Contrary to what other blogs may tell you, you do not need to have a business to apply for a Chase Ink card. You merely need to be planning to start one. This post will explain how to apply for a Chase Ink card without a business and what you need to know to get approved.
Why you should apply for Chase Ink Cards
The Chase Ink cards are among the most lucrative cards for earning points. Not only do they offer large signup bonuses, but they are also pivotal for your manufactured spending.
Chase Ultimate Rewards are one of three main transferable point currencies, offering nearly infinite ways to redeem your points for luxury travel around the world.
You are required to be under 5/24 to apply for Ink cards, but since these are business cards, the new accounts will not add to your 5/24 count. For an explanation of Chase’s 5/24 rule, see this Doctor of Credit post. Therefore, if you are new to credit card travel hacking, these should be the first cards you apply for.
The Ink Unlimited, Ink Cash, and Ink Preferred, all offer unique signup bonuses and benefits.
One of the best benefits of the Chase Ink Cash card is that it earns 5x points at Office Supply Stores on up to $25,000 in spend each year.
If you’re serious about maximizing your miles and points generation, you should get both the Ink Cash and the Ink Preferred.
Here’s how to apply for a Chase Ink card without a business
I’m joking – feel free to use any link. However, if you find this guide useful, I would be extremely grateful if you did.
If you are getting the same Ink product for a second business, don’t use my link. Instead, consider self-referring yourself using the method below to earn an additional bonus. (Note this method involves some risk – see below.)
You can also apply through a Business Relationship Manager in a Chase branch.
2. Start a business, or simply “plan” to start one
These are business cards, and thus you are supposed to own a business – but wait, you already are a business owner!
That’s right; you are a business owner. Well, maybe you’re not up-and-running yet. The truth is, you don’t currently need to have a revenue-generating business to apply.
Chase will gladly approve your application if you are simply “planning” to start a business. Most businesses involve startup costs, and Chase would love for you to put those expenses on a new Chase Ink Card.
Don’t assume the business needs to have a brick and mortar store or have a website either. Your business can be anything. Some examples are:
- Chauffeur service (driver for Uber)
- Online retail store (sell things on eBay).
- Consulting service
- Film / Video production (YouTube)
If you are either currently or planning to make money in any way, besides being actually employed by another business, you’re set!
- You do not need any employees
- You do not need to be incorporated
- Your business does not even need a name
All the major banks will approve you for a small business card, even if you are only a sole proprietor.
Sure, in the long run, you might find some benefits from setting up actual legal entities (multiple EINs to get multiple of the same Chase & Amex business cards), but if you’re just starting out, you should stick with a sole proprietorship.
3. Use your name as the “legal business name”
Chase will ask for two business names on your card application, the legal business name and the business name that should appear on the card. If you do not own a legally incorporated business and are applying as a sole proprietor, the legal business name is your legal name. You can use any name for the business name that will appear on the card.
Chase may ask you to verify the address of your business and ask you to submit a utility bill or similar documentation with the business name on it. However, if you apply as a sole proprietor and use your name as your legal business name, you can easily submit a personal utility bill.
4. Provide a reasonable estimate for future revenue
In your application for Chase Ink cards, you will be asked to provide your business’ annual revenue and how many years it has been operating.
Again, contrary to what other sites may tell you, you can be approved with $0 in revenue and zero years in business.
Most startups go through a pre-revenue phase where they are focusing on product development, so this is entirely reasonable to use.
With that said, you are allowed to use expected revenue on your application. So even if this is your first year in business, you should estimate how much money you will make this year or over the next twelve months.
While there is some wiggle room – try to be realistic. Do not put $50,000 in revenue from your part-time Uber driving or $25,000 from your eBay sales if you haven’t even started yet. An estimated revenue between $5,000 – $20,000 for those seems much more reasonable. Keep in mind that if you’re not automatically approved for the card, you may need to justify your estimates to a Chase representative over the phone.
5. Save a copy of your application
Make sure to note down what you put on your application (i.e., your estimated revenue, years in business, etc.). If you are not initially approved, you will need this information when you call Chase.
6. Hit submit and see what happens
Neither approved nor denied: If you’re like most of us, you’ll see a message that says they need more time to assess your application.
Don’t worry, you’re still likely to be approved, and you will not have to wait the entire 30 days. See below on how long to wait before calling the Chase reconsideration line.
Denied: Don’t give up hope. I’ve been approved for many Chase cards after being initially denied. Again, see below on when to call the Chase reconsideration line.
When should you call the Chase reconsideration line?
If you were denied
Call the Chase business reconsideration line immediately is 800-453-9719 (M-F 1pm-10pm ET)
If your application went pending
If you receive a message similar to the following: “We have received your request for a Chase credit card. We’ll let you know our decision as soon as possible.” – do not panic. The vast majority of new Ink applications go into “pending” status. You should not call the reconsideration department yet.
Instead, check your application status later in the day or the following day through Chase’s automated application status line: 888-269-8690 If you already have Chase cards, you can also check to see if the card shows up in your online account.
If the status line indicates they will get back to you in “30 days” – don’t do anything. Check back in a day, and continue checking until you get a new message. You may be approved in as little as a day.
Once the status line indicates you will receive a decision in “two weeks”, you can stop checking. Most data points indicate this means your application will be approved. Just wait until Chase sends you a formal decision.
If the status line tells you that you will receive a decision in “7-10 business days”, then you should call the reconsideration line. Again, the Chase business reconsideration line is 800-453-9719 (M-F 1pm-10pm ET). See below for the questions you will need to be prepared to answer.
What to provide the Chase reconsideration line?
- The information you provided on your application:
- Your legal business name
- Years in business
- Business revenue
- Personal income
- Employer and years of employment.
- Additional details about your business
- What does your business do?
- Are you earning revenue now? When do you expect to earn revenue?
- What are your profits? If none, when do you expect to become profitable?
- Anticipated business expenses
- What kind of business expenses do you plan to use the card for?
- What is your total estimated amount of monthly expenses?
- Why you want this Ink card
- Why are you applying for the card? You will need to justify why you need another, especially if you already have another Chase Ink business card for the same business, you will need to justify why you need another.
- Are there certain benefits you like about this card?
- Is there a particular bonus category (i.e. advertising on the Ink Preferred) that would benefit your business?
- Are you willing to move credit from existing accounts
- If you already have other personal or business Chase cards, are you willing to move part of your credit line from those accounts to your new Ink card?
Most importantly, keep in mind this is a real person that you are going to be talking to – not an algorithm. Be polite, honest, and be ready to share your story (ie. what your business is and why you want the card).
I have done multiple Chase reconsideration calls, and only once was I not approved. In that case, I simply called back again three days later and spoke to someone else – I was finally approved.
Beyond possibly asking for proof of your EIN (if you used that to apply), or residency, you will not be asked to send in any documents relating to your business. That is especially true if you’re honest and tell them that you’re only in the pre-revenue phase.
What else do you need to get approved?
1. A decent credit score
At least 680, but probably in the mid-700s if you have never held a Chase card before.
2. At least $5,000 of remaining credit available at Chase
Chase will only extend you so much credit – even if you list a high income on your application. The minimum credit line for any Chase Ink card is $5,000. If you have other cards with Chase, and they initially deny you, you can ask to move existing credit when you call into the reconsideration department.
If you have any existing Chase cards, whether personal or business, it’s always a good idea to proactively lower the credit limits on those accounts at least a month before applying for a new card. This can be done through a secure message.
Additionally, various data points indicate Chase will only extend credit up to 50% of your annual income.
3. A bit of time since your Sapphire Reserve application
If you recently got the Chase Sapphire Reserve, it is advisable to wait a few months before applying for an Ink card. There is no set rule here, but this is an observed trend based on data points.
4. Proof of address if you recently moved
If you are an existing Chase customer and recently moved to a new address, your application may go pending for this reason alone. When you call the reconsideration line, you may be asked for a copy of a utility statement or rental agreement.
How to self-refer yourself to Chase Ink cards
When you apply for the second card just use a business EIN instead of your social security number. You can generate an EIN \for your business on the IRS website here. You should wait at least a day after you obtain your EIN before using it on a Chase application.
Go to this page to generate a referral link.
A word of warning:: The intent of the Chase referral system is obviously to refer another business owner, not yourself. Amex has recently been clawing back Membership Rewards points that were acquired through self-referral.