Considering and Reconsidering Ink

Ever since I published a way to earn 5 points per dollar everywhere with Chase Ink cards (see “One card to rule them all“), many people have become interested in signing up for these cards.  Interest seems to have swelled recently thanks to all of the hubbub regarding the new Bluebird card (see “Bluebird takes flight and changes the game” and “Bluebird lands. Questions answered“).  With Bluebird and a Chase Ink card its possible to earn 5X not just for all credit transactions, but for virtually all payments of any kind.  So, its no surprise to see increased interest in Chase Ink cards!

In this post I’ll try to cover everything you need to know about the process of getting an Ink card, including what is likely to happen after you are approved.

Types of Ink

Chase offers four different Ink cards, all of which work with the 5X everywhere technique.  The Ink Bold and Ink Plus cards are identical except that the Bold is a charge card (which must be paid off in full each month) and the Plus is a credit card.  The Bold and Plus cards offer 50K sign-up bonuses (after $10K in spend), are limited to $50K in 5X spend per year, and have a $95 annual fee after the first year.  The Ink Classic and Ink Cash cards offer 25K sign-up bonuses (after $5K in spend), are limited to $25K in 5X spend per year, and have no annual fee.  All four cards earn 5 points per dollar at office supply stores and cell phone, landline, and cable bills.  Points earned on the Bold or Plus can be transferred directly to airline miles and hotel programs.  Points earned on the Classic and Cash can only be transferred indirectly to those programs.  To do so, you would need to first transfer points to a card that can do the transfer (such as the Bold, Plus, or Sapphire Preferred cards).

Do I need a business?

Chase Ink cards are business cards intended for small business owners.  I get asked often if one can get an Ink card if one doesn’t have a “real” business.  The answer is yes, most likely.  You just need to be creative about what you consider to be your business.  Good examples include selling items at yard sales or online, writing a novel, writing a blog Smile, owning rental property, consulting, etc.  When determining whether to approve your application, Chase will consider your entire income, not just the income (if any) from your business.

How do I fill out the application?

There are some questions on the application that might not be obvious as to how to answer.  Examples include “Type of business” and “Tax ID”.

Please see my post “How to sign up for the Ink Bold (or Ink Plus)” for step by step instructions.

Despite the title of the post, the instructions show how to signup for any of the Ink cards (Bold, Plus, Classic, or Cash).  The tips in that post can even be helpful for signing up for other non-Chase business cards, but the specific screen shots and options shown are specific to Chase.

What if I get turned down?

After applying, you are likely to get a message saying that your application is under review.  At that point you could simply wait a few weeks to see what happens, or you can proactively call the reconsideration line to get an instant decision.  Whether you’re anxious to get a quick answer, or if your application was declined, your next step should be to call the business reconsideration line.  They generally answer quickly (Monday through Friday during business hours).

Here is an example of such a call (contributed by a reader who was initially turned down):

Rep: I see that the original decision was declined, but I can see if we can be of any further help by asking few business related questions.
Me: Yes, please.

Rep: What kind of business are you in?
Me: Online sales.

Rep: What kind of goods do you actually sell?
Me: Electronics, housewares, etc.

Rep: How long have you been in this business?
Me: Almost an year.

Rep: What were your sales for the past 1 year?
Me: $9000

Rep: Source of income on application shows XXX USD. Do you confirm?
Me: I do.

Rep: I see you currently owe balances on two personal cards. How much of the balance do you pay on these cards each month?
Me: The minimum payments for both of these cards together is $130, but I pay a total of $350 every month to clear the balances faster.

Rep: I am now able to assure you that your application has been approved with an initial spend reserve of $5000. The more you use the card, the higher the reserve will go.
Me: Thank you so much.

Quick soapbox aside: Note that while this reader was approved despite having balances to pay down on other cards, I don’t generally recommend getting new cards until you have paid off all existing balances and have proven to yourself that you can pay balances in full each month.

The scary follow-up call

Once you’ve had your Ink card in-hand for a week or two you are likely to get a call from Chase.  They’ll ask you lots of questions about your business and how you intend to use your card.  Some people get scared by this call because it seems like Chase is “on to you” (as if you’re doing something wrong).  In reality, they’re just trying to understand their customer better, and they’re making sure that the allowed amount of spend is big enough for your needs.  After a recent call like this, the agent doubled my spending limit!

Online account access

Another issue people face when they get their Ink card is that the card doesn’t show up on their online account (if they already have a personal account with Chase).  When you first get a business card, you need to setup a new business account with a different ID than your personal account.  Once that is done, you can optionally call Chase and ask them to add your personal cards into your business account so that you can see everything in one place.  For some reason, Chase doesn’t allow you to go the other way: you can’t add your business cards into your personal online account.

More about Ink

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Vacation Notice

Greg (Frequent Miler) is currently on vacation. Posts have been scheduled for most days, but emails, comments, and Tweets may go unanswered for a while.

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  1. Just a quick comment regarding online setup – if you want to keep your username you use with your personal accounts, you don’t actually need to create a new one for business account.

    You can call them and the BUSINESS online team can work some magic (removing your personal accounts from your username, adding the business account, then re-adding all your personal accounts back). It took them about ten minutes to reshuffle everything for me while I was on hold.

    You just have to request to speak to the business side of the web support/online team. They are only there on weekdays, I believe from 7am.

  2. I recently applied for the Ink Bold plus and was not approved instantly. When I called them to reconsider the only issue they brought up was the number of inquires (credit card applications) I’ve had in the last 12 months. I was a bit surprised they would go back that far but they do. I have opened at least 12 new credit cards in the last 12 months, plus a mortgage refinance. I told them I needed to get some different credit cards to get the perks from specific airlines I was planning to flight on. That seemed enough explanation. They did ask me how I was planning to use the card so I hope they don’t call back with more questions.

  3. I applied Monday and called reconsideration Tuesday. The call was very similar to above (except for the paying down balances portion!). After several questions – about the nature of my business, projected annual revenue, and desired credit – I was approved.


  4. I too applied for the Ink Bold Business. My tour with Chase was very interesting! I applied online giving a legitimate Fed Tax ID number. I called the Reconsider line to followup. They asked a lot of personal identification questions and then forced me over to the fraud dept for a barrage of questions. In the end, they asked me to fax in copy of Driv Lics, Copy of IRS letter designating FED Tax ID number, copy of address verification of business. I did all this. Then I waited for 10 days thinking I would get a letter declining or accepting the application. Nothing arrived in the mail. So I called the Reconsideration number again. They saw that the fax was received and that it took a week to get it processed. At that point I was forwarded to the fraud dept again. I was then asked the barrage of questions that your reader forwarded to you that you have placed in this blog entry above. In the end, they wanted to know if I wanted my card Fedexed overnight! I am received and excited but the process was a bit unnerving. I don’t blame Chase for the process but I did not enjoy it either.

  5. You have to be firm with the Chase business recon line. When asked some intrusive question I replied “Just transfer some of my existing credit limit to the new card or I will just use my business Amex” and that was that.
    I am willing to cancel all my cards or risk Chase cancelling them, but I won’t be made to feel like a criminal, even though I am.

  6. My husband applied for Ink on Monday. He called the reconsideration line. They asked for 2010, 2011 and projected 2012 sales. They asked for 2010, 2011 and projected 2012 net profit. They transferred him to fraud department and asked him a few personal questions to verify it was truly him. Then approved him.

  7. FM – I’m a NYCer which means so reloads available, but I’ve got a week long trip coming up which I’m hoping will provide me with an opportunity to get some. Is it better to make one large purchase at OD or to go each day and make smaller ones?

    • Tim: I’ve heard reports of some OD stores calling Chase for verification only with very large orders, so there is some chance that going multiple days would be helpful. On the other hand, it would be much easier just to go once!

    • Tao: Yes. You could even apply for the Ink Classic as a new card (to get the signup bonus) and when you call the reconsideration line tell them that you’re willing to close the Ink Bold in exchange.

  8. I too was just approved for the Ink Plus this week. Process very similar to what you describe above. There was a bit of confusion when they wanted to send me a form to fill out about my business, but I called back to another rep and they understood that it was a side business and did not need official identification. She cancelled the letter. All Chase reps that I have dealt with have been exceedingly professional and helpful. Thanks for the heads up about the follow up call and online account access process.

  9. My reconsideration call was easier than I thought it would be. – Chase just brought down the spending limit on my SW and BA cards to 10k and gave me the BI business card for 10k. I’m on my way.

  10. The trouble with getting an Ink card without a “real” business is that the application requires you to certify that “I agree this is a business account and shall only be used for business purposes and not for personal, family or household use.”
    If your business is just “selling items at yard sales or online, writing a novel, writing a blog” etc, you are very unlikely to be able to make the minimum spends without violating those terms.

  11. Got to sit in on last half of your seminar in ord and great job. On the app here is a box that you have to check saying you have not been denied credit in the past 6 mos. Applied 5/24 for an IB and was denied, didnt reconsider. Credit is/was good 720+ 3 scores. If i apply and not instant approved, even though i was denied i should still get it right? Did my last churn 8/24 but got no chases and still score is above 720 should i go for it?

  12. I applied for the Chase Business Ink Bold about a week ago. They said I would get a notification by mail about whether I was approved or not. Due to Bluebird, I got impatient and called in two days later to try to speed up the process. Whole call took 20 mins and they approved me, but some of the questions were annoying.

    My online business only makes $3k a year and that is what I told them. Was still approved and got a high credit limit. Wonder if $10-$15 k in OD purchases in 1 year will set of a red flag based on my $3k annual business income? If I am a bit creative and make other purchases too, I am guessing I will get away with it.

  13. @Tim MY last purchase at OD was the most “conplicated” yet for me. In the past, I have always been asked to provide my Drivers Lisc as a Photo ID to match with the Ink card. This time they did all that and then said they had to call the credit card company to verify that my Ink card address on file matched my address on my license. In the end, all went well but it really was a time consuming transaction to make.

  14. Question FM: Does it bother you that you “came up” with this whole scheme, yet you don’t paste affiliate referral links all over your blog posts. Yet, those other copycat bloggers like MMS/gleff/TPG blatently rip this idea off from you, and basically copy your scheme almost word for word, yet they plaster affiliate referral links all over their blog posts. So now since you don’t offer links on your front page to sign up for this Ink series of CCs, many noobs probably just go and apply via the links of the CC pimps above? That would really piss me off, does it not bother you? Look, I hate the credit card whoring more than anybody, but I really think you should at least have posted a reminder in your blog post above saying if the reader is interested in a new Ink CC, that they can visit your CC section of your blog to help your blog out. Otherwise, those pikers above are making thousands of dollars in referral kickbacks when it was you who “came up” with the ideas.

  15. Oh yeah, as a followup, I must admit I get a weird feeling of satisfaction that somebody else is profiting off your hard work and you are not. Hmmmm, it’s almost exactly how we FTers feel about when you swipe our ideas and deals and blatently post them on your blogs (normally killing the deals prematurely) to get more readers. Isn’t it ironic, don’t ya think???? 😉

  16. Anon256: that is true.
    TravelGuide37: that’s a great question, but I don’t know the answer. Personally, I think I’d wait until it has been 6 months before applying, but you might have higher risk tolerance than me?
    WishyAnand: I have no real way of knowing, but I doubt it would raise any flags. I think the assumption would simply be that your business must be improving

  17. FM — I think you should get the affiliate money for new signups (rather than copycat bloggers), and am completely in favor of you adding affiliate links to your posts to make sure that happens.

    • N: I appreciate the thought. I’m committed to not put credit card links directly in my posts except under a few exceptions (see this post for details). Luckily, I’ve found that many readers make the effort to find my links on my Credit Cards tab at the top of every blog page.

  18. I applied for the IB and got pending, then called recon. The guy asked so many questions about myself and business. He wanted to know the kinds of business, profit and loss, employee head count. He gave me fax number to fax him the business registration certificate, business bank statement and IRS tax filing. Be prepared.

  19. @Jason – Yup, be prepared. Some of them take their job way more seriously than others. Once on a Chase biz card app I went through a short call but at the end the guy said he couldn’t make a decision at that time, then about an hour latter a very aggressive guy called me and kept me on the phone for 30 minutes. I got denied that time. Four months later I got approved for the same card with only a short call. Go figure. But be ready.

    • Guys, before I had an S-Corp, I ran my business as a sole proprietor for years. This is normal business if you are a small business owner. I didn’t even have a DBA. My official name of the business was (last name) consulting. I also had health and nutrition company / business with a very large MLM company ($Billions) and ran that one as a sole proprietor.
      You might want to get a DBA from your city if you are doing business. (assuming you are doing a business) I suggest something cool, like a URL .com name.

      POINT: Don’t let some desk jockey psych you out. Know your business language. And HEY, for heavens sake, START a business and save on taxes. (see your accountant for any tax advice)

  20. FM-I used your link to apply for Ink Plus. This was to show my support for your hard work. I respect FT contributions as well and hope that people can express their discontent with bloggers in a respectful manner.

    • Smitty06: I appreciate it! Thanks to readers like you who are willing to seek out my links, I’ve been able to earn a living (so far) without putting affiliate links directly in my daily posts. I think that’s good for everyone!

  21. So today I went to OD for the first time to check on the availability of Vanilla reloads. I just got approved for the Ink plus and I’m waiting for its arrival. When I was at OD I saw a bunch of reload cards, not only vanilla. I saw some Amex and some Visa. They all had the same option: load $25 to $500. So my question to you is: can I buy any of them or is the vanilla the only one that can be loaded into a blue bird? I was a bit confused…

  22. And if there are any chicago FTers that want to swap info about Walgreens that accept credit cards for vanilla reloads, PM me on FT. I found one today.

  23. Marianna-Vanilla only. Anyone with a walgreens hookup sacramento area please let me know. I have my own Vanilla inventory lol.

  24. Great Post! I think I am at the limit in which Chase will extend credit to me. How long does one generally have to wait before applying again? And given this situation, would you recommend applying for the Ink Plus or Ink Bold first?

    • Kenny: Its usually good to wait 91+ days between applications, but if you haven’t done any business apps recently, it should be OK to go now. Its OK if you’ve reached the limit of credit that Chase will extend to you. Just call the recon line and tell them that they can take some of the credit line from one of your personal cards. For example, offer to let them drop the credit limit of, say, your Sapphire card, from $10K to $5K. That way they’re not adding any risk by accepting your application.

  25. I have the Ink Classic and Ink Cash for many years now, as you mentioned i transfer the Ink Classic points to Sapphire Preferred, but uoi mention you can transfer the Ink Cash points to Sapphire -UR- and get them as UR points instead of cash back? thank you

    • Lucy: It was my understanding that you could transfer points from Ink Cash to other cards, but I don’t have a Cash card to try it with. Care to try and let us know if it worked?

  26. I have the bold and and plus…is it a good idea to go for the classic and cash?. Is it possible to have all four kinds of inks? I have an almost unlimited supply of vanillas…my only problem is the 50K cap on the bold and plus…I am almost at the cap. I Love Vanillas :)

  27. Looking for clarification on this: I’m seeing posts on FT alleging that one can get both a MC *and* Visa versions of any of the Ink cards. I’ve only heard of/seen MasterCard versions. Has anyone actually confirmed that there are Visa-branded versions of these cards? The cards are actually depicted on Chase’s website with neither logo, and makes no mention of whether it’s MC or Visa. If it’s possible to get both – and if it’s possible to get the sign-up bonus for both…a lot of us would double our pleasure.

    Me, I have the Ink Bold MC – like everyone else, I think. I just finished refinancing my home loan a few days ago (with Chase!) so now am free to acquire the Ink Plus, too (I’m hoping that lowered spend requirement that popped up briefly a week ago comes back). When I do, I’d like to try getting it as a Visa, if such things exist – but I don’t think they do.

    Anybody really know for sure if there’s a Visa flavor of these?

    • Krusty: It’s certainly the case that the Sapphire Preferred card comes in both flavors (MC and Visa), but I hadn’t heard that about the Ink cards. Can you point me to a Flyertalk thread that says that?

  28. Krusty, I would love it if they have the visa versions of the inks (like everyone else, i have MC). Where did you find out that there may be visa versions? I am running out of spend in my two inks, and desperate to have some more.

  29. FM, how do I get referral bonus links for the inks? I have a couple people interested in applying, and I would like to earn some extra cash for refering them to the inks. Also, I would like to start my own blog detailing the results of my experiments with several rewards credits cards and prepaid cards. FM, how do I start my own blog so that I can earn some extra cash? Thanks in advance. I would like to do what you do part-time. I have a couple of not-so-well-known ideas to share to people (but for a price). I Love Vanillas :)

  30. MeLovesVanilla, there are toooo many bloggers and it is very overcrowded, most of these bloggers have very few leaders, and only very few are successful . To have referral links you must have high traffic and or many readers , and as for the Ink cards Visa versions do not exist, Krusty,s info is not correct.

    • I have 3 of them , the no fee Ink Classic which limits the x5 category to 25$k , Ink Cash no fee, and Ink Bold, the 1st 2 i have had for many years, if you decide to try please let us know how it goes. Thanks.

  31. Lucy, I will let you all know if I try for the classic and cash. I am not sure if I am going for it because I been pushing my luck lately with these 5X and also with the other cards. I might even just wait for the new Ink Bold to come out.

    • FM.. What is your advice on this?
      I have the Ink Plus ( just got it a week ago)
      and the United Explorer, which both are biz and are on FEIN #.
      I would like to pick up some more bonus miles/points and/or hotel points. Looking at doing another Chase Ink or Amex Hilton, Amex SPG, Visa Hilton. Thoughts?
      I like the idea of instant Gold on Hilton but not the yearly fee. I’m silver already on Hilton.

      • Traveling Joe: I would recommend waiting a few months before getting another Ink. If you haven’t gone for any Chase personal cards for a while, it might be time. They have tons of good options for hotels: Priority Club, Hyatt, Marriott, etc. Each of these has no annual fee first year and then pays for itself in out years by giving you a free night. Of course, Sapphire Preferred is a great way to get 40K UR points quickly. For Amex, I love the SPG card, but if you’re not in a hurry for one, you could wait till August to see if they repeat the 30K offer that they’ve done each year. The Amex Hilton card currently has a nice signup bonus and no annual fee, so that’s a great choice. Plus it gives you access to discounted AXON awards. Alternatively, get the Hilton Surpass for the first year Gold access and then downgrade it to the regular Hilton card at the end of the year. With Citi, the best deal is the AA two browser trick with which it is possible to get as much as 100K AA miles. Email me if you want personalized recommendations.

  32. I was approved on 10/23 (or so I thought) but card has not arrived a week later. Today I called Chase to check on the delivery status and was told that I had not been approved last week, but rather “recommended for approval”. It could take up to 2 more weeks to receive my card if I make it through the next hurdle.

  33. Not sure if anyone is following this thread anymore – I have tried for the Ink Bold card twice now, both from the credit app and phone call follow up and every time, everything is great until they ask me if the business a Sole Proprietorship or Corporation, etc. They say if my company is not registered with the state, they cannot process to set my card up.

    Am I the only one who has this issue?

  34. I got instant approval for Chase Sapphire Preferred. I called the reconsideration line for Ink Business and they decreased my other personal Chase card by $3,000. But I don’t care, I got approved!!! Doing the happy dance!!! Woot!!!! I used your referral links because you are my favorite site!

  35. Ugh, just got denied for Ink Bold. First, online app was pending, then called reconsideration, and she asked me a bunch of questions like the ones in this post. When I said I’d had the business for about 6 months, she said, well, how long have you been filing taxes on the business. At that point I had to say not yet. Then she checked my credit report and said, you have X cards, Y in your name and Z as an authorized user. Is there a reason why you have too many credit cards open? I said we get them because they fit our travel needs, and get us benefits with the hotels and airlines that we frequent. That didn’t seem to be the right answer. She then told me that my application had been denied. :-( ugh, no 5x for me. I was thinking of HUCA, but I think I may just leave it and apply again in 6 mo, since the app always asks if you’ve been denied from chase within the last 6 mo.

    • Ouch, sorry to hear that. HUCA sometimes does work in these situations, but I think that has become rare lately with the Ink cards. Thank you for telling your story here, though, so others can learn from it!

      • Yeah, it was kind of a rough call. But also my first reconsideration call, so I was a bit nervous. I wasn’t lying, but pretty unclear in my own head about what the correct answers were. So, it may have sounded that way. As I was describing the reselling that I do (which would be my business), she said, “that sounds like a hobby”. I’m sure it depends very much on the person that you get, but it’s probably not a quick walk in the park kind of call. The woman was nice enough, but she also was serious about getting specific answers to her questions. So, be prepared, and if it’s a brand new business, you may have a harder time. And at least this person balked at having around 10 new accounts in 2013. So, if the business isn’t a slam dunk, they seem to delve further into your personal credit report.
        Oh well, I had to get my first denial some day. I followed it up with an instant approval from amex on another card I really wanted. So, ended on a positive note.

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