SphereCommerce or simply Sphere is a company under the provisions of the Waud Capital Partners -a famous private equity company. Sphere is a dedicated merchant account service provider that had recently extended its partnership with a multi-level marketing organization named ACN. Also going by the name as SphereCommerce, Sphere had been created after the acquisitions of TrustCommerce (a payment gateway service provider) and Anovia Payments by Waud Capital Partners in 2017.
Anovia used to depend on TSYS Merchant Solutions for the respective processing networks across the United States of America. Moreover, it also depended on First Data (Fiserv) for the processing network across Canada. These relationships are continuously changing under the new name. As a matter of fact, it is visible that Sphere now functions significantly similar to that of Anovia -after the acquisition as well.
Payment Processing by SphereCommerce
Sphere Commerce is known to process all types of major credit as well as debit cards. The company even owns different branches for their specific services. For instance, Health iPASS is responsible for focusing on mobile-based payments for healthcare providers and hospitals. At the same time, Qgiv is responsible for processing payments for fundraisers and non-profits. TrustCommerce offers payment processing services to conventional merchants.
With the help of TrustCommerce, Sphere Commerce extends its POS systems along with virtual terminals, e-commerce solutions, ACH processing, data analysis & reporting, PCI compliance, mobile-based payment solutions, recurring billing, and the open API.
Location & Ownership of Sphere Commerce
Sphere has its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee. However, the headquarters for its merchant services is located in the old headquarters of Anovia Payments -in Irving, Texas. Sphere Commerce is a registered ISO or MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., South Jordan, Merrick Bank, Elavon DAC, and Walnut Creek. Steve Rizzuto is the CEO and President of Sphere Commerce.
Merchant Services by Sphere Commerce
- Credit Card Processing: The primary business of Sphere Commerce is delivering credit card processing services. It is capable of working with MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express. The website of the company revealed that it is capable of accepting all forms of payments through these leading card giants. The company’s website also promises to set up a separate merchant account conveniently such that businesses can start accepting as well as processing credit card payments.
- E-Checks: In addition to credit cards, Sphere Commerce is also capable of providing businesses the ability to process e-checks or electronic checks. It is a crucial service that are provided by merchant service providers to end customers. Most consumers out there are not comfortable with handling credit cards online. However, they will have no problems in writing a check while authorizing the seller to process the respective check.
- High-risk Merchants: Sphere Commerce is capable of working with high-risk merchants or industries like vape supplies, adult services, credit repair services, loan services, and even gun shops. These businesses usually do not receive approval from conventional payment processing providers. Sphere Commerce is capable of setting up dedicated merchant accounts for these types of businesses as well.
- Recurring Billing: If you have a subscription-based business, you will require the feature of recurring billing in the processor. The billing feature of Sphere Commerce helps in setting up subscriptions to charge customers on the recurring basis. Merchants can go ahead with accepting either e-checks or credit cards.
- Mobile App: According to Sphere Commerce, it claims that is allows merchants to ensure the processing of payments through Webform or a dedicated credit card reader that has been integrated with the help of the mobile app. The app remains free for the respective merchant accounts under Sphere Commerce.
- Online Reporting: For most businesses, it is a difficult task to be updated with analytics and inventory. The online reporting feature of Sphere Commerce helps in eliminating all troubles of reporting and analysis. The company reveals offering an easy-to-use and understand online reporting package. It also features email invoicing, an online portal, and multi-user access.
Sphere Commerce Complaints
There have been some complaints about Sphere Commerce online. However, there are over 70 complaints about Anovia Payments on several consumer protection websites. These complaints can be regarded as applicable to Sphere as well. Some of the complaints related to Sphere Commerce have accused the company to be a scam or a rip-off.
The complainants online have mentioned a wide range of different types of issues -including inaccurate pricing quotes, internal problems amongst employees, undisclosed contract terms, recurring fees, expensive one-time fee, unexplained fund holdings, and unreachable customer services.
Fines and Lawsuits Regarding Sphere Commerce
There is the absence of any outstanding class-action lawsuit or FTC-specific complaints that have been filed against Sphere Commerce. Merchants who are dissatisfied and wish to pursue a non-litigious course of action against the organization can think of reporting the company to the respective supervisory organizations.
Rising Complaints About Sphere Commerce
Sphere Commerce is represented by two business profiles -for Sphere Commerce and Anovia Payments. Some of the complaints have been resolved.
Sphere Commerce Pricing
- Three-year Contract: The contract terms and rates of Sphere Commerce remain identical to the contract terms of Anovia Payments. Anovia has not listed its pricing policy as well as fees on the official website. However, there has been determination of the total costs of the company by going through complaints of the merchants. The partnerships of Sphere Commerce with First Data and TSYS also impliy that Sphere Commerce offers contract-based terms that remain identical to the terms offered by the companies.
- First Data or Fiserv Contract Terms: Usually, contracts with First Data or Fiserv provide a wide range of pricing plans and contract terms. However, the standard agreement is usually a multi-year contract with the early termination fee of $495 along with the PCI compliance fee of $19.95. There is also the presence of tiered pricing.
Merchants who are processing around $50,000 every month will be receiving a swiped rate of around 2.69 percent along with $0.19 and the keyed-in rate of 3.69 percent along with $0.19. Merchants that exceed the monthly processing amount of $50,000, will be receiving the swiped rate of 2.29 percent along with $0.19 along with the keyed-in rate of 3.29 percent along with $0.19. The contracts might also include equipment leases with the help of First Data Global Leasing.
- TSYS Pricing Plans: During the time of previous updates, the website of TSYS had outlined its pricing plans. According to the Pursue plan, it aims at listing a swipe rate of around 2.5 percent along with $0.20 on every transaction. There is also the presence of a keyed-in rate of around 1.99 percent along with $0.20 on every transaction.
According to the Accelerate plan, there is the listing of a swipe rate of around 1.7 percent along with $0.20 on every transaction along with the keyed-in rate of 3 percent along with $0.20 on every transaction.
- TSYS Contract Terms: The basic contracts by TSYS Merchant Solutions also come with a 3-year service agreement for automatically renewing for one-year terms. It holds true until the merchant will cancel in case of a small opportunity. Merchants who aim at canceling outside the grace period will be subject to around $295 as the early termination fee.
This, with the help of an automatically renewable contract, significantly reduces the rating of the company in the section. It is because it helps in making the process of paying the early termination fee quite difficult. Moreover, merchants are also charged with the quarterly PCI compliance fees of around $18.80.
- Payment Gateway and Virtual Terminal Pricing: Along with the storefront payment processing services, Sphere Commerce also dedicates a section of its website to advertising the payment gateway and virtual terminal services. However, pricing might not be disclosed on either of the services. Additional fees and rates -including technical support fees, gateway fees, additional transactional rates, and batch fees usually apply to the available range of e-commerce services.
- Other Sphere Commerce Fees: Some of the latest complaints related to Sphere Commerce indicate that the minimum early termination fee of the platform is $495. However, merchants who might terminate might have to face a liquidated damage fee analyzed by multiplying the total months remaining in the given contract by the average processing fees monthly of the merchant.
A recent complaint about Sphere Commerce cited that there was a monthly service fee of $22 along with a monthly fee of around $30 for a service referred to as Anovia Insights. Merchants also report issues with the process of fundholding. It is related to the errors during account setup.
Sphere Commerce In-house Sales Team
Just like Anovia Payments, Sphere Commerce typically hires in-house sales representatives to advertise its services directly. It is highly preferable to the respective industry standards to hire independently contracted agents. Still, you should note that Anovia Payments has partnered with ACN -a telecommunication company to refer merchants.