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Small business credit cards: Chase vs. AmEx

By Jeffrey Steele

Small business credit cards: Chase vs. AmEx

World Series of Credit Cards: Game 6

Editor's Note:  These offers have expired and are no longer available.

In this installment of the Money Blue Book World Series of Credit Cards, we've got two competitors intent on really getting down to business. On the field of battle, they're invariably all business, because theirs is the business of business credit and charge cards.

Let's run down the biggest business attributes of these two arch-rivals, the Ink Cash Business Credit Card from Chase and The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN, and see which is likely to have business travelers on their side.

Starting pitches

Chase's Ink Cash Business Credit Card has no annual fee, and charges zero percent introductory APR on new purchases and balance transfers for the first six billing cycles. After that the APR will vary with the market based on Prime Rate and is currently 13.24 percent APR. Cash advance variable APR is 19.24 percent. Balance transfer fee is either $5 or 3 percent of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. Cash advance fee is either $15 or 5 percent of each transfer, whichever is greater.

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN offers $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175 per year thereafter. Like many American Express cards, this is a charge card so there are no interest charges, but any draws you make on this card are due and payable when the periodic statement is received.

Rewards

Rewards are crucial in helping pinpoint the best small business credit card. With the Ink Cash Business Credit Card, new account holders can earn $200 cash back bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of card membership.

Ink Cash Business Credit Card holders enjoy 5 percent cash back on office supplies and wireless, land line and cable services, on up to $25,000 spend each year; 2 percent cash back on gasoline purchases at gas stations and 2 percent cash back on dining at restaurants all on up to $25,000 spent each year; and 1 percent cash back with no spending limits on all other card purchases.

With The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN, you can earn three times points on airfare purchased from airlines, two times points on US purchases for advertising in select media, shipping and at gas stations. Two times points on US purchases made directly from select computer hardware and software providers. Points are earned only on eligible purchases on up to $100,000 in each category per year, then 1 point thereafter. There are also a number of additional services and benefits, among them purchase protection and extended warranty both underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

Fees

Foreign transaction fees. This is a major consideration for international business travelers. After conversion to U.S. dollars, the Ink Cash Business Credit Card charges 3 percent of each transaction, while The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN charges 2.7 percent of each transaction.

Late payment fees. The Ink Cash Business Card charges $15 if the balance is less than $100, $29 if the balance is $100 to $249, and $39 if the balance is $250 or more. Returned payments and returned checks are each charged $39.

 For late payments The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN charges up to $35. The returned payment charge is $35.

Penalty APR and when it applies. The Ink Cash Business Card charges a default APR currently at 29.99 percent that will vary with the prime rate. It is applicable to your account if you fail to make a minimum payment by the date it is due, make a payment that is returned unpaid, or exceed your credit limit or do any of the mentioned on this or on other accounts or loans outstanding you have with Chase or their related banks.

All charges made on The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN are due and payable when periodic statements are received.

Scoreboard

Chase's Ink Cash Business Credit Card comes on strong for value-conscious start-ups with no annual fees, easy bonus cash and generous rewards on basic office needs. If you travel a lot for your business, you pay your expenses every month and you can handle the $175 annual fee, the The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN could practically pay for itself with its substantial airfare and gasoline rewards.

Which business credit card would win your business? Feel free to pick the winner, or suggest a different fantasy match-up, in the comments area below.

 

Jeffrey Steele is a Chicago-based writer who frequently writes on personal finance topics.

 

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