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This is a review of the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express.
This card offers low-cost way to pay for business expenses, at no annual fee. There are some good cash back rewards to be earned, and you can choose one of your bonus categories.
You’ll have 15 months at 0% interest for purchases, followed by a regular rate of 14.49% - 21.49% Variable, and the ability to spend a certain amount over your credit limit. This card also includes membership in the American Express OPEN program, which provides tools and resources for small business owners.
Read on to learn if this card might be a good choice to help fund your small business or LLC.
Our Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
We gave this card 5 out of 5 Stars, because it’s an inexpensive option for small business owners who want to earn cash back on typical business purchases.
Why we like this card
- Cheap to use because there’s no annual fee. It can be completely free if you avoid accruing interest on purchases.
- 5% cash back in two bonus categories, and your choice of one 3% bonus category. That’s quite a lot of cash back for a no-annual-fee card.
- A 15-month 0% intro APR for purchases can help pay off large business expenses (then 14.49% - 21.49% Variable).
- You can spend a certain amount over your credit limit if necessary.
- Employee cards are free, and you can set individual spending limits.
- The Amex OPEN business benefits are generally better than the extra perks you’ll get with business cards from other credit card issuers.
This is a good low-cost choice. But there are other business cards with annual fees that come with better rewards and benefits. Check out some alternatives to the SimplyCash Plus below.
Why this card could be better
- The 5% and 3% bonus reward categories are limited to the first $50,000 in combined spending per year, and then you’ll earn 1% back. This might be a little too low for some businesses.
- There is no introductory bonus, although this may have something to do with balancing the lack of an annual fee.
- You can’t use this card for balance transfers. So you’ll have to look at other business credit cards with transfer offers if that’s a feature you need.
- There’s a foreign transaction fee of 2.7% with this card. And American Express has limited acceptance outside the U.S. as well.
Insider Advice: Using This Card as Part of Your Credit Card Strategy
- Use this card to earn 5% cash back on office supplies and wireless phone services up to $50,000 per year (then 1%).
- Pick an additional category to earn 3% cash back, out of eight possible choices. You’ll be able to change this selection once per year.
- Your cash back will be automatically redeemed for statement credits. So you’ll never forget to redeem or spend time figuring out how to get the most value for your rewards.
- Use the 15-month 0% intro APR to pay off large purchases over time. Just be sure to keep up on payments every month. After that you’ll get a regular rate of 14.49% - 21.49% Variable.
- If you have any sudden extra expenses, you can spend over your credit limit with this card by a certain amount. But you’ll need to pay that amount back along with your minimum payment due for that period.
- Positive activity with this card will improve your business credit, though not your personal credit. But negative activity, like late payments, will be reported on your personal credit reports as well.
- Get up to 99 free employee versions of this card. You can set individual spending limits for them. And you’ll earn rewards whenever they’re used.
- This card is part of Amex OPEN, which means it comes with a number of business-specific benefits. Explore these benefits to see how you can get even more out of this card.
This card provides:
- 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
The 5% and 3% categories for this card apply to the first $50,000 in combined purchases every year. After that, you’ll earn 1% back in those categories.
You can choose your 3% category within the first two months of your card membership. Then, you’ll be able to choose a new category during the annual selection period, which runs from December 1st to January 31st.
If you don’t choose an initial category you’ll receive 3% back at U.S. gas stations. And if you don’t change your category, you’ll keep whichever one you had previously.
The SimplyCash Plus card will automatically redeem your cash back in the form of a statement credit. You won’t need to do anything at all, it will simply be credited to your account.
The statement credit will appear two billing statements after the statement on which the purchases are recorded. So if purchases show up on your statement for March, you’ll get the cash back for them along with your May statement.
But you will not receive cash back for your purchases if you fail to make the minimum payment due. If your card is cancelled before the cash back is issued you won’t receive it either.
Check your card’s Guide to Benefits for details on the specific benefits available to you, and how to access them.
Expanded Buying Power
You can spend a certain amount over your credit limit each billing period. This amount will be determined by your credit history, financial history, use of the card, and other factors.
The amount you spend over your credit limit will need to be paid back in full along with your minimum payment for that period. If you don’t pay it back in full, then the high penalty APR will be applied to your entire account balance going forward.
Reports to Business Credit Bureaus
All American Express business credit cards will report your card activity to the credit bureaus in the same way. They let you improve your business credit, although there are also consequences for irresponsible behavior.
As long as your account is in positive standing, the activity will be reported to Small Business Finance Exchange. This is a large and commonly-used business credit reporting bureau.
But if your account enters a negative status, such as having unpaid collections or unpaid charge-offs, the activity will be reported to other bureaus. An account with a negative status will be reported to:
- Dun & Bradstreet
So your positive activity will be reported to one business credit bureau. But your negative activity will be reported to a different business credit bureau, plus the typical consumer credit reporting agencies.
This means you can use the SimplyCash Plus card to improve your business credit scores, but not your personal credit. However, you can still hurt your personal credit scores with it. For a different card that reports positive activity to more business credit bureaus, see the Capital One Spark Cash for Business.
Amex OPEN Business Benefits
Amex OPEN cardholders have access to exclusive business-oriented benefits and services. These include a forum to speak with other OPEN members, a business blog, and a dedicated customer support line.
Amex OPEN Relationship Care® Service
Call the number on the back of your card to speak with a specially-trained, business-oriented customer support representative. Based on our experience, this will be a cut above the typical customer support you’ll get with an Amex consumer card.
You can get a up to 99 employee cards for free. Individual spending limits can be set for the cards. Take note that there are certain purchases where the spending limit won’t apply, like restaurant tips and extended hotel stays.
The primary cardholder is responsible for all charges made to the account. The card activity will not affect the credit of employees using copies of the card.
Designate a trusted Account Manager to manage your account. Must be at least 18 years old.
A tool to help manage your spending throughout the year. Allows you to add receipts and notes to transactions, making tax time easier.
Connect to QuickBooks®
Provides an easy way to label and transfer your transaction data into a QuickBooks account.
You’ll have access to discounts at a wide variety of merchants — currently there are about 80 different offers available, and the selection changes now and then.
You just need to head to the Amex Offers program and click ‘Add to Card’ for the deals you want. Then, just use your card as you normally would to make a purchase with that merchant. Your savings will appear as a statement credit later on, reducing your account balance. You may or may not earn additional rewards at the regular rate — this will depend on the particular offer.
Many of the deals can be quite valuable, saving you from $5 up through more than $100 for some of them. For most of them, you’ll need to spend a certain amount to get a certain discount. Some of the current offers include:
|Merchant||Need to Spend||Cash Back||Maximum Savings|
|Bumble and bumble||$75||$20||26.67%|
There are many fantastic deals waiting to be had here, though many other credit card issuers will offer a similar service. For example, Chase provides the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, Bank of America has its BankAmeriDeals offers, and Citi has the EasyDeals service. You’ll find a range of discounts in all of them.
Save 10% on Some Utilities
Occasionally you’ll be given the opportunity to save 10% on your cable, satellite TV, and/or cell phone bills. Just find the offer and click ‘Add to Card,’ and then use your card to pay for the utility as normal.
This benefit, also called Membership Experiences, provides pre-sale tickets to a variety of sports, music, and cultural events, as well as access to certain exclusive experiences. You’ll be able to search by interest, artist, event, or venue.
One offer for NYC that was available when this review was written is preferred seating to “Once On This Island: The Musical.” Another is in Boston, an exclusive invitation to the Boston Celtics VIP Play on the Parquet Experience. You’ll be able to play on Parquet Floor and attend a private pre-game dinner with Celtics players. That offer will cost $380.
American Express Personal Loans
Cardholders have the opportunity to apply for a loan through American Express (but only if they have been pre-approved). Loans are offered from $3,500 to $25,000, with fixed interest rates from as low as 6.90% up to 19.97%.
Other Benefits and Perks
We’ve only described some of the most valuable benefits here. But you’ll get some others with this card as well:
- Travel Accident Insurance
- Baggage Insurance Plan
- Purchase Protection
- Extended Warranty
- Fraud Protection
These aren’t the most interesting benefits, but if you need them they might be very handy. Check out the full set of benefits for the SimplyCash Plus Business card for more.
The Costs & Fees
|Intro Purchase APR||Regular Purchase APR||Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|0% on purchases for 15 months||14.49% - 21.49% Variable||14.49% - 21.49% Variable||None|
|Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee|
|No annual fee||2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.|
|Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|Up to $38||$38|
This card provides a cheap way to earn cash back because it has no annual fee. And the 0% intro APR gives you a while to pay off large business purchases at no interest.
Don’t forget to make payments as you go, though. Otherwise you will lose the 0% rate and incur the penalty APR. Try to get everything paid off before the period ends so you don’t end up accruing interest. You can avoid interest on purchases by always paying your bill on time and in full.
You can also spend over your credit limit with this card for no extra fee. The amount you can spend will change based on your card activity along with your credit and other financial resources. Any amount spent over the credit limit must be paid back along with the minimum payment due for that billing period. Make plans to be responsible with this card, because interest charges could quickly negate any rewards you earn.
You won’t be able to use the SimplyCash Plus for balance transfers or cash advances. It will also charge a fee when you make foreign transactions. Amex doesn’t have great acceptance outside the U.S. either. See some other business cards that are better for balance transfers and foreign transactions below.
|SimplyCash Plus Application Line||1-888-781-6736|
|Amex OPEN Business Customer Support||1-800-492-3344|
|Pay Bill by Phone||1-800-472-9297|
|Check Application Status||1-800-567-1085|
|Credit Bureau Unit||1-800-874-2717|
American Express has relatively good customer support compared to most other credit card companies. They usually do very well in consumer satisfaction studies. And they recently won J.D. Power’s annual U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study.
When we’ve called them we’ve been able to find the information we were looking for. Although sometimes we’ve had to speak to multiple representatives before getting a straight answer.
The SimplyCash Plus is an Amex OPEN business card. That means cardholders have access to a separate customer support team from the consumer cardholders, called the Relationship Care Service. This team is specially trained for Amex OPEN services. They’re more equipped to deal with the needs of startups and small businesses.
Call the number on the back of your card to get account information or speak with an Amex OPEN rep.
You’ll usually be able to easily find what you’re looking for on American Express’ website. Or if you’re just browsing, their search functions are pretty good.
The pages for some cards have been redesigned recently. All of the information you would typically want to know is there. However, you may find the layout a bit odd. The features they choose to highlight may not be the ones you’re most interested in. But if you read through the page you should find out what you want to know.
The Bottom Line
The SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card can be a valuable reward credit card for startups, small businesses, and LLCs.
It provides a good way to fund a business, including 15 months of 0% interest for purchases (followed by a rate of 14.49% - 21.49% Variable). At no annual fee, it won’t hurt you if you don’t end up making much use of it in any particular year.
This card is most rewarding for buying office supplies and wireless telephone services, at 5% cash back. But the ability to choose your own 3% category out of a fairly large list means you can get quite a bit more out of this card. And you can change it every year to keep up with new spending demands.
If you’re going to use the SimplyCash card to spend over the credit limit, be careful. Remember that you’ll need to pay back that entire amount, plus the minimum payment, by the next due date.
This card provides a valuable set of rewards and benefits for small businesses. But there are many other business credit cards, with different features that might work better for you. Or, they could work together with the SimplyCash Plus. Check out some alternatives to this card below.
How to Apply for the SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card
You’ll need to be an authorized officer of your company, responsible for managing finances, to apply for the SimplyCash Plus business card. You can apply securely on American Express’ website.
The application will require your own personal information, along with information about your business. For corporations and partnerships, you’ll also need to provide your Federal Tax ID (the same as your Employer Identification Number, or EIN).
Alternatives to the SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card
- American Express® Business Gold Card (Review): $295 annual fee; 4X points in the two categories your business spends the most in; up to $3,192 in statement credits
- Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card (Review): No annual fee; 0% Intro APR on Purchases intro APR on purchases for 12 months, then 15.49% - 21.49% Variable; up to 5% cash back on certain purchases
- Airline and Hotel Business Credit Cards: Many have annual fees; provide brand-specific rewards and benefits
- Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card: No annual fee; up to 3% cash back on certain purchases
- Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business (Review): $95 annual fee waived the first year; 2% cash back on all purchases
That might seem a bit steep, but it provides quite a few bonus reward categories:
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
So you’ll have access to a lot of point earning opportunities with this card. In total you’ll have six bonus reward categories, but you’ll only earn 4X points in the two categories that your business spends the most in each month. This card adapts to your business spending throughout the year, providing more rewards for the types of purchases you make the most.
You’ll be earning Membership Rewards points with this card, which can be quite valuable. You can redeem them in a variety of ways, like flights, hotel rooms, gift cards, and point transfers.
For flight redemptions (the best basic redemption method) 1 point will be worth 1 cent. That means you’ll be getting the equivalent of 4% cash back for the 4X categories, and 2% back for the 2X category. But you can also find better deals than that using point transfers, which may offer 2 cents per point or more. If you do that you can earn the equivalent of 8% cash back or more.
The current welcome bonus offers 35,000 Membership Rewards points for spending $5,000 in your first 3 months as a cardholder. Assuming you’ll get 0.5–2.0 cents per point, that’s a value of around $175–$700, which means you might be able to offset the annual fee for a year or more.
The Business Gold also provides up to $3,192 in statement credits in your first year. You’ll get up to $2,988 in credits for ZipRecruiter, which is enough for a year of ZipRecruiter Standard. And up to $204 in credits for G Suite, which will get you one year of G Suite Basic with three users. The credits will apply to other membership purchases of those services, but they’re only valid in the first year of card membership.
The other benefits will be mostly the same between these cards. They’re both part of the Amex OPEN program, so they share those benefits.
The main differences between these cards are the annual fee and the rewards. The SimplyCash Plus caps your 5% bonus categories at $50,000 per year. But the Business Gold card has a limit that’s three times as high.
So if your business spends quite a bit more than $50,000 per year in those categories, you’ll probably get more value from the Business Gold. You’ll also be able to redeem your rewards with it in more ways, like transferring to partner loyalty programs.
Read more in our Review of the American Express Business Gold Card
- 5% cash back on the first $25,000 in combined annual spending at:
- office supply stores
- Internet, cable, and phone services
- 2% cash back on the first $25,000 in combined annual spending at:
- gas stations
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
- Introductory bonus: $500 bonus cash back for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
So the bonus reward categories are similar between the cards. The SimplyCash Plus has two 5% categories and your choice of a 3% category. And the Ink Cash has two 5% categories and two 2% categories.
Each card will limit your bonus reward categories to the first $50,000 you spend. But the Ink Cash gives specific limits for each of its categories. The SimplyCash Plus lets you reach the limit however you choose.
You’ll get a pretty good signup bonus with the Ink Cash. You won’t get anything like that with the SimplyCash Plus.
The Ink Cash offers 0% Intro APR on Purchases introductory APR for 12 months on purchases, so the SimplyCash Plus offers a slightly longer intro APR. After the intro period with the Ink Cash, you’ll get a regular rate of 15.49% - 21.49% Variable.
When it comes to the extra benefits, these cards might be about equal. The Ink Cash comes at the Visa Signature Business level, which comes with some valuable perks for shopping and traveling. And the SimplyCash Plus has the Amex OPEN business benefits, along with others like Amex Offers. They both have a basic set of shopping and travel protections.
Which of these cards would be better for you? Since the 5% categories are similar, you might need to choose based on the other categories. Would you like to pick your own 3% category with the SimplyCash? Or would you rather get 2% back in those two categories with the Ink Plus?
Read more in our Review of the Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card
Airline and Hotel Business Credit Cards
There are many business cards that are co-branded with a particular airline or hotel brand. These cards are designed to be used with that one brand, for the most part.
If you enjoy one airline or hotel more than all the others, a co-branded business card might be a good idea. Let’s take a look at one of each.
Airline Business Credit Card
The JetBlue Business Mastercard® is made for flying with JetBlue, of course. It’s issued by Barclaycard. It has an annual fee of $99, but is quite rewarding for the price:
- 6X TrueBlue points per dollar on JetBlue purchases
- 2X TrueBlue points per dollar at office supply stores and restaurants
- 1X TrueBlue point per dollar on all other purchases
- Introductory bonus: 40,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days after account opening
- Anniversary bonus: 5,000 bonus points every year after your account anniversary
So you’ll be able to earn a lot of TrueBlue points with this card. The value of your points will vary depending on how and when you redeem them. But those points are typically valued around 1.4 cents each. That comes out to a pretty good deal. If you get that value you can earn the equivalent of more than 8% cash back on JetBlue purchases.
There are also several other benefits to make flying JetBlue a bit cheaper and more comfortable. Cardholders get their first bag checked free, along with up to three companions. A 50% discount on in-flight purchases is included. And you can earn a higher status level, Mosaic, by spending $50,000 or more with the card in a calendar year.
This card is a Mastercard, with no foreign transaction fees. And it also has Chip-and-PIN EMV technology. All together, that means it’s a great card to bring with you outside the country. Many unattended payment terminals outside the U.S. require a PIN, but most cards issued in the U.S. don’t have this feature. But the JetBlue card does, and the fact that it’s a Mastercard means it will be accepted pretty much everywhere.
Hotel Business Credit Card
- 12X Hilton Honors points per dollar at participating hotels and resorts in the Hilton Portfolio
- 6X Hilton Honors points per dollar at:
- U.S. restaurants
- U.S. supermarkets
- U.S. gas stations
- 3X Hilton Honors points on all other eligible purchases
- Introductory bonus: 125,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
You can really rack up the Hilton Honors points with this card. But the best value you can usually get for them is around 0.5 cents per point, which is for free night stays. At that value, you’ll be getting the equivalent of about 6% cash back when earning at the 12X rate. So you’ll earn points faster than with most other cards, but those points won’t typically be worth as much.
Cardholders also get complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status. That comes with extra perks like an 80% point bonus on all Hilton Honors base points earned. You’ll get room upgrades when available. And your fifth night will be free when booking reward stays of five nights or more.
There are a number of other benefits and complimentary services to be had. Not only that, if you spend $40,000 or more with the card in a calendar year, you’ll get Diamond status for the next year. That comes with even better benefits.
This card is also part of the American Express OPEN business program. So you’ll get the same business benefits you get with the SimplyCash Plus card.
The Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card has no annual fee, like the SimplyCash Plus. But the reward categories are quite different:
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
Category differences aside, this card works a lot like the SimplyCash Plus, but its reward rate tops out at 3% rather than 5%.
Because the Business Advantage has a $50,000 spending limit for its 3% and 2% rewards categories, you won’t be able to earn quite as quickly as you would with the SimplyCash Plus, which has the same spending limit for its 5% and 3% categories. With the SimplyCash Plus, you’ll be able to earn a total of $2,500 per year at the 5% rate (5% of $50,000). Compare that to the Business Advantage, with which you could earn a total of $1,500 per year at the 3% rate (3% of $50,000).
This card has a 0% intro APR for purchases for 9 billing cycles, just like the SimplyCash Plus. The extra benefits with the Business Advantage are pretty basic, not as good as the Amex Open business perks. But the signup bonus is quite easy to get, and you won’t get one of those with the SimplyCash Plus.
The main differences between these cards are in the rewards and benefits. Take a look at the types of purchases you make most, and how much you spend per year. Which reward structure would provide the most profit?
Instead, cardholders get:
- 2% cash back on every purchase, with no limit
- Introductory bonus: $500 cash bonus for spending $4,500 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
And that pretty much sums up this card. 2% cash back no matter what you buy, without any need to worry about reward categories or spending limits. If your business makes many different kinds of purchases, this card provides a good way to get rewarded for them.
This is a Visa Signature card, so it comes with upgraded benefits compared to other Visa cards. Some of the most valuable are probably the travel discounts and services. But it also comes with the basic shopping and travel protections that many cards have. Employee versions of this card are free. Overall, these benefits are probably not as useful to business owners as the ones you’ll get through the Amex OPEN program.
A nice feature of the Spark Cash for Business card is that there are no foreign transaction fees. And as a Visa card, it will be accepted anywhere that takes credit cards. This makes it a pretty good choice for traveling abroad.
This card will also report your card activity to more business credit bureaus than the Amex card. It will send card activity to Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Small Business Financial Exchange. This is better than most business credit cards, which may not report activity to the business bureaus at all. Amex reports positive business card activity to Small Business Financial Exchange only.
The Spark Cash isn’t the most rewarding card, but it’s good for any non-bonus-category spending you might have to do. This makes it a good card to use in combination with others.
You could use it together with the SimplyCash Plus, for example. Just use the SimplyCash Plus whenever you’ll earn cash back in its bonus reward categories. And use the Spark Cash for every other purchase. If you exceed the $50,000 limit with the SimplyCash Plus, you can use the Spark Cash to get 2% back on those purchases instead of 1%.
That means you’ll get at least 2% back for everything you buy. And you’ll also improve your business credit scores at a variety of business credit bureaus.
Read more in our Review of the Capital One Spark Cash Back Business Credit Cards
Do you use this card? How do you like it? Leave your own review of the SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card for other visitors.
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