The Best No Annual Fee Business Credit Card

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When people ask my thoughts as to the best business credit card, I usually recommend the Ink Plus® Business Credit Cardwhich I find to be the most valuable card for small businesses.

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 5 points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2 points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel each account anniversary year

Ultimate Rewards points are so versatile given that they can be transferred efficiently to both airline and hotel partners, and given the bonus categories on the Ink cards, the points add up really quickly.

Ultimate-Rewards-Transfer-Partners

The No Annual Fee Alternative:

People often overlook the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, which is the no annual fee version of the “premium” Ink Cards.

  • This card also accrues 5x points on spend at office supply stores, landlines, internet, and wireless phones, as well as 2x points spent on gas and restaurants (rather than hotels).
  • The major difference is that it only accrues those bonus points on the first $25,000 spent in the above categories annually, as opposed to the first $50,000, which for most of us is probably a moot point.
  • The sign-up bonus on the card is lower than the Ink Plus or Ink Cash, as it offers 20,000 points after spending $3,000 within three months rather than 50,000 points after spending $5,000 within three months.

However, there’s no annual fee on the Ink Cash, so it’s a trade off that might make sense depending on how long you plan on keeping the card.

Why You’ll Want a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card in Conjunction With the Ink Cash® Business Card:

As you’ll notice if you look at the the Ink Cash application, the sign-up bonus is marketed as being in the form of “cash back”.

That being said, if you have a card that accrues “premium” Ultimate Rewards points, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Ink Plus, Ink Bold, etc., you can pool all your points and use all of them as “premium” Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred to the above partner programs.

That means as long as you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred (which just about everyone should have given the double points on dining and travel and no foreign transaction fees) as well as the Ink Cash, the points are just as valuable as the ones you’d earn on the Ink Plus or Ink Bold.

So am I better off getting the Ink Plus/Bold or the Chase Ink Cash?

It’s tough to say. The cards are considered different products so you could actually qualify for all cards if you wanted to. With the Ink Plus or Ink Bold you’re earning 30,000 more Ultimate Rewards points from the sign-up bonus, though they do require an extra $2,000 of minimum spend.

I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.8 cents each, so the sign-up bonus for the Ink Plus and Ink Bold offers an additional $540 by my valuation. That covers more than five years of the $95 annual fee.

However, if you’re looking for a long term, no annual fee credit card that’s extremely rewarding, it’s tough to beat the Ink Cash. This is definitely the best no annual fee business credit card.


Non-Affiliate Product Disclaimer: The information for the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card has been collected independently by One Mile At A Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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Comments

  1. If I’m looking to downgrade my Bold to the Ink Cash next year (before the annual fee hits)…am I best applying for the Ink Cash (to get the sign-up bonus), and if they won’t approve it, offering to close the Bold to get the Ink Cash approved?

  2. Thanks for this analysis!

    First question- Is it possible to downgrade an Ink Bold Biz Card in Year 2 to an Ink Cash Business Card and keep the existing Ultimate Rewards Points, but avoid paying the annual fee?

    Second question- If you have an Ink Bold Card, is it possible to separately apply for an Ink Cash card, receive the bonus, combine the points from the Bold/Cash cards and then close the Bold Card to avoid the 2nd year annual fee?

    Thanks!

  3. @ Ryan — So the Ink Bold is a charge card while the Ink Cash is a credit card, so if you wanted to get the Ink Cash you could apply for it and then cancel your Ink Bold card, which would still allow you to earn the sign-up bonus.

  4. @ Mike — You can downgrade an Ink Bold to an Ink Classic or an Ink Plus to an Ink Cash, but in either case you’re probably just better off applying for a new card and transferring your points.

    And you can absolutely apply for the Ink Cash separately and then consolidate points.

  5. Mike, I’ve been 2 for 2 at calling Chase to cancel IB and IP right before the annual fee hits and getting a statement credit equal to the annual fee ($85) to keep the card. It’s a decent enough card for the 5x at office supply stores and my cable/cell phone bills for me to keep, and that way I’m not in as much of a rush to transfer UR points. You can always apply for IC later if they stop offering statement credits to prolong your UR points, and don’t forget about the Freedom and Sapphire cards.

  6. Back when the offer was 25k, I got both Ink Classic and Ink Cash, still have Ink Bold. I was going to give it up when the fee hit, but might not, given the Small Business savings that Lucky pointed out. That, plus my card was still truly primary for CDW (not just on foreign travel)made it worth the fee.

    If that has changed on 11/1 (which would be a downgrade, in spite of the PR), then I might give up the Bold.

  7. Each situation is different, but I’ve noticed that it’s much easier to get a retention bonus for the Ink Bold/Plus ($95 statement credit) than the CSP. So for the value conscious, I’d downgrade the CSP to a CS, and keep the Ink Bold/Plus for UR pts.

    (But I believe the CSP has better benefits than the Ink Bold, so this may tip the scales for some people.)

  8. Sorry but you CANNOT downgrade Ink Bold to a one of the no annual fee Ink cards. Ink Bold is a charge card and the other Ink cards are credit cards. Chase will not let you switch from a charge card to a credit card. If you put any sort of spend on your Ink Bold they will waive the fee at renewal if you just ask. Same for the Ink Plus (although you can downgrade Ink Plus since it is a credit card and not a charge card). No need to burn an inquiry or risk shut down of all your Chase cards for churning too many sign up bonuses. If you want to risk that, just apply for another 50K Ink under a different EIN, but for the love of god don’t use an affiliate link unless you want to be inundated by advertisements on BoardingArea masquerading as blog posts.

  9. so i’m getting confused, can you transfer Ultimate Rewards from chase freedom/ink cash to ink bold? or is it ONLY to chase sapphire preferred?

  10. @ Huy — You sure can transfer them to the Ink Bold, Ink Plus, or Chase Sapphire Preferred, and they’d be “premium” Ultimate Rewards points.

  11. I want to apply for either the Ink Bold or Ink Plus, in case I get declined, would it be possible to ask recon if they could approve me the Ink Cash without getting another hit on my credit?

  12. @ Sam — The requirement for being approved shouldn’t be any different for the Ink Cash than the Ink Plus/Bold, so I doubt you’ll have any issue either way. 🙂

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