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Collecting points and miles isn’t a game everyone wants to play. In fact, a recent nationwide survey found that consumers collected cash back rewards significantly more often than they redeem points for free airfare or travel upgrades. That’s the type of person the Capital One Spark Cash For Business was created for.
Spark Cash isn’t flashy. It doesn’t come with many bells and whistles. Its chief feature is simplicity — and that’s the reason TPG considers it one of the best business credit cards, specifically for flat-rate cash back. Let’s have a look at what this card is all about.
Who Is This Card For?
There are three types of business owners for whom the Spark Cash For Business would potentially make sense:
The time-strapped entrepreneur
Tracking points or miles and figuring out how to redeem points for maximum value can be both time-consuming and confusing. Spark Cash takes away all the guessing since you’ll earn the same 2% fixed-rate cash back on all your business spending. This means you probably won’t get the same kind of over-the-top return you would on a card that offers high-value bonus rewards categories, but if your top priority in a business rewards credit card is ease of use, leaving a few bucks on the table may not be among your chief concerns.
The business that doesn’t spend on typical business needs
If your firm spends very little money on office supplies or travel, a rewards credit card that offers bonus rewards for either category might not make much sense, particularly if it comes with a large annual fee. Instead, you may want to opt for a card that offers a decent fixed-rate reward on all your spending. Spark Cash does come with an annual fee of $95 (which is waived for the first year), so you’ll have to do a bit of math to see if you’ll spend enough to justify the payment. TPG Editor-at-Large Nick Ewen put the break-even point at $19,000 in annual spending when deciding between Spark Cash and its fee-free cousin, the Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business, which earns a lesser 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
The owner looking to fill in the blanks
A card like The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN is great for business travelers both because of its awesome travel benefits and its great return on travel spending. You’ll earn 5 points per dollar spent on airfare and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel. But its 1 point per dollar spent on non-bonus spending is pretty lackluster, and if you don’t travel often, its travel perks will go to waste. Spark Cash can be the card you use on everyday purchases because it offers a solid return.
The Spark Cash For Business currently offers a $500 cash bonus after you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first three months after account opening. As far as business cards overall, this bonus ranks fairly low while the minimum spend requirement is fairly high. But among cash back business cards, the bonus is actually fairly standard.
Along with the opportunity to collect big rewards on bonus spending, a big initial payday is something you’ll miss out on by signing up for a cash back credit card. The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card offers one of the most lucrative bonuses among business cards today, according to TPG’s calculations. Its 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months are worth $1,680, but to truly maximize it, you’ll need to spend time understanding airline and hotel loyalty programs and searching for award space.
You’ll earn unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases with Spark Cash. If its going to be your “go-to” business credit card, you should do the math to make sure you’re OK with what you might be missing out on. Say, for instance, you spend $1,000 a month on airfare. Over the course of a year, you’d earn $240 cash back when using Spark Cash to pay for your travels. If, instead, you put that travel on the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN, you’d earn 36,000 Membership Rewards points (assuming you chose “airfare purchased directly from airlines” as your bonus category for earning 3 points per dollar spent). Those points are worth 1.9 cents each or $684, according the TPG’s latest valuations.
However, the math may work in favor of Spark Cash if your business has significant spending in non-bonus categories. Using that same $1,000 monthly figure but on non-airline spend, the Business Gold Rewards would earn 12,000 points over the course of a year, which would be worth $228. That’s a slightly smaller return than you’d see with Spark Cash.
There isn’t much to say about redemptions on the Spark Cash For Business — you simply redeem your earned cash back in any amount, either in the form of a statement credit or a check. You can also set up automatic redemptions at a set time each calendar year or when you hit a specific dollar figure in earned cash back. You can also redeem for credits for previous purchases or for gift cards, although redemption values vary.
You won’t see the travel-related benefits that high-end business rewards credit cards offer, but Spark Cash does come with standard Visa Signature perks, including:
Auto rental collision damage waiver: When you rent a car for business purposes using Spark Cash, you can decline the rental car company’s collision insurance and be covered by the card up to the cash value of the vehicle in the case of theft or collision damage. This is valid on most rentals in the US and abroad, and coverage is primary if the vehicle rental is for commercial and/or business purposes, which means you can make a claim without involving your own personal car insurance policy.
Purchase protection: Covers your new purchases for up to 90 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim.
Employee cards at no additional cost: You can get employee cards at no additional cost and you’ll earn the same 2% cash back on their spending as well. Note that if employees are allowed to use the account, they will be authorized users and will have equal charging privileges unless you establish individual spending limits.
Lost luggage reimbursement: Checked or carry-on luggage is covered up to $3,000 if lost or stolen when you charge your ticket to the card.
Which Cards Compete With Spark Cash For Business?
If you’re looking for a cash back business credit card, there are a number of options to consider in addition to Spark Cash For Business. Here are a few…
Ink Business Cash Credit Card — Earn 5% cash back at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services (on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year), plus 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. There is no annual fee. Rewards from this card can become extremely valuable if you pair it with a transfer-enabled card in Chase’s lineup that’s part of the Ultimate Rewards program, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Ink Business Preferred. UR points are worth 2.1 cents apiece, according to TPG’s latest valuations.
Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card — Earn 1.5% cash back per dollar spent on all purchases. There is no annual fee. If you pair this card with an Ultimate Rewards card, its rewards redemption value can be higher than Spark Cash, but you’ll need to pay an annual fee for one of those additional transfer-enabled cards.
Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business — Earn 1.5% cash back per dollar spent on all purchases. There is no annual fee. You’re trading half a percentage point in rewards value to avoid an annual fee. That — and a smaller welcome bonus — is the main difference between this card and Spark Cash.
SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express — Earn 5% cash back at US office supply stores and on wireless telephone services (up to $50,000 in combined purchases each year; then 1%), plus 3% cash back on a category of your choice out of 8, including airfare, hotels, US gas stations, US restaurants and US shipping (up to $50,000 in purchases each year; then 1%) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. There is no annual fee.
There are certainly many business credit cards on the market that will earn a greater return than what the Capital One Spark Cash For Business offers. But this is a quality card for a business owner who doesn’t want to fuss with bonus categories or points redemption. It also makes for a sound second credit card if you’re looking to boost your earning on everyday non-bonus spending. And, if you do much international travel, this card is also handy to have for those purchases, as it charges no foreign transaction fees.
- Earning unlimited 2% cash back could mean thousands of dollars each year going back into your business
- Plus, a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
- Use Spark Cash across all your business spend, with no categories to limit your purchasing
- $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
- Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
- Get employee cards at no additional cost, and earn rewards from their business spend