American Express SimplyCash vs. Chase Ink: Which to Swipe With?

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If you’re comparing business credit cards, you’ve probably taken a look at Chase Ink, and maybe the SimplyCash Business credit card from American Express.

There are plenty of differences (and some similarities) between these two credit cards, so let’s determine which is best for you and your wallet.

First and foremost, both Chase Ink and SimplyCash are credit cards (not charge cards unless you apply for Chase Ink Bold), meaning you can carry a balance from month to month if you wish.

Secondly, both credit cards offer 5% cash back at office supply stores and on U.S. based wireless phone services. That’s great if you like to shop at Staples or Office Max and rack up the cash back.

However, SimplyCash only provides 5% cash back in those categories on the first $25,000 in spending annually, after which point it drops to 1% cash back.

The annual-fee free Chase Ink Cash card also has a $25,000 annual limit on 5% cash back, though it provides the rebate on cable and internet charges as well.

Additionally, Chase Ink Cash offers a separate 2% cash back on the first $25,000 in spending at gas stations and restaurants each anniversary year.

SimplyCash allows you to choose another 3% cash back category from seven choices, including gas, restaurants, airfare, hotel, etc. However, the 3% cash back earned is part of that same $25,000 limit tied to the 5% cash back.

In other words, Chase Ink allows you earn between 2-5% cash back on up to $50,000 in purchases annually, whereas SimplyCash tops out on the first $25k.

For all other purchases, both cards offer 1% cash back. And both don’t charge an annual fee, which is a big plus for a business credit card.

SimplyCash (on first $25k annually)
– 5% cash back on office supplies and wireless phone services
– 3% cash back in category of your choice
– 1% cash back elsewhere (unlimited)

Chase Ink Cash (on first $50k annually, $25k per bonus category)
– 5% cash back on office supplies, cell phone, landline, cable TV, internet
– 2% cash back on gas and at restaurants
– 1% cash back elsewhere (unlimited)

With regard to APR, SimplyCash comes with promo 0% APR for the first nine months and Chase Ink Cash offers 0% APR for a full 12 months.

Unfortunately, both cards charge foreign transaction fees, which is lame for a business card that would likely be used for travel, possibly internationally.

One thing that separates these two cards is the fact that Chase Ink Cash comes with a $200 opening bonus when you spend $3,000 in the first three months.

The SimplyCash doesn’t have any opening bonus, though if you’re lucky, you might be able to snag the occasional $250 sign-up bonus if the timing is right.

Also, all American Express business cards are eligible for the OPEN Savings benefit, which provides an additional 4 Membership Rewards points or 10% discounts on certain purchases.

Examples include 5%-10% discounts at hotels, car rental agencies, FedEx shipping services, and so on.

Which One Is the Winner Here?

Well, the surprising answer is neither. That’s right, neither card really makes much sense when there’s a better contender in the business card space.

I’m referring to the Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Bold cards, both of which come with similar terms as Chase Ink Cash, except that they allow bonus spending up to $50k annually.

Additionally, and this is a biggie, you can get a 50k point sign-up bonus, which is good for at least $500, most likely a lot more because you can transfer points 1:1 to leading frequent flyer programs.

Alternatively, you can also get 20% off travel redemptions, so 50k points can be used to redeem a $625 flight via Chase’s booking service. There are also no foreign transaction fees to worry about.

The only caveat is that there’s a $95 annual fee, though it’s waived for the first year. If you can meet that sign-up bonus requirement, it’s basically covered for five years.

So in conclusion, while a fee-free business card might sound enticing, it pays to do some digging before deciding something is a good deal. In this case, the fee-based option is much more attractive.

However, if there’s a certain spending category where you badly want to earn 3% cash back all year long, SimplyCash could find a place in your wallet.  It is free after all..

Pros of Amex SimplyCash

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  • No annual fee
  • 5% cash back at office supply stores and on wireless phone services
  • 3% cash back in category of your choice all year long
  • Cash back earned automatically applied to your statement
  • 0% APR for first nine months
  • Ability to get even more discounts with OPEN Savings
  • All the many benefits American Express offers on all its credit cards

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Cons of Amex SimplyCash

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  • No opening bonus!
  • $25,000 total limit on bonus cash back categories
  • 5% cash back doesn’t apply to landline, internet, or cable services
  • Has foreign transaction fees
  • Can’t stretch value of cash back further via frequent flyer or hotel programs

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Author: Colin Robertson

Colin created this blog after spending several years in a job that required him to scour credit reports on a daily basis. His goal is to help individuals better understand their credit and get the most out of credit cards.