Capital One Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus review: Is the upgraded sign-up bonus worth it?

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Regular APR:
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Capital One Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus Overview

Do you want to earn rewards from all of your business purchases, but don’t want to deal with all the rules and categories? The Capital One Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus gives you a hassle-free way to earn cash back on every purchase—and even offers a new, upgraded welcome bonus for using your card right away.

Capital One’s recent decision to split the original Spark Cash Select for Business into two versions didn’t change much except the specialized welcome offer you can choose before applying. This $500 Cash Bonus version cut the previous intro purchase APR and more than doubled the old welcome cash bonus, while the Capital One Spark Cash Select – 0% Intro APR for 12 Months version tossed the cash bonus in order to offer a better 12-month 0 percent intro purchase APR (then 15.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable).

Unless you’re a startup or have big purchases coming up and your small business’ credit card rewards need to be protected by a zero-interest period, the $500 Cash Bonus version carries more value thanks to its solid intro offer and potentially lower ongoing interest rate (13.24 percent to 19.24 percent variable APR).

Overall, this business card doesn’t earn the highest rewards rate out there, but it’s a low-interest credit card that comes with no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees and the opportunity to get your feet wet with business rewards without much risk or commitment.

Want more details? Jump to the following sections:

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Advantages

  • No annual fee
  • Upgraded $500 cash bonus for spending $4,500 within the first three months
  • Simple rewards structure earning 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases, even with free employee cards
  • Rewards never expire as long as your account is active
  • No foreign transaction fees

Disadvantages

  • Other cards offer more cash back rewards in select categories
  • No zero-interest intro APR
  • No opportunity to transfer rewards to other loyalty programs

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase
  • Welcome offer: $500 bonus when you spend $4,500 within the first three months
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 13.24 percent to 19.24 percent (variable)

Upgraded sign-up bonus

New cardholders can earn a $500 cash bonus after spending $4,500 within the first three months, which is identical to the premium Capital One Spark Cash for Business (This card is no longer available) card’s sign-up bonus. That’s a huge step up from the previous $200 bonus for spending $3,000 that the former Spark Cash Select offered. Not only do you earn 150 percent more cash back, but the spending requirement only increased by 50 percent—meaning you’re getting more bang for your buck than before.

Earning $500 nearly off the bat is a great deal considering you’d have to spend about $33,333 to get that much cash back. In some circumstances, this offer even beats what the other Spark Cash Select version’s 12-month 0 percent intro purchase APR could save you on interest, according to our credit card payoff calculator.

If you qualify for the lowest APR on the Spark Cash Select 12-month 0 percent intro purchase APR version’s (15.99 percent – 23.99 percent variable APR) and you’re planning to pay off your balance in the 12 month intro APR period, your initial intended balance on the Spark Cash Select – 0% Intro APR would have to be around $5,645 to have saved $500 on interest. But since the $500 Cash Bonus version of the Spark Cash Select has a lower minimum APR (13.24 percent variable – 19.24 variable), you could pay off an initial balance of up to around $6,840 within the same time period and the $500 sign-up bonus would completely pay off the interest.

In that respect, the Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus poses the better welcome offer—unless you picture paying off a purchase balance of $7,000 or more over a year. Compared to other no annual fee business card sign-up bonuses, it’s one of the best intro bonuses if you don’t think you’ll spend more than $5,000 in three months. It may also be the best cash back bonus compared to the spending requirement, but it’s not super competitive since all Chase business cards with no annual fee offer both intro APRs and cash bonuses, the latter of which can outperform the Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus card’s bonus value and spending ratio.

Streamlined cash back

Earning rewards with the Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus is simple because you earn unlimited flat-rate cash back on every purchase with no bonus categories or merchant category codes to worry about.

How you earn

The rewards structure is straightforward—you’ll earn 1.5 percent cash back for every qualified purchase made on the card. There is no limit to the cash back you can earn, and your cash rewards will never expire as long as your account remains open.

How to redeem

Capital One offers a couple of ways to redeem your points for cash back. You can receive your cash rewards as:

  • A statement credit
  • A check
  • A credit on prior purchases
  • A gift card

You also have the option of automatically redeeming cash back based on either the time of year or by reaching a specific dollar amount ($25, $50, $100, $200, $500 and $1,500).

How much are the rewards worth?

Like typical cash back programs, you’ll earn 1 cent per cash back percentage point. That means each dollar you spend with this card will net 1.5 cents in cash rewards.

Other Capital One business card perks

There are a surprising number of benefits you’ll get with the Capital One business card despite its $0 annual fee. Although it’s not brimming with luxury perks for business travel, there are enough features to add everyday value.

Employee cards

You can make it easy to manage all of your employees’ transactions with free employee cards, and assign an account manager to track expenses, handle transactions and even set custom spending limits on each employee’s card. Combined with the year-end purchase summaries and the auto-pay feature, controlling your business credit card expenses and the incoming cash back across all employees can be a streamlined process.

Purchase and travel protections

Capital One offers a plethora of ways to secure your card and give you peace of mind while shopping, beyond basic features like account monitoring and alerts, $0 fraud liability and emergency assistance. You’ll receive staples like purchase protection, extended warranty coverage, roadside assistance and auto rental insurance, but the travel assistance is even more helpful in a pinch thanks to complimentary concierge service and lost luggage replacement.

Capital One also provides an extra layer of purchase security you don’t often see from issuers anymore—virtual credit card numbers. In case you don’t feel 100 percent confident giving an online merchant your real credit card number, the Capital One Eno browser extension generates a merchant-specific card number that it saves for future payments. Mobile wallets have a similar function nowadays with the added convenience of in-store use, but virtual card numbers can be helpful for secure spending if a number of your expenses are for online products and services.

Visa SavingsEdge

The Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus card comes with a card-linked offer program called Visa SavingsEdge. Similar to issuer programs like Chase Offers, Visa SavingsEdge allows you to enroll in cycling limited-time offers with participating merchants and earn extra cash back on top of your normal rate in the form of statement credits.

You won’t earn loads of cash back since programs like these typically cap the total cash back on top of each offer’s timeframe, but you can usually earn anywhere from 2 to 5 percent (sometimes up to 35 percent) extra cash back at common business merchants like TaxAct, Stamps.com, Microsoft, AutoZone and a range of restaurants and hotels.

Rates and Fees

The Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus card is an excellent low-cost card since there is no annual fee, no balance transfer fee and no foreign transaction fees, which also make it a solid candidate for both day-to-day use and for travel abroad.

Although this version doesn’t offer a 0 percent intro purchase or balance transfer APR to take advantage of the waived balance transfer fee (which is a rare perk outside cards from credit unions), its 13.24 percent to 19.24 percent (variable) ongoing APR is lower than its counterpart with an intro APR.

Just be careful not to miss a payment due date or you could incur a late payment fee of up to $39 and a 29.4 percent penalty APR that will ruin your excellent rate.

How the Capital One Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus compares to other business cards

The Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus card goes toe-to-toe with the top cards in its no-annual-fee class thanks to its low rates and solid rewards potential, but it’s a bit less competitive overall without an intro APR period. The Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card offers the same cash back rate and 13.24 percent to 19.24 percent variable APR, but with a 12-month 0 percent intro purchase APR and a higher $750 sign-up bonus after spending $7,500 in the first three months. If paired with a premium Chase travel card like the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, the Ink Business Unlimited’s bonus-to-spend value can even top the Capital One card’s if redeemed toward travel or the right transfer partner.

If you prefer American Express benefits and still can’t justify an annual fee, the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card earns a higher 2 percent cash back rate on up to $50,000 in business purchases each calendar year, and its $250 statement credit welcome offer comes with a lower $3,000 spending limit if your first three months with the card will have slower spending.

Ultimately, the Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus card is a decent all-around card for most situations, but other issuers offer similar—if not better—welcome bonuses on their no annual fee business cards without skimping out on the intro APR.

Card Rewards rate Annual fee Welcome bonus Other details
Capital One Spark Cash Select – 0% Intro APR for 12 Months
  • 1.5% unlimited cash back
$0 N/A
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months (then 15.99% to 23.99% variable)
Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
  • 1.5% unlimited cash back
$0 $750 for spending $7,500 in the first three months
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months then (13.24% to 19.24% variable)
American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card
  • 2% cash back on all eligible purchases up to $50,000 per year (1% back thereafter)
$0 $250 statement credit after $3,000 in purchases on the card within the first three months
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months (then 13.24% to 19.24% variable)

Best cards to pair with the Capital One Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus

Pairing your Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus with another business card that carries a higher rewards rate on your biggest specialized expenses is the best way to maximize your flat-rate cash back card.

Capital One doesn’t offer a business credit card with bonus categories, but a brand-specific option like an airline card or another everyday card like the Ink Business Preferred that better rewards select business costs (like travel and eligible advertising) can rake in more rewards for your company.

Bankrate’s Take: Is the Capital One Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus card worth it?

The Capital One Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus is a great option for small business owners who want to earn rewards without much hassle and could take advantage of a sizable sign-up bonus more than a zero-interest offer. The card offers a flat rewards rate on all purchases, so you don’t have to worry about how much you’ll earn or if you’re using it in the correct categories. Also, since it comes with no annual fee, it also works well for businesses that want to keep their expenses low while still earning rewards.

However, it may not be the best option if you travel often or spend big in specific categories, like online advertising or office supplies.  In fact, although it’s advertised based on its upgraded sign-up bonus, other no annual fee business cards offer higher bonuses and potentially better reward value outside cash back if your business has a relatively low monthly budget.

Capital One’s “upgrade” for the original Spark Cash Select did respectively boost the cash bonus and intro APR on the two new versions of the card, but other issuers still manage to offer equivalent or better value compared to the cards’ new terms without forcing applicants to choose their trade-off.

about the author
Bankrate expert Garrett Yarbrough strives to make navigating credit cards and credit building smooth sailing for his readers. After regularly featuring his credit card, credit monitoring and identity theft analysis on NextAdvisor.com, he joined the CreditCards.com and Bankrate.com teams as a staff writer to develop product reviews and comprehensive credit ...
about the editor
Nouri Zarrugh is a writer and editor for CreditCards.com and Bankrate.com, focusing on product news, guides and reviews. His areas of expertise include credit card strategy, rewards programs, point valuation and credit scores, and his stories on building credit have been cited by Mic.com, LifeHacker, People.com and more. Through his thorough card reviews and...