Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business Review

The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business makes it easy to earn big cash back on all your company’s spending, but is it worth the annual fee? Find out how you can decide if it’s the right card for your business.

When you have your own business, time management is a huge factor in your success. You may not want to spend too much time thinking about your credit card’s rewards rates or how to use its rewards, and that’s where the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business, an advertising partner of The Ascent, can help make your life easier.

The card earns an unlimited 2% back on all your spending, and since it earns cash back, all you do is redeem your rewards whenever you want. However, it also has an annual fee, so you need to be sure it’s the right card for you before you apply.

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

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Our Bottom Line

2% unlimited cash back for all purchases is among the highest flat rates you'll find, business card or not, making it a good fit if your business spending justifies paying a modest annual fee.

What we Like:
  • $500 sign-up bonus
  • 2% cash back
  • No foreign transaction fees
Key Scores:
4.0 5 Perks
4.0 5 Fees
4.0 5 APR
Perks 4.0/5
Fees 4.0/5
APR 4.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
  • Regular APR: 19.24% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: N/A Balance Transfers: N/A
Highlights
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere
  • Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • $0 annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • $0 Fraud Liability if your card is lost or stolen
  • Free employee cards, which also earn unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases
  • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
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Why you can trust me

In addition to writing about credit cards, maxing out credit card rewards is another hobby of mine, so I’ve researched all the best cards on the market. I’ve used over a dozen different credit cards, and that includes cash-back cards, travel rewards cards, and business cards. Since 2016, I’ve gotten over $1,000 in cash back and over half a million in travel points.

What we like about Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

  • Unlimited 2% cash back -- You earn 2% back on every purchase without any spending caps. This is the highest flat rate you can get with a credit card, and it adds up quickly if you spend quite a bit for your business.
  • $500 sign-up bonus -- You’ll receive this sign-up bonus after spending $4,500 within the first three months. $500 is one of the best sign-up bonuses you’ll find with a cash-back card.
  • No foreign transaction fees -- Cash-back cards often have foreign transaction fees of 3%, but not the Capital One® Spark Cash for Business. If you or your employees need to travel internationally, having a card with no foreign transaction fees is invaluable.
  • Free employee cards -- There’s no extra charge for adding employees to your account and getting them their own credit cards.
  • No cash-back redemption minimums -- You can redeem any amount of cash back at any time. Other cards sometimes have redemption minimums, which can be frustrating if you don’t have enough cash back to redeem yet.

What could be improved

  • Annual fee -- The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business has a $95 annual fee, although that does get waived for the first year. Considering the rewards rate and sign-up bonus on the card, the annual fee is fair and in line with the competition. However, you’ll need to evaluate your spending to decide if you’ll earn enough to warrant paying an annual fee instead of looking for no-annual-fee cards instead.
  • No 0% intro APR offer -- This card doesn’t have any 0% intro APR offer, so you’d need to look at other options if you want to finance business expenses or transfer over balances to pay off debt.

Who is the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business for?

The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business is for business owners who want to earn cash back and have high business spending. The 2% cash-back rate is stellar, but you can only make the most of it if you’re spending enough to outweigh the annual fee.

You need to spend at least $1,600 per month for this card to be worth it. That’s around the point when you’ll get more value from this card than you would the no-annual-fee alternative, the Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business.

Pros and cons of applying for a business card

Business credit cards are a popular financing option for businesses, especially those just getting started. Before you apply, it’s important you know the pros and cons.

Let’s start with the positives of applying for a business credit card:

  • You can earn rewards on all your business purchases.
  • You’re much more likely to qualify for a business credit card than for a business loan, as the latter will have stricter requirements.
  • Banks typically offer high credit limits on business credit cards, because business owners need to spend more money than other consumers.
  • A business credit card can help build your business’s credit score.

It’s not all good news. Here are the notable negatives of business cards:

  • Business credit cards almost always require a personal guarantee, which means any problems you have paying off a balance could affect your personal credit.
  • The consumer protections regarding fees and rate increases in the CARD Act of 2009 only apply to personal credit cards, not business credit cards.
  • If you give any employees business credit cards, it increases the potential for fraud.

How Spark® Cash works

Spark® Cash is as simple as it gets. When you make an eligible purchase, you receive 2% of the amount in your cash-back balance. For example, a $100 purchase would add $2 to your balance. If you receive any bonuses, those will get added to your balance, as well.

You can access your balance online and redeem your cash back at any time, or you can set up automatic redemptions either every time you reach a certain amount or at set dates. If you want to set up automatic redemptions at specific cash-back amounts, your options are $25, $50, $100, or $200.

There are three ways you can receive your cash back:

  • As a statement credit on your credit card balance.
  • As a credit towards specific purchases.
  • As a check in the mail.

How to redeem Spark® Cash

The redemption process for Spark® Cash goes as follows:

1. Log in to your Capital One business card account.

2. Click on your rewards balance.

3. Select the redemption method you want.

Spark® Cash for Business vs. Spark® Cash Select for Business

Another option to consider with business cash-back cards is the Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business. It offers very similar features to the Capital One® Spark Cash for Business, with a few key differences:

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back.
  • No annual fee.
  • A $200 sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 within three months.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for nine months.

For most business owners, the decision will come down to spending. The break-even point between the cards on a yearly basis is $19,000 in annual spending or $1,583.33 per month. That’s the point at which the extra 0.5% you earn from the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business will earn you $95 more than the Spark® Select Cash for Business, balancing out the annual fee difference.

You may also prefer the Capital One® Spark® Select Cash for Business if you need a 0% intro APR. Just keep in mind that there are cards with longer intro periods available and cards that have a 0% intro APR for balance transfers, such as the Chase Ink Business Unlimited℠ credit card and the Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express.

A travel rewards alternative -- the Capital One® Spark Miles cards

If you prefer travel rewards cards over cash back, then the Capital One® Spark Miles cards would better suit you. There are two options:

These cards are virtually identical to Capital One’s business cash-back cards, with the lone difference being that they earn Spark® Miles instead of Spark® Cash.

You can redeem Spark® Miles for travel purchases at a fixed rate of $0.01 per mile, or you can transfer your miles at a 2:1.5 ratio to any of Capital One’s travel partners. If you have time to look for high-value redemptions, then transfers are usually the best approach.

Things to know about applying for a Capital One business card

Here’s what you can expect when you apply for a Capital One business card:

  • The application process will be similar to that of a personal credit card, just with additional questions about your business, including its name and tax ID number.
  • You can qualify for a business credit card even if you’re a freelancer or you have a side gig that doesn’t earn you much income.
  • If you have a sole proprietorship, then you can use your name for the business name and your Social Security number for the tax ID number.
  • Capital One reports all the activity on your business credit card to each credit bureau, including both on-time and missed payments.

How to apply for the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

If you’re ready to get the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business, here’s how:

1. On the card page, click “Apply Now.”

2. Complete the application form with your personal and business information.

3. Confirm everything, submit your application, and wait for a decision.

You could get a confirmation or denial immediately, or it could take seven to 10 business days for Capital One to reach a decision. Upon approval, you’ll receive your card by mail within 10 business days.

Final take

We’re enthusiastic that Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business offers a generous sign-up bonus and on-going rewards program that fits the needs of cardholders who want a one-size-fits-all solution. We value its flexible redemption options (some of which are no-minimum!) and the ability to automatically redeem cash back rewards without logging in to request redemptions manually. Simply put, time-strapped entrepreneurs may value this simplicity in a credit card.