After the headache of exhaustively researching straightforward cash back credit cards for your business, you’ve finally narrowed it down to two flat-rate cards: Discover it® Business Card and Capital One® Spark® Cash Select for Business. It’s hard to go wrong with either, but if you’re like us, you’re going to pore over the fine print to be 100% confident in which 1.5% cash back card you choose. Both have no annual or foreign transaction fees, but their different approaches to intro APR and bonuses, balance transfer fees and benefits could settle the score. So you can finally stop squinting at your spreadsheets, we’ve broken down which card is best-suited for your business.

At a glance comparison

Before getting into the nitty-gritty, take a look at how the two cards compare.

Card name Discover it Business Card Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business
Purchase APR 0% on purchases for 12 months, then 14.49% to 22.49% Variable 0% on purchases for 9 months, then 14.49% - 22.49% (Variable)
Balance transfer APR 14.49% to 22.49% Variable 14.49% - 22.49% (Variable)
Annual fee $0 $0
Sign-up bonus Automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year as a cardholder (no maximum) $200 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
Rewards Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Rewards redemption options Redeem in the form of a direct deposit, statement credit, gift cards or eCertificates or charitable donations to select charities Redeem in the form of a check, statement credit or credit for previous purchases, gift cards and more.
Foreign transaction fees None None

The case for Discover it Business

Customers considering the Discover it Business Card can focus on their business instead of a rotating category rewards system since this flat-rate card gives 1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases rather than highlighting specific expenses. There’s no annual fee too, so you don’t have to worry about plotting your rewards out ahead of time to get your value out of the card.

Discover it Business’ key selling points begins with its intro offer. Rather than a cash back bonus within the first 3 months, Discover will match all cash back earned at the end of your first year with no cap. For example, if you earned $350 cash back, you would receive an additional $350 for a total of $700 in rewards. That means you essentially have 3% cash back during your first year! Coupled with up to 50 free employee cards you’ll also be earning rewards from, you could potentially earn a king’s ransom in cash back. That’s hard to beat for no annual fee — especially if you have a lot of business expenses coming up. When it comes time to redeem your cash back, you have more versatile reward redemption options with Discover. You can get a statement credit or redeem cash back for a direct deposit or gift cards/eCertificates from over 100 brand-name partners.

Discover sweetens the pot with a 12-month 0% intro APR on purchases (14.49% to 22.49% Variable afterwards), which is 3 more months of 0 interest than Spark Cash Select offers. There isn’t an intro 0% balance transfer APR (it’s 14.49% to 22.49% Variable), and there is a balance transfer fee of 5%, but since there’s no 0% intro APR on balance transfers, you likely won’t want to complete a balance transfer with this card.

There are a plethora of benefits to assist Discover it Business cardholders manage their budget and taxes too. Transactions can be downloaded into Quicken, Quickbooks or Excel. In case your business doesn’t have the best month, Discover gives you a safety net: there’s no late fee on your first late payment and you won’t be charge a penalty APR — ever. You’ll receive $0 fraud liability, but there are more security resources at your disposal to keep you and your business safe. The Discover mobile app lets you freeze your card instantly if you suspect anything fishy. There is also an optional free identity theft protection alert service that will inform you if Discover finds your personal information in any shady corners of the web, or if new account changes appear on your credit report — note that you must sign up for the identity theft protection.

The case for Capital One Spark Cash Select

When it comes to the rewards system, the Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business earns an identical unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. This flexible cash back is key for any business owner, and Spark Cash Select makes the comparison to Discover it Business even tougher since it also charges no annual fee or foreign transaction fees. For even more convenience, your rewards won’t expire for the life of the account, and they can be redeemed for a check or statement credit.

The Spark Cash Select card’s $200 intro cash bonus can be earned when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. You’ll also be able to obtain free employee cards. Employee cards also earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, and you earn the rewards while handily tracking employee spending. You can maximize your off-the-bat savings with the 9-month 0% intro APR on purchases (then 14.49% - 22.49% (Variable)) and absolutely no balance transfer fee. Capital One doesn’t offer a 0% intro APR for balance transfers on this card, however (it’s 14.49% - 22.49% (Variable)).

Top-tier benefits can help balance out the lack of a 0% intro balance transfer APR. Free quarterly and year-end itemized reports of your spending keep you on top of your budgeting and taxes, while no foreign transaction fees let you roam free on business overseas. Another key perk is the $0 fraud liability if your card is lost or stolen. Although most cards offer this, personal credit cards have more legal protection than business cards, so having as much coverage as possible is helpful for business owners and their personal credit.

In a nutshell

Identical 1.5% cash back, the same ongoing APR and zero annual or foreign transaction fees make choosing between the Discover it Business Card and the Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business a tough call. Either will give you a hassle-free rewards experience and both are available for good to excellent credit (usually a FICO score of at least 700), but your choice may depend on how you want to capitalize on your intended first year’s rewards and what benefits you’ll use more.

When comparing intro offers, Discover has one of the best 0% intro purchase APR periods among its business card peers — and beats the Spark Cash Select with an extra 3 months with 0 interest. If you save a lot of your larger business expenses for your new card’s first year, you could get higher rewards with Discover’s cash back match if you know you’ll earn more cash back than the Spark Cash Select’s sign-up bonus.

If you need more than 50 employee cards, Discover it Business’ free card cap might push you toward the Spark Cash Select. If you want more of Capital One’s typical travel benefits, like travel accident or lost luggage insurance, then the Spark Cash Select might also be a better choice. However, if more integrated business expense tracking, identity theft and credit monitoring benefits would be more useful, then the Discover it Business card may be more useful for your business in the long run.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This content was accurate at the time of this post, but card terms and conditions may change at any time. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.