|Sales & Marketing|
|Costs & Contract|
|Complaints & Service|
UPDATE – 2/23/2016: In the continuing saga that has become Flint, the company announced today that it now has more “runway” for Flint’s operations. What exactly is meant by this cryptic message is anyone’s guess as we have yet to receive a response to any of our queries; however, those who have taken the time to transition their Flint account to Stripe will be able to continue accepting payments into March and “hopefully beyond” according to the company. Flint claims that “thousands” have made the transition and that “All of you can continue to use your Flint app and your merchant portal without interruption.” Thanks Flint, I’m sure that all the users you’ve left in a lurch over the last couple weeks are elated to have your permission to use your app for an indefinite and likely finite time-frame.
Due to the nature of Flint’s extremely poor management of this situation and complete disregard for clear communication or transparency surrounding it, we feel compelled to caution merchants against continuing with Flint’s services until such time the company demonstrates stability and open dialogue regarding these circumstances.
UPDATE – 2/22/2016: According to several sources, Flint Mobile is permanently discontinuing its services and is directing merchants to transition to Stripe if they wish to continue processing credit card transactions. Merchants who make the transition to Stripe will be subject to Stripe’s standard processing fees, which are more expensive than that which Flint was charging.
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 built into 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.
Merchants who sign up for service through Flint may establish a merchant account with Flint or link their existing merchant accounts to the Flint app. Flint released App2App Connect, a simple way for app developers to add a “Take Payment” button to sales-oriented apps, in early 2015 and released support for Android tablets in April 2015. As one final note, Flint previously supported only Visa and MasterCard, but it is now able to accept American Express and Discover cards as well. Greg Goldfarb is the CEO and co-founder of Flint.
|Flint Products and Services||Industries Served|
|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 reseller program, Flint+, to market its services. The company does not employ a team of outside sales agents, and there are currently no complaints online about its marketing tactics. The Flint website provides an easy-to-understand explanation of its rates and lists its fees upfront, and we have not located any evidence that these rates are misleadingly quoted. Pricing doesn’t get much simpler or more clearly disclosed than it is with Flint, and we have accordingly awarded the company an “A+” rating in this category.
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.
One possible issue that merchants may encounter with the service is the company’s seven-day deposit limit. For new users, Flint sets a limit of $1,000 in any trailing seven-day period and a per-invoice limit of $250. Any amounts processed in excess of these limits will be held for 30 days. These limits can be increased through a request form on the company’s website, and a company representative has clarified the process of increasing limits further in the comment section of this review. Most merchants who have issues with Flint’s processing limits do concede that they were informed of their account restrictions upon signup.
There is one other drawback to Flint’s sign-up process. Like its mobile payments competitors, the company appears to prioritize ease of sign-up, which means that merchants are usually approved for a Flint Mobile account before Flint’s underwriting department can make a detailed assessment of the merchant’s risk for fraud or illegal activity. With other companies, this has resulted in sudden termination of services and large fund holds for merchants, which is often compounded by the minimal customer support offered by these companies. Flint offers live support, which is a major plus, and the service is not showing a large complaint volume in relation to its fraud prevention policies at this time. Even so, merchants are encouraged to carefully read the company’s list of prohibited activities and inquire about processing limits before signing up.
|Key Points – Complaints & Service|
|Live customer support:||Yes|
|Most common complaint:||Processing limits|
We are currently able to locate over 40 Flint negative reviews outside of the BBB at this time, some of which accuse the company of being a scam. Nearly all of these complaints are related to software or hardware issues, excessive requests for private information, fund holds, account cancellation, or poor customer service. While the company’s complaint total has grown since our last update, the fact that Flint is a growing organization with a very low barrier to signup means that that it will inevitably receive some complaints from inexperienced or confused merchants. In fact, Flint 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 phone support with its service, but it must be scheduled ahead of time. Live chat and email support are also available.
|Key Points – BBB Report|
Flint is currently not accredited with the Better Business Bureau and is showing an “A+” rating based on 25 overall complaints. Eleven complaints were filed due to a problem with the product or service, nine were related to billing and collection disputes, three had to to with advertising, one was due to a delivery issue, and one was due to a warranty issue. Flint has successfully resolved eight complaints, while the remaining 17 either were resolved to the dissatisfaction of the merchant or did not receive a final response from the merchant. We believe that “A+” ratings should be reserved for companies with perfect or near-perfect complaint records through the BBB. We have therefore adjusted Flint’s rating to an “A-” for the purposes of this review.
* Denotes CPO-adjusted BBB score
Related: Best Processors For E-Commerce
This review was originally published on 10/24/13 and was last updated on 1/12/16.
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