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 $500, thanks to a special offer. Spending $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months of card membership will get you a $250 statement credit. But, if you churn out an additional $10,000 on purchases within the first year of membership, you'll get one more $250 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, the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express offers opportunities for higher gains, but the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business card offers consistency and simplicity, which, in the end, could lead to higher rewards earned depending on the business. And higher rewards is a good thing, since the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business card does charge an annual fee – $0 intro for first year; $95 after that, so you want to make sure your rewards will offset the cost of carrying the card.
About those rewards... with the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business card, you'll earn 2 percent back on ALL your purchases; that means you can search out the best deals from an online retailer and earn the same number of rewards back that you would earn by going to the office supply chain store down the street. There are no spending caps to worry about and your rewards won't expire for as long as you keep your account open.
Plus, right now with the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business card you can earn $500 cash back after spending just $4,500 in the first three months of card membership, meaning your cash back bonus opportunity is the same as with the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express's special offer, but you only have to spend $4,500 in the first three months to get it.
Ultimately, this decision should come down to understanding where your business spends the bulk of its money and whether having higher rewards earnings in particular categories would benefit you more than have a flat earning rate across all categories.
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.