Flint (flint.com) is a mobile payment processing service offered by Flint Mobile, a startup headquartered in Redwood City, California. Flint’s smartphone-based processing app places it in direct competition with popular services like Square and GoPayment, but there are a few significant differences between this service and its rivals. Most notably, Flint eschews a dongle or card reader in favor of enabling merchants to scan credit card numbers with the cameras in their iPhones and Android smartphones. The payments are securely processed and are never stored in a merchant’s phone, and Flint advertises one- to two-day depositing of funds. Merchants can also key in a customer’s credit card number with no increase in fees.
The Flint mobile app offers transaction history tracking and Facebook integration, which may be appealing for merchants looking to cultivate a social media presence. The service is also integrated with QuickBooks online, which enables it to sync all transactions automatically with a merchant’s QuickBooks account. Merchants who sign up for service through Flint must establish a merchant account with the company’s processor, so it does not appear that they can integrate their existing merchant accounts at this time. As one final note, Flint currently supports only Visa and MasterCard, meaning that users will have to establish processing through American Express independently.
|Key Points – Sales & Marketing|
|Uses independent resellers?||Yes|
|Promotes deceptive rate quotes?||No|
|Discloses all important terms?||Yes|
Flint appears to primarily rely on its website and its new reseller program, Flint+, to market its services. The company does not employ a team of sales agents, and there are currently no complaints online about its marketing tactics. The Flint website provides an easy-to-use rate calculator and lists its fees upfront, and we have not located any evidence that these rates are misleadingly quoted.
Flint Marketing Example
|Key Points – Costs & Contract Terms|
|Swiped rate:||1.95% or 2.95%|
|Keyed-in rate:||1.95% or 2.95%|
|PCI compliance fee:||None|
Flint offers flat pricing that is calculated in a simple and novel way for the industry. For debit card payments, merchants pay 1.95% of each transaction. For credit card payments, merchants pay 2.95% of each transaction. These rates do not change depending on whether the transaction was swiped or keyed, and there are no termination fees, monthly fees, or PCI compliance fees associated with the account. Merchants can terminate at any time without penalty.
|Key Points – Complaints & Service|
|Live customer support:||Yes|
|Most common complaint:||Limited features|
We are currently able to locate only a handful of Flint negative reviews outside of the BBB at this time, indicating that the company is not a ripoff or a scam. This is a relatively new service, so it is possible that it has yet to receive the complaints that come with widespread use, but it is showing mostly positive reviews in both the iTunes App Store and the Android Market. Users cite its ease of use, its customizable receipt system, its clear pricing, and the ability to function without a card reader as highlights of the service. One reviewer balked at having to provide their email password to allow the service to send customizable receipts, but this shouldn’t be an issue for merchants who keep separate email addresses for their businesses. Flint offers live phone support with its service, which gives it a major advantage over Square and may be largely responsible for the total absence of complaints about the company.
|Key Points – BBB Report|
Flint is currently not accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and is showing an “A-” rating based on two overall complaints. One complaint was filed due to a problem with the product or service, while the other was related to a delivery issue. Both were resolved with BBB assistance. The BBB cites the company’s length of time in business as the primary factor lowering its rating. Given the company’s complaint rate and resolution ratio, we have slightly adjusted its grade to an “A” in this category.
Flint appears to be an innovative and reliable mobile processing option according to all available information. The service is still very new, so it’s possible that complaints will pop up as it continues to grow. That said, the central concept of the app provides an intriguing alternative to its competitors, and Flint’s pricing is transparent and competitive.
This review was originally published on 10/24/13 and was last updated on 8/15/14.
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