American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card review

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Garrett Yarbrough  in  Business How we rate our cards  | 

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Best for business startups

Annual Fee:
No annual fee
Purchase Intro APR:
0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening
Regular APR:
13.24% - 19.24% Variable
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

Bankrate Rating

 

This page includes information about Discover products that are not currently available on Bankrate and may be out of date.

Best no annual fee cash back rate for small businesses

  • Rewards rate: 2 percent cash back on all eligible purchases (up to $50,000 per year, then 1 percent)
  • Welcome offer: None
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase intro APR: 0 percent for 12 months
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 13.24 percent to 19.24 percent variable

The American Express Blue Business Cash card’s spending cap on flat-rate 2 percent cash back (up to $50,000 per year, then 1 percent), welcome bonus and list of features are small compared to other American Express and business credit cards. Nevertheless, everything else screams “accessible.”

No annual fee, a 12-month 0 percent intro purchase APR and low ongoing 13.24 percent to 19.24 percent variable APR make this one of our best cards for startup businesses if you prefer cash back. However, you might consider upgrading your card to match your growing business or you could stunt your rewards.

Current welcome offer

This card does not currently offer a welcome bonus.

Cash back

The Blue Business Cash card is a competitive, no-frills cash back card, and its rewards are easy to earn and redeem—until you cross the $50,000 yearly rewards spending cap.

Earning cash back

Earning cash back with Amex Blue Business Cash is simple: All purchases will earn 2 percent cash back until you’ve spent $50,000 in combined purchases. Then, you’ll earn 1 percent back for the remainder of the year.

As far as no annual fee business cards go, flat-rate 2 percent cash back is one of the highest rates you’ll find. Unfortunately, it comes with a disappointing annual $50,000 limit in combined purchases before your cash back halves to 1 percent.

Plenty of other business cards, like the Discover it® Business Card, offer low-interest, truly unlimited cash back at a slightly lower 1.5 percent for no annual fee. Do the math on your own company’s card spending to determine if you can earn more with an unlimited 1.5 percent rate than the Blue Business Cash card’s capped rate.

Redeeming cash back

You won’t have any flexible cash back redemption options such as direct deposit or check. The Blue Business Cash card only receives cash back as an automatic statement credit up to two billing cycles later.

How much are rewards worth?

A 2 percent cash back rate will earn you 2 cents per dollar, but this is reduced to 1 cent after the $50,000 annual spending cap. Needless to say, this card’s rewards will be more valuable if you can maximize your cash back up to that limit. Reaching the $50,000, 2 percent rate ceiling will earn you statement credits worth $1,000.

Benefits

As a no annual fee card, the benefits on this card aren’t particularly robust, but the “Expanded Buying Power” perk and a few standard American Express features may provide small businesses a bit of a lift in a pinch.

Expanded Buying Power

In case you’re faced with a sudden expense or a stellar opportunity, you can spend beyond your credit limit with no over-limit fee. Purchases are approved on a case-by-case basis.

This benefit gives your small business card the temporary purchasing power. While the amount you can spend above your credit limit isn’t unlimited, it adjusts with your use of the card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us and other factors.

Shopping and travel protections

Although they’re standard Amex benefits, these safety features might help you rest easier during your day-to-day operations:

Amex Offers

Amex Offers is an activation-based rewards program that lets you earn another small helping of cash back or American Express Membership Rewards points (with the appropriate cards) on limited-time promotions from participating merchants.

As an example, these deals may provide cash back offers like “Spend $50 or more, get $10 back,” or provide a set cash back rate up to a spending cap. Keeping an eye on these promotions as they cycle might give you a great opportunity every now and then to stockpile a bit more cash back.

Rates and fees

If you’re looking for a card that’s light on ongoing costs, Amex Blue Business Cash charges no annual fee and provides a 12-month 0 percent intro APR on purchases. After that, the interest is pretty low for a business card, at 13.24 percent to 19.24 percent variable APR. Plus, no over-limit fee means using the Expanded Buying Power Perk won’t incur fees. Just be careful to pay on time and avoid the 29.24 percent variable penalty APR.

Another potential cost worth considering is the 2.7 percent foreign transaction fee if you plan to travel abroad for business.

How the Blue Business Cash card compares to other business cards

The Blue Business Cash actually delivers one of the highest cash back rates for no annual fee business cards, but the $50,000 annual spending cap on the 2 percent cash back rate hobbles it. This card is a better fit for small businesses that spend at least $50,000, but not a great amount more.

If your budget shows your expenses would net more cash back beyond that point with a 1.5 percent rewards rate, then other unlimited cash back options like the Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business might be a better choice for no annual fee.

Even among American Express options, cards that earn Amex Membership Rewards points collect more valuable rewards than the Blue Business Cash card. Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents apiece according to The Points Guy—meaning The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express essentially earns a up to 4 cents per dollar via 2X points on the first $50,000 in purchases each year (then 1X points).

If the Blue Business Cash yearly rewards rate spending cap is a deal-breaker, here are a few alternatives:

Card Rewards rate Annual fee Welcome offer
Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business
  • 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases
$0 $200 cash bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases within first three months.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
  • 2X Membership Rewards points on all purchases (up to $50,000 in purchases per year, then 1X points)
$0 None
Discover it® Business Card
  • 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases
$0 Discover matches all cash back earned at the end of the first year.

 

Best cards to pair the Blue Business Cash card with

Ultimately, other cash back cards that earn higher rates on your key bonus categories are the best partners for the flat-rate Blue Business Cash card.

The Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card can earn 3 percent cash back on one category of six you choose each month, including common expenses like gas stations, travel and office supply stores. You’ll also earn 2 percent cash back on dining. But be warned that your 3 percent and 2 percent categories also share a $50,000 annual spending limit before dropping to 1 percent back.

This card is a no-brainer if you already bank with Bank of America since Preferred Rewards members earn up to 75 percent more cash back on every purchase (depending on your rewards tier).

If you’re dedicated to your Amex Blue Business Cash card but you typically spend beyond its 2 percent rewards cap, then getting another unlimited cash back card would reap more rewards at that point. The Capital One Spark Cash Select would provide unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on purchases after you hit your cap each year, all for no annual fee.

Bankrate’s Take—Is the Blue Business Cash card worth it?

The American Express Blue Business Cash card is best for small businesses or startups with expenses that may fall outside of normal business spending categories. The 2 percent cash back rate is top-notch, but the $50,000 yearly spending cap (before reverting to 1 percent back) could be a fatal flaw for many cardholders.

Other cards like the Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards card may also carry a $50,000 yearly spending cap for their elevated cash back categories, but you may be able to earn more cash back or better benefits in the long run.

Pros

  • One of the highest flat-rate, no annual fee cash back cards for businesses
  • Expanded Buying Power feature gives business owners more flexibility
  • 0 percent intro purchase APR for first 12 months (13.24 percent to 19.24 percent variable APR ongoing)

Cons

  • $50,000 spending limit per year on 2 percent category limits rewards potential
  • There’s a 2.7 percent foreign transaction fee if your business takes you abroad

All information about the Discover it® Business Card and the Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.