Considering and Reconsidering Ink

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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!

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