|Business Rating:||4.4 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate||4.0|
|Issuer Customer Experience||5.0|
In a Nutshell:
The American Express Blue Business Cash Card comes with a major selling point: 2 percent cash back on your first $50,000 of purchases each year (then 1%) for no annual fee.
$250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
American Express Customer Service Ratings
Other Notable Features: Flexible spending limit, Working Capital Terms, car rental insurance, roadside assistance hotline, baggage insurance, Global Assist hotline, travel accident insurance, free employee cards, free business expense tracking tools, connect to QuickBooks, year-end expense summary, business owners forum, account alerts, online statements, extended warranties, purchase protection, dispute resolution, American Express Offers
Small business owners who are looking for a simple cash back card that offers a consistently high rate of cash back should take a close look at the American Express Blue Business Cash Card. This business rewards card comes with some outstanding features, including cash flow solutions and 2% cash back on your first $50,000 in purchases each year (then 1%) for no annual fee.
While the card could be a rewarding option for long-term cardholders who plan to spend less than $50,000 annually, its cash back limits and relatively low welcome bonus may hold it back compared to competing card offers.
Why you might want the American Express Blue Business Cash Card
One of the best reasons to apply for the Blue Business Cash Card is its cash back rewards program, which is extra impressive given the cards $0 annual fee. The card offers 2% cash back on your first $50,000 in purchases each year (1% cash back thereafter), making it one of the most rewarding cash back cards for modest spenders. Simple, flat-rate rewards like those offered by the Blue Business Cash also give busy small business owners the added convenience of earning cash back on every purchase without worrying about bonus categories.
High cash back rate and no annual fee
While there are a few other business credit cards that offer a flat 2% cash back rate, the Blue Business Cash Card is one of the only ones to offer such a high rate while also charging no annual fee. The Capital One Spark Cash Plus, for example, earns unlimited 2% cash back, but also tacks on a pricy $150 annual fee.
Though the Blue Business Cash only offers 2% cash back on the first $50,000 you spend each year – after which its rate drops to 1% back – this cap should give the average small business owner plenty of room to earn rewards. You’d need to spend just over $4,100 per month with the card to meet the $50,000 annual cap on 2% cash back rewards, and if you managed to meet the $50,000 annual cap, you’d earn $1,000 per year in cash back, with no annual fee cutting into your earnings. That’s not a bad reward for simply using the card on purchases you would already have been making for your small business.
Compare this to the typical 1.5% base cash back rate you’ll find on many flat-rate business rewards cards and you’ll see what a difference an extra 0.5% in cash back can make over the course of a year. While a $50,000 spend on the Blue Business Cash would earn $1,000 in rewards, the same spend on a 1.5% cash back card would earn just $750.
Small business owners also benefit from the card’s convenient flat-rate rewards because they won’t need to strategize about their spending in select categories or worry about category enrollment month-to-month, as is required with some more complex business cards. While these competing cards could be more rewarding if their bonus categories match your spending habits, they can be more trouble than they’re worth for a busy small business owner.
Straightforward rewards redemption
When you have your hands full running a business, you may also prefer the simplicity of the Blue Business Cash card’s cash back redemption. Not only do you earn cash back at the same rate on every purchase, but you also don’t have to put much thought into how you redeem your rewards.
Once you pay your balance, the rewards earned on that balance are automatically applied to your account as a statement credit at the end of the next billing cycle. Instead of weighing redemption options between cash back, travel and gift cards or checking for the best point values and transfer partners, you can simply get a chunk of your balance covered via an automatic credit. This gives you more time to focus on what’s important in your day-to-day instead of wondering whether you’re getting the best value out of your rewards.
Reliable cash flow perks
Aside from its cash back rewards program, the Blue Business Cash card is a great option for small business owners looking to free up cash flow. You’ll enjoy benefits like:
- A competitive 0% introductory APR – If you’re looking to finance a major purchase for your business while avoiding interest charges, the Blue Business Cash card could be a big help. You can take advantage of the card’s 0% introductory APR on new purchases for the first 12 months from the date of account opening (17.49% to 25.49% variable APR thereafter), allowing you to chip away at larger expenses over the course of a year without drowning in extra fees. As long as you pay off your balance in full by the end of the intro APR period, you’ll completely avoid interest charges.
- Flexible credit limit – The Blue Business Cash card allows you to spend over your credit limit without penalty and to earn rewards on that spend, as long as you pay off the over-limit amount plus your minimum payment by the due date. Just keep in mind that the amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your card use, payment history, credit record, other financial information known to American Express and other factors. Terms apply.
- Working Capital Terms – Cardholders can apply for Working Capital Terms after the first six months of membership. Upon enrollment, Amex can pay your vendors upfront (within 5 days), and you can repay Amex later on (within 55 days). This allows you to hold onto cash longer while still offering timely payments to vendors.
These flexible options give small business owners the opportunity to expand their spending beyond their credit limit, ultimately giving them more opportunities to generate new business that they might not otherwise have the capital to drum up. This will be great for start-ups or businesses looking to expand into new areas that place a higher demand on their capital.
See related: How credit cards can boost cash flow
The card also offers an array of business-specific benefits including free employee cards, free business expense tracking tools, integration with QuickBooks, a year-end expense summary, access to a forum just for business owners, account alerts and online statements. Finally, you’ll get extended warranties, purchase protection, dispute resolution and access to special savings opportunities with American Express Offers.
Along with its useful business benefits, the Blue Business Cash card also carries some decent travel perks including car rental loss and damage insurance, a roadside assistance hotline, baggage insurance, a Global Assist hotline and travel accident insurance.
Why you might want a different card
Though the Blue Business Cash card should offer terrific value for small business owners who spend modestly year-to-year and are looking for reliable and low maintenance rewards, it falls short when it comes to first-year value due to its relatively low welcome bonus. And although the card’s flat cash back rate is generous, it’s also held back by an annual spending cap, which may make the card less appealing to business owners who spend more than $50,000 annually.
Welcome bonus holds back short-term value
Along with the rewards you’ll earn by spending with the Blue Business Cash card, you can now enjoy a welcome bonus: You’ll earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in your first three months. While any sort of credit card welcome bonus is a plus, this bonus is underwhelming compared to the bonuses you’ll find on some competing no-annual-fee-business rewards cards.
The Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card, for example, boasts a $900 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first three months and earns an unlimited 1.5% cash back, all while charging no annual fee. While a welcome bonus alone shouldn’t be what determines which card you apply for (you should focus on long-term value and utility instead), it’s worth noting that the amount you’d need to spend with the Blue Business Cash Card to offset the difference between these welcome bonuses is substantial.
Taking into account each card’s welcome bonus (assuming you meet them) and given a $50,000 annual spend, the Blue Business Cash card falls short of the overall value offered by the Ink Business Unlimited card in the first year, despite the latter’s lower flat rewards rate. If you earned the Ink Business Unlimited card’s welcome bonus and spent $50,000 total in your first year, you’d earn $1,650 in cash back, compared to $1,250 if you earned the Blue Business Cash card’s bonus and spent the same amount. The Ink Business Unlimited card’s high bonus means it can even match the Blue Business Cash card in cumulative value for the first two years, with the Blue Business Cash earning $2,250 total over two years and the Ink Business Unlimited earning $2,400, given their bonuses and a $50,000 annual spend. It’s not until year three that the Blue Business Cash card’s higher flat rate gives it a higher cumulative value given these spending assumptions.
As you can see, while the Blue Business Cash card offers solid long-term value, it may not be at the top of your list if you’re focused on maximizing your short-term return on spend.
Annual caps hold back large spenders
After you’ve reached the Blue Business Cash card’s $50,000 annual spending cap, you’ll only earn 1% back. If your business spendings are significantly more than $50,000 per year, that will be underwhelming given the number of business rewards cards that offer unlimited 1.5% cash back at no annual fee. While $50,000 seems like a high cap, a small business can easily exceed that amount depending on its industry and needs. If your business reliably spends over $50,000 annually, you might want to look elsewhere for a card with a larger cap (or no cap) on annual spending, even if that means paying an annual fee.
The Ink Business Unlimited card, for example, earns an unlimited 1.5% back on all purchases. While the rewards you earn at this rate will initially fall short of those you’d earn with Blue Business Cash card, they could ultimately surpass the rewards you’d earn on the Blue Business Cash if you spend heavily. Leaving aside welcome bonuses, if you spent $100,000 on both the Ink Business Unlimited and Blue Business Cash, both cards would earn the same amount of rewards ($1,500). Meanwhile, if you’re willing to pay an annual fee of $150, then the Capital One Spark Cash Plus Card and its unlimited flat 2% cash back rate could offer even more overall value for big spenders.
|Spark Cash Plus||$100,000 x 2% cash back – $150 annual fee=||$1,850|
|Blue Business Cash||$50,000 x 2% cash back + ($50,000 x 1% cash back ) =||$1,500|
|Ink Business Unlimited||$100,000 x 1.5% cash back =||$1,500|
As you can see, unlimited rewards can be incredibly beneficial on a cash back card and – even when you’re faced with an annual fee – can ultimately net you more cash back than a no-annual-fee card with spending caps.
How does the Blue Business Cash Card compare to other business cards?
The Blue Business Cash card is a good card for start-ups or small businesses looking for flexible financing and simple rewards with no annual fee. That said, there are some other options you may want to consider based on how you plan to use your card, how you want to receive rewards and how much you plan to spend annually. Consider these alternatives:
|Rewards rate||Rewards rate||Rewards rate|
$900 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first three months
Up to a $1,000 cash bonus – $500 by spending $5,000 within the first three months, plus another $500 bonus after spending a total of $50,000 in the first six months
$300 statement credit after you make at least $3,000 in net purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening
|Other things to know||Other things to know||Other things to know|
Blue Business Cash vs. Chase Ink Business Unlimited Card
The Chase Ink Business Unlimited Card carries a decent rewards rate of 1.5% back on all purchases without an annual cap on spending. The card’s sign-up bonus of $900 for spending $6,000 in the first three months sets it apart in first-year value from many competing cards and should give it better short-term value even than those with a higher flat rewards rate, like the American Express Blue Business Cash card. On the downside, the card may lack long-term value for modest spenders given its lower earning rate. That said, if your business spends heavily, you could potentially earn more with an unlimited 1.5% cash back rate than you could with a 2% rate that only applies to your first $50,000 in annual spending (after which you earn just 1% back).
Blue Business Cash vs. Capital One Spark Cash Plus Card
The Capital One Spark Cash Plus is a charge card with a $150 annual fee that also earns a flat rewards rate of 2% back on all purchases. While the card may offer limited flexibility to some cardholders given it requires you to pay off your balance in full each billing cycle, it also comes with no preset spending limit and, unlike the Blue Business Cash card, the Spark Cash Plus card doesn’t place a cap on annual spending that earns the 2% back rate. Depending on how much you spend, you may be able to offset the card’s annual fee and ultimately earn more than you would with a no-annual-fee card. Leaving aside welcome bonuses, if you spent more than $65,000 per year with each card, the Spark Cash Plus would offer more value than the Blue Business Cash card even given the $150 annual fee, thanks to its higher ongoing cash back rate.
|Spark Cash Plus||$65,000 x 2% cash back – $150 annual fee =||$1,150|
|Blue Business Cash||$50,000 x 2% cash back + ($15,000 x 1% cash back ) =||$1,150|
American Express Blue Business Cash Card vs. Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard®
Like the Blue Business Cash card, the Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® has a $50,000 annual cap on spending for its elevated rewards rate. This makes either card especially beneficial for business owners spending below $50,000, but limits their utility for business owners with higher annual spending habits.
The Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard will, however, give you the flexibility to earn 3% back on a category of your choice (gas, office supplies, travel, TV/telecom and wireless, computer service and business consulting services). This could potentially make the Bank of America card a little more worthwhile if you have a particularly high spend in one of those categories. The card also earns 2% back on dining purchases.
An added benefit to this rewards scheme is you get to change your category once per month, giving you the flexibility to strategize your spending and continue to earn 3% back. Another unique offer is the ability to qualify for elevated rewards rates through Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program (available to qualifying Bank of America or Merrill account holders).
How to use the Blue Business Cash Card
- Use the card for all your business purchases to take advantage of the high flat cash back rate.
- Take advantage of the card’s introductory APR on purchases to finance a purchase for your business.
- Sign up for free employee cards to rack up cash back on your employees’ purchases.
- Check in after six months to see if you’re eligible for the card’s Working Capital Terms.
Is the Blue Business Cash Card right for you?
If you love the simplicity of cash back rewards and are looking for one of the most rewarding cash back cards for a small business, the Blue Business Cash card could be the way to go. It’s perfect for start-ups or small business owners who spend modestly year-to-year and are focused on long-term value and straightforward redemption. If you’re looking to free up cash flow or chip away at a large business expense over time, the Blue Business Cash card also offers a suite of great financing features.
If, on the other hand, you spend much more than $50,000 each year, then another card that earns a comparable cash back rate with no annual spending cap may offer more value – even if that means paying an annual fee.
For rates and fees of the American Express Blue Business Cash Card, please click here
Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.
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