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Spark Pay

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Spark Pay Review

    Melissa Johnson
  • 52 comments
  • Updated on:
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Date Established
2013
Location
Tysons Corner, VA
Melissa Johnson

Melissa Johnson

Melissa Johnson has been writing about payment processing and mobile payments since 2014, and has been quoted in articles for Credit Karma and The Next Web, among others. She graduated from The University of Kansas in 2010 with bachelor's degrees in English and journalism.



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52 Comments

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    Susan White

    Stay away from this merchant. Maybe OK for a dollar or two transaction, but when I put a large legitimate transaction through for a customer, they put me through the ringer, and even after I sent them all of their stupid documents they requested and getting a signature from my customer and wasting my whole day and possible losing the sale, the fricking morons still wanted my customer’s phone number to verify again. What is f’ing world coming to. I flipped out of course because being both embarassing and disturbing it paints a bigger picture about these crooked banks. I did believe in Capital One but now I have my doubts may just go back to cash again…disgusting, disgusting, disgusting. Ruined my day and I hope they have nightmares!!

    1

      This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

      Luke steckel

      Spark pay was fine for our gift shop transactions of a few to couple hundred dollars. It was terrible for a large contracting deposit. After taking the transaction, Spark contacted us the following day by email, noting that we would need to submit a signed contract, certain customer info, and a credit card authorization form . I received three calls from a team member, who still hasn’t called me back after two messages. I got customer service on the phone , who explained that the transaction was large and randomly flagged for fraud protection. After lengthy conversation, I was promised that if we sent the signed customer contract, that funds would be released upon receipt. We sent it. We then got an email stating that we also needed to send three months bank statements and two years tax returns for review before payment would be released. We are a week in to the transaction and Spark has made us look like fools to our customer and have requested about as much info as it takes to get a mortgage. I didn’t have faith that Spark wouldn’t arbitrarily change the rules for the fourth time, so I asked how to make the madness stop and we would receive payment another way. Get this, they said that I had to refund the transaction that they took, held for a week and not transfer to us. Do they make interest while they hold funds? It is a terrible way to run business. Why do they take transactions that require further info? Why don’t they refuse the transaction before they start this mess? Is it even legal? I have plenty of charges on my cards declined for fraud protection. I call in, verify info and charges and the card gets unlocked. Spark can be a terrible inconvenience. I won’t use it again . I can’t take the risk of them making new rules arbitrarily to ‘protect’ my business, even though their actions were the ones hurting my business.

      1

        This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

        amahl

        Don’t do it! I was enticed by the competitive rates and what appeared to be a very user-friendly app. It’s a disaster. Set up from the admin side on desktop is beyond inept. You basically can’t do anything yourself and will be constantly having to call customer service to get them to make basic administrative changes for you. (I will say this, their customer service reps are very good and there’s no wait time, no phone tree nightmare run-around). Worst of all, they won’t do monthly billing–instead you have to look at each individual transaction and manually enter the fee in your bookkeeping software. This is insane–every other service out there will give you one lump sum at the end of the month. We do over $30,000 a month in transactions–I can’t be adding in the service fee manually from each transaction. Utter idiocy. There are other problems but that’s the main deal-breaker for me. Don’t do it!

        2

          This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

          Priscilla Mendez

          Hello everyone,
          How would spark work in a Grooming Business. I would be ring up anywhere from $40-$200.
          What should i look out for in my situation?

            This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

            Sonyta

            Hi Tom, Thank you for such a detailed review! I have a small marble company that supplies & distributes stone marble & granite; sales range from $400+. We do not do online sales. We have always used the older system where we only accept: check, cash, or wire transfer and I am looking to upgrade to using a credit card system & to integrate with our current Quickbooks. We don’t receive too many requests for credit card but think that it’ll be a nice/ faster feature to also include as an alternative option. We are currently using Quickbooks Premier, so I was leaning towards the Intuit QuickBooks GoPayment, but after an intensive research I realized that there are more hidden fees & negative reviews in terms of simple processing in sales + almost to non-existent customer service. So, this is why I am wondering if Spark Pay would be the best choice for me. What are your thoughts? Suggestions?

            5

              This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

              clint

              spark pay still does not have an emv reader. according to their faq https://sparkpay.zendesk.com/entries/83693019-When-will-Spark-Pay-offer-EMV-enabled-card-readers-supposedly there will be one in 1st qtr of 2016. I love how some of these companies are dragging their feet.

              1

                This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                Forrest

                Great review! I could use some advice, my business needs unique help. I own a private sports club for an individual sport, I charge for monthly/bimonthly group classes, and for private lessons. I want to have automatic billing set for the monthly/bimonthly classes, and card present mobile billing for private lessons. Is there something I could use that could do both? Thanks for any advice!

                5

                  This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                  Melissa Johnson

                  Hi, Forrest!

                  For an additional monthly fee, you can enable recurring billing with PayPal and use PayPal Here to process for in-person payments. Neither Square nor Flint has this capability, though.

                  You can also find these features with a merchant account, but it’ll depend on how much volume you process, whether it’s worth going that route.

                    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                    Amy

                    Hi Tom,
                    I am starting my own massage therapy business after working for a fitness club for 10 years. I’m not sure yet what I will average for credit card income per month but know it will be less then 10k. I need a very reliable mobile option. Since I offer a service and not a product, clients will most likely be present for transactions and I will have no chargebacks. Printed receipts should not be needed if there is an email option. What company do you recommend will be easiest and in my best interest to use?
                    Thanks,
                    Amy

                      This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                      Leo Leilles

                      Hi! We are a distributor with accounts in various US states.
                      Invoice amounts are $500 – $5000. Orders are via email and we’ll send them an invoice generated in quickbooks. We cannot afford any troubles with the processor as it could affect our business tremendously.
                      Which processor would you recommend?
                      Thank you very much!

                        This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                        Tom DeSimone

                        Hi Leo,

                        To have customers pay directly from the invoice, I believe you have to use QuickBooks Payments. If this is not an important feature for you, then you an use any number of different processors. One good one to check out for your type of business is CDGcommerce.

                        If you’d like integrated payments but you do not want to use QuickBooks Payments, consider other invoicing options.

                        Hope this helps!

                          This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                          T-po Services, LLC, Martha Voorhees, Owner

                          I would recommend that you steer clear of Spark Pay. My experience has been rude customer service and false accusations of fraudulent use of the credit card app. My biggest and most important customer cannot pay me by credit card without his payment being held by Spark Pay for a full 6 months. Spark Pay refused to disclose the reason for their claim of suspicious activity and they refuse to release the money paid by my client for my services. My Capital One Branch Manager and bank staff were completely shocked and embarrassed at the way the Spark Pay representative spoke to me. I have been a good customer for years at Capital One. They carefully help me set up my business account and sold me on the idea of Spark Pay as a means of providing my customers an easy way to pay for my services. Now I have to insult my customer by refunding his payment and asking him to either write a check, pay in cash, or purchase a money order. I cannot even give my customer a valid reason for Spark rejecting his payment because Spark refuses to give me a reason. Spark has humiliated and embarrassed both me and my customer, has caused us both significant inconvenience, has prevented me from use of funds that I earned and has completely embarrassed my bank branch Manager and financial staff. I believe everyone is taking a huge risk to their credibilty with their customers and ability to pay business expenses because Spark Pay can without explanation or due cause arbitrarily hold funds earned by your services and paid by your customers in good faith. In my case they maintain that they will hold my business earnings for at least 6 months. Don’t risk your business reputation nor the reputation of your customers.

                            This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                            McFarlane Asphalt

                            This is one of the returned emails from Sparkpay. I have never accepted credit cards before and was amazed that they will hold 50% of your total revenue for a full 1/3 of the year, before crediting it to you.
                            I also noticed that Tom has not commented on the other posts with the same concern…

                            Hi David,
                            Thank you for your email. Yes, that is correct. With a rolling reserve we take 50% from each transaction and hold it in a non-interest bearing account for 120 days. After 120 days, we will release the reserve to the bank account attached to your Spark Pay account. This allows us to cover potential losses incurred by any disputes. The decision to revise the rolling reserve can be revisited after six months.
                            Alternatively, you may choose to refund your initial transaction to the card holder and close your account.
                            We appreciate your business and thanks again for choosing Spark Pay! If you have any questions please feel free to contact us by email or by phone at 877-231-7547.

                            Sincerely,

                            Credit Support
                            Spark Pay by Capital One Bank
                            1.877.231.7547
                            ms-SparkPay@CapitalOne.com

                              This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                              Tom DeSimone

                              Hi David,

                              I really appreciate that you took the time to write in about this, and I assure you that we take all comments into consideration, even when we don’t respond to them directly.

                              Holding funds in reserve is not the status quo for Spark Pay, but it can happen. All payment processing agreements have language that allows the provider to withhold funds in reserve at their discretion, and Spark Pay is no different. The 50% 120-day rolling reserve is really annoying (and for some businesses simply not sustainable), but it is actually preferable when compared to the protocols of many other providers, such as Square, who often will withhold 100% of funds and suspend the account if they perceive increased risk.

                              Spark Pay will usually only instate a rolling reserve if a number of chargebacks have occurred or if there has been an unusual processing pattern or occurrence, such as larger transactions or a higher average ticket than outlined in the application. They may also use a rolling reserve for certain business types that have a (perceived) increased risk of chargebacks or fraud.

                              If this practice is not sustainable/acceptable for your business, we have reviewed a number of other mobile processors that might be able to help you out. But also be aware that funding holds are going to be a possibility no matter who you process with.

                              Thank you again for taking the time to share your experience. I will be updating the review today to include information about the possibility of a rolling reserve with Spark Pay.

                              -Tom

                                This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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