Chase Ink Cards Make Sense for Business Use and For Personal Use

Chase Ink Cards Make Sense for Business Use and For Personal Use

Chase offers a great credit card intended for small and medium size business to use, that can make sense for anyone engaged in any sort of business capacity.

Editor's Note: 

The Chase Ink Business Preferred® credit card is intended primarily for small and medium sized businesses.  It offer great rewards, such as 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months of your cardmembership.  They also provide you with 1 points per dollar spent on most items, but 3 bonus points per dollar spent on online advertising (an earlier version of this card, called the Ink Bold ® card, offered 5 bonus points per dollar spent at office supply stores and on cable and phone services and 1 bonus point per dollar spent at hotels and gas stations, but those benefits are no longer offered).  It is easy to accumulate lots of points very quickly with the card.  The points have a lot of value, including cash back value and travel value if you book directly through Chase.  The best use of the points is to transfer them to a host of travel partners on a 1:1 basis.  These partners include United and British Airways, and Hyatt and Marriott. 

The best news about the Chase Ink cards is that they are not exclusively for businesses.   Rather, applicants who perform a business function on the side of their everyday activities (such as consulting, etc.) are able to get a card simply by listing themselves as a sole proprietor and listing their Social Security Number instead of Employee Identification Number in the online Chase application.

Business card generally should be used to segregate business expenditures and not for person expenditures.  Personal cards provide much greater levels of purchase protection and better insurance protection on rental cars. 

See this article for an opportunity to use a Chase Ink card to benefit from a points bonanza.

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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank advertiser, card issuer, airline or hotel.

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Is the Bluebird Card a Game Changer?

Is the Bluebird Card a Game Changer?

Yes, Walmart and American Express have introduced a product that changes the game, appealing to those who are underbanked, those who are tired of paying for services in a prepaid card, and those who seek the services and protections offered by American Express.

In early October 2012 Walmart and American Express announced the launch of Bluebird a new, less expensive type of prepaid card that comes with a range of features similar to that of a traditional checking account.  The partnership of the two firms creates market opportunities for each while providing lower income consumer’s access to financial services they may not have been able to previously afford due to fees and minimum balance requirements.

Bluebird was designed as an alternative to debit and checking accounts with an eye on helping consumers better manage their everyday finances.  It provides advanced capabilities normally not associated with a prepaid card, such as mobile bill paying and allowing deposits via smartphone applications.   Additionally, this new entry into the prepaid card market comes with remarkably few fees, no minimum balance requirements, no charge for reloading the card, and no monthly, annual or overdraft charges.  With many consumers indicating they feel they are not getting value from traditional checking account and debit services due to the associated costs ($259 per year on average according to an independent study by Bretton Woods} this card will be appealing not just to the “underbanked” low income strata, but to anyone tired of overpaying for services that they can now get for free. 

By aligning with American Express, Walmart ensures its Bluebird carriers will have a wide range of opportunities to use the card, as it will be accepted everywhere Amex is.  With Bluebird’s functionality built upon the digital payment capabilities of the American Express’ Serve platform and Bluebird users receiving Purchase Protection, Roadside Assistance, Global Assist Services, fraud protection and 24/7 customer support, other prepaid card providers as well as banks that provide checking and debit accounts will have to scramble to adjust to a competitor that has changed the rules of the game.  No longer are people stuck with a limited number of options, all of which carry fees.  According to Anisha Sekar, vice president for credit and debit products at NerdWallet.com, "This is incredibly cheap. This is one of the best, if not the best, options for prepaid cards."  The markets apparently agree with Mr. Sekar’s assessment, as several of the more established prepaid providers saw their share prices plummet upon the announcement, with Green Dot Corp being particularly hard hit, losing 20% in a single day of trading.

This card is yet another in a long line of financial services Walmart now offers its customers; previous Walmart banking features include check cashing, domestic and international money transmission, walk-in bill payment and gift cards.  Now, with Bluebird added to their portfolio, every Walmart cash register is the equivalent of a bank teller as patrons can both load money onto their card using cash at any Walmart location, as well as pay for goods and services or receive money back as if at an ATM.  For American Express, the benefits of this partnership include a 4,000 store portal to millions of new customers as well as the opportunity to greatly expand their merchant network, the size of which currently lags behind both Visa and MasterCard. 

See this article for an opportunity to use your Bluebird card to accumuate tons of frequent flier and hotel points.

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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank advertiser, card issuer, airline or hotel.

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Barclaycard Ring: The "Crowdsourced" Credit Card

Barclaycard Ring: The "Crowdsourced" Credit Card

For those looking for a credit card that offers low interest rate, no annual fees, and no balance transfer fees, where cardholders can pitch new ideas and change features on the card, the Barclaycard Ring may be a perfect option.

The Barclaycard Ring credit card offers cardholders a different user experience compared to many cards out there. For example, cardholders can propose ideas and vote for features to make the card better suited to members’ needs.

Moreover, unlike other rewards programs out there, the Barclaycard Ring card has its own program known as Giveback, which essentially is a profit-sharing system. Paying bills on time and opting in for paperless statements will increase what is known as Giveback shares and benefit the community. Members are given options on what to do with their Giveback. Options include funding charity projects, taking it as a statement credit, or splitting it between both.

Badges are earned when members behave in a way that benefits the community. For example, opting in for paperless statements and referring people to the card is a badge each. A cardholder’s online avatar receives a ring of color when a badge is earned. More badges mean more colors.  Paul Wilmore, managing director of consumer markets at Barclaycard US noted the ring as a public representation of a cardholder’s community behavior. “Externally, it shows how engaged you are and how much you have.” However, unlike tangible rewards, the badges only represent an online community status.

Additional Features

Regarding transparency, the card offers stats on cardholders and their actions, along with monthly profit and loss figures, because ultimately members will get to share some of the card’s profit.

The card also offers a low 8% variable APR, no balance transfer fees and no annual fees. Unlike many cards out there with a 3% foreign transaction fee, the Barclaycard Ring credit card only charges 1%. The max late fee charged is $25 compared to the $35 charged by others.

Conclusion

The Barclaycard ring offers users a unique experience in terms of profit sharing, community involvement, and low rates, but there are certainly other cards out there with more attractive rewards. Nonetheless, for those looking for a low 8% APR as compared to the average 16% out there, the Ring card is an attractive option, especially for cardholders who are planning to make a big-ticket item purchase and not planning to pay their balance off in full every month.

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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank advertiser, card issuer, airline or hotel.

Advertising Disclosure: This site may be compensated for hosting offers.