Editorial Review

American Express SimplyCash Plus Review: Rewards, Your Way

This no-fee small-business credit card lets you customize which spending earns bonus cash back. It offers a great 0% introductory interest period, too.

Ellen Cannon, Paul SoucyApril 18, 2019

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  • SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

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Our Take

4.4

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: A great option for small business, assuming that your spending dovetails with the bonus categories and that you're not dead-set on getting an upfront bonus.

American Express SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card Credit Card

SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

14.49% - 21.49% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases for 15 months

Recommended Credit Score

Quick FactsView rates and fees

Annual Fee
$0
Annual Fee
$0
Intro APR
0% on Purchases for 15 months

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • No annual fee

  • High rewards rates in certain categories

  • Intro APR period on Purchases

Cons
  • Complicated rewards program

  • Bonus categories can be changed only once a year

  • Requires good/ excellent credit

Alternate Pick: travel rewards

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Prefer travel rewards to cash back? This card offers 3X points on up to $150,000 a year in combined spending on travel and select business categories. Those points are worth 1.25 cents apiece when redeemed for travel booked through Chase. The sign-up bonus is one of the biggest in the business, too. Annual fee: $95.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

American Express SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card Credit Card

SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$0 for the first year, then $95

Regular APR

14.49% - 21.49% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

15.49% - 21.49% Variable APR

Regular APR

19.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases for 15 months

Intro APR

0% on Purchases for 12 months

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

Full Review

Small-business operators want to make every penny count, so a cash-back credit card can make as much sense for them as it does for consumers. The problem with many cash-back cards for businesses, however, is that their bonus categories often don't line up with a company's spending. Bonus rewards on travel or shipping, for example, don't do you much good if your small business never takes you out of your home office or you're a service provider who rarely ships anything.

The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express addresses that very problem by allowing you to customize some of your bonus rewards and earn extra cash back in the categories where you spend significant amounts of money. Combine that flexibility with the card's great 0% introductory APR period and an annual fee of $0, and you've got an outstanding option for small business.

SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express: Basics

  • Card type: Cash back.

  • Annual fee: $0.

  • New-cardholder bonus offer: None.

  • Interest rate: Introductory APR of 0% on Purchases for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.49% - 21.49% Variable APR.

  • Rewards: 

    • 5% cash back on up to $50,000 a year in combined spending on U.S. wireless phone service and U.S. office-supply store spending.

    • 3% cash back on up to $50,000 a year in spending on a category you choose, from a list of eight options (see below).

    • 1% cash back on all other spending.

    • Terms apply.

  • Foreign transaction fee: 2.7%

Why you might want the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

customizable rewards

Just about every business nowadays relies to some extent on cell phone service, and office supplies like paper, ink, pens and so on take a bite out of many businesses' budgets. So earning automatic 5% cash back on those expenses is welcome.

The ability to choose a 3% category is this card's distinctive feature. Choosing bonus categories can be a bit of a hassle, but you only need to do it once  year. And considering that you triple your cash back in the category of your choice, it's worth burning a little intellectual energy. Do a lot of entertaining? Choose the restaurant option. Operate a fleet of vehicles? Choose gas stations.

Your options for the 3% cash back category:

  • Airfare purchases directly from airlines.

  • Hotel purchases booked directly with hotels.

  • Car rentals from specific rental companies.

  • U.S. gas stations.

  • U.S. restaurants.

  • U.S. spending for advertising in certain media.

  • U.S. purchases for shipping.

  • U.S. computer hardware, software and cloud computing purchases made directly from certain providers.

One downside to the reward structure on the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express: The amount of spending eligible for the bonus cash-back rates is capped. Still, the caps are pretty generous for a no-fee card.

A GOOD 0% Intro APR period

If your business has a big purchase looming and you'd like to spread out the cost, the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express has got you covered. Its 0% intro APR period is one of the longest on any business credit card.

Business perks

Typical for American Express cards, the cardholder perks, protections for purchases and travel benefits are excellent. If your business requires a lot of auto travel, for example, you’ll get car rental loss and collision damage waiver coverage and access to a roadside assistance hotline. If you choose gas stations as your 3% cash-back bonus category, you’ve got a rewards credit card tailored to your needs.

If you want to give trusted employees credit cards to use on behalf of the company, the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express offers you free employee cards and lets you set spending limits for each card. With multiple cards to track, though, you might need some help. To manage your business expenses and reports, your card account can connect with QuickBooks and ReceiptMatch. You and your employees can take photos of receipts, and they will sync with QuickBooks. Nobody likes to spend their work time filing expense reports; these tools ease the burden.

Why you might want a different card

No bonus for new cardholders

Choosing credit cards involves trade-offs — you're not going to get everything in one card. With the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express, the big thing you don't get is a "welcome offer," as American Express calls it.

If starting out with some extra cash is important to you, consider the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, a $0-annual-fee card with a bonus cash back structure similar to the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express (although without the customization aspect). Its sign-up bonus: Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

You're not up for tracking bonus categories

Maybe your business's spending isn't concentrated in any particular category — or maybe you just have no appetite for keeping track of bonus categories. In that case, it's hard to go wrong with a card that offers a simple, flat rate on all pruchases. The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business pays unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. It offers a nice sign-up bonus, too: Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. But it does charge an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95.

Nerd note: The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business is also a superior companion for international travel, if you're the globetrotting sort. It doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, and as a Visa card, it's more widely accepted internationally than American Express cards.

Is the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express right for your business?

For a card without an annual fee, the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express offers some of the highest rewards rates for common business spending. If your spending lines up with those categories, this is a great option for a small business.

To view rates and fees of the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express, please visit this page.