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Finding a business credit card that works well with your financial goals can support the growth of your business in many ways — from organizing your finances to earning rewards and gaining access to additional capital.
The Capital One Spark Cash Plus and American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card are among the top choices when it comes to business credit cards. The Spark Cash Plus is a charge card, meaning you pay the balance off in full each month, while the Blue Business Cash acts as a traditional business card.
Both offer a neat slate of perks that can be extremely helpful for business owners. However, the Capital One Spark Cash Plus has some attractive features, giving it a slight edge in this particular match-up.
The Spark Cash Plus offers unlimited cash back, while the Blue Business Cash Card’s rewards rate has a yearly spending cap, after which you’ll earn 1 percent. If you want to know more, here’s a deep dive into the features of each card and how they stack up against each other.
|Capital One Spark Cash Plus||American Express Blue Business Cash|
|Welcome bonus||Up to a $1,000 cash bonus; $500 once you spend $5,000 in the first three months, plus another $500 once you spend $50,000 in the first six months||Earn a $250 statement credit after you make $3,000 in purchases on your card in your first three months.|
|Annual bonus||$200 annual cash bonus after spending at least $200,000 each year||None|
|Intro APR offer||None||0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases|
|Variable APR||None||17.49% to 25.49%|
Capital One Spark Cash Plus vs. American Express Blue Business Cash highlights
Here, we’ll take a look at some key features of each card to help you decide which one might be better for your business’ needs.
Welcome bonus winner: Capital One Spark Cash Plus
The Spark Cash Plus comes out as the clear welcome bonus winner since you can earn up to $1,000 with this card. You’ll get $500 once you spend $5,000 in the first three months and an additional $500 once you spend $50,000 within the first six months of account opening.
The Blue Business Cash only offers a $250 statement credit after you make $3,000 in purchases on your card in the first three months — a quarter of what you could potentially earn with the Spark Cash Plus.
If you really want to get the Spark Cash Plus and can meet the spending requirement, you could view the $1,000 welcome bonus as covering up to six years of annual fees.
Annual fee winner: Amex Blue Business Cash
As mentioned above, the Spark Cash Plus does have a $150 annual fee. The Amex Blue Business Cash, on the other hand, is a no-annual-fee business credit card, making this a relatively low-risk option, especially for new or growing businesses. If you feel like this Amex card is not quite right for you after trying it out, you can always transition to another Amex business credit card without worrying about the “sunk cost” of an annual fee.
Rewards rate winner: Capital One Spark Cash Plus
The Capital One Spark Cash Plus offers an unlimited 2 percent cash back on all purchases, whereas the Amex Blue Business Cash has an annual $50,000 cap on its 2 percent back rate. Once you spend more than that, you’ll only earn 1 percent back. Additionally, the Capital One Spark Cash Plus offers a $200 annual bonus if you spend at least $200,000 per year on the card, whereas the Blue Business Cash has no such bonus.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Capital One Spark Cash Plus
The Amex Blue Business Cash card levies a 2.7 percent foreign transaction fee for international purchases. The Capital One Spark Cash Plus doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, making it ideal if you find yourself frequently traveling or doing business internationally.
Intro APR offer winner: Amex Blue Business Cash
If you’ve got a large business purchase on the horizon, the Amex Blue Business Cash could help you finance it over time. The card offers a 12-month 0 percent introductory APR on purchases. After that, you’ll be charged an ongoing variable APR of 17.49 percent to 25.49 percent. This option is not available with the Capital One Spark Cash Plus card, however.
Which card earns the most?
Capital One Spark Cash Plus vs. American Express Blue Business Cash spending example
If you don’t expect to spend more than $50,000 per year, both cards offer the same amount of cash back. But the Spark Cash Plus, in particular, has the potential to earn more due to the elevated welcome bonus and annual bonus.
If you check out the different spending levels in the first year of owning the card, you’ll find that even at $50,000 in annual spend, the Spark Cash Plus wins out. Although you’ll need to factor in the annual fee, the card still has the potential to earn $600 more in rewards compared to the Amex Business Blue Cash.
|Capital One Spark Cash Plus||Amex Blue Business Cash|
As you go up in annual spend, the difference in rewards becomes even more obvious, with the Capital One Spark earning a whopping $2,300 more than the Blue Business Cash once you get to $200,000 in annual spend. That $50,000 cap on 2 percent cash back with the Blue Business Cash really limits how much business owners can earn in comparison to the Spark Cash Plus.
But what happens after the first year, when there are no welcome bonuses? Below you can see that, at the $50,000 level, the annual fee puts the Capital One Spark Plus Cash just a tad behind the Blue Business Cash in net rewards. But as the spending increases, the Spark Cash Plus wins out again.
|Capital One Spark Cash Plus||Amex Blue Business Cash|
Why should you get the Capital One Spark Cash Plus?
In addition to its generous welcome bonus, potential annual bonus, unlimited cash back and lack of foreign transaction fees, there are still more features and benefits that make this card popular with business owners.
Capital One Spark Cash Plus benefits include account and business management features that can come in handy for businesses, including:
- Payment flexibility: Choice of a payment due date that works for you
- Flexible credit limit: Credit limit that adapts to your needs
- Record keeping: Year-end summary reports and purchase records for accounting purposes
- Employee access: Free employee cards, plus customized access and spending limits
- Fraud and security alerts: Notifications for unusual account activity
- Virtual card numbers: Payments without exposing your card number
Another plus of this card is its flexible redemption options. Capital One recently announced that more of its cards will gain access to the Capital One Travel portal, including the Spark Cash Plus. This means you can redeem your rewards through the portal at a 1:1 ratio, or one cent per point.
Additionally, once your Capital One Spark rewards balance reaches a certain threshold ($25, $50, $200, $500 or $1,500) or at a certain selected yearly date, you can receive your rewards as:
- Statement credit
- Credit on prior purchases
- Gift cards
- Checkout payments through Amazon.com and PayPal
Recommended credit score
Having good to excellent credit, or a FICO credit score between 670 and 850, will increase your approval odds for this card.
Why should you get the American Express Blue Business Cash?
Whether this card is right for your business will come down to if you’re likely to spend less than $50,000 per year and if you’re picky concerning redemption options (which we’ll discuss below). But for a no-annual-fee card, there’s still enough here for business owners who want a lower-risk entry into a business credit card account.
In addition to its zero-interest offer on purchases, Amex Blue Business Cash Card benefits include:
- Standard Amex perks: Car rental coverage, extended warranty and purchase protection
- Access to special deals: Additional rewards via Amex Offers
With the Blue Business Cash, you can only receive cash back as an automatic statement credit up to two billing cycles after the fact.
Recommended credit score
Similar to the Spark Cash Plus, having good to excellent credit will increase your approval odds for this card.
The bottom line
The Capital One Spark Cash Plus and American Express Blue Business Cash are formidable contenders in the business card space, both offering rewards and flexible credit limits — but the similarities stop there. If you plan to spend more than $50,000 each year, the Capital One Spark Cash Plus could give you the chance to earn more flexible rewards.
Even with the $150 annual fee, the extra bells and whistles offered with the Spark Cash Plus can make it well worth it. But if you’re just starting out and plan to spend under $50,000 annually, the no-annual-fee Amex Blue Business Cash is a respectable option. Don’t be surprised, however, if you end up outgrowing this card.