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  • The Chase Ink Business Unlimited And Ink Business Cash Are Both Great Cards With No Annual Fee — The Better Option For You Depends On Your Spending
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    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 don't have an 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, in fact, 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.

    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.

    Ink Business Cash vs Ink Business Unlimited comparison

    Regular APR

    13.24%–19.24% variable APR

    Featured Reward

    $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 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

    Employee cards at no additional cost

    No Annual Fee

    Pros

    Broad 5% and 2% cash-back categories (you can earn bonus cash back at office supply stores and at gas stations and restaurants)

    Intro APR offer for purchases

    No annual fee

    You can pair this card with a card that earns Ultimate Rewards to redeem your cash back for travel

    Cons

    Annual cap on bonus categories

    Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

    Regular APR

    13.24%–19.24% variable APR

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    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

    0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases

    Employee cards at no additional cost

    No Annual Fee

    Pros

    Earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase, with no bonus categories to keep track of

    Intro APR offer

    No annual fee

    Cons

    You can earn more cash back on some purchases with a card that has bonus categories

    Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right The Chase Ink Cash and Ink Unlimited have many similarities Intro APR offer

    Neither charges an annual fee, nor fees for employee cards. Both do levy foreign transaction fees, though. Each is also currently offering an intro APR of 0% on purchases for 12 months (then a 13.24%–19.24% variable APR).

    Welcome bonus

    Their welcome bonuses are identical, too: $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That amounts to 10% back on your spending.

    Using Chase Ultimate Rewards points

    Although they are positioned as cash-back cards, the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card and Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card actually earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points that you can redeem for travel through the Chase travel portal, gift cards, or statement credits at a rate of 1 cent apiece.

    However, if you have another Chase card that earns Ultimate Rewards points, namely the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or Ink Business Preferred, things get more interesting.

    I dreaded trying to transfer Chase points between cards until I tried it, and I still can't believe how easy it was

    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 apiece (depending on the card), or take advantage of transfers to the program's airline and hotel partners. This dramatically increases the potential value and flexibility your points give you. Even without this option, though, both the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card and Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card are strong options for small businesses.

    Purchase protection

    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.

    Unlike the Ink Business Preferred, neither covers cell phone damage.

    So what's the deal? Aren't they just the same card? Not quite.

    The difference between the Ink Business Cash and Ink Business Unlimited

    The major way these cards diverge is in their earning structures. The Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card has a simple formula: You'll earn 1.5% cash back (or 1.5 points per dollar) on all purchases with no caps.

    Chase Ink Business Unlimited card review: No annual fee and an impressive sign-up bonus make this card perfect for small-business owners who want to minimize costs

    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.

    Chase Ink Business Cash card review: A no-annual-fee business card with a best-ever bonus worth $750 and strong earning categories

    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.

    Chase Freedom Flex versus the Chase Freedom Unlimited: Which cash-back card is right for you?

    The decision is similar to the one consumers must make between these cards' personal counterparts, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Chase Freedom Unlimited®. The former offers 5% cash back (on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter when you activate) in categories that change quarterly, while the latter earns 1.5% back on most purchases (the Chase Freedom Unlimited® also recently started offering bonus cash back on eligible travel, dining, and drugstore purchases).

    Chase Ink spending scenarios

    To see which of these business cards earns the most cash back, we can take 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:

    Office supply and telecommunications: $20,000

    Gas and dining: $10,000

    Other: $10,000

    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 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:

    Office supply and telecommunications: $50,000

    Gas and dining: $30,000

    Other: $50,000

    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.

    However, let's say the bulk of your business spending is for travel and other expenses like online advertising. Here's a sample formula:

    Office supply and telecommunications: $5,000

    Gas and dining: $5,000

    Travel: $20,000

    Online advertising: $10,000

    Other: $10,000

    The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card would earn $750 back or 75,000 points. The Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card would earn the same.

    Finally, let's take a 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.

    Office supplies: $50,000

    Gas and dining: $20,000

    Travel: $50,000

    Rent, payroll, other: $500,000

    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.

    Which Chase Ink Business card is right for you?

    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.

    You don't need a company with several employees to qualify for a business credit card — even side gigs like driving for Uber can count

    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.

    Likewise, if you are managing a fairly established small business and can put many of the purchases on your work credit card, including those that go far above and beyond the $25,000 caps on the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card bonus categories, the uncapped 1.5% return from the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card is more the way to go.

    Bottom line

    The Ink Business Unlimited and Ink Business Cash® Credit Card are both solid, no-annual-fee credit cards for small businesses. Each offers a decent rate of return. In the case of the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, you can maximize its potential by using it primarily for purchases in the categories in which it earns bonuses. With an uncapped 1.5% rate of return, the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card is probably better for those either spending less or a lot more on work-related purchases, but not within the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card bonus categories.

    In either case, if you have a card that earns transferable Ultimate Rewards points, you can get even more value from your spending by combining your points accounts from these cards with either the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card or Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card to take advantage of Chase's many travel partners and other redemption options, like Pay Yourself Back.

    More Credit Card Coverage

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