|Business Rating:||4.7 / 5|
|Issuer Customer Experience||4.0|
In a Nutshell:
If you want a simple business charge card with a superb cash-back rate, you will love the Capital One Spark Cash Plus.
Up to a $1,000 cash bonus: $500 when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months, plus an additional $500 when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months
Average Yearly Rewards Value ($4,000 monthly spend)
Capital One Customer Service Ratings
Other Notable Features: Free employee cards, quarterly and year-end summary and other business tools, fraud coverage, no foreign transaction fees, lost or damaged luggage reimbursement*, purchase assurance*, extended warranty*, roadside assistance*
* Terms, conditions and exclusions apply. Refer to your Guide to Benefits for more details.
The new Capital One Spark Cash Plus – a revamped version of the Capital One Spark Cash for Business – has hit the ground running, offering the same generous flat cash back rate as well as new perks, including a generous sign-up bonus, no preset spending limit and an enticing annual bonus geared toward big spenders.
Even with a $150 annual fee, the card should hold fantastic value for the average small-business owner and easily stands as one of the best business cards on the market if you prefer the simplicity of flat-rate cash back.
But if you’re looking for payment flexibility, the Spark Cash Plus will disappoint. As a charge card, the Spark Cash Plus requires you to pay off your balance in full each billing cycle and carries no ongoing APR or 0% introductory APR offers, making it of little use if you need to free up cash flow or chip away at business expenses over time.
See related: How do business credit cards work?
Why you might want the Capital One Spark Cash Plus
With an impressive cash back rate and variety of rewards redemption options, the Spark Cash Plus could be the card that helps your small business maximize rewards on everyday spending. If you prefer to earn cash back over travel points, the Spark Cash Plus is a good choice, allowing you to forgo the complicated math, redemption caveats and spending limits often found on rewards credit cards (Cash Plus cardholders can earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel).
The card may not make the most sense for more modest spenders, but if you plan to spend at least $30,000 per year, you’ll likely earn more with the Spark Cash Plus than you would with the typical no annual fee business card. The card also carries very minimal fees for a charge card and its annual fee should only make a small dent in your rewards.
Maximize rewards on everyday purchases
The Spark Cash Plus card retains the streamlined rewards structure of the legacy Spark Cash card: You’ll earn unlimited 2% cash back on all qualifying purchases, with no need to track spending or enroll in bonus categories.
This is one of the highest flat rewards rates you’ll find on a business rewards card, with most offering just 1.5% back on all purchases or 1% back on general purchases and 2% to 5% back in specific spending categories, like dining or travel.
This makes the Spark Cash Plus a solid choice both for small-business owners who want to keep things simple by earning cash back on all their eligible spending and for those who want to fill a gap in their rewards strategy by earning boosted cash back on spending outside their other cards’ bonus categories.
Depending on your spending, the Spark Cash Plus card’s 2% flat rate could even make it more valuable than some no annual fee business cards. For example, compare the card with the Capital One Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus – which earns just 1.5% cash back but charges no annual fee – and you’ll find that the extra half-percent of cash back on the Spark Cash Plus more than makes up for its annual fee given a $48,000 estimated annual spend.
|Spark Cash Plus||$48,000 x 2% back – $150 =||$810|
|Spark Cash Select – $500 Bonus||$48,000 x 1.5% back =||$720|
As you can see, even with a sizeable annual fee, the Spark Cash Plus card’s generous rewards rate can help you come out on top – as long as you use the card for most of your business spending.
Flexible rewards redemption
The Capital One Spark Cash Plus card’s lineup of redemption options offers solid flexibility, so redeeming cash back with the card should be about as simple as earning it.
Capital One offers a great mix of cash back redemption options for Spark Cash Plus cardholders, including choices for a statement credit, check, gift card or payment through Amazon.com or PayPal. You can even transfer your rewards to another Capital One account if you’d rather redeem for travel, potentially at a higher value (such as to the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card at a rate of $1 cash back to 100 Capital One miles).
There’s also no minimum threshold required to redeem your cash back – you can claim your rewards anytime, in any amount. You can even set cash back to be redeemed automatically once per year on a specified date or when you reach $25, $50, $200, $500 or $1,500 in rewards. Considering some issuers only let you redeem rewards for cash back as a statement credit, the Spark Cash Plus definitely earns points with its redemption variety.
Solid, if hard-to-reach, sign-up bonus
One of the most impressive elements of the Capital One Spark Cash Plus card is its sign-up bonus, which ranks among the best business card sign-up bonuses. You can earn a welcome bonus of up to $1,000 – $500 when you spend $5,000 in the first three months, plus an additional $500 when you spend $50,000 in the first six months. While this is a big drop from the card’s previous bonus – and all-time high – of up to $3,000 with the same spending requirement, it is still one of the most generous bonuses available on a business card at this price level. That said, a $50,000 total spending requirement for a $1,000 sign-up bonus is quite a low return on investment, as some competing cards offer comparable value with spending requirements under $10,000.
Reasonable fees and no preset spending limit
Though the Spark Cash Plus card carries a somewhat high annual fee of $150, most small-business owners should be able to cover this cost with cash back earned via normal spending. In fact, you’ll only need to spend $7,500 with the card to reach $150 in cash back, so the annual fee shouldn’t pose too much of a risk if you use the card consistently.
The card also carries no preset spending limit, offering you the flexibility to spend as much as you’ve shown you can afford. That means you won’t have to worry about hurting your credit score with a high credit utilization ratio on the Spark Cash Plus card (though you also won’t enjoy the credit score benefit of maintaining low credit utilization).
The Spark Cash Plus also charges no foreign transaction fee, making it a great choice for international travelers and small businesses with employees overseas.
Tip: If you miss your payment due date, you’ll be charged 2.99% of the unpaid portion of your minimum payment as a late penalty.
Solid card benefits
The Spark Cash Plus card’s main selling points are its terrific ongoing flat cash back rate and generous welcome bonus, but the card also carries a handful of noteworthy perks for small-business owners. While these can’t match the luxury benefits you’ll find on top-tier business travel cards, they should offer solid value, especially for big spenders.
- $200 annual bonus – You’ll earn a $200 cash bonus every year you charge $200,000 or more to the card. Assuming you can meet the hefty spending requirement, this bonus alone will cover the card’s annual fee each year.
- Free employee cards – You can add employee cards to your account for no additional charge. Their purchases will also earn 2% cash back and contribute to the spending totals required to earn the card’s sign-up and annual bonuses.
- Travel and purchase protection – You’ll enjoy a suite of benefits, including travel and emergency assistance, extended warranty coverage, auto rental insurance, lost luggage replacement and purchase security. Purchase security covers purchases that need to be replaced, repaired or reimbursed for the first 90 days in the event of loss, damage, theft or fire. These are all useful travel insurance benefits, though not particularly impressive at this price point. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply. Refer to your Guide to Benefits for more details.
- Virtual card numbers – You can get an added layer of protection against fraud when using your card online with a virtual card number from Capital One. Virtual card numbers allow you to make online purchases without sharing your actual card number or paying through a third-party site like PayPal. This also gives you extra peace of mind in the event of a data breach at a company that’s used your virtual card number.
Why you might want a different card
The Spark Cash Plus offers a generous annual and sign-up bonus although meeting the required spending may be unattainable for the average small-business owner. Heavy spenders would need to meet more than the average yearly spend with the card to earn these rewards and you may want to consider other card options if you want to pay off a large purchase overtime since the Spark Cash Plus carries no 0% introductory APR.
Plus, if you are seeking a business card with an extensive list of card benefits, you may not find it here. The Spark Cash Plus offers solid benefits like travel protections, free employee cards and virtual card numbers but unfortunately, that’s about as long as its benefits list gets.
A risky choice for modest spenders
While the Capital One Spark Cash Plus card’s generous 2% cash back rate can make it a great value for many small-business owners in spite its $150 annual fee, it may prove costly for more modest spenders.
You may be better off with a no annual fee card if you don’t plan to put that much spending on a single card, even if it carries a lower rewards rate. Ignoring sign-up bonuses and cardholder perks, a no annual fee credit card with a 1.5% cash back rate will be more lucrative and less risky than the Spark Cash Plus if you charge less than $30,000 per year.
|Spark Cash Plus||$24,000 x 2% back – $150 =||$330|
|Spark Cash Select – $500 Bonus||$24,000 x 1.5% back =||$360|
If your business spends heavily in a particular category, such as office supplies or telecommunications, you may also want to consider opting for a card that earns elevated rewards on those purchases – either instead of or in combination with the Spark Cash Plus card.
If you aren’t sure whether you’ll use the card enough to justify its annual fee, know that you can find plenty of business credit cards that charge a lower annual fee (or no annual fee) while still offering solid rewards value and other perks like a 0% introductory APR on purchases or balance transfers. Depending on your priorities, it may be worth sacrificing some rewards potential for a lower annual fee card with different benefits or more peace of mind.
Hard-to-reach annual and sign-up bonuses
Just as the card’s 2% cash back rate only justifies the card’s cost with a decent spend, the spending required to earn the card’s sign-up bonus could put it out of reach for many cardholders. To earn the card’s up to $1,000 bonus, you’d need to spend an average of over $8,333 per month for your first six months to meet the $50,000 threshold in time, which is more than double our estimate of the average small-business owner’s monthly spending ($4,000).
Compare this with a business card that offers better bonus value than the Spark Cash Plus, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card from Chase. The Business Preferred card only charges a $95 annual fee and offers 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points – worth $1,250 when redeemed for travel with Chase – after you spend $15,000 in your first three months. While this is still a high spending requirement, it’s much more attainable, especially if you plan your application around upcoming large business expenses.
See related: Credit cards with 100,000-point bonuses
And though the Spark Cash Plus card also carries a terrific annual bonus of $200 cash back beyond its initial sign-up bonus, you’ll need to be a heavy spender if you want to meet the $200,000 spending threshold required to earn it. This certainly puts the perk out of reach for modest spenders.
Can’t carry a balance and no 0% introductory APR offer
The Spark Cash Plus card is a charge card, which means you’re expected to pay off your card balance in full each billing cycle. As such, it does not carry a regular APR and offers no 0% introductory APR.
While this could help you avoid high-interest debt and ensure you keep up with payments, it means you won’t ever have the flexibility to carry a balance should you need to. This may be a deal-breaker if you’re looking for a business card to help you free up cash flow or pay off large business expenses over time.
A number of business cards offer introductory APRs on new purchases and not only allow you to chip away at expenses over 9 months or more, but also earn rewards on those purchases.
See related: Best 0% intro APR business cards
How does the Spark Cash Plus card compare to other business cards?
The Spark Cash Plus card delivers terrific value despite its annual fee, offering a generous sign-up bonus, one of the best flat cash back rates you can find on a business card and a terrific annual bonus for big spenders.
Even so, it may not be the best fit for every small-business owner. If your spending is more modest or if you spend heavily in a particular category, another card may offer better long-term value at a lower cost. Here are a few of our top picks:
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card
Brex 30 Card
|Rewards rate||Rewards rate||Rewards rate|
100,000 points if you spend $15,000 in first 3 months
$250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
50,000 in Brex Rewards points after you spend $9,000 in the first 30 days
|Other things to know||Other things to know||Other things to know|
Spark Cash Plus vs. Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Boasting a more attainable sign-up bonus than the Spark Cash Plus card, the Ink Business Preferred card also carries a lower annual fee and greater redemption flexibility. You can trade your Ultimate Rewards points for cash back at 1 cent per point, or redeem for travel through Chase and enjoy a 25% boost in point value. And while you’ll only earn 1 point per dollar on general purchases, the card’s bonus category rewards rates could offer terrific value if you spend heavily on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone services and advertising purchases.
Spark Cash Plus vs. American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card
Though it carries a much lower welcome bonus than the Spark Cash Plus card, the Amex Blue Business Cash card should still offer impressive long-term value for the typical small-business owner. You’ll enjoy the same 2% cash back rate on your first $50,000 in spending (after which it drops to 1% back) without an annual fee hanging over you. You can also take advantage of a 0% introductory APR on purchases for your first 12 months to chip away at expenses over time (after which a 14.74% to 22.74% variable APR applies), and you even have the option of spending over your credit limit if you qualify (terms apply).
Spark Cash Plus vs. Brex 30 Card
A great option for small-business owners and entrepreneurs who are in the market for a card that doesn’t require a personal guarantee, the Brex 30 Card offers a slew of bonus rewards categories and valuable perks, including discounts and credits with Amazon Web Services, Slack, Google Ads and more for no annual fee. The Brex 30 Card also carries a dynamic credit limit based on how much capital your company has raised and your company’s spending patterns.
How to use the Spark Cash Plus card:
- Use the card for all purchases, unless you’d earn more than 2% back with another card.
- Plan out large purchases in advance to give yourself the best chance of meeting the card’s sign-up and annual bonus spending requirements.
- Pay off your card balance in full each month, and be sure to pay on time to avoid a 2.99% penalty on any unpaid portion.
- Get employee cards at no additional cost to help you earn even more rewards.
- If you have a personal Capital One rewards card like the Venture and want to use cash back for travel, consider transferring your rewards to enjoy additional redemption flexibility.
Is the Spark Cash Plus card right for you?
The Spark Cash Plus card is a terrific option for small-business owners looking for a simple way to earn cash back on almost everything they buy. It should be an especially great fit for heavy spenders thanks to its annual bonus and flexible spending limits, but the card’s generous flat cash back rate means even the average small-business owner shouldn’t have much trouble justifying the card’s annual fee.
That said, the card may not be worth it for more modest spenders. If you plan to put less than $30,000 on the card each year, you’ll likely be better off with a no annual fee card that earns 1.5% back on general purchases or bonus cash back in specific categories relevant to your business. And since the Spark Cash Plus is a charge card, it won’t be helpful should you need to carry a balance.
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