SphereCommerce Review: Fees, Complaints, Comparisons & Lawsuits

Sphere
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Sphere

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PhonePhone(855) 426-6842 View Pricing

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Anovia Payments + TrustCommerce

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.

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.

Sphere Location and Ownership

Sphere is headquartered at 1033 Demonbreun Street, Suite 300 Nashville, Tennessee 37203, but 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.

Sphere Review Table of Contents

  • Costs & Contract: Sphere offers a three-year contract with a $495 early termination fee.
  • Complaints & Service: SphereCommerce complaints number more than 70 on public complaints forums.
  • BBB Rating: Sphere Commerce currently has a “D-” rating with the Better Business Bureau and Anovia Payments has no rating. Between the two profiles, the company has received 19 complaints and 8 reviews in the last 3 years.
  • Sales & Marketing: Sphere appears to hire independent sales agents and has received multiple complaints about its sales practices.
Sphere Commerce services

Some of Sphere Commerce’s payment processing offerings

Should You Trust Sphere?

Lawsuits, Reviews & Complaints

Here's Who We Trust.

Complaint Summary

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 Sphere complaints, but we have found more than 70 Anovia Payments complaints 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.

Sphere Lawsuits and Fines

We have not found any outstanding class-action lawsuits or FTC complaints filed against Sphere. Dissatisfied merchants who wish to pursue a non-litigious course of action against the company should consider reporting it to the relevant supervisory organizations.

Sphere Customer Service Options

The Sphere website lists a phone number for general customer support and an email form for non-urgent issues.

We have located multiple Sphere Commerce customer service numbers:

(855) 426-6842 – Toll-Free General Customer Service
(
855) 330-7057 – Canadian Sales
(855) 330-7057 – Canadian Support
(800) 915-1680 – Payment Gateway Sales Support

Sphere Commerce also offers a customer support form on its website.

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.

Is the BBB Rating for Sphere Accurate?

Better Business Bureau Profile

See Which Processors Offer No Monthly Fees And No Contracts.

BBB Summary

Product & Service Complaints
9
Billing & Collection Complaints
9
Advertising & Sales Complaints
1
Guarantee & Warranty Complaints
0
Delivery Complaints
0

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 is represented by two BBB profiles; one for Sphere Commerce and one for Anovia Payments. Sphere Commerce currently has a “D-” rating with the Better Business Bureau and is not BBB accredited, while Anovia Payments now has no rating with the BBB and is not accredited. The company is showing 19 complaints between the two profiles over the last 36 months. 9 of the complaints were due to a problem with a product or service, 9 were billing or collections issues, and 1 was an issue with advertising or sales. 6 of these 19 complaints were resolved by the company to the satisfaction of the merchant. The remaining 13 were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or received no final response.

What Merchants Say

Sphere has also received 8 informal reviews on their BBB profile. 7 of these reviews are negative in tone. The latest review that was negative in tone describes hidden fees and problems with cancellation:

Started with this company to handle credit card processing and planned to switch from using square. I can not put into words the frustration! $17.95 monthly, ok, .15-.18 per transaction, ok, I’ll never know how drafting out $181 from 6 transactions could possibly be attempted.. but it was with nothing I can do. Possibly the worst part I was under contract for 3 more years with a monthly that ended up being $55 monthly , please close this criminal company

Merchants 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.”

How Expensive is Sphere Service?

Rates, Fees, and Contract Terms

Don't Fall Into An Expensive Trap. See Who The Worst Processors Are.

Cost Summary

Swiped Rate
2.69% + $0.19
Keyed-In Rate
3.69% + $0.19
Virtual Terminal Rate
1.00% - 4.99%
Payment Gateway Fee
Undisclosed
Early Termination Fee
$495
PCI Compliance Fee
$19.95 Per Month
Anovia Insights Fee
$22 Per Month
Monthly Service Fee
$30 Per Month

Three-Year Contract

Sphere 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 merchant 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 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. Merchants who 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. Merchants 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 merchant cancels during a small window of opportunity. Merchants who 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, merchants 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 merchants who terminate may face a liquidated damages fee calculated by multiplying the number of months remaining in the contract by the merchant’s 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-withholding, which may be related to account setup errors. We encourage merchants 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 merchant 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 Commerce virtual terminal

Sphere Commerce offers e-commerce solutions, including a virtual terminal

Does Sphere Use Deceptive Marketing?

Advertising & Sales Strategy

Audit Your Current Statement To Find Its Hidden Fees

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Key Points

Employs Independent Resellers
Yes
Advertises Deceptive Rates
No
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 merchants. 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 merchants. In addition, merchants interact with Sphere for the entire sales process, and ACN representatives are not involved directly with merchants. 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 merchants 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 merchants’ current rates, but some merchants dispute whether this guarantee is fulfilled. Other SphereCommerce complaints 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 Merchant 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.”

Does Sphere Deserve Your Business?

Review Summary & Our Thoughts

Not a Recommended Processor At This Time

According to the company’s complaint trends, Sphere rates as an average merchant services provider. The company appears to have some issues related to customer service and sales tactics, and its pricing appears to be more expensive than average for the industry. Merchants are encouraged to inquire about all possible fees before signing up with Sphere, and to compare it to more affordable options with better reviews.

Customer & Employee Reviews

What Others Are Saying About Sphere

8 Responses

  • Daniel Toth

    I agree. I want currently challenging a change off from them that was sent to collections of $1120 just because I cancelled after one month of service. I can’t find any supporting documents that state that I agree to that. Wish me luck in getting it removed and DON’T get into business with them.

    Toth Network Construction LLC

  • Glenda

    Very Very bad experience. I will not recommend ANYONE use this company.

  • Zach Blenkinsopp

    I am an 80% disabled veteran and own a small construction business. We signed through a friend with Anovia payments at a nominal charge of $15-$30 a month. After a year or so, we stopped doing residential jobs, therefore, we didn’t need the processing service anymore. Apparently, Sphere bought out Anovia and tried to charge us an absurd rate of $500 to cancel, but I believe we settled at $300 just to get rid of the service.

    The next thing I know, I get a $1,850 delinquent account on my PERSONAL Credit Report! As a small business owner, my credit score is vital to our success. I am disgusted there are businesses like this out there. If you work for a dishonest company like this, you should be ashamed of yourself.

  • Jyoti Sharma

    I have been in business for last 20 years this is worst credit card processing company I have ever used I have given them my 6 business account which are supposed to funded next day that never happened on top of that they put chargeback on my account without any customer dispute calling it a risk transaction with out any information .when I call them the representative put me to Rick department to the person Named Michal who called himself the decision maker with worst attitude not ready to listen and not to help .you end up begging for your own hard earned money and on top of that he holds all my accounts for no reason .so guys please be aware of this company and it’s not a small amount it’s $3400 dollars and the chargeback is for $3650 unbelievable when I ask them to put me the higher authority to speak ,the customer service Lady Armanda said there is no body is higher than him and she won’t let me speak to Manger.one more thing I came to know they are holding reserves on your accounts without your knowledge.so if you still want to do business with them Good luck.

  • David

    This is a really bad company. I know that they bought one seemingly great running company (trust commerce) and one really shitty run company (anovia) and combined them to form Sphere in late 2017. It looks like they took out all the Execs at trust. I’ve work with trust since almost 2009 and they have gone downhill since Sphere took over. Sad, I wanted to work there since 2010, as well as most people I know in the industry. It was a company that I admired and there aren’t many of those these days.. The people, the products and leadership was 1st class. Now it’s another cruddy iso. Stay away, far away!!!

    Please don’t use my name. Thank you.

  • Camille

    Although this company did offer me a lower transaction fee, there are ALOT of hidden fees associated with this company. They also will not tell you that once you sign up with you are locked into a 3 year contract. If you cancel you will pay a $500 cancellation fee. There are other fee as well such as insurance and account fees that are determined bases your monthly transaction.

    I understand that there are fees associated with every merchant service but none of the additional fees or contract was discussed prior to me signing up.

    ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!!


    This post will help: Cancelling a Merchant Account Without Paying a Fee

    -Phillip

  • Alan Wu

    DO NOT USE THIS COMPANY AT ALL COST!!

    One of the worst mistake i ever made. I signed up with Anovia 5 years ago (later on got brought or became Sphere) because one of my friend talked me into it and i thought why not, i got a good merchant service and also help out my friend. Turned out it was the worst mistake i have ever made.
    2 years ago i stopped receiving electronic statements for no reason and due to the business growing so i overlooked this; later on i found out they have been charged me so called “anovia insight” hidde fee for $50/month for almot 2 years; i called them back and asked them what it was, the rep said it was a new way to help us analyze the data which i didn’t request or needed. I asked for the refund and they put me thru the loops of the phone calls and was never successful. The represntative, Alex Spink, so called the retention specaliest, was not very hepful as well. While I was talking to him, I asked him why all the hidden fees were charged and the exact words he toled me was “we all have to make money somehow” (no joke).
    When I was ready to switch out the service in the middle of May this year but they told me they have automatically renewal my contract for another year because it was expired in early May. In order for me to cancel the contract I will have to pay $595 cancellation fee.

    How can the company renewal my contract without any notice? I called Alex back and he told me it was in the contract I signed 4 years ago. I requested a copy of the contract for review and it’s has been almost 2 months still haven’t gotten it. In the meantime I decided to go with another company just waited it out until contract expires, but I just checked my bank statement and showed a charged $161 for the service I don’t even use! This is ridiculous. Absolute scam! I am currenlty looking into the banking regulation and laws and see how I can get out of this mess. DO NOT USE THIS COMPANY AT ALL COST!!


    This post will help: Cancelling a Merchant Account Without Paying a Fee

    -Phillip

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Phillip Parker
Credit Card Processors
2 min read
8 Comments
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