Both the Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card and American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card are great choices for small businesses or startups looking to earn cash back rewards.
While these two business credit cards are similar — both cards feature a sign-up bonus and intro APR offer on new purchases without charging an annual fee — they do have key differences in their rewards structure. So it’s important to compare each card’s offering before applying. Keep reading to determine which of these cash back business cards are better suited to your business needs.
|Cards||Amex Blue Business Cash card||Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard|
|Welcome bonus||$250 statement credit after you make $3,000 in purchases in the first three months||$300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days|
|Rewards rate||2% cash back on all eligible purchases (up to $50,000 per year, then 1%)||3% cash back in the category of your choice; 2% back on dining purchases (on the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining purchases each calendar year, then 1%)|
|Intro APR||0% intro APR for 12 months on new purchases (15.49% to 23.49% variable APR after)||0% intro APR for the first nine billing cycles on new purchases (14.49% to 24.49% variable APR after)|
Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards vs. Amex Blue Business Cash highlights
Welcome bonus winner: Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards
The Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards and Amex Blue Business Cash both have decent welcome bonuses that are on par with competing cards. Furthermore, both cards feature reasonable spending requirements to earn their respective welcome bonuses. For the Blue Business Cash, you’ll need to spend at least $3,000 in the first three months of opening the card to receive a $250 statement credit.
Similarly for the Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard, you’ll need to spend the same amount within the first 90 days. However, although the spending requirements are the same, you’ll earn a $300 statement credit with the Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards — $50 higher than the Blue Business Cash’s bonus.
Unfortunately, for the Amex Blue Business Cash, your bonus will only be issued as a statement credit. Points earned with the Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards can be redeemed as statement credit, direct deposit or a mailed check.
Rewards rate winner: Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards
With the Amex Blue Business Cash, you’ll earn a flat rate of 2 percent cash back on all purchases, on up to $50,000 in spending per year. After you hit the spending cap, you’ll start earning 1 percent back. This is a great rate, especially for businesses keeping their annual expenses under $50,000 annually. But if you plan on spending more than that, you may want to compare the earnings you’ll receive using the Amex Blue Business Cash card or another card with no spending limits.
The Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards, on the other hand, offers more options in terms of earning rewards. You’ll earn 3 percent cash back in a category of your choice, selected each calendar month, plus 2 percent back on dining purchases. For all other purchases, you’ll receive 1 percent back.
Like the Amex Blue Business Cash, there’s a combined annual spending limit of $50,000, which applies to choice category and dining purchases. After the limit is met, you’ll earn 1 percent back on all purchases. Again, this could be limiting for big spenders. However, for businesses whose spending aligns with the given categories and who plan on keeping expenses under the limit, with a little planning each month, this card could easily prove valuable.
Annual fee winner: Both
Potential cardholders will be pleased to know that neither of these business cards charge an annual fee.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Amex Blue Business Cash
For businesses who make frequent purchases abroad, it’s important to consider the foreign transaction fees associated with a card before applying. The Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards card charges a 3 percent foreign transaction fee, which is the average fee associated with most cards.
On the other hand, the Amex Blue Business Cash has a lower-than-average foreign transaction fee of 2.7 percent — so those frequently traveling or purchasing products in other currencies may find this card more valuable in the long run.
Which card earns the most?
With the Amex Blue Business card, you’ll earn 2 percent cash back, meaning you’ll be earning 2 cents per dollar on all purchases for up to $50,000 (then 1 percent). In other words, if you hit the $50,000 limit, you’ll receive $1,000 cash back. However, after you hit this spending threshold, your rewards rate will drop to 1 cent on further purchases, and spending another $50,000 after this limit will net you an extra $500. That’s a total of $1,500 in cash back earnings.
With the Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards card, you’ll earn 3 percent cash back on purchases in specific categories, 2 percent back on dining purchases and 1 percent on everything else. Unfortunately, the card also has a $50,000 cap (on the 3 and 2 percent categories). If you stay below that threshold, you’ll earn 3 cents per dollar on each purchase in the category of your choice, helping you maximize rewards where you spend the most.
Similarly to the Amex Blue Business card, once you meet the spending threshold, your rewards rate will drop to 1 cent. So if you spend $25,000 equally in both the 3 and 2 percent categories for the year, that’s a total of $1,250 in earnings. Should you spend another $50,000 on top of that, that’s an additional $500, for a total of $1,750 in cash back earnings.
Why should you get the Amex Blue Business Cash card?
Besides its welcome bonus, the Amex Blue Business Cash has additional benefits that bring value to cardholders. The card offers a 0 percent introductory APR on new purchases for 12 months, followed by a variable APR between 15.49 percent to 23.49 percent. This is a great way for cardholders to avoid high interest rates while paying off balances over a solid year.
Furthermore, you’ll be able to enjoy purchase protection, extended warranties and car rental loss/damage insurance.
You’ll only be able to redeem cash back for statement credits with the Amex Blue Business Cash Card.
Recommended credit score
Before applying for the Amex Blue Business Cash Card, it’s recommended to have a FICO credit score within the good to excellent range. In other words, your score will need to fall anywhere between 670 and 850.
Why should you get the Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards?
The Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards card offers a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases for the first nine billing cycles (followed by a variable APR between 13.74 percent and 23.74 percent). While not as long of an offer as that offered by the Amex Blue Business Cash, cardholders will still have some breathing room to pay off purchases while avoiding interest.
With this card, you’ll also have access to travel and purchase protections, including damage and theft insurance on new purchases, lost-luggage assistance and rental car insurance.
With this card, you’ll have a few options to redeem your cash back rewards. You can receive them as a mailed check, direct deposit or statement credit.
Recommended credit score
To be approved for the Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards card, you’ll need an excellent FICO credit score (between 740 and 850). If your credit score isn’t quite there yet, raising it before applying will increase your chances of approval.
The bottom line
With both the Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards and American Express Blue Business Cash, you’ll be able to earn valuable cash back rewards while avoiding an annual fee. Not only this, but each card also offers a welcome bonus, introductory APR offers on new purchases and purchase protections.
However, since both cards have spending caps of $50,000, either option is better suited for businesses keeping their expenses below that amount. Should your business spend well above that amount, consider browsing Bankrate’s full list of the best small-business credit cards.