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Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business (Review) – Build Business Credit

At a Glance
capital one spark classic business card
4.1 / 5
Rating

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Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

  • Early Spend Bonus: None
  • Rewards: Unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases; Redeem for cash with no minimums and cash back rewards don’t expire as long as account is open
  • Intro APR: None
  • Fees: $0 foreign transaction fee; cash advances $10 or 3% (whichever is greater)
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Credit Needed: Average, Fair, Limited

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

Learn more about this card and find out how you can apply here.

Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business is a business credit card for business owners with fair credit. Though its reasonable cash back rewards rate and minimal fees – including no annual fee – are nice benefits for anyone who likes low-cost rewards credit cards, Spark Classic’s real utility lies in its credit-building power.

Spark Classic competes with a number of other entry-level business credit cards, including Capital One’s own Spark Cash Select and Spark Miles Select, both no-annual-fee cards that cater to business owners with excellent credit and earn rewards at higher rates. It also competes with popular business cards like Chase Ink Business Cash, U.S. Bank Business Edge Cash Rewards, American Express Business Green Rewards, and American Express Blue Business Plus.

Keep in mind that, as an entry-level business credit card, Spark Classic lacks some of the perks of higher-end competitors. For instance, it doesn’t offer an early spend bonus or introductory APR deal, and advises applicants to expect initial credit limits as low as $500.

Key Features

Cash Back Rewards and Redemption

This card earns an unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase. You can redeem accumulated cash back in any amount for statement credits or paper checks. You can also set up automatic redemptions that send paper checks or apply statement credits once you hit a predetermined cash back threshold: $25, $50, $100, or $200.

Though Capital One allows you to redeem accumulated cash back for gift cards and other items, non-cash redemption rates tend to be lower than the standard $0.01 per cash back point and are subject to change without warning.

Important Fees

There is no annual fee, foreign transaction fee, balance transfer fee, or fee for extra employee cards. The cash advance fee is the greater of $10 or 3% of the advanced amount, and the late payment fee is $39.

Quarterly and Year-End Summaries

At the end of each quarter, and again at the end of the year, you receive a detailed summary of your spending during the preceding quarter and/or year, including employee card spending, if any. The summary includes categorized, itemized spending records designed to simplify your business’s tax preparation, budgeting, and accounting processes.

Downloadable Purchase Records

You’re entitled to receive downloadable purchase records designed for easy translation to accounting software such as QuickBooks, Excel, and Quicken. This further simplifies the accounting and tax prep processes.

Additional Benefits

Capital One Spark Classic’s general benefits include complimentary auto rental collision damage coverage when the full amount of the rental is charged to your card, luggage protection up to $3,000 per trip, and 24/7 emergency travel assistance services such as lost card replacement and ticket replacement.

Credit Required

This card requires average, fair, or limited credit. Even if you have significant blemishes on your credit record, you can still expect to be considered for this card. However, very serious issues, such as a recent bankruptcy or foreclosure, may be disqualifying.

Advantages

  1. No Annual Fee. Capital One Spark Classic for Business doesn’t carry an annual fee. That’s good news for frugal business owners, and a welcome contrast to popular alternatives such as Chase Ink Business Preferred ($95 annual fee) and American Express Business Green Rewards ($95 annual fee).
  2. Available to Business Owners With Fair or Spotty Credit. For a business credit card, Spark Classic has unusually lax qualification standards. Significant credit blemishes, such as an uneven history of timely credit card payments and high credit utilization, aren’t necessarily disqualifying here. Popular alternatives, including the American Express family and the other Capital One Spark cards, require good credit at a minimum – and often demand excellent, or even stellar, credit.
  3. No Foreign Transaction Fees. If you do business overseas, this card’s lack of foreign transaction fees is a big deal. Many competing AmEx cards do charge foreign transaction fees, a significant drawback for globe-trotting cardholders.
  4. No Balance Transfer Fees. Spark Classic doesn’t charge balance transfer fees. Though the balance transfer APR is on the high side, this is still an advantage for business owners who wish to transfer even higher-interest balances without paying for the privilege.
  5. No Caps on Cash Back. There’s no limit to how much cash back you can earn with Spark Classic – the 1% rate is effective no matter how much you spend. The Chase Ink cards both impose limits on certain spending categories, crimping your earning power if you spend heavily.
  6. No Cash Back Redemption Minimums. This card doesn’t impose a minimum cash back redemption threshold, which is good for cardholders who don’t spend (or earn) enough to regularly meet such minimums. The Chase Ink Business Cash and Preferred cards both have $20 redemption minimums, while U.S. Bank Business Edge Cash Rewards has a $25 minimum.

Disadvantages

  1. Comes With a Low Credit Limit to Start. Spark Classic applicants with fair credit should expect a restrictive credit limit to start – as low as $500, in some cases. While Capital One doesn’t go into detail about how it sets credit limits or when cardholders can expect increases, it’s important to keep your expectations in check out of the gate.
  2. Limited Business Benefits. Spark Classic lacks some of the practical business benefits common to fellow business credit cards. Aside from the periodic spending reports and downloadable purchase records, there’s not much to talk about here. By contrast, the American Express business cards (including Business Green Rewards) come with 5% discounts at select partner merchants, such as FedEx.
  3. No Introductory APR. Spark Classic doesn’t have a 0% intro APR deal for purchases or balance transfers. That’s a drawback relative to Capital One’s Spark Cash Select for Business and Spark Miles Select for Business, both of which have nine-month 0% purchase and balance transfer APR promotions.
  4. No Early Spend Bonus. Spark Classic lacks an early spend bonus, a significant drawback for new cardholders who wish to juice their rewards from the get-go. Fellow Spark cards have early spend bonuses of up to $500, and Chase Ink Business Cash‘s early spend bonus comes in at $300.
  5. Restrictions on Non-cash Redemptions. If you want the flexibility to redeem your rewards at competitive rates for non-cash items, Spark Classic isn’t your card. Gift card redemptions can reduce the value of your earned points, further eroding your earning power. The Chase Ink and American Express business cards both offer a wide array of redemption options, including travel and general merchandise, at competitive rates – often $0.01 per point or better.

Final Word

Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business is a “classic” starter credit card for business owners with big plans and so-so credit. It’s very similar to the Capital One QuicksilverOne consumer credit card, which is also geared toward people with fair to average credit, comes with moderate starting credit limits, and doesn’t accrue cash back rewards as quickly as its more generous peers.

If used responsibly, both Spark Classic and QuicksilverOne are tailor-made stepping-stones to credit cards with higher spending limits, lower APRs, better rewards, and more attractive fringe benefits. You have to start somewhere – and this is as good a place as any.

Learn more about this card and find out how you can apply here.

Verdict
capital one spark classic business card
4.1 / 5
Rating

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Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business is ideal for small business owners who are just starting out on the path to financial fitness and don’t yet have a solid credit history. It’s not as useful for business owners with better credit, as they’re likely to qualify for cards with more generous rewards schemes and favorable terms.

This card’s minimal fees, flexible redemption scheme, and generous credit standards are all very beneficial.

Its low credit limit, limited business benefits, and lack of incentives for new cardholders (such as an early spend bonus) do hurt.

Overall, this is a great card for business owners looking to build credit.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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