Capital One Spark Cash Select – 0% Intro APR for 12 Months review: Is the extended intro APR worth it?

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Capital One Image
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Capital One Spark Cash Select - 0% Intro APR for 12 Months

Rewards rate

1.5%–5%

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

N/A

Regular APR

18.99% - 26.99% (Variable)

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent  (670 - 850)

Capital One Spark Cash Select – 0% Intro APR for 12 Months Overview

Capital One recent split one of its popular business credit cards, the Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business, into two versions: the Capital One Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus and the Capital One Spark Cash Select – 0% Intro APR for 12 Months card.

These streamlined cash back cards have mostly remained the same as the original Spark Cash Select card, but each now carries a more targeted welcome offer, with the Spark Cash Select intro APR card forgoing a cash bonus in favor of a lengthy intro APR period on new purchases.

This may make the Spark Cash Select intro APR card the obvious choice for businesses that could use a year-long break from interest more than a cash bonus. However, when compared to other business rewards cards, the card falls short, as other no annual fee business cards deliver better cash back rates and equivalent intro APRs without cutting corners on the sign-up bonus.

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: 5 percent cash back on hotel stays and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 1.5 percent cash back on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer: N/A
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase intro APR: 0 percent for 12 months
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 18.99 percent to 26.99 percent (variable)

Trading a sign-up bonus for intro APR

Instead of offering a sign-up bonus in points or cash back, the Spark Cash Select intro APR card comes with a 12-month 0 percent intro APR on new purchases (18.99 percent to 26.99 percent variable APR after that).

While this is the longest intro APR of any Capital One card for businesses, 12 months is the norm for rival zero-interest cards that also carry 0 percent intro APR offers. For example, the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card not only offers 12 months of 0 percent APR on purchases, but also carries a lower ongoing APR of 16.24 percent to 22.24 percent variable and a $900 sign-up cash back bonus after you spend $6,000 within the first three months.

Plus, depending on the balance you plan to pay off, a traditional sign-up bonus may be more valuable than an intro APR offer. For example, you could get more value out of the Capital One Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus card’s sign-up bonus offer (when you spend $4,500 within the first three months) and its lower ongoing interest rate (16.24 percent to 22.24 percent variable) than with the Spark Cash Select intro APR card.

Rewards rate

The Capital One Spark Cash Select intro APR is an easy rewards card to handle since it earns unlimited flat-rate cash back on all purchases. There are no spending caps or categories to worry about, and its simple rewards structure, automated cash back redemption and lack of foreign transaction fees make it flexible enough to earn rewards on your business expenses at home and abroad.

How you earn

You’ll earn unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all eligible purchases, and your cash rewards won’t expire while your account is open.

However, if your work has you hotel hopping and requires a rental car often, you may be able to earn a boosted 5 percent cash back on hotel and rental car bookings through the Capital One Travel portal.

How much are the rewards worth?

Capital One’s cash back program works like most others: every dollar you spend earns 1.5 cent per percentage point of your cash back rate — so you’ll net 1.5 cents per dollar (or, similarly, 5 cents per dollar for hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel).

How to redeem

Capital One cards allow you to redeem your cash rewards in the form of:

  • A statement credit
  • A check
  • A gift card
  • Checkout payments through Amazon.com and PayPal

While it includes several common forms of cash back, this list is missing the option to redeem as a direct deposit to a bank account.

On the bright side, Capital One streamlines the rewards process by allowing you to set your account to automatically redeem in specific increments ($25, $50, $100, $200, $500 and $1,500) after your total rewards reach a certain dollar amount or after a selected yearly date.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Long intro APR offer on new purchases
  • Streamlined rewards program that earns 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases, plus 5 percent cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through the Capital One Travel portal
  • Earn rewards with free employee cards
  • Rewards don’t expire for as long as your account is active
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • The 18.99 percent to 26.99 percent (variable) ongoing APR is higher than the Capital One Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus card’s (16.24 percent to 22.24 percent variable)
  • Other cards offer more cash back rewards in select categories
  • No opportunity to transfer rewards to other loyalty programs

Other cardholder perks

Capital One business cards like the Spark Cash Select intro APR aren’t typically chock-full of business travel credits or other elite benefits, but the card carries a fair number of helpful day-to-day perks given it charges no annual fee.

Employee cards

You’ll get free employee cards to earn rewards faster and can more easily manage your company’s spending by designating account managers to track expenses, oversee transactions and set the custom spending limits on each card. The Spark Cash Select intro APR also comes with end-of-year purchase reports and the ability to automate reward redemption, so it makes leveraging employee cards a cinch.

Purchase and travel protections

The Spark Cash Select intro APR may not be the best card for travel insurance since you don’t get premium coverage like trip interruption and cancellation insurance, but you’ll still get a well-rounded collection of pillar protections that include $0 fraud liability, extended warranty coverage, roadside assistance and auto rental insurance.

You’ll also enjoy useful perks like complimentary concierge service, no foreign exchange fees and the Eno browser extension’s virtual credit card numbers, which add another layer of security to your card.

Instead of giving an online merchant your real card number, Eno creates and tracks unique card numbers for each merchant. Virtual account numbers can be a rare offering, since digital wallets serve the same purpose, but businesses that make a lot of online payments may find virtual numbers more useful since digital/mobile wallets are often focused on in-store purchases.

Rates and fees

Despite carrying a higher ongoing APR of 18.99 percent to 26.99 percent (variable) than its sibling, the Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus card (which carries a 16.24 percent to 22.24 percent variable APR), the Spark Cash Select intro APR remains a relatively low-cost card for small businesses.

The card’s 18.99 percent low-end variable APR is just slightly above the current average credit card interest rate, and you won’t be charged an annual fee, balance transfer fee or foreign transaction fees. All three of these waived costs are valuable in their own right, but together make it a great deal to transfer your balance to Capital One or use this card for business abroad.

Even so, it’s important to keep in mind that there is currently no intro APR offer on balance transfers on this card, so it’s not the best business card if you need a balance transfer. Additionally, missed payments incur an up to $39 late fee and could leave you stuck with a 30.90 percent variable penalty APR.

How the Capital One Spark Cash Select with intro APR compares to other business cards

Though the Spark Cash Select intro APR is a better choice than the Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus if you need to chip away a large balance, it falls short of a few other no annual fee business cards that carry both an intro bonus and intro APR offer.

The Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card not only brings the same 1.5 percent flat-rate cash back to the table, but also offers a $900 sign-up cash back bonus (after spending $6,000 in the first three months) and 12-month 0 percent intro purchase APR (followed by a lower 16.24 percent to 22.24 percent variable APR). And unlike Capital One, Chase’s business card roster is full of excellent partner cards. The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, for example, allows you to redeem your flat-rate rewards for Chase travel at a higher value.

If you have a side business, relatively low business expenses or already have a card for your specialized expenses, the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card could be another great no annual fee option. It earns 2 percent cash back on your first $50,000 in spending per calendar year, offers a $250 statement credit after you make $3,000 in purchases on your card in your first three months and a 12-month 0 percent intro purchase APR (16.99 percent to 24.99 percent variable APR after that). Although the intro bonus is a bit low, the $3,000 spending requirement should be easy for most small-business owners to reach.

Meanwhile, if a 12-month intro APR offer sounds too short, the U.S. Bank Business Platinum Card might be the no-frills zero-interest business card you’re looking for. Its comes with a top-tier 0 percent intro APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases and on balance transfers made within the first 30 days. Plus, the 14.99% to 23.99% variable APR that applies after the first 18 billing cycles is one of the lowest we’ve seen on a business card.

Capital One Image

Capital One Spark Cash Select - 0% Intro APR for 12 Months

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3.0
Apply now

on Capital One's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

1.5%–5%

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)
American Express Image

American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card

Annual fee

No annual fee

Intro offer

$250

Rewards rate

1%–2%

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)
Chase Image

Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

$900

Rewards rate

1.5%

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)

Best cards to pair with this card

You can maximize your cash back by pairing the Spark Cash Select intro APR with a rewards card that earns at a higher rate on bonus categories that line up with your biggest business expenses.

Capital One doesn’t carry any business cards for that sort of specialized spending, but cards like the Ink Business Preferred would be a good option if your business spends heavily on costs like internet and phone services or advertising. An airline card or hotel credit card may also be a good option if you do a lot of business travel.

Bankrate’s Take: Is the Capital One Spark Cash Select with intro APR worth it?

The Capital One Spark Cash Select intro APR will be a step up from the original Spark Cash Select if you need a bit of extra time to finance purchases, but it’s not as big of an upgrade as the Spark Cash Select – $500 Cash Bonus (when you spend $4,500 within the first three months) given that card’s sign-up bonus is more than double that of the original Spark Cash Select.

And though Spark Cash Select intro APR is the better pick of the two versions if you need to finance a large purchase, competing no annual fee business rewards cards can deliver much more value since they typically offer comparable rewards, at least 12 months of 0 percent intro purchase APR and a lower ongoing interest rate, all without skimping out on a sign-up bonus.