About SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
The SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express offers three ways to earn cash back on purchases, as well as a spending bonus for new cardmembers.
This business credit card is one of several within the American Express family and faces stiff competition from similar business cards like the Capital One Spark Cash Business or the Chase Ink Cash Business.
How does this card stack up against the competition? And, more importantly, is it the right fit for your business?
To answer those questions, we’re going to embark on a series of examinations of this card’s short- and long-term benefits, the fees and rates you can expect, as well as the opinions of cardmembers.
Throughout our review, we’ll interject comparisons between the SimplyCash Plus, the Spark Cash, and the Ink Cash.
What Benefits Does the AmEx SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card Offer?
You should approach your credit card choice like any business decision – know the short-term and long-benefits before you say “yes.”
SimplyCash’s Short-Term Benefits: Cash and No Interest
As we mentioned in the introduction to this review, the SimplyCash card offers a spending bonus for new cardmembers. Amex will credit $200 to your account if you spend at least $5,000 in the first six months of owning the card.
You’ll also get an additional $200 if you can spend $10,000 in the first year of owning the card.
Both of these bonuses take about 8-12 weeks to show up on your statement.
We have read that some consumers get “targeted offers” for a $1,000 cash bonus, but only certain business owners get these offers.
New cardmembers will also get 0% APR on any purchases made in the first nine months of owning the card. If you make one late payment in the first nine months, you lose this introductory interest rate.
SimplyCash’s Long-Term Benefits
When we talk about long-term benefits, we’re speaking of the specific characteristics of the AmEx SimplyCash that have no time limit – they don’t expire like introductory offers do.
Cash Back Rates
In a general sense, we’d classify the SimplyCash Plus as a cash-back rewards card, because the card’s main rewards system is cash-oriented.
5% Cash Back
You’ll get this substantial rewards rate when you make purchases at U.S. office supply stores and when you buy wireless telephone service from American providers.
The Chase Ink offers the same office and wireless service rewards rate, but their 5% tier also includes internet, landline, and cable TV purchases.
3% Cash Back
This middle tier is pretty unique compared to the Ink because you get to choose which category earns you 3%. With the Ink card, you get 2% back on gas and restaurants.
Your 3% rewards rate can be chosen from the following categories: airfare purchased from the airline, hotel rooms purchased from hotel, car rentals from certain providers, gas, restaurants, certain ad purchases, shipping and computer extras (hardware, software, cloud computing from certain providers).
The benefit of this chose-your-own-category strategy is that you can identify the area where you spend the most and take advantage of that area. If you don’t drive or eat out as part of your daily or weekly operations, then the Ink card’s 2% isn’t worth much.
For all other purchases, you’ll get 1% cash back. Any cash rewards you earn will be posted to your statement once a month.
Pro tip: American Express limits earning rewards to the first $50,000 you spend. After that, rewards drop to 1% for all purchases. The Ink Cash cap is at $25,000, and the Spark has no cap – you earn 2% on all purchases all the time.
Like the Chase Ink and the Capital One Spark, you can offer cards to your employees and set the spending limits on those cards. All rewards accrued on those cards go toward your statement.
Like the Chase Ink and the Capital One Spark, you can integrate your AmEx SimplyCash Plus card with Quickbooks.
If you choose to integrate your card with Quickbooks, keep your personal purchases off this card. It will make life much easier come tax season.
Various Purchase and Travel Protections
Cardmembers get a suite of coverages and protections for lost luggage, damaged or stolen goods, car rentals and warranties.
Each of these benefits applies only to items purchased with your card. In the case of baggage loss or delay, you get reimbursement if you used your card to purchase your fare.
Details about these protections and coverages are located in the SimplyCash Plus’ terms and conditions.
The AmEx SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card’s Rates and Fees
The most recent statistics note that 41% of Americans with credit cards have a balance. About 30% don’t have balances and the rest don’t use their cards at all.
American Express – and all credit card issues, for that matter – want to make money off those who carry a balance. To do that, they’ve devised a schedule of rates and fees designed to make you pay.
Here is a list of the rates and fees you’ll pay with this card:
- APR: 12.99%, 17.99%, 19.99%, based on your credit history and scores
- Penalty APR: 29.99%
- Annual fee: $0
- Foreign transaction fee: 2.7%
- Late payment fee: $38
You cannot transfer balances to your SimplyCash Plus card, nor can you take out cash advances.
The card’s penalty APR kicks in when you make two late payments in one year, you pay less than the minimum payment, or you make a payment that’s returned.
That APR will stick to your account for 12 months, at which point AmEx will review your account and decide if they want to remove the penalty APR.
What Other People Are Saying About the American Express SimplyCash Plus Credit Card
The general opinion of the SimplyCash card is positive – there are few standouts in the business card world, and this is one of them.
Most of the reviews we read framed their observations as pros and cons. For example, Credit Karma came to the same conclusions we did about this card’s strengths: the intro bonus is substantialfollowsand the no-interest intro offer is a nice perk.
On the negative side, the site said that this card has a high penalty APR and that the foreign transaction fee can be a drawback for business owners who frequently travel abroad.
Credit Karma’s Criticism Misses the Mark on Penalty APRs
While these are certainly valid observations, we think Credit Karma fails to put those fees in context.
The American Express SimplyCash Plus’ main competition is the Chase Ink Business Cash Card and the Spark Cash for Business from Capital One.
Both of those cards have penalty APRs. The Chase Ink has the highest rate (29.99%) and can apply indefinitely. The Spark Cash comes in just below the Chase Ink at 29.9%.
A simple comparison between the AmEx SimplyCash Plus and its two competing cards reveal that while the penalty APR is higher than normal APRs, it’s lower than its Chase and Capital One counterparts.
Also, penalty APRs are not a rarity. There are a variety of business and consumer cards with penalty APRs and most of them are over 27%.
The reason why these APRs exist goes back to what we initially said in this review – card companies want to make money off of you and this is the perfect way to do it.
Our advice? Pay your bills on time. Set up an automatic payment schedule that withdraws money from your business checking account.
As for the foreign transaction fee, the AmEx SimplyCash charges you 2.7%, while the Chase Ink charges 3% and the Spark from Capital One does not have a foreign transaction fee.
WalletHub’s “Average” Rating is On-Point
WalletHub, another credit card review site, said the SimplyCash Plus has “average rewards” for purchases that don’t fall under the 5% and 3% bonus categories.
This is a fair estimation, as most business and consumer cash-back cards offer between 1% and 2% rewards. The Chase Ink joins the SimplyCash Plus at the 1% level, but the Spark from Capital One has a 2% rewards rate.
Remember, though, the Spark’s rewards rate is a flat rate for all purchases – there are no bonus categories.
Reviews from Fellow Entrepreneurs and Business Owners About AmEx
While it was hard to find recent reviews of the SimplyCash Plus card, entrepreneurial website Founderkit had a series of reviews from business owners about American Express business cards. The company gets an overall rating of 8.8 from 33 reviews.
The praise for American Express business cards was pretty extensive, with several reviewers praising the company’s customer service.
One reviewer named Tyler Menezes noted he'd experienced a lot of fraud with the card, but AmEx was quick to resolve any problems:
“Great employee spending tools, and very quick turnaround for new card issuance. We’ve experienced a lot of fraud, but they’ve also been great about resolving that quickly and in our favor.”
Our Final Thoughts About the American Express SimplyCash Plus Credit Card
One of the principles we think is most important about choosing a credit card is benefits: What can the card offer you this year and in the years to come?
The answer to this question has a lot to do with the SimplyCash Plus’ long-term rewards rates. Yes, you get $400 if you can spend $10,000 in the first year, but that’s a fleeting reward.
What’s not fleeting is the consistent cash back rewards you get with this card.
Pick-Your-Rewards Options Can Bring Big Money
Here’s an example of how the AmEx’s choose-your-category feature can work to your benefit.
In November 2016, a Redditor asked if the card was worth it, and someone responded by saying their company spent $25,000 a month on shipping alone. Rewards-wise, that’s $750 a month if you choose to get 3% back on shipping purchases.
Now, you have to keep in mind that AmEx caps the bonus categories at $50,000 in spending, so once you surpass $50K, rewards drop to 1%. But even if you max out your rewards in the first two months, you’ll still pocket $1,500 in rewards; that’s not bad.
How the SimplyCash’s Rewards Compares to the Spark One
According to CreditCards.com, there are about $13.9 million business credit-card accounts on the market with an average yearly spend of $430 billion.
On a per-card basis, that averages out to about $31,000 per year. The Spark’s flat rate of 2% will get you $620 in cash back on a $31K balance.
If you can get 5% back on $10,000, 3% on $10,000 and 1% on the remaining $11,000 with your SimplyCash Plus, your rewards will total $910.
In our opinion, you can rack up more rewards with the AmEx SimplyCash Plus than you can with the Spark.
Great Rewards, Standard Fees
We also believe the SimplyCash Plus gets you more rewards per year than the Chase Ink, mainly because you can choose your 3% category.
In summary, it’s our opinion that American Express SimplyCash Plus credit card is a solid choice for a business looking for cash back rewards.
The fees you pay are pretty standard for business credit cards, so you there’s not much worry there.
Of course, you can avoid all fees and APRs if you can pay your balance in full every month. And remember, any interest you pay cuts into the cash back you earn, rendering the card less beneficial.
This pair of reviews follows a similar format to this one: an in-depth exploration of the card’s benefits, fees and rates, and public opinion.