Key takeaways

  • The Capital One Spark Cash Plus is a better fit for high spenders ($200,000 or more per year) who don't mind paying an annual fee and are able to pay their balance in full each month.
  • The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card might work better for small-business owners who frequently spend in the card's bonus categories, don't want to pay an annual fee and want the option to carry a balance.

Businesses have diverse needs, so it should be no surprise that there’s a lot of variety when it comes to the features and rewards of the many business credit cards on the market. Before you choose a business card, it’s always a good idea to see what’s unique about it and how it stacks up against competitors in the field.

Here, we’ll compare two you may want to consider: the Capital One Spark Cash Plus and the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card from Chase. The Capital One Spark Cash Plus is a charge card without a preset spending limit that boasts a generous welcome offer and 2 percent cash back on all purchases. The Ink Business Cash is a credit card offering 5 percent cash back on several standard business spending categories and an introductory APR offer on purchases, among other perks.

Main details

Cards Capital One Spark 2% Cash Plus Ink Business Cash Credit Card
Welcome bonus Earn up to a $3,000 cash bonus ($1,500 once you spend $20,000 in the first 3 months, and an additional $1,500 once you spend $100,000 in the first 6 months) • Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
Rewards rate
  • Unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases
  • Unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 5% cash back at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services (on the first $25,000 in combined purchases each year)
  • 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (on the first $25,000 in combined purchases each year)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Intro APR N/A 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months, then a variable APR of 18.49% to 24.49%
Annual fee $150 (can be refunded every year you spend at least $150,000) $0

Spark 2% Cash Plus vs. Ink Business Cash highlights

Spark 2% Cash Plus

Ink Business Cash

Ink Business Cash

Spark 2% Cash Plus

Which card earns the most?

Both of these cards can deliver plenty of rewards, but the one that earns more is going to depend on how much you use the card and what you’re buying. If you’re running a small online company and devote a large chunk of your budget to office supplies and telecommunications each year, then the Ink Business Cash might come out ahead.

But if you’re running a large enterprise with lots of expenses in other categories, you might benefit more from the Spark Cash Plus due to its welcome bonus potential and unlimited 2 percent cash back rate on all purchases. Here’s a spending example to illustrate the financial differences you might see between each card:

Spark Cash Plus vs. Ink Business Cash spending example

Let’s say you spend $4,000 a month (or $48,000 a year) with your business card. Suppose the spending breakdown is like this:

  • $500 a month on office supplies
  • $1,000 a month on internet, cable and phone services
  • $400 a month at gas stations
  • $400 a month at restaurants
  • $1,700 a month on other spending

For the Spark Cash Plus, your spending in the first three months would total $12,000, which wouldn’t be enough to earn the welcome bonus.

But since the Spark Cash Plus provides an unlimited 2 percent cash back on all spending, your $48,000 in annual purchases would earn $960 in rewards. After taking the $150 membership fee into account, you’ll net $810 in earnings.

Now, let’s run the numbers for the Ink Business Cash. Because you spent $12,000 total in the first three months, you’ll earn the $750 welcome bonus. The rest of your spending breakdown is:

  • $18,000 total for the year on office supplies, internet, cable and phone bills, which is less than the $25,000 spending limit. This will net you 5 percent cash back, which comes out to $900.
  • $9,600 total for the year in gas station and restaurant spending, which is also below the $25,000 spending limit. This will net you 2 percent cash back, which comes out to $192.
  • $20,400 in additional annual spending, which earns cash back at a 1 percent rate. This will give you $204 in cash back.

Add all the cash back together, and you’ll earn a total of $1,296 in rewards.

Since the Ink Business Cash doesn’t charge an annual fee, you don’t need to subtract the fee from your earnings. Add the $1,296 in rewards to the $750 welcome bonus, and you’ll earn $2,046 during the first year. That’s $1,236 more in rewards than the Spark Cash Plus (after subtracting the annual fee), so the Ink Business Cash takes the lead in this example.

Why should you get the Spark Cash Plus?

The Spark Cash Plus could be a great choice for business owners who have a lot of overhead or regularly need to purchase new equipment or supplies since its welcome bonus is geared toward higher spenders. Plus, it provides a $150 annual fee refund to cardholders who spend at least $150,000 each year. This card also doesn’t impose a preset spend limit, which could appeal to entrepreneurs who want a personalized approach that adjusts to their spending patterns.

  • The Spark Cash Plus features include the option to appoint an account manager, order free employee cards and set spending limits and purchase reviews for employees. The card also offers bookkeeping tools such as itemized year-end summaries, lists of recurring transactions and integration with accounting software. Plus, you can get virtual card numbers for greater security when buying things online, and you can lock your card or an employee’s card if it’s lost or stolen.

    The Spark Cash Plus also includes purchase protection, extended warranty protection for eligible items, roadside assistance, emergency travel assistance and complimentary concierge services.
  • You can redeem rewards for a statement credit or check when you want to cash out your rewards, or you can set up automatic redemption so you get your earnings on a specific date each year or when your balance reaches a certain amount. You’ll also have the option to redeem rewards for gift cards, credits for past purchases, travel booked through Capital One Travel or Amazon and PayPal purchases. However, redemption rates for many of these options may be different from what you’d get if you redeemed for cash.
  • You’ll need excellent credit to qualify for this card, which is a FICO score of 740 to 850.

Why should you get the Ink Business Cash?

Unlike the Spark Cash Plus, the Ink Business Cash allows you to carry a balance from one month to the next. That might make this card a better choice for business owners whose income rises and falls unpredictably. The lack of an annual fee might also be attractive for those who don’t know what their spending will look like over the year and aren’t sure whether they’ll earn enough rewards to offset the price of card membership.

Plus, the 0 percent introductory APR for 12 months on purchases (then a variable APR of 18.49 percent to 24.49 percent) could be helpful for anyone who wants to upgrade their office or invest in new software. Cardholders will be able to take advantage of that offer and pay off those costs over time, interest-free.

  • The Ink Business Cash offers many benefits, including free employee cards and the ability to transfer records to accounting software, which could make tax prep easier. Cardholders will also get standard benefits like purchase protection against damage or theft for 120 days (up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account), extended warranties for eligible items, travel and emergency services, roadside dispatch service and an auto rental collision damage waiver.
  • With this card, you can redeem rewards for cash back (in the form of statement credits or direct deposits), gift cards, travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards or paying with points at select retailers. You could also transfer your rewards to a premium Chase credit card to gain more redemption options.

    It should be noted that if you pay for purchases at participating retailers, you may not get a 1:1 redemption rate. For travel, you can visit the Chase travel portal to book airfare, hotel stays, car rentals, cruises or travel experiences. Finally, pooling rewards with a premium card in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program can allow you to transfer points to airline and hotel partners, providing more value for your rewards earnings.
  • You should have good to excellent credit — or a FICO score of 670 to 850 — for the best chance of qualifying for this card.

The bottom line

Whether the Capital One Spark Cash Plus or the Chase Ink Business Cash is better for you comes down to how much you plan to spend and whether you’re prepared to pay it off in full each month.

If you can spend $30,000 within three months, and if you want a charge card without a preset spend limit, the Spark Cash Plus offers a lot of value. On the other hand, if your company has more modest spending levels and you want to enjoy a 0 percent introductory APR offer, you’re likely better off with the Ink Business Cash.