Chase Ink Business Credit Card Alternatives & Review

Chase Ink Business Credit Card Alternatives & Review
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Chase Ink may be suitable if you expect to use your business card in a “traditional” way—for day-to-day purchases, paying interest on unpaid balances, earning cash back rewards, etc. However, traditional cards like Chase Ink can create quite a bit of work on the administrative side. It’s important to understand that perks and rewards aren’t the only considerations when evaluating a solution for managing employee spending.

How to evaluate business credit cards

Picking the right business card can seem complicated at first due to the number of offerings out there. The core purpose of any spend management solution should be to make your life easier. The right business credit card could help you:

  • Simplify the payment process
  • Reduce administrative tasks
  • Provide real-time visibility into total spend
  • Prevent over budget or out of policy spend

Let’s take a look at what the three Chase Business Credit Cards have to offer (Unlimited, Cash, & Preferred). 

Do the Chase Ink cards simplify the payment process?

Chase Ink offers physical cards, but not virtual cards. This means you miss out on the added layer of security offered by virtual cards and the flexibility of issuing and closing cards instantly. 

The cards themselves do not offer Bill Pay services. You’d need to sign up with Chase as a banking customer and pay bills via your checking account. 

Do the Chase Ink cards reduce admin?

Chase is a traditional bank, so as expected, their business cards do not offer much innovation to reduce administrative tasks. The Chase Ink app used to provide a basic receipt capture feature, but the app was shut down in 2019 when the bank chose to focus on its core offering. As it stands, with Chase Ink you’ll still need to staple receipts to manual expense reports, the old school way. You are able to integrate your credit card with some bookkeeping software, which helps with accounting processes.

It’s safe to say that for other tasks like expense reports & reimbursements, capturing receipts, OCR (document scanning), and travel management, you’re on your own with Chase Ink. 

Do the Chase Ink cards give you real-time visibility into total spend?

The only way to see spending on Chase Ink cards is through the Chase mobile or web apps. You can see your owed balance and what transactions have been made but have no visibility over total spend by period, category, or team. You’d have to download and cut the data from your statements to conduct any meaningful analysis. 

Tasks like tracking accrued expenses at the individual expense category or business unit level would be challenging. Chase provides some rudimentary budgeting tools (based on personal budgeting needs), but nothing that approaches the needs of a small business. 

Can the Chase Ink cards prevent over budget or out of policy spend?

All three Chase Ink cards give you the ability to request additional employee cards to access your company’s credit limit, at no extra cost. You’re able to set individual monthly spending limits for cardholders, however, there are limitations to the controls provided. Although you can control the total spend of each employee, you can’t prevent out of policy spend. There is no feature to specify approved categories of spending, e.g. office supplies or travel, no limit on transaction size, or automated way to restrict or approve specific purchases.

Do the Chase Ink cards empower your team to manage their own budgets?

Chase Ink cards do not provide budget to actual reporting. To report on your spend, you’ll need to export all of your transactions and manually track progress across budget categories and targets. Most likely, your budget owners won’t have time for such manual work, so will have to wait for reports to be provided by finance after each end of month reporting period before they’re able to make strategic spending decisions. 

What are Chase Ink's Business card fees? 

Fees vary across the three Chase Ink cards. Let’s take a look:

Chase Ink Card Fees

The most important fee to consider is the interest charged on your credit line. Variable APR credit cards can be dangerously expensive, which is why it’s so easy to get access to these cards. 

How do I qualify for a Chase Ink card?

To be eligible for a Chase Ink Card you must have an eligible business, but the requirements are less strict than you might think. Side hustles such as driving for Uber, freelancing, and renting Airbnb’s often qualify. Because the interest rates are so high, approval is usually very quick. 

Even though Chase doesn’t publish selection criteria, some generally accepted guidelines are:

  • Have a good/excellent credit score (above 700 recommended)
  • Lower your credit utilization ratio on existing cards
  • Meet Chase’s 5/24 rule: you’ll get denied if you’ve opened five or more bank cards in the past 24 months
  • Have an existing Chase relationship 
  • Open a Chase business banking account 
  • Apply in-person at a branch

Chase Ink perks that don’t matter

Perks vary across the 3 Chase Ink cards. They all have seemingly generous new cardmember offerings,  but you should consider what matters most for your business.  

Let’s break down the rewards offered: 

Chase Ink Credit Card Rewards

While it may seem appealing to use a credit card to provide easy access to 30 days of “float,” the fees above can rack up quickly and the high, variable APRs make it easy to end up buried under high interest charges.

While cash back rewards may provide some relief, they’re unlikely to outweigh the time and effort required to effectively manage your spend via manual reporting. Plus, overspending in certain categories can only be caught after-the-fact. 

Chase Ink vs Lola.com

 Chase Ink Cards versus Lola.com comparison checklist

Who is a good fit for Chase Ink? 

Chase Ink is a good fit for small business owners or sole proprietors looking to use their business credit card in a “traditional” sense. That means you’re looking for a 30-day “float,” and you don’t mind the high variable interest rate in exchange for rewards. It’s most suitable for small businesses that don’t need to monitor their spending in real-time, track spending to budget, conduct spend analysis, or have granular controls on employee spending. 

Who is a good fit for Lola.com? 

If you’re looking to empower your employees, reduce administrative workload, and really manage your spend, Lola.com is for you. 

Lola.com will help you keep your company’s spending in line by providing real-time visibility of total spend by category and track it to budget, so you and your budget owners always know where you stand. With both physical and unlimited virtual cards for all your employees, receipt capture technology, and categorization of transactions, the expense process is streamlined and reimbursements eliminated. Lola.com’s cards enable tight controls over how employees can spend, including budgets that can be assigned per card, approved spend categories, and transaction limits, so you can completely control how your company’s money is spent.

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About the Author: Jack Moberger
As an equipment finance expert at Chain AMS, Jack specializes in helping large manufacturers arrange and manage operating and finance leases all over the world. Previously, he spent time in various finance roles at GE Aviation.