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Capital One Spark Cash for Business: Best for Cash Back on Business Spending?

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Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business Editor's Rating: 4.1 / 5

Reliability, diligence and flexibility are qualities you’re probably looking for in new hires for your small business. But did you know that these should also be characteristics to seek in your business credit card? Though the Nerds can’t help you with staffing, we can assure you that the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business delivers on all these fronts.

Capital One Spark Cash Credit Card
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With this card, you’ll earn cash back on every purchase you make for your company. Plus, the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business comes with a sign-up bonus, a reasonable annual fee, and no pesky foreign transaction fees. Take a look at the details below for everything you need to know about this hardworking hunk of plastic.

At a glance
Annual fees$0 for the first year, then $59
Foreign transaction feeNone
Rewards programCash back
Sign-up bonusPlus, a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months of approval

VERDICT:
If you're looking for a simple, high-value credit card for your business spending, this one fits the bill
Good for: • Business owners looking for a simple, flexible rewards credit card
• Business owners who don't travel much
• Business owners who make overseas purchases
Bad for: • Business owners looking for a long introductory 0% period
• Business owners looking to avoid annual fees
• Business owners who frequently travel for work

In this article:

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business: The basics
Where the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business shines
Is fee-free the way to go?
Where the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business falls short
Is the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business right for your business?

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business: The basics

Before diving deep on the features that make the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business really special, let’s take a look at the basics you’ll get with the card:

  • You’ll receive a sign-up bonus: Plus, a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months of approval.
  • You’ll earn 2% cash back on every purchase you make with the card.
  • Your cash-back earnings are unlimited, and rewards don’t expire as long as your card is open and your account is in good standing.
  • You’ll pay no foreign transaction fees.
  • You’ll pay an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $59.

Where the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business shines

You might not be able to tell from a quick glance at the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business’s nuts and bolts, but it offers first-rate value to busy entrepreneurs. For instance, you’ll get:

A high rewards rate – Consistently earning 2% cash back on all of your company spending is tough to find on the business credit card market. Many cards will allow you to score more than 1% in certain spending categories, but otherwise, 1% is usually all you’re going to get. Because the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business provides double this rewards rate, you should definitely take notice.

A simple, straightforward rewards program, both for earning and redeeming rewards – Running a business means paying a lot of attention to detail, and the last thing most CEOs need is one more thing to manage. With the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business you won’t have to worry about your credit card rewards because you’ll rack up a reliable cash-back rate with every purchase, and you can redeem it any time and in any amount.

If it’s easier, you can even schedule an automatic redemption when your rewards balance reaches a certain amount. All in all, managing this card’s benefits is a (well-deserved) piece of cake.

No foreign transaction fees – There’s nothing worse than getting slapped with a foreign transaction fee for buying the occasional item overseas. But you won’t have to worry about cringing at your credit card statement with the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business. Because it waives its foreign transaction fees, you won’t ever have to fret about paying an extra 3% for international purchases.

Is fee-free the way to go?

The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business offers a good deal to small business owners, but keep in mind that its value proposition comes at an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $59. Many entrepreneurs don’t know this, but there is a cheaper version of the card. The Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, charges no foreign transaction fees and comes at an annual fee of $0.

Deciding whether it’s worth it to pay an annual fee for a higher rewards rate depends on how much you think you’ll spend each year on your card. Setting aside sign-up bonus amounts and the fact that the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business waives its annual fee for the first year, you’re better off opting for the Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business if you’re planning to spend less than $11,800 annually.

That’s a pretty low limit for most small business owners, so in general you’re better off coughing up extra cash each year to earn a little extra each day. The Nerds think that most entrepreneurs will easily get enough value (and then some) out of the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business to justify its cost.

Where the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business falls short

The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business has a lot going for it, but the card has some drawbacks, and there are other cards you might consider.

Chase Ink Cash Business Credit Card
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No 0% period – Many small business owners turn to credit cards as a way to finance large company purchases at 0% for a period of time. But the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business isn’t very impressive on this metric. The ongoing APR is 17.24% Variable APR. You could do better.

For example, with the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card, you’ll pay 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.49% - 19.49% Variable APR. That’s a much juicer APR deal than the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business provides, so it’s probably a better choice for earning cash-back rewards and saving on interest.

Speaking of rewards, the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card provides:

  • 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent per year on telecom services and office supply purchases (combined).
  • 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent per year on gas stations and restaurants (combined).
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases (unlimited).

The Ink Cash® Business Credit Card will also get you started with a sign-up bonus: Earn $300 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

It charges a $0 annual fee, so you won’t have to worry about paying an extra charge to get a 0% deal. The Nerds consider this card a superior choice if minimizing finance charges is your main goal.

No bonus rewards categories – Earning a consistent 2% cash back with the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business is great, but you can’t earn any more.  If you’d like to earn 5% cash back in categories you spend a lot in, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

American Express SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card Credit Card
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For example, the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express allows small-business owners to earn 5% cash back on office supplies and wireless telephone providers. Also, you’ll be able to earn 3% cash back in a category of your choice. Eligible categories include airfare, hotels, select advertising, gas stations and more. You’ll also earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

This earning structure allows you to score way more in rewards on certain purchases than you would with the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business. Plus, the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express comes with a cash-back sign-up bonus: Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $5,000 in qualifying purchases on your Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn an additional $250 statement credit after you spend an additional $10,000 or more in qualifying purchases on your Card within the first year of Card Membership. Offer Expires 01/25/2017. Terms Apply. The card’s annual fee is $0, so it’s a slightly more cost-effective choice than the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business.

You’ll have to look at your business’s spending to decide if the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express is a better option than the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business overall. Just be sure to consider all of the features of each card before making your final choice.

No travel perks – The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business charges no foreign transaction fees, but that’s pretty much the only travel benefit it offers. Think about getting a card that makes it easier to earn and redeem rewards for these trips if your business keeps you on the road.

Is the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business right for your business?

The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business will do your business right if you’re looking for high, unlimited cash-back earnings, a sign-up bonus and user-friendly redemption structure. Other cards might be better for certain features, but if you’re looking for the simplicity and flexibility of cash back, you really can’t go wrong with this card.

Lindsay Konsko is a staff writer covering credit cards and consumer credit for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @lkonsko and on Google+.


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