Update 1/9/2019: Sphyra no longer appears to be an active brand. Google is reporting that Sphyra has closed its Spokane, Washington location, and the company’s Facebook page has been deleted. The Sphyra website is also inactive. Four of Sphyra’s managers are now working together at a company called RedFynn. See our RedFynn review for more information.
Sphyra (sphyra.com), also known as Merchant Services Direct, is a Spokane, Washington-based merchant account provider with several alternate business names on file with the Better Business Bureau. As of this update, the BBB lists “Boost Commerce,” “The Home Office,” “The Direct Processing Center,” and “World Wide Solutions Systems” as active DBAs of Sphyra, although the relationships between Sphyra and these companies are not specified. It could be that these are sub-ISOs of Sphyra, or they might be unrelated ventures.
The most noteworthy DBA of Sphyra is Merchant Services Direct LLC. This appears to be the name under which Sphyra formerly operated, but the old website for Merchant Services Direct (msdmerchants.com) is no longer active. This probably has something to do with the fact that Merchant Services Direct was the subject of legal action by the Federal Trade Commission and the Attorney General of Washington in 2013. The FTC and the Attorney General’s office sought action against Merchant Services Direct for what they alleged to be “a pattern of false and unsubstantiated claims” (including slamming tactics) being made by the company’s sales team. This was an uncommon case within the credit card processing industry, as it sought damages from a company based on misrepresentation of transaction rates and lease terms by its independent sales agents (ISAs). As of this update, both legal actions have been settled. Merchant Services Direct has been ordered to pay a total of $175,000 in damages to federal regulators and the state of Washington, and the company’s owners are prohibited from using deceptive sales tactics going forward.
For the remainder of this review, we will refer to the company as Sphyra, but some of the business practices we describe are also likely to have taken place when the company was operating as Merchant Services Direct.