Chase Ink Business Cash vs. Ink Business Unlimited: Which no-annual-fee business credit card is right for you?
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The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card and the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card are both great small-business credit cards from Chase, with no annual fee and identical welcome offers.
Chase offers a trio of great credit cards for small businesses: the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, and the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card.
The similarity of their names alone can make it hard for consumers to understand which one might be best for their needs. One major point of difference is that while the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card has a $95 annual fee, the others have a $0 annual fee.
As for the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card and Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card (which earn cash back in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards® points), their benefits are quite similar. Determining the better option for you will depend on what categories your business purchases tend to be in, and how much you spend each year.
Currently, these two cards offer an incredible $900 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Bonuses like this are simply not found on $0-annual-fee cards. This is one of the best bonuses we’ve ever seen — with any card.
We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.
Comparison of Ink Business Cash and Ink Business Unlimited
The Chase Ink Cash and Ink Unlimited have many similarities
Intro APR offer
Both cards currently come with a 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months (then a 16.99% – 22.99% Variable). This is handy for small business owners who have a large upcoming purchase that they’d like to pay off incrementally without accruing interest.
You should never carry a balance month-to-month, as the fees are high enough to negate the rewards you’ll earn with your card. A card with a 0% intro APR offer is a workaround.
Each welcome bonus is identical, too: $900 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. This is by far the highest offer we’ve ever seen for these cards. The previous bonuses were $750 after meeting minimum spending requirements; truly remarkable bonuses for no-annual-fee business credit cards.
Using Chase Ultimate Rewards points
Although the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card and Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card are marketed as cash-back cards, they actually earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points which you can redeem for travel through the Chase travel portal, gift cards, or cash back at a rate of 1 cent apiece.
However, if you also hold an annual fee-incurring Chase card, namely the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or Ink Business Preferred, things get more interesting.
You can combine your points from the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card or Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card with the points you earn on your other card and then either redeem them directly for travel at a rate of 1.25-1.5 cents per point (depending on the card), or transfer your points to airline and hotel partners such as Hyatt, Southwest, United Airlines, and more.
Insider’s valuations estimate that Chase points are worth an average of 1.8 cents each when redeeming them this way. That means the current bonus on each of these cards could be worth $1,620, on average.
Both cards offer purchase protection against theft or damage as long as 120 days post-purchase, and up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account. Each extends the US manufacturer’s warranty on purchases by an additional year. Both also come with primary rental car insurance for rentals whose main purpose is business.
The difference between the Ink Business Cash and Ink Business Unlimited
The major way these two cards diverge is in their earning structures.
The Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card provides a simple return rate: 1.5% cash back (or 1.5 points per dollar) on all purchases with no caps.
The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card is a little more complicated — but potentially more rewarding. Cardholders can earn 5% back (or 5 points per dollar) on the first $25,000 (then 1 point per dollar) spent in combined purchases each anniversary year at office supply stores and on internet, cable, and phone services.
The card earns 2% back (or 2 points per dollar) on the first $25,000 (then 1 point per dollar) spent each anniversary year in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants. Finally, it earns 1% back (or 1 point per dollar) on everything else.
If your work-related purchases are primarily at office supply stores and on telecommunications with a mix of gas and dining, then the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card might be the right card for you — especially if you’re not hitting those $25,000 caps.
However, if your business purchases are a bit more diverse — perhaps travel is a bigger component of your expenditures, or you spend a lot more on dining and gas than $25,000, then the uncapped Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card might be better, even if it only earns 1.5 points per dollar.
Which Chase Ink card is right for you?
To see which of these business cards will earn you the most rewards, let’s look at a few different scenarios.
Let’s say you either own or run a small business with an office for which you are responsible for making purchases, including a decent amount of entertaining. Your expenditures for the year might break down as follows:
The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card would earn 5% back on the first set of expenses, 2% back on the second, and 1% back on the third for a total combined $1,300 cash back, or 130,000 points.
The Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card would earn a paltry $600 or 60,000 points by comparison.
Now let’s say your office is much bigger and your expenses are much higher, divvying up as follows:
The Ink Business Cash would earn $2,550 cash back or 255,000 points. The Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card would earn $1,950 back or 195,000 points. So the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card still comes out ahead because of the major spending in its specific bonus categories.
Let’s now look at a really high-spending scenario where someone is managing a large office or workforce that requires not only supplies but also other expenditures, say for leases or extensive payroll or employee training.
The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card would earn a combined $7,400 back, or 740,000 points. The Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card would earn $9,300 back, or 930,000 points.
The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card is likely better for business owners or managers with small physical offices that require supplies, internet, and cable purchases, with some dining and gas expenses for things like sales calls.
However, for digital nomads, freelancers, and those whose work expenses are smaller and more varied — perhaps including categories like travel, subscriptions, or even membership at shared workspaces — the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card’s 1.5%-back earning structure might make more sense.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison to help you decide which Ink card is right for you:
The Ink Business Unlimited and Ink Business Cash® Credit Card are both solid no-annual-fee credit cards for small businesses with exceptionally high sign-up bonuses. The big difference between them is their earning rates. If you’re thinking about applying for one of these cards, that’s the detail you should be examining.
If you have a card that earns transferable Ultimate Rewards points, you can get even more value from your spending by moving your points from the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card or Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card to one of these cards. That’ll allow you to transfer your rewards to Chase’s many travel partners.