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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 or businesses:
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 offers solid rewards for everyday spending. You’ll earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all spending, so you can use this card on spending not covered by the bonus categories with your other business credit cards.
- 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.
- It has a great welcome bonus. Earn a $500 bonus after you make $3,000 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 lucrative if you pair this card with one in the Ultimate Rewards program, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
- It complements the existing Ink credit cards. The Ink Business Unlimited fits nicely among Chase’s exiting 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 0% APR 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 intro period ends, or you’ll end up paying a 15.24% – 21.24% variable APR (knocking out any rewards you would earn with the card).
Who Should Get the Ink Business Unlimited?
There are a lot of business owners who could benefit by 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 1x 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 1x (or 1% back) on a purchase. Having a card dedicated to everyday expenses that does not fall into common categories on other cards can earn hundreds of dollars in additional rewards every year.
You have other Ink Business cards 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 3x points 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.
If you already own the Ink Business Preferred, the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can convert the Business Unlimited’s cash back into valuable Ultimate Rewards points. You’ll get at least 1.25 cents apiece with the CSP or Ink Preferred, or 1.5 cents apiece with the CSR 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 3.15%.
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 or even an 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 hundred dollars a month on an array of business expenses, a card that offers specific bonus categories and 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.
Who Shouldn’t Get the Ink Business Unlimited?
There are many reasons to apply for the Ink Business Unlimited, but that doesn’t make it the best option for everyone. You could consider your 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.
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 don’t fall into other card’s bonus categories, its rewards are fairly weak when it comes to travel or 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 up the Ink Business Unlimited. This should be a complementary card, not one you choose for all of your business expenses.
All of your other business cards earn Amex Membership Rewards
I am all for diversifying your points portfolio across both business and personal accounts. However, if you are someone who only has Amex business cards, there is 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 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 in spending each year with no category restrictions (then 1x point thereafter). Those points can be pooled with rewards earned with The Business Platinum® Card from American Express or American Express® Business Gold Card, so if your existing business cards are Amex Membership Rewards cards, it makes more sense to use the Blue Business Plus on your everyday expenses to maximize the Membership Rewards program. The Blue Business Plus doesn’t offer the same welcome bonus as the Ink Business Unlimited, but 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.
The Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card has been a nice addition to the Ink franchise and one that fills in some of the holes the other two cards previously left open. The lack of an annual fee and the nice welcome bonus 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 a Business Unlimited.
Also, keep in mind that Chase will typically deny your application for many of its popular credit cards — including 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.
Want to learn more about the Ink Business Unlimited? Read our full credit card review.
Additional reporting by Mike Cetera.
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Earn $500 after $3,000 spent within the first three months. That's equivalent to 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points if you have another rewards earning card like the Ink Business Preferred, Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve. Similar to the Freedom Unlimited, this card earns unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases and has no annual fee - a no-brainer for small business owners!
- Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business
- 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
- Employee cards at no additional cost
- No Annual Fee