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Spark Pay Review
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UPDATE 2/25/2019: Capital One decommissioned its Spark Pay lineup of products in December 2017. The company now resells mobile and point-of-sale products from its partner WorldPay. See our Capital One Merchant Services review or our WorldPay review for up-to-date information about Capital One payment processing.
Spark Pay (sparkpay.com) is an online store builder and mobile payment processing service offered by Capital One. Launched in April 2013, Spark Pay began as a simple mobile phone processing app and has since added its e-commerce service. This review will primarily focus on the Spark Pay mobile app.
Spark Pay’s mobile app operates in a similar fashion to Square or GoPayment, with a free app and card reader compatible with iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. Spark Pay is packaged with its own merchant account, so businesses may not use the service with their existing accounts. As of this update, Spark Pay does not appear to offer a mobile phone card reader that is EMV-compatible, but it does sell wireless EMV terminals.
Spark Pay’s online store builder enables merchants to set up e-commerce storefronts using free templates. These simple online stores provide merchants with the ability to sell their products online, market via email, track inventory, highlight customer reviews, set up recurring billing, sync with QuickBooks, promote on social media, and access sales reports. Spark Pay online stores are billed separately from the company’s payment processing on a monthly basis.
Capital One is headquartered at 1680 Capital One Tower Dr, McLean, Virginia 22102. The CEO of Capital One is Richard Fairbank.
- Sales & Marketing: Spark Pay does not appear to hire independent sales agents and has received very few complaints about its sales practices.
- Costs & Contract: Spark Pay offers a month-to-month contract with fixed transaction fees and no early termination fees.
- Complaints & Service: Spark Pay has received more than 100 public complaints.
- BBB Rating: Spark Pay does not have a profile with the Better Business Bureau at this time.
- Rates & Fees: How Merchants Got The Best Rates With Spark Pay
Spark Pay Customer Reviews
Here's What Their Clients Say
|Total Online Complaints||100+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Fund Holds|
We are currently able to locate over 100 Spark Pay negative reviews on consumer forums, in the comment space below, and in the Android and iTunes app stores, but very few of these complaints describe the service as a scam. The overwhelming theme among complainants is sudden cancellation of service or withholding of funds, although hardware malfunctions and limited software capabilities are also cited. Spark Pay does not appear to screen out ineligible merchants before allowing them to sign up and receive a card reader, resulting in a great deal of frustration when these merchants are suddenly dropped. For a service that is open to anyone who wants to open an account, this complaint total is actually relatively low. A good rule of thumb for avoiding the issues cited by complainants is to process small amounts in the early going and make sure that your company is commonly understood to be a standard-risk business type within the industry.
The Spark Pay website does provide a dedicated phone number and email address, and there are no complaints specifically mentioning trouble reaching Spark Pay. This may emerge as a strength of the service, as other mobile payment apps currently on the market suffer from a lack of live customer support.
Spark Pay Online Ratings
Here's How They Rate Online
The Better Business Bureau does not currently maintain a profile for Spark Pay, but it does have an active page for Capital One Financial Corporation. Capital One is showing 4,164 complaints in the last three years and was the subject of government prosecution in 2012. However, it maintains a BBB grade of “A+” as of this update. We have no way of knowing how many of the company’s total complaints are a product of its Spark Pay app, so we will not factor a BBB score into its overall rating at this time.
Spark Pay Fees, Rates & Costs
A Closer Look at The Contract
|Swiped Rate||2.65% + $0.05 Or 1.99% + $0.05|
|Keyed-in Rate||3.70% + $0.05 Or 2.80% + $0.05|
|Early Termination Fee||None|
|PCI Compliance Fee||None|
|Equipment Lease Terms||None|
Spark Pay offers two pricing plans that are similar in structure to those offered by its mobile payments competitors. The first plan, the “Go Plan,” includes a 2.65% plus $0.05 rate on swiped (card present) transactions and a 3.7% plus $0.05 rate on keyed-in (card-not-present) transactions with no monthly fees, early termination fees, or PCI Compliance fees. The second plan, the “Pro Plan,” includes a 1.99% plus $0.05 swiped rate, a 2.8% plus $0.05 keyed rate, and a monthly fee of $19. Both services charge their keyed-in rates for all American Express transactions plus a $15 chargeback fee per incident and are subject to the company’s cash reserve policies. Since Capital One’s mobile card reader is not EMV-compliant at this time, merchants who are concerned about fraud liability will need to obtain a credit card terminal through Capital One for $99. Capital One claims that it will offer EMV-compatible mobile readers in the first quarter of 2017.
Although Spark Pay’s contract terms mirror the low-commitment, fixed-cost models that have become popular in the industry, we have located a decent number of complaints about Spark Pay’s fraud prevention policies. It appears that Spark Pay waits about a month after a merchant’s first transaction to actually approve the merchant’s account and assess a processing limit for the merchant. Once the company’s underwriting staff makes a determination about the merchant’s spending characteristics, it appears that it sometimes institutes large fund holds, or even drops merchants outright who have processed excessive or suspicious payments. This practice is becoming more common with processing services that emphasize easy signup, and Spark Pay appears to be having some trouble with it. Merchants who have irregular sales patterns or who operate in higher-risk industries will want to contact someone at Spark Pay to verify that their business type will be supported.
Spark Pay Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs
Should You Work For Them?
|Employs Independent Resellers||No|
|Advertises Deceptive Rates||No|
|Discloses All Important Terms||Yes|
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