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Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business Card Review

Dayana Yochim

Written by Dayana Yochim
Edited by Carolyn Kimball
Fact-checked by Andrea Coombes

March 12, 2024

Why trust us? has no financial relationship with any of the credit card providers whose products we analyze and review. Our opinions are based solely on data and our own extensive independent research — that means unbiased guidance for consumers. Rewards cards in our cashback credit card calculator are listed in descending order according to how much money they pay out annually based on the inputs.

This is a business rewards card option if your credit (or your business’s) is less than stellar. The stingy 1% rewards rate and potentially low credit limit reflect that. But hey, it’s a start.

Billed as a credit building card, the Capital One Spark 1% Classic business card offers an unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases. This is the bottom rung of Capital One’s suite of Spark business cards as evidenced by the low rewards rate, potentially low starting credit limit, lack of sign-up goodies and high purchase APR. (For comparison see the Spark Cash Select and Cash Select for Good Credit cards.) However, for business owners with a limited — or storied — credit history, this $0 annual fee cashback card could be a stepping stone to getting a more attractive cashback card in the Spark family or elsewhere.

The basics: Earn unlimited 1% cash back for your business on every purchase, no limits or category restrictions. Plus, earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

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dining Dining
local_gas_station Gas
monetization_on Other
card_travel Travel
phone_iphone Cell Phones
print Office Supplies

Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business

Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business Logo
Cashback Per Year
Annual Fee
Welcome Bonus
Want to compare more cards? Use our full calculator.

Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business pros and cons

thumb_up_off_alt Pros

  • A 1% cashback rewards card option for those with just OK credit
  • No cashback spending caps or category restrictions
  • 5% cashback on hotels/rental cars through Capital One Travel
  • Cashback redeemable at any time for any amount
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 annual fee

thumb_down_off_alt Cons

  • Meh 1% rewards rate
  • No higher rewards tiers (except through Capital One Travel)
  • No sign-up goodies
  • High purchase APR and punishing penalty APRs
  • Potentially very low credit line ($300)

Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business 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 (aka 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)
Cell Phone 1.00% - - -
Dining 1.00% - - -
Gas 1.00% - - -
Travel 1.00% - - -
Office Supplies 1.00% - - -
Other Purchases 1.00% - - -

Note: The Capital One Spark 1% Classic card also pays 5% cashback on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel.

What we like

The straightforward 1% cashback rate is hardly impressive, but the rewards rate applies to all purchases (no categories to track!) and isn’t subject to spending caps. It is what it is, right?

If you have a limited credit history (as in less than three years of reported activity) or have defaulted on a loan in the past five years (all of which amounts to “fair credit,” according to Capital One), your odds of approval are better than with other Capital One business rewards cards.

Need to stagger your bills? Capital One allows you to change your monthly due date. Just make sure you pay at least your minimums by the old date until the new one comes through, which is usually within two billing cycles.

Reward redemptions are also straightforward: You can redeem cash back at any time (as a statement credit or check), and rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open.

There’s also the option to set up automatic redemptions, redeem for gift cards, or use as credit for past purchases, but minimums apply.

If you do any business in foreign dollars, this card could make a difference in your bottom line since it charges no foreign transaction fees — which are typically 3% on other cards — on purchases outside of the U.S.

Virtual card numbers are available to keep card specifics under wraps.

Additional cards for employees are free, and you can set customized spending limits or lock any card if it’s lost or stolen.

There is no fee for balance transfers.

Offers standard business card tools, like the ability to download purchase records to be ingested by Quicken, QuickBooks and Excel. Plus secondary rental car insurance, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, travel/emergency assistance, and rotating offers via Visa.

Here’s a freebie: A Capital One card isn’t even required to access the company’s pre-negotiated discounts on small business essentials (e.g., tax software, FedEx shipping, electronics, office supplies, travel) via the free Capital One Spring program.

What we don't like

A 1% cashback rate is the bottom rewards tier on most business rewards cards, reserved for purchases that don’t qualify for better. On the Spark Classic card, it’s the top — and only — rewards tier.

There’s no sign-up bonus — sorry. 😬

The card’s stated credit line minimum is a low $300, which isn’t going to get you very far. For comparison, minimums start at $2,000 for Capital One business cards on the next higher rung for those with more established credit.

The penalty APR (if you’re late or make any other untoward moves) is north of 30%.

Pro or con? It depends! The Capital One Spark 1% Classic disclosures state that the company may report card use information to consumer credit bureaus in addition to business credit bureaus. Not all business cards do. Tread carefully, as any missteps (late payments, high credit line usage) could affect your personal credit reputation.

Although balance transfers are free, there’s no 0% introductory balance-transfer offer with this card. You’re looking at paying the same variable APR you do on purchases from day one on any money you move over.

The bottom line

Is the Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business the best rewards card for your wallet? The answer depends entirely on your spending patterns. Let the numbers speak for themselves: Use the 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% Classic for Business fine print

Full disclosure on fees, rewards, interest rates and lawyerish fine print for the Capital One Spark Classic cashback card.

Does the Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business charge an annual fee?

No, there is no annual fee for the Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business.

tips_and_updates Trivia time!

How common are annual fees? Roughly 17% of the consumer cash back cards we review charge an annual fee. They range from $39 to $99, with an average annual fee of $67.

Does the Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business offer a welcome bonus?

No, the Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business card does not currently offer a welcome bonus.

tips_and_updates Fun fact

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% Classic for Business?

The average business that spends $2580 per month will earn $309.60 in cash back per year using the Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business. For comparison, the average annual rewards payout from the business credit cards in the 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% Classic for Business depends entirely on your unique spending habits.

Find out exactly how much you’ll rake in with the Capital One Spark 1% Classic for Business by tailoring the spending inputs in the calculator above.

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The results of the 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.)

About the Editorial Team

Dayana Yochim
Dayana Yochim

Dayana Yochim has been writing (articles, books, podcasts, stirring speeches) about personal finance and investing for more than two decades, focusing on bringing clarity and the occasional comedic aside to what is often a murky, humorless topic. She’s written for NerdWallet, The Motley Fool,, Woman’s Day, Forbes, Newsweek and others, and been a guest expert on "Today," "Good Morning America," CNN, NPR and wherever they’ll hand her a mic.

Carolyn Kimball
Carolyn Kimball

Carolyn Kimball is Managing Editor for Reink Media Group and the lead editor for content on Carolyn has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at major media outlets including NerdWallet, the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News. She specializes in coverage of personal financial products and services, wielding her editing skills to clarify complex (some might say befuddling) topics to help consumers make informed decisions about their money.

Andrea Coombes
Andrea Coombes

Andrea Coombes has 20+ years of experience helping people reach their financial goals. Her personal finance articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, MarketWatch, Forbes, and other publications, and she's shared her expertise on CBS, NPR, "Marketplace," and more. She's been a financial coach and certified consumer credit counselor, and is working on becoming a Certified Financial Planner. She knows that owning pets isn't necessarily the best financial decision; her dog and two cats would argue this point.