Capital One® Spark® Business Cards Review 2016

Small business credit cards are usually the most profitable credit cards for issuers because:

(a) small business owners and entrepreneurs typically spend quite a bit more than the average consumer since they might be buying inventory, equipment, etc. for their company, thus generating more revenue
(b) the swipe fees charged to merchants (fees merchants must pay the card networks like Visa, MasterCard, Discover Card and American Express in order to accept their cards at the point of sale) are quite a bit higher than regular consumer credit cards

This is why you’ve seen so many commercials for the Chase Ink card during the past couple years. However if Capital One® has their way, they would love to steal that thunder with their latest lineup of Spark℠ business credit cards. Like the Ink, there are several versions available. But how do they stack up? (hint: they are definitely giving Chase a run for their money!)

1. Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business

Capital One Spark Classic for BusinessAs you can probably guess from the word “Classic” in the name, this is more of an entry level credit card in the Spark series. It’s geared towards those with average credit (all the others require excellent credit).

The annual fee is $0 and the rewards are an unlimited 1% cash back. The purchase APR is a variable 23.24% variable at time of publishing.

2. Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business

Capital One Spark Cash Select for BusinessThere’s 1.5% cash back on all purchases with a one-time $200 bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months..

The variable annual percentage rate on this ranges from 13.24% to 21.24% and the Capital One sites lists this as being for “excellent credit” specifically (versus card #1, which is geared towards those building credit). However you get a 0% intro APR on purchases until November 2016. There’s no annual fee.

3. Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business

Capital One Spark Miles Select for BusinessThis is similar to the Spark Cash Select, except you get miles rather than cash back.

The card gives 1.5 mile per dollar spent on purchases (awarded each billing cycle). The interest rates listed are the same as the Cash Select. In addition, you can get a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months. There is also a 0% intro APR on purchases until
November 2016

The simplest way to look at these are…

These 5 Capital One Spark credit cards can really be reduced down to 3 basic categories, when comparing the value of their miles and cash back rewards:

  • 1 card with no annual fee and 1% rewards value. For average credit.
  • 2 cards with no annual fee and 1.5%
  • 2 cards with a $59 annual fee ($0 intro for first year) and 2% rewards value.

That’s the most high-level and straightforward way to view the rewards on these five different Spark card offers. Although having so many options might seem a bit overwhelming at first glance, it really isn’t. It simply comes down to your credit quality and rewards preference (and obviously you need to take into account the different interest rate options as well if you intend to carry a balance over time).

How about the benefits?

The Spark card benefits are quite good. Spark offers the following:

  • No foreign transaction fees – a nice perk if traveling or ordering goods from outside the US
  • Year end summary – extremely useful during tax time for you and your CPA.
  • No cost for additional cards – In case you want extras for employees.
  • Visa Business Card benefits – Purchase Security and Extended Protection, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Travel and Emergency Assistance Services. Please consult issuer for benefit terms and conditions.

How will they affect your personal and small business credit?

The Spark Classic is listed as for those who want to build credit, but does this mean it’s different than their other small business credit cards? Can you apply under your business tax ID without supplying your Social Security number? Using the convenient chat feature on the Capital One website, this is what I found out…

1. Personal guarantee is required
There is no way you can apply for any of the Spark cards without your SSN. The approval of the card is based on your personal credit history. As a result, both you (as the Authorizing Signatory) and your company will be bound to the terms of this agreement (meaning you’re jointly and severably liable for repaying any and all card balances).

2. Can help build business credit
Using any of the Spark cards responsibly can help in building stronger credit for both you and your business. This is actually a huge benefit you won’t find everywhere. For example, none of the American Express business cards report to the business credit bureaus. As a result, they are useless for building biz credit. Fortunately, all of the Spark cards will report, assuming you supply your company’s tax ID number on the application.

3. Sole proprietors can apply
If you don’t have a LLC or corporation, you can still apply. The EIN/TIN field is not required if you are applying as a sole proprietor.


Want the best rewards? Want to build credit for your company? Now you can have the best of both worlds. As a recap, here’s a quick review of the 5 signup promotions currently available:

  • Spark Classic – 1% cash back. No annual fee. For fair credit (others require excellent or good credit).
  • Spark Cash Select – 1.5% cash back on purchases with a one-time sign-up bonus of $200 after a $3k spend in the first 3 months. No annual fee. 0% intro APR on all purchases until November 2016.
  • Spark Miles Select – 1.5 miles per dollar spent on purchases. An initial, one-time bonus of 20,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. No annual fee. 0% intro APR on all purchases until November 2016.

This review was written or last updated February 1, 2016

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Awesome card. I have the Spark 2% cash. 30k credit line on 780 credit score. Its nice when you pay with this card. Had ink, its does not even compare. Thank you Capital One!

I know they need personal credit too, but when they report monthly is that just on business credit or personal too? Would hope just Business…..

I have regular Capital One, two points for every dollar spent, for over a year. Put 100k on it so far. I replace my Amex Platinum with Spark Business. Major problem with charging a lot, only got a 10k line of credit. Amex Platinum had no limit, just had to pay off each month. I’ve charged over 380k this year, with never a late payment or balance, but Capital One seems to care less. If can’t get limit raised will have to go back to Amex.

I have the exact same issue. I put over $1 million yearly on credit cards. The 2% is great but the small credit line means I have to put large purchases on my AMEX and literally pay my capital one card daily. But the $200 checks almost twice a week sure is nice and way better than AMEX points.

(Summer 2014) I bit on the second unsolicited offer that I received for a Spark Business cash select card. They upped the offer to 2% cash back unlimited, $500 bonus after spending $4,500 in 3 months, no annual fee ever! My bonus posted even before I made the first payment on the card (my first charge was over $4,500). Looks good so far.

Exact same experience- unsolicited offer and same sign up bonus which posted before making 1st payment (first charge over $4,500 as well).

Hoping to get same offer in the mail for my SO.

Biggest downside is Cap One pulls credit reports from all three (Experian, Equifax and Transunion), while every other card company only pulls one credit report. So you better like your benefits to take the equivalent of three other credit cards.

I got the 2% Biz Spark with $500 targeted offer. Barely acceptable offer in exchange for 3 credit inquiries.

So far I am very disappointed with this card. They sent us several great offers with 250 bonus when we use the new card. After using it they tell us the cash back bonus is now 100 as that is what we qualify for……we have stellar credit. Also they want the owner to sit on the phone and wait 45 min to get this resolved. Not exactly business friendly. I am on the account and regret that I am the one that selected this card. VERY DISAPPOINTED!

I have had the Spark Miles card for close to 2 years and we are loving the miles. Easy to use, no blackout dates and they post miles ASAP. I am spending over 300k a year with this card, no complaints

I have a score in the 730’s and my company got a credit limit of 20k

What is the usual credit limit on these cards? I have a FICO score in the 760’s.

I put over $1 million yearly on credit cards and have stellar credit. Capital One would only give me a $20k credit limit.

And don’t forget that all of these cards have no foreign transaction fees when used overseas. This is one of the most valuable benefits of Capital One cards for my specific use.

So true! Recently, in Mexico, I paid over $1,000 extra when I used my AMEX Platinum. It wasn’t a foreign transaction fee that got me, it was the fact that AMEX uses the highest exchange rate of the day.