Ink Business Cash Credit Card vs. Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card [Detailed]

Chase Bank

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As a small business, it’s prudent to look for ways to operate efficiently and leverage any opportunity to bring more revenue to your bottom line.

A business rewards credit card can help you accomplish these objectives by keeping your business and personal expenses separate and letting you utilize cash-back, points, or miles to offset bottom line costs.

The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card and the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card are especially good choices since they reward many of the business-related purchases you’re currently making.

In this article we’ll compare the Ink Business Cash Card with the Ink Business Unlimited Card and cover:

  • Why you need a business credit card and who qualifies
  • How bonus spending categories compare
  • How bonus category limits can affect rewards earnings
  • Which credit card is best at redemption time
  • Other benefits that come with these business credit cards

If you’re looking for a business credit card that compliments and supports your small business operation, the Ink Business Cash Card and the Ink Business Unlimited Card are worthy considerations.

But which one is best for your business? Let’s find out now.

Reasons You Need a Business Credit Card

When you started out in business, it’s possible that you managed just fine using your personal credit cards. As your business grows, however, you’ll need a more comprehensive organization process to manage your operation efficiently.

A business credit card can help with organizing your purchases, tracking expenditures by employee, and even saving you money.

There are several reasons a prudent business owner needs a dedicated business credit card:

  • Establish business credit – While the strength of your personal credit helps you secure your initial business credit card, as time goes on, your business will be establishing credit on its own. Business credit can be used to secure a loan or other financing.
  • Keep expenses separate – One of the primary reasons to have a business credit card is to keep personal and business expenses separate.
  • More bonus spending categories – Business credit cards tend to have more business-related bonus spending categories such as shipping, office supplies, travel, and gas.
  • Higher credit limits – Business credit cards tend to have higher limits than personal credit cards.
  • Business-related benefits – You’ll find more business organizational tools on business credit cards, such as programs that sync with accounting systems, annual statements, and employee credit cards.

Bottom Line: Business credit cards provide increased benefits, additional organizational tools, and more opportunities to earn rewards on business purchases than personal credit cards. 

Retail storefront
You don’t need a brick and mortar business to qualify for a business credit card. Image courtesy of Christine Krzyszton.

Who Qualifies for a Business Credit Card?

You don’t have to run a large operation to qualify for a business credit card. You can apply for a business credit card even if you have a small side business, such as selling on eBay or coaching baseball part-time.

Some states require you to have a business license, and it’s always good to register your business if it’s required. Having a DBA (Doing Business As) or an LLC (Limited Liability Company) can add credibility and help improve your chances of getting approved for a business credit card.

Access the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website for more information on registering your business name and determining if a state or federal license is required for you to operate.

What These Two Chase Business Cards Have in Common

While either of these Chase business credit cards could make a positive contribution to your small business operation, one card may be better suited to the specific spending patterns of your business.

We’ll compare their differences in regards to bonus earning categories and spending limits shortly, but first let’s take a look at the cards’ similarities.

Both cards earn generous cash-back welcome bonuses for minimum initial spending in the first 3 months after card approval. You’ll also have ongoing earnings of valuable Ultimate Rewards Points that can be redeemed for cash-back, travel, merchandise, and more.

Neither card charges an annual fee, so that’s a positive — but both cards charge foreign transaction fees of 3%.

Both cards provide free employee cards, so you can monitor those expenses and earn rewards on every purchase your business makes.

With all the great attributes these cards have in common, it’s their earning differences that will determine which is the better business credit card for you.

Let’s compare rewards-earning categories on each of these cards and look at how the mix of your business expenses determines your earnings on each of these cards.

Bottom Line: The benefits of the Ink Business Cash Card and benefits of the Ink Business Unlimited Card are similar in many ways, but their earning structure is the key to selecting the right business card for your specific business operation.

Office supplies at Staples
Select a business credit card that rewards your largest purchases. Image courtesy of Staples.

Comparing Bonus Spending Categories

At first glance, we see that the Ink Business Cash Card has 5% and 2% cash-back categories (which are capped on the first $25,000 spent annually), compared to the Ink Business Unlimited Card’s flat 1.5% on every purchase.

You might jump at the chance to earn 5% or 2% cash-back, but let’s dig deeper and see if that’s the right decision for the specific mix of your business spending.

If your business spends a lot on travel, advertising, and shipping, the Ink Unlimited Card may be better suited to your business spending priorities.

Conversely, if your business spends a lot on office supplies, internet/cable/phone, gas, and restaurants, you could fare better with the Ink Cash Card.

Business Spending CategoryRewards Earned on Ink Business Cash Card
Rewards Earned on Ink Business Unlimited Card
Travel1% cash-back1.5% cash-back
Restaurants2% cash-back1.5% cash-back
Office supplies5% cash-back1.5% cash-back
Internet service/cable/phone5% cash-back1.5% cash-back
Gas stations2% cash-back1.5% cash-back
Advertising on social media/search engines1% cash-back1.5% cash-back
Shipping1% cash-back1.5% cash-back
All other purchases1% cash-back1.5% cash-back

Remember that the Ink Business Cash Card’s bonus earning is capped to the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases.

Bottom Line: Bonus business spending categories can accelerate earnings, but only if you have significant spending in those categories. If most of your business spending is in the Ink Business Cash Card 1% categories, for example, you may want to consider the Ink Business Unlimited Card to earn 1.5% on every purchase. 

How Limits Can Affect Your Earnings

It’s a clear positive that the Ink Business Cash Card has 5% and 2% earning categories, but each of these categories has a $25,000 limit per account year. Above that amount, you’ll only earn 1% cash-back.

The Ink Business Unlimited Card offers unlimited 1.5% earnings.

A business that requires a lot of travel, gas, and restaurant spending may exceed the $25,000 annual limit on the 2% categories of the Ink Business Cash Card, while they could earn 1.5% on every purchase with the Ink Business Unlimited Card. You’ll also only earn 1% on the Ink Cash Card for travel-related expenses.

Here’s an example with heavy spending in these categories that shows how earnings are affected by the mix:

ExpensesEarnings on Ink Business Cash Card
Earnings on Ink Business Unlimited Card
  • $40,000 spent on travel
  • $400 (1% of $40,000)
  • $600 (1.5% of $40,000)
  • $15,000 on restaurants + $15,000 gas
  • $500 (2% of first $25,000)
  • $50 (1% of $5000)
  • $450 (1.5% of $30,000)
Total Earnings
  • $950
  • $1,050

Bottom Line: If your business has purchases that exceed bonus category spending limits, your earnings will start to diminish after you reach those limits. Estimate your expenses up front and do some quick calculations before selecting a business credit card to make sure it’s a good match for your mix of business spending. 

Chase travel portal banner
Redeem your Ultimate Rewards Points for travel for 1 cent each, or transfer to a premium Chase credit card for up to 1.5 cents in travel value for each point. Image courtesy of Chase.

It’s Redemption Time — Which Card Has More Value Now?

Both the Ink Cash Card and the Ink Unlimited Card earn valuable Ultimate Rewards Points that can be used as cash-back or redeemed for travel, purchases on Amazon, gift cards, and statement credits.

Either card can deliver value to your bottom line by redeeming your points for cash-back at the rate of 1 cent per point. If earning rewards to use for travel is your priority, however, the best option is to pair one of these cards with a Chase premium card and receive up to 50% more value.

Let’s take a look at how the value of your Ultimate Rewards Points differs by Chase credit card when redeeming for travel.

Chase Credit CardValue of Ultimate Rewards Points

When Redeemed for Cash Back

Value When Redeemed for Travel
  • Ink Business Cash Card
  • 1.0 cent per point
  • 1.0 cent per point
  • Ink Business Unlimited Card
  • 1.0 cent per point
  • 1.0 cent per point
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • 1.0 cent per point
  • 1.25 cents per point
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card
  • 1.0 cent per point
  • 1.50 cents per point

Hot Tip: Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned on the Ink Business Cash Card and the Ink Business Unlimited Card increase in value when transferred to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. The points can then be redeemed for travel for up to 1.5 cents per point versus 1.0. Transferring your Ultimate Rewards Points also allows you to then transfer points to airline/hotel travel partners for potential added value

Additional Benefits and Protections

Helping you organize your business expenses and earning rewards on your purchases are huge benefits of having a business credit card. But there are additional protections and card features that can be equally beneficial.

Travel Benefits/Protections

Travel benefits/protections on the Ink Business Cash Card and Ink Business Unlimited Card are identical and include the following:

  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver – Pay with your card, decline the rental agency coverage, and you’ll receive primary coverage when renting a vehicle for business purposes in the U.S. and abroad. The coverage will pay up to the actual cash value of the vehicle. Most credit cards provide only secondary coverage, so having primary coverage is a real advantage.
  • Lost Luggage Benefit – Report the loss of your luggage to the carrier first, then submit a claim for coverage of up to $3,000 for each insured person. Coverage is in excess of any remuneration received from the carrier.
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services – If you have a problem away from home, you can call 24/7 for free legal, medical, travel, or emergency referral assistance. The cardholder is responsible for the cost of actual services.
  • Baggage Delay Benefit – When baggage is delayed more than 6 hours, you may receive $100/day for up to 3 days. This coverage is in excess of remuneration received from the carrier.
  • Roadside Dispatch – You’ll have access to roadside dispatch service 24/7. Available services include delivery of gas, towing, jumpstarting, tire changing, and lockout service. The cardholder is responsible for cost of actual services.
  • Travel Accident Insurance – Provides up to $500,000 for a covered loss due to accident.

Shopping Protections

Extended Warranty – Receive an additional year of warranty coverage on U.S. manufacturer’s repair warranties of 3 years or less. You must charge some portion of the item’s purchase price to your card.

Purchase Protection – Your qualifying purchase made with your credit card receives 120 days of coverage against damage or theft, up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.

Final Thoughts

The Ink Business Cash Card and Ink Business Unlimited Card are similar cards when we compare redemption options, benefits, shopping protections, and business features.

Neither card charges an annual fee, and both cards charge foreign transaction fees. The real bottom-line difference in these business credit cards is the mix of bonus spending categories and limits on some of those categories. If your business spends a lot on travel, advertising, and shipping, the Ink Business Unlimited Card might deliver better earnings.

However, if your business spends a lot on office supplies, internet/cable/phone services, restaurants, and gas (and doesn’t exceed the $25,000 in each bonus earnings category), the Ink Cash Card will be the better choice.

You can’t go wrong with either business credit card, and you may even want both of these cards to make sure you earn top rewards on every purchase.

Just 1 more recommendation: think about pairing these cards with a premium Chase credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or Chase Sapphire Reserve card to maximize the value of all those Ultimate Rewards Points you’ll be earning.

Before applying for any Chase credit card, you’ll want to review Chase’s 5/24 rule. This rule concerns how many credit cards (from any issuer) that Chase allows you to have opened in the past 24 months before they will not approve you for a new credit card.

Frequently asked questions

How does cash-back work?

On Chase credit cards, rewards are first earned as points on all of the purchases you make on your Chase credit card. These points can be redeemed for cash-back at the rate of 1 cent each (hence the term “cash-back”).

The points earned on Chase credit cards are Ultimate Rewards Points, and they accumulate in your rewards account until you choose to redeem them.

How does 0% APR work?

A 0% APR credit card is a normal credit card that offers a special introductory period when no interest is charged on purchases made and/or on balances transferred from other credit cards.

Instead of being charged interest when you carry an ongoing balance month to month, no interest is charged for the first 12 months after card approval.

If you have high-interest credit card balances and your new card is a 0% APR credit card, you can transfer those balances and take 12 months to repay the debt without interest.

It’s important to pay off any balances prior to the 12 month period ending, or you will be charged significant interest. See details above for the specific offers on the cards we discussed here.

How do I redeem Ultimate Rewards Points for travel?

When you make purchases on your credit card, you earn Ultimate Rewards Points that can be redeemed for cash-back, gift cards, statement credits, or travel.

To redeem for travel, you would sign in to your Chase online account and click the Ultimate Rewards banner. You will be taken to the Ultimate Rewards site, where you can book travel using your points at the rate of 1 cent per point in value.

You can receive even greater value (up to 1.5 cents per point), if you have a Chase premium Ultimate Rewards credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

Which card is best for a small business?

The best business credit card for a small business is one that matches your business spending. Since each of these cards has different bonus spending categories, you’ll want to select the card that aligns with your greatest expenses.

For example, if your business spends a lot on travel, the Ink Unlimited Credit Card may work well for you. If you spend a significant amount on office supplies, internet, and phone services, you may fare better with the Ink Cash Card.

You’ll need to estimate your annual expenses in each category and select a business credit card that rewards those categories.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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  1. This was so incredibly helpful! Thank you for this breakdown. 🙂


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