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Capital One offers five different credit cards in their Spark family of business cards. This is a review of their business card designed for fair or average credit, the Capital One Spark Classic for Business.
This is a pretty basic card, only offering 1% cash back for every purchase. But it has no annual fee, and comes with some standard business benefits.
You won’t be able to earn a ton of rewards with the Spark Classic. But it does report your activity to the business credit bureaus, so you can use it to improve your business credit. Some other “business” cards don’t do this, so it’s a nice feature to have.
Are you a small business owner with average personal credit? This card could present a good way to improve your business credit while getting a bit of cash back in the process.
Our Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Why we like this card
We gave the Spark Classic 4 out of 5 Stars. Even though it’s not the most rewarding card, it’s balanced pretty well.
- Most business cards require good credit. But the Spark Classic is designed for average credit, giving more people a chance to be approved.
- No annual fee, so this card can be free to use as long as you avoid interest.
- Capital One reports your activity to several business credit bureaus. This makes the card a good way to improve your business credit.
- You can get as many employee cards as you want, for free.
- Capital One provides a decent set of business benefits, mostly related to account and spending management.
Overall, this card is a good option if you want to build your business credit for no annual fee. But there are many other business credit cards out there made for people with better credit. You can read more about them below, including other Capital One cards like the Spark Cash Select.
Why this card could be better
- Only 1% cash back on purchases.
- No signup bonus.
- It only has basic business benefits, and basic shopping and travel protections.
Insider Advice: Using This Card as Part of Your Credit Card Strategy
- Business cards are different from regular personal credit cards in a few important ways. Read all about how business cards are different than personal credit cards.
- Build your business credit with this card by using it responsibly. Your card activity will be reported to three business credit bureaus: Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Small Business Financial Exchange.
- This card won’t improve your personal credit, because positive card activity isn’t reported to the consumer credit bureaus. Try using regular consumer credit cards to build your personal credit. Then you’ll be able to qualify for more rewarding cards.
- Assign employee cards to your employees to earn more cash back, more quickly. You can get an unlimited number of cards for free, and set individual credit limits.
- There are no foreign transaction fees with this card. That makes it a pretty good choice for traveling abroad, especially because it’s a Visa which will be accepted pretty much everywhere.
- 1% cash back on all purchases
You can earn an unlimited amount of cash back, and it will not expire as long as your account is open. You may be able to transfer your rewards between Capital One cards. Contact customer support for your card to learn if you can.
This rewards program is very basic because this card is designed for average credit. See some other business cards below, with better rewards and features.
You can redeem the cash back you earn as a statement credit to reduce the balance of your account. Or you can have it mailed to you in the form of a check. The statement credit is usually the easiest way to redeem.
Capital One provides an automatic redemption system you can use if you’d like. This will automatically redeem your cash back at either a set time every year or when it reaches a specified threshold.
There is also the option to redeem your cash back for certain purchases, gift cards, and other expenses. But these methods are subject to change and will not always grant the full value of 1 cent for every 1 cent you’ve earned. So, it’s usually best to just redeem for statement credits.
Reports to Business Credit Bureaus
This card reports your activity to the business credit bureaus Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Small Business Financial Exchange. This is a pretty unique feature because most business credit cards, which have the word “business” in their name, don’t actually report your regular activity to either the business credit bureaus or the personal credit bureaus. Instead, they only report to the personal credit bureaus when you perform a negative action, like a late or returned payment.
The Spark Classic, and other Spark cards, provide a way to build up your business credit. This is unlike most other business cards, which will only affect your personal credit when you do something negative. This feature makes these cards stand out among business credit cards.
Quarterly and Year-End Summaries
You can get custom, itemized reports of your spending to help simplify accounting and taxes. Includes primary and employee cards.
Downloadable Purchase Records
Download your records any time you’d like in a variety of formats, including Quicken®, QuickBooks™ and Excel®.
Spark Business Customer Service Representatives
Speak with specially trained reps whenever you’d like for help with any questions you have. Call toll-free, 1-800-867-0904.
Free Employee Cards
Get an unlimited number of employee cards to distribute to your employees. You’ll earn cash back every time they use them. And you can set individual credit limits for the cards.
Get up to 15% off at merchants when you shop through the Visa SavingsEdge shopping portal. You’ll find deals at gas stations, hotel chains, restaurants, office supply merchants, tech websites, and more.
Eligible purchases made with the card are covered against damage and theft for 90 days. Reimbursement is available up to $10,000 per claim, $50,000 per cardholder.
For eligible purchases, this benefit doubles the time period of the manufacturer’s warranty. It applies to warranties of three years or less, and up to one additional year can be added. Warranties are covered up to $10,000 per claim, $50,000 per cardholder.
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
This benefit covers automobiles rented with your Spark Classic card against damage and theft. You must decline the rental company’s own insurance for this to take effect.
If the vehicle is rented for business or commercial purposes, this benefit acts as primary coverage. If the vehicle is rented for personal use, this benefit acts as secondary coverage and will be supplemental to your personal auto insurance.
Travel and Emergency Assistance
Cardholders can call the number on the back of their card for emergency assistance in a variety of situations. You’ll be connected with local emergency services, including medical and legal referrals, emergency transportation, lost luggage location, and more.
The Costs & Fees
|Regular APR||Regular Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|24.74% Variable||24.74% Variable||24.74% Variable|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee|
|None||$0||3%, $10 minimum|
|Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|31.15% Variable||Up to $39||None|
The Spark Classic, designed for average credit, doesn’t have an annual fee to worry about. But you will have have a pretty high APR. If you pay off your card balance in full every month, however, you’ll be able to avoid having to pay any interest at all. And that will also be best for your business’s credit.
You won’t be charged extra when making foreign transactions. That’s a nice feature to have on a Visa rewards card like this, because it will be accepted pretty much everywhere around the world.
|Small Business Credit Card Phone Line||1-800-867-0904|
Capital One has pretty good customer support, compared to other card issuers. For the past few years they’ve been ranking within the top 5 on J.D. Power’s annual Credit Card Satisfaction Survey. Last year, in 2017, they came in third after American Express and Discover.
We called the small business phone line above to ask them about the Spark Classic. In particular, we wanted to know which credit bureaus it reports activity to. And we also wanted to know if that will change based on the status of the account — whether it’s in positive or negative standing.
After assuring the automated voice that we wanted to speak with a human, we reached with a friendly rep who was eager to help. She found the information we wanted to know pretty quickly. We learned that all Capital One business cards report to the same three credit bureaus:
- Dun & Bradstreet
- Small Business Financial Exchange
And we also learned that it doesn’t matter if the account is in positive or negative standing. Either way, it will be reported to those same credit bureaus.
Overall, it was a pretty quick and easy customer support experience. Generally speaking, you can probably expect the same if you need to call them.
Capital One makes it very easy to navigate their site and find their card offers. Compared to some other card issuers, finding information about their cards is usually quite straightforward.
When you reach a card page you’ll usually be able to see all the important points pretty quickly. And there are plenty of links to get more information. Unlike many other card issuers, Capital One provides a prominent link to the card’s Guide to Benefits.
This is an excellent move on their part, because it gives you a way to see the specific benefits that will come with your card, spelled out with full details. Most other card issuers don’t provide an easy link like this, making it more difficult to figure out exactly what benefits you’ll get with a particular card.
The Bottom Line
If you have average credit, the Spark Classic for Business from Capital One may be one of your only options if you want a credit card for business spending.
As a card for average credit, you shouldn’t expect to get great rewards and flashy benefits. It only offers 1% back, but it’s better than nothing. You can hand out as many employee cards as you need to, earning rewards on all the spending. And there are some basic financial and account management features to help keep everything organized.
It’s a simple card, but if you want to improve your business’s credit while earning a bit of cash back too, this card provides a way. Capital One reports positive business card activity to more business credit bureaus than most other card issuers. So this and other Capital One business cards are good ways to build your business credit.
Check out some different Capital One business cards below, along with some other alternatives to the Spark Classic card.
How to Apply for the Spark Classic for Business Credit Card
You can apply securely on Capital One’s website, and they’ll check your credit history and your business’s credit history.
When you apply, you’ll need to have your basic personal information, along with business information which includes your total annual revenue and your business’s Tax ID Number or Employer ID Number. They’ll check your credit reports from any of the three major consumer credit bureaus. The approval process can be instant or it may take a few days, and if approved you should get your card within 10 business days.
Alternatives to the Spark Classic for Business Credit Card
The Spark Classic is a business card designed for average credit, and there aren’t many other cards like it. So these alternatives are similar, but they aren’t the same exact kind of thing. In most cases you’ll need better credit to have a good chance of being approved for the following cards.
- Capital One® Spark Cash Select® for Business (Review): No annual fee, 1.5% cash back on all purchases, 0% intro APR for 9 months on purchases (then 14.74%, 18.74%, or 22.74% Variable APR)
- SimplyCash® Plus Business Card from American Express (Review): No annual fee, up to 5% cash back on certain purchases, ability to choose reward categories
- Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard®: No annual fee, up to 3% cash back on certain purchases, 0% intro APR for 9 months
Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business
The Spark Cash Select card is a bit like an upgraded version of the Spark Classic. It’s designed for people with excellent credit, rather than average.
But it still has no annual fee, and offers:
- 1.5% cash back on every purchase
- Signup bonus: $200 cash bonus for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
So it provides 50% more cash back than the Spark Classic. And that signup bonus is a nice incentive too.
You’ll also get a 9-month 0% introductory APR for purchases with this card. That can be a nice way to help fund a business for a bit, letting you pay off large expenses over time at no interest before the 14.74%, 18.74%, or 22.74% Variable APR kicks in.
The Spark Cash Select also comes at the Visa Signature level, which has some upgraded benefits. These include some potentially cost-savings perks like the Luxury Hotel and Resort collection. When staying at participating properties, this provides room upgrades, complimentary breakfasts and in-room WiFi, and $25 in food and beverage credits.
Other than that, this card is pretty much like the Spark Classic. Capital One provides all the same business-related benefits for each card.
There’s another card in the Spark Cash family: the Spark Cash® for Business (Review). This card is a bit more rewarding. But it also comes with an annual fee of $95, waived the first year. It provides:
- 2% cash back on every purchase
- Signup bonus: $500 cash bonus for spending $4,500 in the first 3 months after account opening
This card is more expensive, but it offers a higher cash back rate. It also requires excellent credit.
When comparing the Spark Cash to the Spark Cash Select, we’ve calculated that if you spend more than $19,000 per year you’ll get more cash back out of the Spark Cash. Otherwise you’ll be better off with the Spark Cash Select.
SimplyCash Plus Business Card from American Express
The SimplyCash Plus Business Card from American Express (Review) has no annual fee. It comes with a 0% intro APR for purchases, a nice feature that the Spark Classic doesn’t have.
This card is also much more rewarding than the Spark Classic, with:
- 5% cash back at:
- U.S. office supply stores
- Wireless phone services purchased directly from U.S. providers
- 3% cash back on your choice of 1 category:
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- Hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels
- Car rentals from select rental companies
- U.S. gas stations
- U.S. restaurants
- U.S. purchases of advertising in select media
- U.S. purchases of shipping
- Purchases of hardware, software, and cloud computing services from select U.S. providers
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
So you’ll be able to earn much more cash back with this card using these very flexible bonus categories. If your business spends a lot every year in these categories, this card gives you a way to earn more rewards as you do. But this card requires better credit than the Spark Classic. Those 5% and 3% categories are limited to the first $50,000 in combined spending per year.
You can get free employee cards with the SimplyCash, just like the Spark Classic. You’ll be limited to 99 with the Amex card, but that should be plenty for most people.
American Express business cards come with the Amex OPEN suite of business benefits. You’ll get discounts at certain merchants, tools like a spending manager, and the ability to speak with other OPEN business members. For the most part, the business-related benefits offered by both cards are pretty similar.
Amex business cards will report positive card activity to Small Business Financial Exchange. But if the account enters a negative status, the activity will be reported to the regular consumer credit bureaus, along with the business bureau Dun & Bradstreet. So there are some important differences in the way Amex and Capital One report business card activity.
Overall, the SimplyCash is much more rewarding and it even lets you choose your own bonus category. But that’s what you can qualify for if your credit is good enough.
Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard
The Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard is issued by Bank of America, and has no annual fee.
It comes with:
- 3% cash back at gas stations and office supply stores (up to $250,000 in combined spending per year)
- 2% cash back at restaurants
- 1% cash back everywhere else
- Signup bonus: $200 statement credit for spending $500 in purchases in the first 60 days after account opening
You’ll have more earning potential with this card than the Spark Classic. The bonus categories here will provide quite a bit more cash back on certain purchases. And every other purchase will get the 1% rate just like the Spark Classic.
The Business Advantage card also comes with a 9-month 0% introductory APR for purchases. This is just like some of the other cards described above. You won’t get anything like that with the Spark Classic, which has an APR on the high side.
There are some basic shopping and travel protections with the Business Advantage card. And there are also some tools to manage spending. But for the most part, the extra benefits are pretty similar between this and the Spark Classic.
Overall, the Business Advantage and Spark Classic are both fairly basic cards. The main differences are in the rewards and the 0% intro rate.
Do you use the Spark Classic for Business from Capital One? How do you like it, and how do you use it? Leave your own review of the Spark Classic Credit Card, we’d love to hear from you!
The responses below are not provided or commissioned by bank advertisers. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers' responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.