SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express Essentials
American Express (American Express is a Cardratings advertiser) has forged its brand identity on catering to small businesses, with services like American Express OPEN and its accompanying OPEN Forum® filled with advice, tips and tricks for entrepreneurs.
The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express, a cash back business card, extends this offering. The card allows small business owners to get money back for every dollar they spend, with varying levels of cash back based on the category. You get rewarded for your spending, so it's essentially another type of business deduction.
SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express best features:
As its name implies, the SimplyCash® Plus credit card's rewards system is pretty straightforward: Get 5 percent cash back on office supplies and wireless phone services and 3 percent cash back on a category of your choice. The two categories for 5 percent cash back are typically the largest business expense, so entrepreneurs with an office or remote-based business can offset a significant part of their overhead.
Cardholders can also earn 3 percent cash back on up to $50,000 spent in a category of their choice each year. The category options include airfare, hotel stays, car rentals from select companies, purchases at U.S. gas stations, restaurants, advertising, shipping and computer-related purchases, a category American Express® recently added. New cardholders select their category within two months of opening becoming card members and then can change that category during an annual selection period each year.
There's also cash back to be earned in the form of statement credits of up to $400. Spending $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months of card membership will get you a $200 statement credit. But, if you churn out an additional $10,000 on purchases within the first year of membership, you'll get one more $200 statement credit. That's quite a lot you can earn back in statement credits so be sure to take advantage of it before this deal expires.
With the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express, you also get access to American Express® Open benefits, such as access to Open Forum®; Receipt Match, a feature that lets you upload business receipts and track transactions; and OPEN Savings®, which provides additional membership rewards points for every dollar spent or a 5 percent discount statement credit for eligible purchases made at participating businesses (Hertz, HP and Fedex are among them).
One of the best features of the SimplyCash® Plus credit card is that cardholders can spend above their credit limit and get cash back on these purchases. There's no overlimit fee, but you do have to pay the amount you've charged above your credit limit in full each month. Also keep in mind that American Express® will adjust the amount you can spend above your credit limit based on your card use, payment history and credit record.
Spending limits: With the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express, you only get 5 percent and 3 percent cash back on your first $50,000 in purchases. After that, the rate is 1 percent. This is a drawback for mid-sized businesses that spend above this threshold and want to maximize their rewards.
Category selection: Read the fine print and you'll see that there's not as much flexibility with category selection. For the 3 percent rebate category, you must choose from the previously mentioned list and make your selection within the first two months of opening your account. Plus, you can only change your selection once in a calendar year. If you forget to make a selection, the 3 percent rebate will be applied to gas purchases -- not useful if you operate a home-based business that requires minimal travel.
Short intro APR offer: At nine months, the 0 percent APR offer term is shorter than other credit cards, which offer 12, 15 or 18-month terms.
Foreign transaction fee: The foreign transaction is fee is 2.7 percent - not optimal if you travel a lot internationally for business. In this case, a business card with an intro offer that waives this fee for a specified period or one that doesn't have this fee at all, like the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card may be better.
How SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express Compares to Other Business Cards
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has a better intro offer, through which you can earn 80,000 bonus points. And Chase Ink Business PreferredSM cardholders can earn 3 points per $1 in several business categories, including shipping, some online advertising, travel and more, up to $150,000 in combined spending each calendar year, giving it a slight edge. Unlike SimplyCash® Plus, Chase Ink Business PreferredSM has an annual fee of $95 and a $0 foreign transaction fee, making it the better option for international business travelers.
When it comes to rewards, SimplyCash® Plus is slightly better since the Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card only lets cardholders earn up to 3 percent cash back on business purchases. These categories include office supplies and gas, but not wireless phone service like SimplyCash® Plus. With the Bank of America® Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card, you can earn a $200 statement credit after your first $500 in purchases in the first 60 days as compared to the $200 in statement credit for spending $5,000 within the first six months on the SimplyCash® Plus (and then, of course, there's the additional $200 you can earn if you spend an additional $10,000 within the first year). Other benefits are comparable to the SimplyCash®: no annual fee and a 0 percent APR for nine billing cycles (nine months with SimplyCash® before it goes to 13.24% - 20.24% Variable). If you want more rewards and more flexibility, choose the SimplyCash® Plus card.
Who Should Get This Card?
Business owners who spend under $50,000 a year on office supplies, associated services and domestic travel. If you often travel internationally for business, this card is a no-go since foreign transaction fees will eat into your rewards.