Businesses have diverse needs, so it should come as no surprise that there is a lot of variety in business card features and rewards. Before choosing a card, it’s always a good idea to see what’s special about it and how it compares to competitors in the field.
Here we’ll compare two cards business owners can consider, Capital One Spark Cash Plus and the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card from Chase. Spark Cash Plus is a no-spend-limit credit card that comes with a generous welcome offer and unlimited 2 percent cash back. Ink Business Cash is a credit card that offers 5 percent cash back on several standard business spending categories and a 0 percent introductory APR offer on purchases for 12 months.
|welcome bonus||Earn up to $1,000 cash bonus: $500 after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months of account opening and an additional $500 after spending $50,000 in the first 6 months||Earn $750 after spending $7,500 in the first 3 months|
|Introductory APR||N/A||0% purchase APR for the first 12 months after account opening, then 13.24% to 19.24% variable APR|
Highlights of Spark Cash Plus vs. Ink Business Cash
Welcome Bonus Winner: Spark Cash Plus
Spark Cash Plus offers a two level welcome bonus which can be quite lucrative if you can reach the second level. Pay $500 if you spend $5,000 in the first three months after account opening and an additional $500 if you spend $50,000 in the first six months. So if you exceed those thresholds, your welcome bonus could go up to $1,000.
On the other hand, Ink Business Cash offers a $750 bonus if you spend $7,500 on purchases within the first three months. That’s not bad compared to other small business cards, but it falls short of a chance to win a $1,000 bonus.
Rewards Rate Winner: Ink Business Cash
If you spend a significant amount each year at office supply stores and on Internet, cable, and phone services, you can earn a higher rewards rate with Ink Business Cash. This card offers 5 percent back on those categories, up to $25,000 in combined purchases per year. After you hit that limit, you’ll get back 1 percent of those purchases.
If you spend the full $25,000 on purchases in those 5 percent bonus categories, you’ll earn $1,250 in rewards. By comparison, Spark Cash Plus offers 2 percent cash back on all purchases, so you’d earn $500 in rewards for $25,000 in purchases.
Ink Business Cash also offers 2 percent back on the first $25,000 in combined gas station and restaurant spending each year, putting it on par with Spark Cash Plus in those categories.
That said, Ink Business Cash’s 1 percent back on all other purchases falls short of the 2 percent back that Spark Cash Plus offers on everything. So if a lot of your spending falls outside of Ink Business Cash bonus categories, you can earn more rewards with Spark Cash Plus.
Annual Fee Winner: Ink Business Cash
Ink Business Cash does not charge an annual fee, while Spark Cash Plus charges $150 per year for card membership. If you’re not sure if your rewards earnings will be enough to recoup the annual fee, you may prefer Ink Business Cash.
Foreign Transaction Fee Winner: Spark Cash Plus
International travelers may want to choose Spark Cash Plus, which does not impose a fee for purchases made outside of the U.S. The Ink Business Cash charges a 3 percent fee for foreign transactions, so there is no It is an ideal option for trips outside the country.
Which card wins more?
Both cards can offer a lot of rewards, but which one earns the most will depend on how much you use the card and what you’re buying. If you’re an independent entrepreneur running a small online business that spends a large portion of your budget on office supplies and telecommunications, Ink Business Cash could do the trick. But if you’re a large business with a lot of spending in other categories, you might benefit more from the Spark Cash Plus welcome bonus and unlimited 2 percent cash back rate on all purchases.
Spark Cash Plus vs. Ink Business Cash Expense Example
Let’s say you spend $4,000 a month ($48,000 a year) on your business card. Suppose the breakdown of expenses is as follows:
- $500 a month in office supplies
- $1,000 a month in internet, cable and phone services
- $400 a month at gas stations
- $400 a month in restaurants
- $1,700 a month in other expenses
For Spark Cash Plus, your spend in the first three months would be $12,000 and you would earn $500, which is the first part of the welcome bonus. Your spending in the first six months would total $24,000, which isn’t high enough to earn the second part of the card’s welcome bonus (you must spend $50,000 in the first six months to earn the other $500).
Plus, Spark Cash Plus provides unlimited 2 percent cash back on all spending, so your annual purchases of $48,000 earn you $960 in rewards. Add that to the welcome bonus and you’ll earn $1,460 in the first year. After taking into account the $150 membership fee, you’ll earn $1,310 in net earnings.
Now, let’s break down the Ink Business Cash numbers. Your spending in the first three months is over $7,500, so you’ll earn the $750 welcome bonus. Then you’re spending $18,000 a year on office supplies and internet, cable, and phone bills. That’s below the $25,000 combined spending limit, so you’ll get 5 percent back, which works out to $900. Your spending at gas stations and restaurants adds up to $9,600 per year, which is also below the spending limit. $25,000, so you’ll earn $192 in rewards. For all other annual expenses, you spend $20,400, which generates cash back at a rate of 1 percent and provides $204 in rewards. Add it all up and you get a total of $1,296 in rewards.
Since Ink Business Cash does not charge an annual fee, you do not need to subtract the fee from your earnings. Add the $1,296 in rewards and the $750 welcome bonus and you’ll get $2,046 for the first year. That’s $736 more in rewards than Spark Cash Plus, so Ink Business Cash takes the lead in this example.
Why should I get Spark Cash Plus?
Spark Cash Plus could be a great option for business owners who have a lot of overhead or need to buy new equipment or supplies on a regular basis, as their welcome bonus is geared towards top spenders. Additionally, it provides a $200 cash bonus to cardholders who spend at least $200,000 each year, waiving the membership fee for business owners who spend at that level. This card also doesn’t impose a preset spending limit, which could appeal to business owners who want a personalized approach that fits their spending patterns.
Spark Cash Plus offers features like the option to appoint an account manager, free employee cards, and the ability to set spending limits and purchase reviews for employees. The card also offers accounting tools, such as detailed year-end summaries, recurring transaction lists, and integration with accounting software. Plus, you can get virtual card numbers for added security when buying things online, and you can block your card or an employee’s card if it’s lost or stolen.
Spark Cash Plus also includes purchase protection (for up to 90 days), extended warranty protection on eligible items, roadside assistance, emergency travel assistance, and complimentary concierge services.
You can redeem rewards for a statement or check credit when you want to collect your rewards, or you can set up automatic redemption to get your earnings on a specific date each year or when your balance reaches a certain amount.
You also have the option to redeem rewards for gift cards, credits for previous purchases, or for Amazon and PayPal purchases. However, the redemption rates may be different than what you would get if you redeemed for cash.
Recommended Credit Score
You’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify for this card, which is a FICO score of 670 to 850.
Why should I get Ink Business Cash?
Unlike Spark Cash Plus, Ink Business Cash allows you to carry a balance from one month to the next. That could make this card a better option for business owners whose income rises and falls unpredictably. The lack of an annual fee can also be attractive to those who don’t know what their spending will look like for the year and whether they’ll earn enough rewards to offset the card’s membership price.
Additionally, the 0 percent introductory APR on purchases over 12 months could be useful for anyone looking to upgrade their office or invest in new software, for example, since the introductory APR offers the opportunity to pay off those costs over time, no interest. .
Ink Business Cash offers many benefits, including free employee cards and the ability to transfer records to accounting software, which could make tax preparation easier. Cardholders will also get standard benefits like 120-day purchase protection against damage or theft (up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account), extended warranties on eligible items, travel and emergency services, a roadside dispatch service and car rental coverage.
With this card, you can redeem rewards for cash, gift cards, and travel rewards; pay with points at select retailers; or transfer your points to another Chase credit card.
It should be noted that if you pay for purchases at participating stores, you may not get a 1:1 redemption rate. For travel, you can visit the Chase Travel Center to book airfare, hotel stays, car rentals, cruises or travel experiences. Finally, moving points to another card in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program may allow you to transfer points to partners, providing more value for your rewards earnings.
Recommended Credit Score
You must have good to excellent credit, or a FICO score between 670 and 850, to have the best chance of qualifying for this card.
The bottom line
Whether Spark Cash Plus or Ink Business Cash is better for you comes down to how much you plan to spend and whether you’re prepared to pay it off in full each month. If you can spend $50,000 in six months and want a credit card with no set spending limit, Spark Cash Plus can offer you a lot of value. On the other hand, if your business has more modest spending levels and wants to enjoy a 0 percent introductory APR, you’re probably better off with Ink Business Cash.