Reader Rich asked the following on the “Ask Lucky” page of the blog:
Does Chase handle business cards/reconsideration the same as they do with consumer cards? I currently have the Ink Bold and would like to get the Ink Plus.
Based on past experience with Chase non-business cards usually I have to call and move around some credit limits, should I expect to do the same with the business cards?
I only have 2 business cards (Ink bold and one Citi card) and do have a legitimate business.
I get a lot of questions similar to this, so I’ll address it in general terms here so I can refer people to it in the future.
The sign-up offer
In my opinion the Chase Ink Bold and Chase Ink Plus cards offer the single best consistent sign-up bonus in the industry at the moment, with 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 on the card within three months. While the annual fee on the card is $95, it’s waived for the first year. The cards are also extremely rewarding for everyday spend given that they offer 5x points on the first $50,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services, and 2x points on the first $50,000 spent annually at gas stations and on hotels. That translates to some amazing bonuses on everyday spend, especially given how many purchases can be made at office supply stores with a bit of creativity. Best of all you can actually have both cards, and earn the sign-up bonus on both of them as well.
There are also no foreign transaction fees, and since the card accrues Ultimate Rewards points, they can be combined with those points earned through the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Visa and Chase Freedom® Visa Card. Given the sign-up bonuses and bonuses on everyday spend offered by these cards, I find Ultimate Rewards points to be one of the easiest currencies to rack up, not to mention one of the most valuable.
The Chase “country club”
Chase reminds me a bit of a country club. I find they’re the issuer where it’s toughest to initially be approved for a card, as they have pretty high standards for issuing credit. However, once you have your first card (and are in the “country club” so to speak), it’s not tough to get additional approvals.
They’ll almost always let you swap out cards once you have your first card, or reallocate credit. Basically if you have four cards and apply for a fifth and don’t automatically get approved, the reconsideration line will usually be willing to either close an existing card in favor of the new card, or typically at worst reallocate some of your credit lines (meaning they might take $5,000 of credit line from another card and apply it to your new account). The fact that the reconsideration line is staffed by intelligent people in a position to make decisions really makes me love Chase.
But how does the business approval process work?
Business credit cards are a different beast… sort of. You can’t generally transfer a credit line from a personal card to a business card, since they’re different types of accounts. But that’s also good news because even if you have “maxed out” your personal credit with Chase, they may still be willing to issue some business credit.
Though there’s one more complication, at least in theory. Like most other cards the Chase Ink Plus is a credit card, meaning you have a credit line and can (though shouldn’t) finance charges over time. The Chase Ink Bold, on the other hand, is a charge card, meaning it doesn’t have a pre-set credit limit and the balance on the card has to be paid off in full each month. So even if it were a personal card where a credit line could be transferred, you couldn’t do that because there’s nothing to be transferred — the card doesn’t have a credit line!
Fortunately it’s not that tough
While there are some complications in theory, I’ve found they’re actually quite flexible. So while technically you can’t transfer credit lines between personal and business cards, I’ve actually found them to be more flexible than you’d think.
For example, I got easily approved for the Chase Ink Plus card without having to switch around any credit.
However, when I applied for the Chase Ink Bold card they didn’t automatically approve it, so I called the reconsideration line. But since it’s a charge card and not a credit card, how could they switch around credit lines when there’s not a credit line on the card?
In my case they were willing to approve the Chase Ink Bold card if I was willing to lower the credit line on one of my personal cards by $5,000, which I was of course happy to do. The other option they gave me was to close one of my existing personal card accounts.
When my dad applied for the Chase Ink Plus card, which is a standard credit card, he was also given the option to lower his credit line on an existing card in order for it to be opened, which he gladly did.
So if you don’t have both Chase Ink cards you’re leaving 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points on the table. I wouldn’t suggest applying for both of them at the same time, but if you have one you really should consider getting the other, and if you have neither you should consider getting started by applying for one.
I’ve had a business credit card since long before I was officially incorporated as a way of separating my personal and business expenses, and had no problems being approved. You can apply for one as a sole proprietor and enter your social security number in the field that asks for your tax ID, your business name can be whatever you’d like it to be (including your name), the business address can be your home address, the number of employees can be just one, and your business revenue can be whatever it is. There’s no reason to lie. If you don’t get instantly approved I’d suggest calling the Chase business reconsideration line at 800-453-9719, as it can otherwise take a long time for Chase business applications to be processed.
(In the interest of full dislcosure I earn a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through the above links. Thanks for your support!)