Spare Change Payments

Spare Change Payments was an online payments company specifically designed for conducting micro-payments inside games and applications on Facebook and other social networking sites.

The company was the first to offer a micro-payment solution for social networking application developers shortly after Facebook opened its Facebook Platform. It operated a virtual goods monetization platform that allowed users to deposit funds into a central Spare Change account that they could then spend across multiple games and applications on the social network, and was a precursor to Facebook Credits.

The company pioneered and evangelized the move for app developers away from advertising based monetization models toward micro-payment models and the sale of virtual goods. In March 2009, Spare Change was reported to be processing $30M of payments across 700 applications on Facebook, MySpace and Bebo and to have over 1M wallet accounts.

Company history

Spare Change Payments was founded in 2007 by Mark Rose, Simon Ru and Lex Bayer, with offices in Cupertino, California. In April 2009, the company was acquired by PlaySpan, which was subsequently acquired for $190M by Visa Inc, in February 2011. The staff and technology at Spare Change and PlaySpan was ultimately used to build out Visa Checkout. The idea with Visa Checkout Checkout is that if you want to do something like ordering from Pizza Hut online, you will be able to “check out” with Visa right from merchants’ websites and apps. Visa designed it to be simple and as quick as possible, only requiring a username and password to check out once you’ve registered.

The original founders of Spare Change, have started the next traunch of companies including Ridezu, a social carpooling founded by Mark Rose and UpNest (formerly LessThan6Percent), a realtor marketplace founded by Simon Ru.


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