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Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business is a popular business cash back credit card with no annual fee and a simple rewards program that earns an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. Like many other business credit cards, it offers some useful benefits for business owners, such as free employee cards and spending reports.
Spark Cash Select applicants can choose from two distinct products:
- Capital One Spark Cash Select – $500 Bonus, which delivers an early spend bonus worth $500 after you spend $4,500 in the first 3 months of account opening.
- Capital One Spark Cash Select – 0% APR for 12 Months, which offers an interest-free (0% APR) period on purchases for 12 months after account opening.
Spark Cash Select competes with a host of other business rewards cards, including Chase Ink Business Cash, Chase Ink Business Preferred ($95 annual fee), and Capital One’s own Spark Cash for Business (with an increased 2% cash back rate in exchange for a $95 annual fee).
These are the key features of the Spark Cash Select cards.
Early Spend Bonus (Spark Cash Select – $500 Bonus)
The Spark Cash Select – $500 Bonus card delivers a $500 cash bonus after you spend at least $4,500 in purchases within 3 months of opening the account.
Introductory APR (Spark Cash Select – 0% APR for 12 Months)
The Spark Cash Select – 0% APR for 12 Months card offers 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from account opening. Thereafter, variable regular APR applies.
Cash Back Rewards and Redemption (Both Cards)
Spark Cash Select earns a flat 1.5% cash back on every $1 spent, every day, with no caps or restrictions. Accumulated cash back can be redeemed in any amount for statement credits and paper checks. You can also set up automatic redemption, which clears your cash back account in the manner of your choosing (statement credit or check) once you reach a predefined redemption threshold: $25, $50, $100, or $200.
Additionally, you can redeem your cash back for gift cards and charitable donations, though doing so may diminish the value of your cash back and may entail a minimum redemption threshold.
Important Fees (Both Cards)
There is no annual fee, foreign transaction fee, or fee for employee cards. The cash advance fee is the greater of 3% or $10, and the late payment fee is $39.
Quarterly and Year-End Reports (Both Cards)
At the end of every quarter and year, Capital One sends you a detailed summary of your spending during the period, including categorized line items that simplify budgeting, accounting, and tax preparation. Spending on employee cards, if any, is included in this report as well.
Downloadable Purchase Records (Both Cards)
Capital One offers downloadable purchase reports that can easily be exported to accounting software such as QuickBooks, Excel, and Quicken – another benefit for accounting and tax preparation.
Additional Benefits (Both Cards)
Spark Cash Select has a number of general benefits, including a complimentary auto rental collision damage waiver when you charge the full amount of the rental to your card, and 24/7 emergency travel assistance services, including ticket replacement and lost card replacement.
Credit Required (Both Cards)
Spark Cash Select requires good to excellent credit. A few credit history imperfections probably won’t disqualify you from consideration, but serious blemishes are likely to be a problem.
Here’s what Spark Cash Select has going for it.
- No Annual Fee. Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business doesn’t charge an annual fee. This is a definite perk for frugal business owners who don’t spend enough to offset an annual fee. Some competing cards, such as Chase Ink Business Preferred and American Express Business Green Rewards, do carry annual fees.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees. This card also does not charge foreign transaction fees. If you travel abroad regularly or do business in other countries, this is a big perk. Amex’s Blue Business Plus and Blue Business Cash both charge 2.7% for foreign transactions.
- Nice Early Spend Bonus on the Spark Cash Select – $500 Bonus Card. To be eligible to receive the $500 early spend bonus on the Spark Cash Select – $500 Bonus Card, you must spend $4,500 on the card within 3 months. Fortunately, that’s doable for many business owners.
- Rewards Can Be Redeemed in Any Amount. You can redeem your cash back rewards in any amount. This is great if you spend intermittently with this card and don’t want to wait until you hit a redemption threshold. Some other cards set minimum redemption requirements.
- No Spending Caps or Rotating/Tiered Spending Categories. Spark Cash Select’s cash back rewards system couldn’t be simpler – an unlimited 1.5% back on all purchases, no matter what. If you can’t be bothered with rotating or tiered spending categories, this is a welcome relief. Many competing cards, including options offered by Chase and American Express, have much more complex rewards schemes.
Consider these disadvantages before applying for Spark Cash Select.
- Rewards Capped at 1.5% Rate. Capital One Spark Cash Select’s cash back earning rate is capped at 1.5%. That’s a decent baseline, but it can’t compete with higher rates available from cards with favored spending categories. For instance, Chase Ink Business Cash and Chase Ink Business Preferred earn up to 3% cash back in select spending categories (such as telecommunications and office supplies) up to respective $25,000 and $150,000 annual caps. If you have heavy spending needs and expect to break through these caps, it may be more advantageous to stick with Spark Cash Select. If you have more modest spending needs in specific categories, look to cards that favor those categories, since you probably won’t exceed the caps on a regular basis.
- Limited Business Benefits. Aside from the quarterly spending reports and exportable purchase records, this card doesn’t have many benefits designed specifically for business owners. Other business credit cards are much more generous on this point. For instance, American Express business cards include discounts up to 5% (or an equivalent Membership Rewards point-earning rate) with select partner merchants, including FedEx.
- Non-cash Redemptions Are Not Ideal. If you want to redeem your cash back for something other than a statement credit or paper check, you can opt for a gift card or charitable donation. However, gift card redemptions may cut the value of your accumulated cash back – by as much as half, in some cases – and their terms are subject to change without notice.
- Can’t Redeem for Merchandise. You can’t redeem your cash back rewards for merchandise. That’s a bummer if you want the flexibility to spend your cash without taking it out of your Capital One account. Many of American Express’s business cards fit into Amex’s Membership Rewards program, which is basically an online shopping mall with reasonable deals on a wide range of general merchandise, transportation, experiences, and more.
Aside from the name and a handful of perks that aren’t available on Capital One consumer credit cards, Capital One Spark Cash Select – $500 Bonus and Capital One Spark Cash Select – 0% APR for 12 Months cards don’t much look like business credit cards. In fact, these cards’ basic parameters are nearly identical to Capital One Quicksilver, the issuer’s flagship consumer cash back card.
However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you want to earn the same cash back rate on every single purchase you make for your business, without paying a hefty fee each year, a Spark Cash Select card deserves a place in your wallet. Depending on your non-business spending needs, you might want to get a Quicksilver card to keep it company.