Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Spark Pay is an online and mobile payment service provider established in 2013 by Capital One, originally a Verifone subsidiary. The company originated as a mobile processing app and later expanded its services to online payment solutions. It caters to most medium size companies, offering merchant accounts and online store-building tools for e-commerce businesses. Even though Capital One has discontinued its mobile payment processing services, here is a Spark Pay review concerning the company’s contributions and shortcomings for existing merchants.
Spark Pay aims to help merchants increase revenue and reach more customers while keeping their company fool-proof. Its advanced technology features and digital solutions promise reduced operating costs and enhanced customer experience. Merchants can offer industry-leading service to their customers with real-time data sync and high-performance equipment. They are provided free templates and user-friendly designs to create an engaging storefront to sell their products.
The company’s mobile card reader is compatible with Android and iOS devices, enabling merchants to accept payments anywhere and track all transactions. They can market their services and provide updates to customers via email, track and manage inventory, and highlight specific client reviews to magnify their good reputation.
The provider serves most business types, accepting all major credit card brands, including Maestro, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, and is compatible with Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay. Merchants are offered QuickBooks integration and recurring billing options. They can access social media promotions and sales reports and benefit from the company’s wireless EMV terminals.
Spark Pay is partnered with UKEX Pay, Elavon, Opayo, Poynt, SwiftPass, Viva Wallet, and other leading companies to provide the best payment solutions to merchants. However, being restricted to a specific niche, the provider offers a limited range of services.
Merchants can increase their sales and expand their reach by accepting mobile card payments when they meet potential customers outside an outlet. The company offers mobile card readers compatible with tablets and smartphones, providing ease and convenience. Restaurants benefit from Spark Pay’s mobile ordering by offering contactless payments with a QR code.
The provider integrates the mobile ordering service with the POS terminal in the kitchen and prints the orders automatically. Merchants can customize their payment settings and create an online store in the app with their company’s logo to keep their individuality.
The menus are automatically updated according to availability to eliminate inconvenience and provide accuracy for customers. Furthermore, merchants can reward incentives and membership cards for maintaining a bond with regular customers. Customers can leave reviews and upload photos and videos to share their experiences.
The company’s smart POS system comes with software adaptability and a range of features and settings that can be molded to the requirements of a business. Its bill splitting, member discount, team management, and allergen alert features provide an all-in-one package. Merchants can monitor each transaction with cash control and switch between accounts for a quick checkout. After an easy set-up, they can train their staff, add products, mention prices, and start selling their products within minutes.
The POS offers reservation, CRM, and stock management features and provides smart reporting solutions, enabling merchants to access real-time data. Its dual screen and user-friendly display bring efficiency and customer satisfaction, providing a seamless payment experience for both parties.
In-store Payment Solutions
According to Spark Pay reviews, the provider offers customized bundles and a full point-of-sale system for in-store payments. Merchants are provided with cash drawers, receipt printers, and standalone terminals. They can control the access level for the POS, granting restricted access to employees to ensure that each staff member can only use specific functions they require to complete their job.
Self Service Kiosks
Merchants can ease up the ordering system for customers by providing self-service kiosks. This way, customers can order without interacting with anyone, and merchants can eliminate the extra cost of hiring more employees to cater to each customer separately. Since employees don’t have to wait on customers, they can shift their energy to other tasks, improving productivity and saving time. The service speeds up the ordering time and reduces long queues and the risk of human error.
Merchants are bound to a month-to-month contract with two fee packages; go plan (pay as you go) and pro plan (monthly fee structure). The company does not charge an early termination fee, and the PCI compliance fee is exempted. Spark Pay reviews indicate that the provider withholds funds after the first transaction and may drop the client after the first month of the investigation if they detect suspicious payments.
In the ‘go plan’ fee structure, merchants are charged 2.65% plus $0.05 and 3.7% plus $0.05 for swiped and keyed-in transactions, respectively. The pro plan costs 1.9% plus $0.05 for swiped and 2.8% plus $0.05 for keyed-in transactions. The provider charges a $15 chargeback fee, offers a $99 credit card terminal rate, and its card reader costs $13 each.
Spark Pay has maintained a phone support line and reserved an email address for customers to reach out to. The company offers an online form and live chat feature for merchants to address their queries. Merchants have not posted any complaints subjected to the provider’s customer service.
Spark Pay reviews indicate that the provider does not hire a sales team or independent agents to market its services. It discloses all the necessary information on its website, and its pricing is mentioned on the fees and disclosure page. There is no evidence that the company deceives its merchants or provides misleading quotes.
The provider has numerous complaints attached to its name, and merchants have posted more than 100 negative reviews on various consumer assessment sites. Limited software competence and equipment malfunction are the theme of complaints, along with funds withholding and uninformed cancellation of services. The company does not screen out unqualifying merchants, causing frustration by dropping them out later. Merchants have shown concern about the provider’s expensive card readers, no pre-authorizing card service, and lack of EMV acceptance and necessary features in the app.
Other online complaints comprise 120-day rolling reserve, the compulsion to access a user’s location while using the app, fees being rounded up to an expensive rate, and device incompatibility.
Better Business Bureau Report
Even though Spark Pay does not have an accredited BBB profile, the company is rated A+ on the review platform. This rating is liable to skepticism since the parent company, Capital One has received over 4164 formal and informal complaints.
Spark Pay Shortcomings
Proven by the high complaint rate and the obvious indication from multiple reviews, the provider lacks in some major areas that can be troublesome for a business. A company is formed with multiple departments operating side by side and is bound to have some shortcomings that are improved along the way. However, some shortcomings become impossible to ignore as they make the provider unfit to conduct business.
Incompetent Mobile App
Several reviews have been posted against Spark Pay’s mobile app, and merchants have complained that it is not user-friendly, lacks important features, and shuts down during transactions. Some features are only available on an iPad, restricting merchants from accessing it on a smartphone. Furthermore, there is an absence of integration between the provider’s mobile processing features and the online storefront.
Uninformed Cancellation of Services
Multiple reviews confirm that the company does not provide eligibility criteria, making its services available for all business types. When a merchant requests approval, his funds are withheld, and the processing limits are accessed. In most cases, a merchant account is canceled after the investigation, causing immense distress. This is unprofessional for a service provider, and merchants should be aware of this practice.
Lack of EMV Support
Even after mentioning the launch of EMV support, the company’s card reader lacks EMV acceptance which is a huge drawback. EMV-enabled credit card transactions are protected by an additional security feature, enabling merchants to protect their customer’s data and avoid scams. Without this feature, a business is exposed to counterfeiting, stolen credit card purchases, and other fraudulent activities.
As concluded by this Spark Pay review, the provider is an unreliable payment processor that fails to offer the bare minimum. The high complaint rate and increasing issues in multiple departments make it decrepit to cater to a low-maintenance business with minimal requirements. A few positive aspects, including reliable customer service and full disclosure of services, is not adequate in the long run.
Moreover, the provider’s mobile payment processing services are discontinued. This makes Spark Pay worthless for most businesses since mobile and online payment solutions were its only mentionable services. Merchants are advised to look for a better-fitting service provider that can offer up-to-par payment solutions and is equipped with advanced technology features to help a business stand out in the ever-expanding and demanding marketplace.