updated 10:12 pm EST, Sat February 2, 2013
Flint takes on Square with new app
Flint is taking on the bigger players in the mobile payment market, pushing out a product for credit card payments that doesn't rely on a card reader like Square or other competitors. Instead, the app uses image recognition algorithms to read the numbers off of a card's face and process a transaction that way.
"It doesn't take a picture of the card," Flint CEO Greg Goldfarb tells me, anticipating my question. "It just reads the numbers, and we do that to protect consumer privacy."
The system Flint's developed seems nifty and well-realized, especially for a first-time app developer. Flint allows users to link an account to their business' Facebook page. Customers will then have the option to share testimonials directly to a business' page, as well as to their own wall.
Aside from the app (currently iOS-exclusive), Flint also maintains a web portal, allowing users to run analytics on their sales and to target customers for additional communications.
It will be interesting to see how the app fares against the competition. The number recognition feature works quickly, but it still seems maybe a step slower than simply swiping a card. The tradeoff, though, is that a retailer doesn't have to pay for a card reader dongle and can start accepting payments very quickly after downloading the free app.
"We've had people going from downloading the app from the App Store to processing their first transaction, literally, in two or five minutes."