Flint aims to go beyond Square
If Square did anything, it validated the market for simple tools that allow businesses to accept credit-cards.
Tons of competitors have rushed into the market--tech behemoth Bank of America is among the most notable new entrants--and most offer an add-on device similar to the Square dongle. Some are square shaped, some are triangular and all are trying to stand out.
Enter Flint, of Redwood, CA. The company "is taking on Square by offering mobile payments to small merchants who are anti-dongle (in other words, averse to the plug-in card-swiping gadgets of Square, Intuit and Verizon) and anti-POS terminal," according to btn.
"How it works: using the Flint iPhone app, a merchant takes a photo of the portion of the customer's credit card number; Flint's proprietary optical character recognition converts the image snippet to machine-readable text. The image snipped and number are encrypted. The customer types in the card expiration date and CVV code. The customer can also type in their email address to receive an emailed receipt."
PayPal's app also allows for images to be used as an alternative to the dongle, but Flint is really trying to play up the fact that it offers a dongle-less option as a marketing tool. Flint launched the app in November and says the early uptake has been encouraging.