Advertiser Disclosure

Which Capital One Spark Credit Card Is Right for Your Small Business?

Business Credit Cards, Credit Cards
You can trust that we maintain strict editorial integrity in our writing and assessments; however, we receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners and get approved. Here's how we make money.
cap-one-spark-roundup

Among business credit cards, generous flat-rate rewards are hard to find, but the Capital One Spark business credit cards are a glowing exception. All five cards in the issuer’s business credit card portfolio offer fixed-rate rewards on all purchases, and they don’t have minimum redemption requirements.

The only trouble is, these cards look almost identical, and it can be difficult to tell which one would best suit your business.

The big choice: Travel vs. cash-back

The Spark cards fall into two major buckets: travel rewards cards, which are blue, and cash-back cards, which are green or gold.

Generally, travel cards tend to offer bigger sign-up bonuses than cash-back cards, but this isn’t the case with the Spark cards. The Spark cash-back and travel cards that have equal annual fees carry sign-up bonuses of equal cash value.

For that reason, the Spark cash-back cards, which have greater redemption flexibility, are the better deal for most people. Cash-back rewards can be redeemed as a check or statement credit, making it easy to use them however you want. But miles, which are worth 1 cent each, can be redeemed only for travel — either for booking trips directly through Capital One’s travel portal or as statement credit against travel purchases.

That said, you might be interested in a travel card if you’re looking for a way to earmark rewards for vacation. It’s just a matter of preference.

Like all Capital One credit cards, Spark cards don’t charge foreign transaction fees. Here’s a look at how the different cards compare with one another in other ways.

The $0 annual fee travel card: Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Type of rewards: Miles
  • Earn rate: 1.5 miles per dollar spent
  • Type of credit needed: Good or excellent
  • Sign-up bonus: Plus, a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months of approval.
  • 0% APR promotion? Yes — 0% on Purchases for 9 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.49% - 21.49% Variable APR.

Good for: Frugal entrepreneurs looking for travel rewards, or people looking for a long 0% APR period. If your expenses are on the low side, this is one of the best business credit card deals available.

Not good for: Big spenders. If you spend more than $11,800 a year, you’d be better off with the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business, which has an annual fee.

The travel card with the high rewards rate: Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business

  • Annual fee: $0 for the first year, then $59
  • Type of rewards: Miles
  • Earn rate: 2 miles per dollar spent
  • Type of credit needed: Good or excellent
  • Sign-up bonus: Plus, a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months of approval.
  • 0% APR promotion? No — The ongoing APR is 17.49% Variable APR.

Good for: Small business owners looking for high flat-rate travel rewards and a big sign-up bonus. For some, this could be an economical way of setting aside money for vacation.

Not good for: Entrepreneurs who spend less than $11,800 a year, or people looking for more flexible redemption options. These people would be better off with the $0 fee version, the Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business, or a cash-back card.

The $0 annual fee cash-back card: Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Type of rewards: Cash back
  • Earn rate: 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Type of credit needed: Good or excellent
  • Sign-up bonus: Plus, a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months of approval.
  • 0% APR promotion? Yes — 0% on Purchases for 9 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.49% - 21.49% Variable APR.

Good for: Entrepreneurs with low expenses looking for easy-to-redeem rewards, or people who want to pay down a large purchase over several months. The cash-back rewards can be redeemed as a check or a statement credit, and the card comes with a long 0% APR period.

Not good for: Business owners with high expenses. If you spend more than $11,800 a year, you’d be better off with the fee version, the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business.

The cash-back card with the high reward rate: Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

  • Annual fee: $0 for the first year, then $59
  • Type of rewards: Cash back
  • Earn rate: 2% cash back on all purchases
  • Type of credit needed: Good or excellent
  • Sign-up bonus: Plus, a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months of approval.
  • 0% APR promotion? No — The ongoing APR is 17.49% Variable APR.

Good for: Entrepreneurs looking for the best flat-rate cash-back rewards and a big sign-up bonus. The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business offers much more redemption flexibility than its travel counterparts, but it comes with a similar sign-up bonus and rewards rate.

Not good for: Small business owners with low operating costs. If you spend less than $11,800 a year, you’d be better off with the $0 annual fee version, the Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business.

The card for business owners with fair credit: Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Type of rewards: Cash back
  • Earn rate: 1% cash back on all purchases
  • Type of credit needed: Fair
  • Sign-up bonus: None.
  • 0% APR promotion? No — The ongoing APR is 23.49% Variable APR.

Good for: Entrepreneurs who are building or rebuilding their credit. The Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business doesn’t offer much in the way of rewards, but it’s one of the few business credit cards targeted toward people with fair credit.

Not good for: Business owners who plan to carry a balance long-term. While the APR is lower than some alternative types of financing, it can still add up quickly.

This article has been updated. It was originally published October 13, 2011. 

Claire Tsosie is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: claire@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @ideclaire7.


Image via iStock.