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Capital One Spark Classic for Business Review

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With cash-back rewards and accessibility for business owners with limited or fair credit, the Capital One Spark Classic can be a great way to get the financing you need while also building your credit history. The card has no annual fee.

The Capital One Spark Classic for Business Card is not one of our top-rated business credit cards. You can review our list of the best best credit cards for what we think are better options.

Full Review of Capital One Spark Classic for Business

  • Good credit isn't required for consideration of approval

  • Simple rewards program

  • No bonus

  • Your personal credit history could be affected

Pros Explained

  • Good Credit Isn't Required to be Considered for Approval: Virtually all small business credit cards require a personal credit check when you apply, and many of the best options are aimed at business owners with a proven record of good or excellent personal credit. With the Capital One Spark Classic, however, you may be approved even if your credit history isn’t stellar or extensive. According to the bank, it’s possible to qualify if you’ve defaulted on a loan in the past five years or if you have a limited credit history—in other words, if you’ve only been using credit for less than three years. If you're trying to get your business off the ground but aren’t sure if your credit is in good enough shape for most business cards, this one could be a solid alternative.
  • Simple, if Lean, Rewards: The card offers a flat 1% cash back on every purchase you make. While that's a modest rate compared to what you can get with good credit—the Capital One Spark Cash offers a flat 2% cash back, for example—it provides at least some return on your spending as you begin to build a positive credit history.

Cons Explained

  • No Bonus: Many rewards credit cards offer a bonus as well as ongoing rewards on everyday purchases. With the Capital One Spark Classic, however, you get only the latter. While that’s hardly unusual for a no-fee card available to those with mediocre or even poor credit, it still pales beside the hundreds of dollars dangled by many of the best business cards. 
  • Your Personal Credit History Could Be Affected: Capital One, along with most major business credit card issuers, reports your account activity on its cards to the commercial credit bureaus. That flow of information can help you begin to build a business credit history. But in addition, Capital One reports that account information to the credit bureaus that determine your consumer credit scores. While that reporting could help enhance your personal history if your payments are timely and well within your credit limits, any missteps you make could also mar it. If you miss a payment or maintain a high balance on the Capital One Spark Classic—your credit utilization rate being a major factor in your FICO credit score—you could see your personal credit score decline along with your business one. If you'd rather keep your business and personal credit histories separate, then, this card may not be for you.

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Minimalist Persona
    Prefers uncomplicated rewards with single rate for all spending
  • Avatar for Annual Fee Averse Persona
    Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
    Annual Fee Averse
  • Avatar for Business Owner Persona
    Earning a primary or side income from a small business
    Business Owner

The Capital One Spark Classic is a solid option for small business owners with limited or fair credit, who may have difficulty getting most other cards. Its 1% cash-back rewards are nothing to crow about, but this card mainly provides the opportunity to acquire a credit line while also building a credit history that could help you to graduate to more rewarding alternatives.

The card is especially worth considering for business owners who don’t anticipate often (if at all), carrying a balance on the card, which could hurt both their personal credit score and that of their business. Having the funds available to pay off what you charge to the account every month and making timely payments will help achieve the goal of building a fine credit record.

Since it lacks an annual fee, Capital One Spark Classic is also an economical choice for those who seek credit-card travel pluses that might otherwise cost you when taking a trip. It provides secondary rental-car insurance coverage, for example, and travel assistance when you’re away from home. It’s also a decent choice for use abroad, since it doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, typically of 3%, that many cards impose on purchases made outside the United States.

Rewards Earning Details

The Capital One Spark Classic offers a flat 1% cash back on every purchase you make. While that rate is underwhelming compared with some of the best business credit cards on the market, it’s something at least. And the rewards structure is simple, with the same flat cash-back rate for every transaction. 

In short, the card allows you to generate a modest flow of cash to put back into your business or take for personal use, while simultaneously building credit that could allow you to qualify for a better card.

Rewards Redemption Details

You can redeem your cash back earned with the card for any amount and at any time. Your rewards never expire, and you’ll have a few redemption options.

You can receive straight cash back in the form of a paper check. Alternatively, you can request a general statement credit, get a statement credit for a specific purchase, purchase gift cards and more. 

If you choose to get cash back, you can opt for automatic redemptions at a set time each year or once your balance reaches $25, $50, $100, $200, $500 or $1,500. If simplicity is one of your top priorities in your search for a new card, this arrangement can make the Capital One Spark Classic even more appealing.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

Because the card offers a flat 1% back on everything, there's no trick to maximizing the value of the rewards program. You simply use the card whenever possible to ensure you're getting rewards on every purchase you make. There isn't a bonus, so you needn't pay attention to reaching a certain level of spending within the first few months in order to receive a cash incentive.    

Since the Capital One Spark Classic is so heavily aimed at helping to build credit, it’s worth noting how best to reach that goal as you use it. The first tip is to avoid using the card’s credit for longer than the month in which you make a charge. Pay off your bill on time and in full every month. By doing so, you’ll not only avoid interest charges, but add to your credit history in a way that’s likely to increase your credit score, and so give you access to further credit and credit options that have more favorable terms and benefits.

Standard Benefits

  • Secondary rental car insurance
  • Travel assistance
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Free employee cards and customized spending limits
  • Year-end summaries
  • Purchase records in multiple formats

Cardholder Experience

Capital One was ranked fourth out of eight in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Small Business Credit Card Satisfaction Study. It received a score slightly above average. The bank’s customer-service representatives are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which is standard among national issuers. 

You can manage your account online or with the Capital One mobile app, which J.D. Power ranked second in its 2020 U.S. Banking Mobile App Satisfaction Study.

Security Features

Capital One allows you to lock your card from the mobile app, which can prevent someone from using it without your permission if you misplace the card or it’s been stolen. You can also unlock it if you end up finding the card.

This feature is also available on employee cards, which gives you the control you need to thwart unauthorized card usage. Beyond the card-lock feature, Capital One's security features are standard for the industry.

Fees to Watch Out For

For the most part, the card’s fees are on par with industry standards. However, it's worth noting that the Capital One Spark Classic not only charges a penalty APR, which isn’t common, but sets the rate at 29.40%, which is a little higher than that of many cards. This rate—which can kick in for some time if you miss making a payment—further underlines the value of making special efforts with this card to ensure you pay its bills in a timely manner. 

Our Verdict

The Capital One Spark Classic offers the opportunity for businesses with limited or fair credit to acquire a revolving credit line for their enterprise. In doing so, it even throws in some cash-back rewards on every purchase and doesn’t charge an annual fee. 

Before applying for the card, though, give some thought to the implications of card membership. One issue is the card's potential to affect your personal credit, since Capital One will share your history with the card with the credit reporting agencies that determine your individual credit scores. 

If you plan to use the card responsibly—paying your bill on time and in full every month and keeping your balance relatively low—it could help improve both your business and personal credit histories. But if you miss a payment or consistently carry a high balance, those moves might further hurt your opportunity to get ample and affordable credit in the future.

Next Steps
For Capital One Spark Classic for Business
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Capital One Spark Classic for Business
Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Fair - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 26.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn unlimited 1% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions.
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.