendar year with no category restrictions (then 1 point per dollar thereafter).

Those points can be pooled with rewards earned with other business cards (like The Business Platinum Card® from American Express or the American Express® Business Gold Card). However, you'll also be able to combine them with your personal Membership Rewards points. So, if most of your existing cards are Amex Membership Rewards cards, it makes more sense to use the Blue Business Plus for your everyday expenses to maximize the Membership Rewards program.

While the Blue Business Plus doesn’t offer the same lucrative welcome bonus as the Ink Business Unlimited, the long-term value of being able to pool your rewards across your other cards could prove to be worth the welcome bonus sacrifice.

Related: Interested in the Amex Blue Business Plus? Check out our full credit card review.

Bottom line

The Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card is an important part of the Chase Ink franchise thanks to its earning rate on everyday purchases. The nice welcome bonus and the lack of an annual fee make this card even more attractive. It should make a good addition to the wallets of many business owners, but it’s not the perfect card and won’t be the right fit for everyone. Make sure you have other rewards credit cards in hand — particularly ones that offer generous rewards on bonus categories — before picking up an Ink Business Unlimited.

Related reading: Small-business resources to help with coronavirus impacts

Also, keep in mind that Chase will typically deny your application for many of its popular credit cards — including the Ink Business Unlimited — if you’ve opened five or more new credit cards in the last 24 months from any issuer. This is unofficially called the 5/24 rule, and it also includes accounts on which you’re an authorized user, though you can sometimes call and ask for authorized user accounts to not be included in Chase’s consideration.

Official application link: Earn $750 in bonus cash back when you sign up for the Ink Business Unlimited card

Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox and Mike Cetera.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best for business travelers
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1.5% cash-back
1.5%Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business

Intro offer

$750
Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee

$0

Recommended Credit

670-850
Good, Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Ink Business Unlimited card is a no-annual-fee small business card. Its simple rewards structure is surprisingly valuable and great for cash back business expenses in non-bonus earning categories. It can also be paired with another Ultimate Rewards card for optimal value. Because the card is tailored for small businesses, freelancers and sole-proprietors are more likely to be approved.

Pros

  • No annual fee.
  • A generous $750 cash-back sign-up bonus.
  • Flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • Primary insurance for car rentals.
  • 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months on purchases (then a variable APR of 15.49% - 21.49% applies)

Cons

  • Higher spend to receive sign-up bonus.
  • No conversion to Chase points without holding the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred.
  • No travel protections.
  • Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business
  • No Annual Fee
  • Redeem rewards for cash back, gift cards, travel and more through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn rewards faster with employee cards at no additional cost. Set individual spending limits for greater control
  • With Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring
  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
Best for business travelers
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

1.5%Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business
  • Intro Offer
    Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

    $750
  • Annual Fee

    $0
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Ink Business Unlimited card is a no-annual-fee small business card. Its simple rewards structure is surprisingly valuable and great for cash back business expenses in non-bonus earning categories. It can also be paired with another Ultimate Rewards card for optimal value. Because the card is tailored for small businesses, freelancers and sole-proprietors are more likely to be approved.

Pros

  • No annual fee.
  • A generous $750 cash-back sign-up bonus.
  • Flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • Primary insurance for car rentals.
  • 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months on purchases (then a variable APR of 15.49% - 21.49% applies)

Cons

  • Higher spend to receive sign-up bonus.
  • No conversion to Chase points without holding the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred.
  • No travel protections.
  • Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business
  • No Annual Fee
  • Redeem rewards for cash back, gift cards, travel and more through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn rewards faster with employee cards at no additional cost. Set individual spending limits for greater control
  • With Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring
  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases