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SphereCommerce Merchant Services 2023: Reviews & Complaints
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A Waud Capital Partners private equity company, Sphere is a merchant account provider partnered with a multi-level marketing company called ACN. More commonly known as SphereCommerce, the company was created following Waud Capital Partners’ 2017 acquisitions of Anovia Payments and TrustCommerce, a payment gateway provider, Anovia relied on TSYS Merchant Solutions for its processing networks in the U.S. and First Data (now Fiserv) for its processing network in Canada, and these relationships may remain unchanged under its new name. In fact, it appears that Sphere functions in a more-or-less similar fashion to Anovia Payments even after the acquisition.
SphereCommerce is partnered with a number of businesses, including Radix Health, Raintree Systems, Qgiv Inc., MDofficeManager, and Saina Health.
Sphere announced on October 12, 2023, that it has entered into an agreement to sell its commercial division to NMI, a full commerce enablement company.
Before we dive in, here’s a short summary of what we’ll cover:
- Sphere Commerce’s various payment processing services.
- The company has received a few complaints over the years, mostly about issues with payments and cancellation penalties. Its predecessor, Anovia Payments, received even more complaints in its time in business.
- There is little information about the company’s contract, but it is likely similar to that of Fiserv and TSYS.
Sphere Commerce Payment Processing
Sphere Commerce processes all major credit and debit cards. They have a few branches of their services: Health iPASS focuses on mobile payments for hospitals and healthcare providers, Qgiv processes payments for non-profits and fundraisers, while TrustCommerce provides processing for more traditional merchants. Through TrustCommerce, Sphere offers POS systems, virtual terminals, ACH processing, an open API, PCI compliance, e-commerce solutions, data reporting and analysis, recurring billing, and mobile payment solutions.
Integrated Payment Software for Healthcare and Nonprofits
SphereCommerce specializes in providing fully integrated payment software solutions primarily for the healthcare and nonprofit sectors.
Patient Payment, Check-in, and Engagement Software
The company offers software solutions that support every step of the patient journey, including payment, check-in, and engagement.
Online Giving Solutions for Nonprofits
SphereCommerce provides an online giving experience for nonprofits and their donors.
SphereCommerce has an ecosystem of over 150 integration partners, allowing for seamless integrations into Electronic Health Records (EHR), Practice Management Systems (PMS), and other vertical software solutions.
Location & Ownership
Sphere was formerly headquartered at 1033 Demonbreun Street, Suite 300 Nashville, Tennessee 37203. However, it appears they have moved to 1 MacArthur Pl #400, Santa Ana, CA 92707, and its merchant services division is headquartered at Anovia Payments’ old headquarters of 600 Las Colinas Blvd., Suite 1200, Irving, Texas 75039. The company is a registered ISO/MSP of Merrick Bank, South Jordan, Utah; Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, CA.; Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Canadian Branch, Toronto, ON, Canada; and Elavon DAC. Steve Rizzuto is the president and CEO of Sphere, while Todd Baylis is CEO of Qgiv.
Table of Contents
- Costs & Contract: Offers a three-year contract with…
- Complaints & Service: Complaints number more than 70 on…
- BBB Rating: Currently has a “D+” rating with the…
- Sales & Marketing: Appears to hire independent sales agents and has received…
Sphere Customer Reviews
Here's What Their Clients Say
|Total Online Complaints||70+|
|Live Customer Support||Yes|
|Most Common Complaint||Excessive Fees|
More Than 70 Complaints
We are able to locate only a few negative SphereCommerce reviews, but we have found more than 70 Anovia Payments reviews on this and other consumer protection websites. We consider these complaints to be applicable to Sphere, and some of these SphereCommerce complaints accuse the company of being a scam or a ripoff. Complainants mention a wide range of different issues, including internal problems among employees, inaccurate pricing quotes, undisclosed contract terms, costly one-time and recurring fees, unreachable customer service, and unexplained fund-holds. If you have your own SphereCommerce review to make, please do so in the comments below.
Sphere Lawsuits and Fines
Sphere was named in Bradley Sanger vs. Trust Commerce Technology, a legal case where Bradley Sanger, a merchant, sued Trust Commerce Technology, a payment processing company, for breach of contract, fraud, and unfair business practices. Sanger claimed that Trust Commerce Technology failed to provide the services it promised, withheld funds, and engaged in deceptive business practices. The case was settled out of court, and the terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Dissatisfied clients who wish to pursue a non-litigious course of action against the company should consider reporting it to the relevant supervisory organizations.
Sphere Customer Support Options
The Sphere website lists a phone number for general customer support and an email form for non-urgent issues.
Sphere Customer Service Numbers
- (855) 426-6842 – Toll-Free General Customer Service
- (855) 330-7057 – Canadian Sales/Support
- (800) 915-1680 – Payment Gateway Sales Support
Other Support Options
- Support form
Given Sphere and Anovia’s complaint volume and the content of the complaints, we will assign it a “C” in this category at this time.
Sphere Online Ratings
Here's How They Rate Online
Note: We have adjusted this company’s BBB rating according to our own standards. To better understand why we adjust BBB ratings, please see our Rating Criteria.
Rising Complaint Total
Sphere Commerce currently has a “D+” rating with the Better Business Bureau. The company is showing 18 complaints over the last 36 months. Only 4 of the 18 complaints were resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant.
What Merchants Say
Sphere has also received 9 informal reviews on their BBB profile. 8 of these reviews are negative in tone. The latest review that was negative in tone describes never receiving an invoice and being sent to collections:
Not once have I received an invoice that explains what my charges are. I have contacted them multiple times asking for a breakdown of charges so I can understand them before paying them. Instead, they have sent me to collections. There are a lot of better options out there. I would avoid sphere.
Clients in this situation can benefit from learning how to cancel their accounts without paying a fee.
A “C” Performance Overall
In light of the company’s moderate complaint volume and resolution ratio, we have adjusted the BBB’s rating to a “C.”
Sphere Fees, Rates & Costs
A Closer Look at The Contract
|Monthly & Annual Fees||Yes|
SphereCommerce rates and contract terms are likely to be identical to the Anovia contract terms. Anovia does not list its pricing and fees on its website, but we have been able to determine some of the company’s costs by reading client complaints. Sphere’s partnerships with TSYS and First Data (Fiserv) also mean that Sphere likely offers contract terms that are very similar to the terms offered by those companies.
First Data (Fiserv) Contract Terms
Typical contracts with First Data (Fiserv) offer a wide variety of contract terms and pricing plans, but its standard agreement is typically a multi-year contract with an early termination fee of $495, a monthly PCI compliance fee of $19.95, and tiered pricing. Businesses that process up to $50,000 each month will receive a swiped rate of 2.69% plus $0.19 and a keyed-in rate of 3.69% plus $0.19. Businesses whose monthly charges exceed $50,000 will receive a swiped rate of 2.29% plus $0.19 and a keyed-in rate of 3.29% plus $0.19. These contracts may also include equipment leases through First Data Global Leasing.
TSYS Pricing Plans
At the time of a previous update, the TSYS website outlined three pricing plans. The “Pursue” plan listed a swiped rate of 2.5% plus $0.20 per transaction and a keyed rate of 3.5% plus $0.20 per transaction. The “Grow” plan listed a swipe rate of 1.99% plus $0.20 per transaction and a keyed rate of 3.1% plus $0.20 per transaction. The “Accelerate” plan listed a swipe rate of 1.7% plus $0.20 per transaction and a keyed rate of 3% plus $0.20 per transaction.
TSYS Contract Terms
TSYS Merchant Solutions’ basic contracts also include a three-year service agreement that automatically renews for one-year terms unless the client cancels during a small window of opportunity. Businesses that cancel outside of the grace period will be subject to a $295 Early Termination Fee (ETF). This, with an automatically renewing contract, greatly reduces the company’s rating in this section as it makes avoiding paying an early termination fee difficult. In addition, clients are charged a quarterly PCI compliance fee of $18.80 ($75.20 a year).
Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway Pricing
In addition to its storefront payment processing services, Sphere also dedicates a portion of its website to advertising its virtual terminal and payment gateway services. However, pricing is not disclosed on either of those services. Additional SphereCommerce rates and fees, including gateway fees, technical support fees, batch fees, and additional transaction rates typically apply to these e-commerce services.
Other Sphere Fees
Recent Sphere complaints indicate that Sphere’s minimum early termination fee is $495, but that some clients that terminate may face a liquidated damages fee calculated by multiplying the number of months remaining in the contract by the business’ average monthly processing fees. One SphereCommerce complaint cited a $22 monthly service fee and a $30 monthly fee for a service called “Anovia Insights.” SphereCommerce reviews also mention issues with fund-holds, which may be related to account setup errors. We encourage business owners to check out our list of the providers of the best merchant accounts.
Pricier Than the Competition
Our reviews of Sphere’s backend processors describe those companies’ contract terms as average, and the client feedback we’ve received about Anovia confirms that the company is not a cheap merchant account provider. We will therefore assign Sphere a “D” rating in this section at this time. If you have any knowledge about the standard Sphere fees or contract, please leave that information in the comment section of this review.
Sphere Employee Reviews & Sales Tacitcs
Should You Work For Them?
|Uses Independent Resellers||Yes|
|Discloses All Important Terms||No|
In-House Sales Team
Like Anovia Payments, Sphere primarily hires in-house, W2-employed sales representatives to market its services directly. While this is preferable to the industry standard of hiring independently contracted agents, it is worth noting that Anovia is partnered with a telecommunications company called ACN to refer clients. In general, this compares favorably to our list of best credit card processors.
Partnered With ACN
Although there are numerous negative ACN reviews online, a Sphere representative has stated that ACN sales reps do not have the ability to offer specific pricing or product recommendations to businesses. In addition, clients interact with Sphere for the entire sales process, and ACN representatives are not involved directly with the process. Sphere also has a referral program in place that allows business owners to make residuals by referring other merchants to Sphere.
Broken Sales Promises
This sales structure is designed to prevent businesses from experiencing deceptive practices when dealing with Sphere. However, we have located a low-to-moderate number of Anovia Payments complaints describing issues with the account setup process and rate guarantees from Anovia reps. It seems that some Anovia reps promise to beat or match clients’ current rates, but some dispute whether this guarantee is fulfilled. Other SphereCommerce reviews mention nondisclosure of the company’s contract length and expensive termination fees. It is likely that these issues may persist under the Sphere brand name. If you suspect that you are paying an undisclosed SphereCommerce fee, we recommend that you obtain a fee reduction audit from an independent third party. If you have any such SphereCommerce complaints to make, please do so in the comment section below.
Mixed Client Feedback
All told, the number of negative Sphere reviews we’ve received since our Anovia Payments review’s initial publication raises some concerns about Sphere’s sales approach. This has forced us to lower the company’s score in this section to a precautionary “C.”
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