Full Review of Capital One Spark Cash Select
Introductory 0% APR offer
Light on fees
Modest rewards and introductory cash bonus
Your personal credit history could be affected
- Introductory 0% APR Offer: The card’s 0% APR on purchases for nine months can provide a useful source of short-term funding for your business. You can buy inventory, supplies, or anything the business needs and get most of a year to pay it off without interest. With no limit on using the offer, other than your credit limit, the savings can be substantial when compared to charging purchases to the card and paying a regular APR. For example, let's say you put $3,000 for a fleet vehicle on the Capital One Spark Cash Select the first month you had the card, and then paid off the purchase in regular installments over nine months. With the 0% APR, you’d pay only one-ninth of the $3,000 principal every month—that is, $333 monthly—and pay no interest. Without the offer, and paying a 17% interest rate, you’d have to come up with an additional $27 or so for each of the nine monthly payments, and pay $216 in interest on top of the $3,000 principal.
- Light on Fees: The card doesn't charge an annual fee, a foreign transaction fee, or a fee for additional employee cards. For cost-minded business owners and new startups, this card could provide an excellent way to drive cash back into your business through rewards without incurring any out of pocket costs—as long as you pay your bill in full and avoid the card's other standard fees.
- Modest Rewards and Introductory Cash Bonus: The card's flat 1.5% cash back on every purchase are simple and decent enough for a card with no annual fee, but other small-business cards offer better rates, albeit often for an annual fee. Similarly, the Capital One Spark Cash Select’s one-time cash offer of $200 after you spend $3,000 in the first three months is a relatively big outlay for a comparatively small return. Some other cards offer a larger bonus for a smaller "spend."
- Your Personal Credit History Could be Affected: Like most major business credit card issuers, Capital One reports your activity on its cards to the commercial credit bureaus, which can help you establish a business credit history. But Capital One also reports that information to consumer credit bureaus. This means that racking up a huge balance or missing a payment on the car could potentially drop your personal credit score, especially if the problem occurs repeatedly.
This Card is Best For
Prefers uncomplicated rewards with single rate for all spending
Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
Earning a primary or side income from a small business
The Capital One Spark Cash Select is best suited to new businesses who need a no-cost card that will earn them decent rewards and the opportunity for nine months of interest-free purchases. Its flat 1.5% cash-back rewards have an appealing simplicity for businesses that have little time to master the multiple rewards rates of certain cards, and don't spend enough in any one category to justify the time required for such monitoring. Ideally, it's also a card for those who have few concerns about business cash-flow or other issues that might occasionally compromise their ability to make regular payments or otherwise be an excellent customer. That’s because, unlike most other business-card issuers, Capital One provides the credit records of their business-card holders to the agencies that issue credit scores used for consumer credit cards.
Multiple missteps with this card, then, could eventually compromise your ability to get additional personal credit at relatively low interest rates. That could be a deal-breaker for business owners who want a clear separation between their business and personal financial dealings.
Capital One Spark Cash Select Bonus
As a new cardholder, your business will earn a one-time offer of $200 after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.
That's a relatively low return on spending. For example, it's less than half of what you'd get for the same spending requirement with the Chase Ink Business Unlimited, which offers a $500 bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first three months.
Rewards Earning Details
You’ll earn a flat 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make. While those are solid-enough rewards for a business card with no annual fee, they’re not the best rate out there, even among business cards with no annual fee.
Rewards Redemption Details
Your cash-back rewards will never expire, and you can redeem them for cash at any amount and at any time. You can receive cash in the form of a statement credit or paper check. You can even set up automatic redemptions once your balance reaches a certain threshold, such as $25, $50, $100, $200, $500, or $1,500.
Other redemption options include gift cards and statement credits for specific purchases (as opposed to a general credit).
How to Maximize Your Rewards
This card's cash-back rewards are worth the same regardless of how you redeem them. So other than using your card for every purchase you can, there’s not much you can do to maximize the value of the cash back you receive.
Using Capital One Spark Cash Select during the first nine months potentially allows you to enjoy unlimited no-interest financing through the card's 0% APR offer. Naturally, you should strive to pay your balance in full by the end of the interest-free period to avoid having high-APR interest charges eat into your savings.
- Secondary rental car insurance
- Travel assistance
- Extended warranty protection
- Free employee cards and customized spending limits
- Year-end summaries
- Purchase records in multiple formats
Capital One was rated third in J.D. Power’s 2019 Credit Card Customer Satisfaction Study behind Discover and American Express, ranking about average among national card issuers.
The bank provides free access to your business credit report through its Business CreditWise feature. No other major business credit card issuers provide complimentary access to information about your business credit history.
Capital One provides 24/7 customer service, which is standard among credit card issuers. You can manage your account online or with the card issuer's mobile app, which was ranked No. 2 by J.D. Power in its 2019 U.S. Banking Mobile App Satisfaction Study.
Capital One gives cardholders the ability to lock their or an employee's card from the mobile app. This can stop someone from using the card if it's lost or stolen, and can also come in handy if you want to restrict employee usage.
Other than that, the bank’s security features are standard for the industry.
Fees to Watch Out For
Overall, the Capital One Spark Cash Select's fees are in line with industry standards. One exception is that it doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, which is uncommon for a cash-back credit card.
The Capital One Spark Cash Select is a passable card for a business that doesn't spend so heavily that it would get substantial additional benefit from a card that offers richer rewards. But in most key areas it falls behind a number of competitors, including some that also charge no annual fee, at least for the first year.
Take for instance, the Amex Blue Business Cash. It offers 2% cash back on the first $50,000 spent annually. Further, while it has no cash bonus, the Amex Blue Business Cash has a better 0% APR offer than the Capital One Spark Cash Select, providing 12 months of 0% APR purchases. Then there's the Chase Ink Business Unlimited, which has no annual fee and offers the same 12-month 0% APR on purchases deal as the Amex Blue Business Cash, while also offering a bonus of $500—more than twice the size of the one with the Capital One Spark Cash Select—for the same $3,000 in spending within the first three months.
If 0% APR isn’t a priority for you, there’s also this card's sibling, the Capital One Spark Cash. It offers unlimited rewards at a higher rate of 2% cash back. And while it lacks a 0% APR offer it provides higher bonuses, especially for big spenders: $500 cash if you spend $4,500 in the first three months with the card.
Finally, keep in mind that Capital One’s reporting of business credit card activity to consumer credit bureaus could be a dealbreaker for those who are skittish of having the credit challenges of their business potentially deal a blow to their consumer credit score.
Discover also reports activity on its business cards to consumer credit bureaus, but no other major issuers do so. If you’d prefer to keep your personal and business credit histories separate, consider business cards from issuers other than Capital One and Discover.