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Road warriors may earn the most spoils when it comes to credit card rewards and perks (see The Business Platinum® Card from American Express), but if your business is more concerned with staples than standby lists, there’s no reason to feel left out. The business credit card market is flush with options for entrepreneurs who don’t have massive travel budgets.
The key is finding the right rewards program for your business spending. The Ink Business Cash Credit Card offers generous returns on a broad spectrum of office expenses — from supplies to utility services — without making too much fuss about how you collect the rewards.
This is a cash-back card, which means redemption is inherently simpler than with points and miles cards. Still, because this is a Chase-issued card, more lucrative redemption options are available to you if you pair Ink Cash with one of the issuer’s other cards linked to the Ultimate Rewards program.
Who is This Card For?
As far as appeal goes, Ink Cash has a little something to offer many different kinds of business owners:
- You’ll pay no annual fee, which may be attractive to you if you’re just starting out and are budget-conscious.
- Rewards are concentrated on office, restaurant and gas spending. This card could fill in the rewards gap a travel rewards credit card — like the American Express® Business Gold Card — may leave open.
- Pay 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months after account opening. If you’re a start-up or your cash flow is irregular, this may be an ideal offer. Just make sure carrying a balance doesn’t become a habit, because after the introductory period ends, the APR jumps to a variable rate of 15.24%-21.24%.
- Even if you don’t play the points and miles game today, you have the future option to transfer your points to another Chase card. This makes Ink Cash an extremely flexible option.
It’s not unusual to find a decent-to-good sign-up bonus even on business credit cards that charge no annual fee. Ink Cash is no exception, although its bonus could move from good to excellent if you use the right redemption strategy.
You’ll earn $500 cash back after you spend $3,000 in the first three months after account opening. Chase recently boosted the sign-up bonus on this card from $300, which puts this cash-back offer in line with bonuses offered by the best business cash-back credit cards, like the Capital One Spark Cash for Business.
That cash-back bonus is a sweet enough deal on its own, but you can turn the bonus into 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points — and more than double your return — if you pair the Ink Business Cash Card with a card that earns UR points, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. According to TPG’s current valuations, 50,000 UR points are worth $1,000.
This card’s rewards program really shines, especially for business owners who spend a bunch in overhead. Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable, cellular phone and landline services each account anniversary year (then 1%). Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year (then 1%) and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
You won’t find another card more generous than this one when it comes to office supplies, but if the annual account caps for the 5% rewards appear too low, you may consider the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express, which pays 5% on purchases made at US office supply stores and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from US service providers on up to $50,000 in purchases during a calendar year, then 1% thereafter.
Just because this is a cash-back card doesn’t mean that’s the only redemption option you have. You may redeem your rewards for gift cards, travel and goods and services offered through Chase’s rewards program. If you redeem for cash, you can receive your money in the form of an account statement credit (which would reduce your card balance, but not your minimum monthly payment) or through an electronic deposit into an eligible US checking or savings account.
Points redeemed for cash, gift cards or travel are worth 1 cent apiece, meaning you’d earn 5 cents for every dollar you spend on qualifying office supply purchases.
You can boost your redemption rate to an effective return of 10% (based on TPG’s valuations) for the first $25,000 spent at office supply stores and communications costs if you move your points to another Chase card with Ultimate Rewards. The other card must be registered to the owner of the company, you or a member of your household to qualify. Once you move points over to a UR-earning account, you can transfer them to one of 13 travel partners or book travel directly through the Chase portal and receive up to 1.5 cents per point in value.
You won’t find any of the airport-related perks associated with some premium travel rewards credit cards, which makes sense since this card doesn’t cater to to the heavy traveller. Instead, Ink Cash offers a host of more modest perks designed to protect users from fraud, auto accidents and damaged or stolen goods.
Purchase protection: Covers your new purchases for up to 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.
Auto rental collision damage waiver: When you rent car for business purposes using Ink Cash, you can decline the rental car company’s collision insurance and be covered by the card up to the cash value of the vehicle in the case of theft or collision damage. This is valid on most rentals in the US and abroad, and coverage is primary, which means it applies your own car insurance policy.
Extended warranty: Extends the time period of a US manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less.
Zero liability: You won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information. Federal law generally limits your liability to $50.
Employee cards at no additional cost: Note that if employees are allowed to use the account, they will be authorized users and will have equal charging privileges unless you establish individual spending limits.
What Cards Compete with the Ink Business Cash Credit Card?
The Ink Business Cash Credit Card is an excellent choice if your primary spending is office-related. But if you need to mix some travel into your schedule, you may consider the premium version of this card, the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, which offers top rewards on both travel and office spending. Earn 3x points per dollar on up to $150,000 in annual spending on travel; shipping purchases; internet, cable and phone services; and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar. You’ll also earn a more generous sign-up bonus on this card — 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. The annual fee is $95.
If you exceed $25,000 in annual office-supply purchases, you may consider a different rewards card that focuses on small business spending — the SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express. Along with the 5% cash back at US office supply stores mentioned above, American Express also allows you to choose another category of spending that earns 3% cash back on up to $50,000 in annual spending (then 1%). Pick from one of eight categories — airfare purchased directly from airlines, hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels, car rentals purchased from select car rental companies, US gas stations, US restaurants, US purchases for advertising in select media, US purchases for shipping and US computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers. You’ll earn 1% cash back on all other eligible spending. There is no annual fee.
For a more straightforward rewards program that pays the same cash back on all purchases, look toward the Capital One Spark Cash for Business. You’ll earn 2% cash back on all purchases. For a limited time, earn a sign-up bonus worth up to $2,000. You’ll earn a $500 cash bonus after spending $5,000 in the first three months and $1,500 when you spend $50,000 in the first six months of account opening. The annual fee is $95, waived the first year.
If you’re a small business owner — or even if you do some contract or freelance work on the side — this card could be a nice fit in your wallet. It’s combination of simplicity and rewards value make it a good fit for anyone looking for a return without much hassle. If cash back is what you’re looking for, you could do much worse. In fact, the Ink Business Cash Credit Card ranks as TPG‘s 2018 best business card for elevated cash-back rates.
Increased Offer - $500 Cash Back Bonus! 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, plus 2% back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each calendar year. Plus, you’ll earn an uncapped 1% cash back on everything else.
- Earn $500 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 internet, cable and phone 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