Capital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select Card Review
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Only those with excellent credit need apply for this $0-annual-fee card. With that you’re eligible for a $500 sign-up bonus, which, like the 1.5% cashback rate, is good but not 🤯.
The selling point for this version of the Capital One Spark Cash Select business credit card is its $500 cash bonus for spending $4,500 in the first three months of opening your account. That’s it. That’s the big reveal. (The other Spark 1.5% Cash Select Card, for good credit, offers a year of interest-free purchases instead.)
Other than that, you get the same 1.5% cashback rate on all purchases (no categories or caps to track), pay $0 in foreign transaction fees (great if international purchases are a big part of your business), and pay no annual fee. The catch is your credit score must be be in the “excellent” range (think mid- to high 700s) to qualify. And if it is, you might want to comparison shop before you settle.
The basics: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back for your business on every purchase, no limits or category restrictions. Plus, earn a $500 cash bonus when you spend $4,500 in the first three months.
Capital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select pros and cons
- 1.5% cashback on everything, no caps, no category restrictions
- $500 cash bonus up for grabs
- Cash back is redeemable at any time for any amount
- $0 annual fee
- No foreign transaction fees
- 5% cashback on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel
- Plays nice with QuickBooks, Quicken and Excel
- Requires “excellent” credit in exchange for just “OK” terms
- To clarify, 1.5% rewards rate is just “OK” in the biz card world
- High sign-up bonus spending requirement
- No purchase or balance transfer introductory APR offering
- Punishing penalty APR (north of 30%)
Capital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select cashback rewards spending categories
The following table shows the cashback rewards rate per $1 spent in the six most common spending categories. The “Bonus Rate” refers to the amount you can earn in excess of the card’s standard rewards rate.
Some cashback cards limit the spending amount eligible for the bonus rate (a.k.a. the “Spend Cap”). Once you hit that cap (e.g. $1,500 spending in a particular category during a defined time period), the rewards rate on future purchases in that category reverts to the lower “Default Rate.”
|Category||Default Rate||Bonus Rate||Bonus Spend Cap||Bonus Spend Period (Months)|
Note: The Capital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select Card also pays 5% cashback on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel.
What we like
If you like simple, the 1.5% cashback rate on all purchases — no rotating rewards categories, no caps on how much you can earn — is as no-fuss as it gets.
Though not billed as a travel card, the Spark Cash Select card offers 5% cashback for hotels/rental cars booked through the Capital One Travel portal.
There’s $500 in bonus cash up for grabs when you spend $4,500 on the card within the first three months of your enrollment. That’s the equivalent of what you’d get spending $33,000 and change at the 1.5% cashback rate.
Carrying a balance is less financially onerous than with Capital One’s other Spark 1.5% Cash Select card, since this one comes with a lower variable APR as befitting a card that requires a higher credit score for approval.
Go ahead and change your monthly due date to a more convenient time. Just be sure to give it two billing cycles to kick in, and pay at least your minimum due by your existing deadline.
Redeem cash back you earned at any time (as a statement credit or check). Rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open.
There’s also the option to set up automatic redemptions at a set time each year or when you reach a certain threshold (e.g. $25, $50, $100, etc.). Gift cards, credits for past purchases and other redemption options are available, but rates and minimums apply.
Virtual card numbers are available to cloak your digits.
No foreign transaction fees (versus the 3% many other credit cards charge) means no fretting when plunking down plastic for international purchases.
Additional employee cards are free, as with most business cards. Plus you can set customized spending limits or lock any card if it’s lost, stolen or used to fraudulently fund an Inventing Anna-inspired romp in Marrakech.
The Capital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select card has no fee for balance transfers. But there’s no grace period or introductory APR, either, so your standard interest rate applies.
You'll get standard business card tools like the ability to download purchase records to be ingested by Quicken, QuickBooks and Excel. It also comes with purchase protection, secondary rental car insurance, extended warranty protection, travel assistance and access to rotating deals offered via Visa.
What we don't like
The 1.5% cashback rate, although unlimited, can be limiting if your spending is concentrated in categories like travel and office supplies/equipment, which earn higher rewards rates on other business credit cards. (For $150 a year there’s a Spark 2% Cash Plus card. But you’ll need to spend nearly $13,000 before the cash back you’ve earned covers the annual fee.)
Approval for this card requires “excellent” credit, which in Capital One’s book means you’ve never declared bankruptcy, defaulted on a loan, or been more than 60 days late on any credit card, medical bill or loan in the past year; and you must have had a loan or card with a $5,000 minimum credit line for three years or more.
On that note, if you have excellent credit, there are other $0 annual fee business rewards cards with higher sign-up bonuses and cashback rates. Use our business credit cards rewards calculatorto see how much you could earn using other cards.
The lack of an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers is a noticeable hole in this card’s offering.
The penalty APR (if you’re late or make any other untoward moves) is well above 30%.
Cash advances also aren’t cheap: The amount you take out is subject to a 3% fee (or $10, whichever is greater) and is subject to an APR that's nearly as high as the card's penalty rate.
The bottom line
Is the Capital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select the best rewards card for your wallet? The answer depends entirely on your spending patterns. Let the numbers speak for themselves: Use the investor.com Cashback Credit Card Calculator to see which credit card pays back the highest rewards based on how much you spend each month.
Capital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select fine print
Here’s the lawyered-up version of the Capital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select (for excellent credit).
Does the Capital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select charge an annual fee?
No, there is no annual fee for the Capital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select.
Roughly 11% of the business cashback cards we track in our database charge an annual fee. The average annual fee is $200.
Does the Capital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select offer a welcome bonus?
Yes, the Capital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select has a welcome bonus of $500.
Of the business credit cards in our database, 83% offer a welcome bonus. Currently, the average sign-up bonus on a new business cashback card is $421.79, with the median being $300.
How much cash back can I earn with the Capital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select?
The average business that spends $2580 per month will earn $464.40 in cash back per year using the Capital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select. For comparison, the average annual rewards payout from the business credit cards in the investor.com database is $483.97, and $464.40 is the median.
These calculations are based on average consumer spending data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the reward payout rates from the providers we track. Of course, you’re so much more than an average data point (aka “consumer unit,” in BLS parlance). The amount you can earn in cashback rewards using the Capital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select depends entirely on your unique spending habits.
Find out exactly how much you’ll rake in with the Capital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select by tailoring the spending inputs in the calculator above.
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Compare Capital One Spark 1.5% Cash Select
The results of the investor.com Credit Card Rewards Calculator are based on the monthly spending amounts you enter and the annual dollar value of the rewards each credit card program pays per $1 spent. Credit card companies often express this payout amount as a percentage (e.g., 1.5% of every dollar spent) or on a points basis (e.g. ,1.5 points for every dollar spent). We converted all of them to a dollar amount (“Cash Back Per Year”) to make comparing offers easier.
To calculate the amount of cash back you could earn per year, we factored in:
- Spend category inputs: The default dollar values for each “Spend Category” in the Best Cashback Credit Cards tool — gas, groceries, travel, restaurant, entertainment, pharmacy, other — are based on average American spending data from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We also include additional spend categories (such as streaming services, online shopping, utilities, transit, Amazon and more) to help you see which rewards cards are most closely aligned with your actual spending patterns. We encourage you to customize the monthly spend inputs for the most accurate results.
- Tiered rewards rates: If a rewards credit card pays higher cashback rates on certain spending categories (also called “Bonus Rewards”), that difference is reflected in the total “Cash Back Per Year” tally.
- Rewards spending caps: Some cards impose category- or time-based limits (monthly, quarterly, annually) that affect the amount of rewards you can earn. For example, a card may pay 3% cash back on groceries on up to $1,000 of spending each quarter, then revert to the base/default rewards rate until the following quarter. We accounted for bonus spending caps and timeframe in the calculations.
- Default rewards rates: Purchases that exceed a spending cap are usually subject to a lower default rewards rate (e.g., 1% or 1.5%). We mathed that out too.
- Annual fees: If a rewards card charges an annual fee, we deducted that amount from the “Cash Back Per Year” total to provide a true accounting of a card’s annual rewards payout.
What’s not included in the “Cash Back Per Year” total is the cash value of any sign-up/introductory bonus. We highlight any Welcome Bonus separately. While sign-up bonuses can be the most lucrative part of getting a new cashback rewards credit card, not everyone will want or be able to do what it takes to earn the extra cash. (It usually requires spending a certain amount in a specified time period after the card is activated.)