Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business Review

If you own a business and want to rack up cash rewards quickly to offset costs, the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business may be just what you’re looking for. Cash rewards are redeemable at any time with no minimum.

Spark® Cash for Business lets you earn unlimited rewards on all purchases, and the percentage of the rewards is double what some comparable cards offer after their initial bonus period. The card’s perks include a sizable cash bonus you can earn within the first three months.

When you consider the number of expenditures a business might have in any given month, this is a good opportunity to recover a generous portion of what’s been spent. You could potentially funnel hundreds or even thousands of dollars back into the business coffer.

Capital One is a trusted card issuer that’s been around for 25+ years.

The Essentials of the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

  • APR: 18.49% variable which may vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. The APR for a cash advance is 24.49% variable.
  • Annual fee: $0 for the first year and $95 per year after that.
  • Primary feature: Unlimited reward of 2% cash back on all purchases which can be redeemed at any time.
  • Introductory bonus offer: Earn a $500 cash bonus when you spend $4,500 in the first 3 months.

What’s Interesting about the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Business owners will appreciate the abundance of benefits that come with the Spark® Cash for Business Card. Some of these include:

  • Free employee cards so that their purchases also contribute toward cash rewards.
  • Easy accounting: Download purchase records quickly and securely to software such as Quicken®, Quickbooks™ and Excel®.
  • Custom, itemized spending reports to simplify planning, budgeting and taxes. Year-end summaries are also available.
  • If you travel outside of the U.S. for business, there are no foreign transaction fees on purchases. You can also get an emergency replacement card or receive emergency cash at a convenient location.
  • Auto rental damage waiver: You’re covered for damage caused by collision or theft when you rent an eligible car.
  • Zero fraud liability coverage if your card is lost or stolen, and fraud alerts delivered via text, e-mail or phone call.
  • Extended protection and purchase security: This doubles the length of the manufacturer’s warranty, and using this card means that eligible items will be replaced, repaired or reimbursed if you have a problem within 90 days of purchase.

Things to Consider

This card only offers cash rewards, so if your business requires a lot of travel, you might want to consider having a separate card just to rack up reward miles to use for flights and hotels.

The 18.49% variable APR is just a little more than average, but make sure you are on time with payments and follow all the rules. A late payment penalty fee can be up to $39, and the penalty APR for late payments can be as high as 30.9%. That rate varies with the market and prime rate.

The one-time bonus may not be available for existing or previous Spark cardholders. To qualify for this card, it’s recommended that you already have excellent credit.

How to Get the Most from this Card

Since the very best scenario is to earn the introductory bonus along with 2% in cash rewards, you’ll want to decide whether spending $4,500 or more in the first three months of card ownership is realistic. That’s not a huge figure for many businesses, but you don’t want to end up charging items you don’t really need just to reach $4,500.

Don’t forget to figure in expenses that other employees in your business routinely charge since you’re free to obtain employee cards for those who need them.

Are there any recurring business expenses automatically deducted from a business checking account? If so, investigate whether those could be paid via charge card instead (without incurring a fee) so that you can get 2% back on them.

You should take full advantage of the downloadable purchase records and accounting reports that come with the Spark® Cash for Business card. These reports will help keep you up to date on expenses and avoid last-minute anxiety.

When you purchase equipment or other items for the business, you can relax knowing that the card provides for a doubled manufacturer’s warranty and the provision for eligible items to be replaced, repaired or reimbursed if there’s a problem within 90 days of purchase.

Other card options that might interest you

Capital One has another cash rewards card similar to the Spark® Cash for Business card; it’s called Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business. It earns unlimited 1.5% cash back (instead of 2%), but it still could mean thousands of dollars each year going back into your business.

It offers a one-time $200 cash bonus instead of $500, but you only have to spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months, not $5,000. There’s no annual fee even after the first year, and the intro purchase APR is 0% for 12 months then 14.49% – 22.49% variable APR depending on your creditworthiness.

If your business expenses are significant, the Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card may be an even better choice. It’s a no-annual-fee card too, with a $300 introductory bonus credit statement for spending $3,000 in net purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.

Here’s where this card could really pay off: they offer 3% cash back in a category of your choice (do some preliminary investigating to determine which is your biggest category) and 2% cash back on dining. The 3% and 2% are on the first $50,000 in combined “your choice” category/dining purchases each calendar year. Then you’ll get unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

The Final Word

For smaller to mid-size businesses, being able to funnel cash back into the business each month by earning cash rewards provides peace of mind and allows for breathing room in the budget.

Likewise, getting started with a waived annual fee of $95 and looking forward to the 2% earnings each month, which you can save or redeem whenever it suits you, could eliminate some of the pressure that comes with owning a business.

Easier approaches to planning, budgets and taxes are included with Spark® Cash for Business. Travel-related issues are addressed as well, with no foreign transaction fees and an emergency replacement card or emergency cash if it’s needed.

Josh Nadeau

Personal Finance Contributor

Josh Nadeau is a seasoned sales operations and financial services writer with years of experience working in manufacturing, software, Fintech, and managed services. He uses his first-hand industry knowledge and technical expertise to help businesses and consumers alike make better financial decisions now and in the future.