Talking tech since 2003

When my band released its first CD last year, we signed up with Square to allow each of us to use our smartphones as mobile registers. With the app installed on all of our phones, any one of us could sell CDs to anyone who came to our shows, or even just people we met in everyday life. The problem, of course, is that between the four of us, there was only one card reader that we could share. As it turned out, with only one card reader, we weren’t able to sell nearly as many items as we would’ve liked. Mobile payments rival Flint Mobile, however, thinks it has the solution.

Instead of mailing a card-reading dongle attachment for users to swipe customers’ cards through, Flint’s mobile payments app instead allows users to simply snap a photo of the credit or debit card number and manually enter card verification data. According to the company, “no data or image is stored on the phone,” which should (though won’t necessarily) put consumers nervous about credit card security at ease. Furthermore, the app has built-in social marketing options, which will allow happy customers to tweet or Facebook-post positive feedback about the business.

Said Flint’s CEO and co-founder Greg Goldfarb:

“Flint’s mission is to empower everyday small business users who are out and about and who are underserved by other solutions. We’ve worked very closely with our beta users to develop a compelling app and are excited to make it available to a broader audience.”

This all sounds fairly interesting, and like it might make a great replacement for users stymied by other mobile payment apps. But there’s at least one big speed bump in terms of Flint’s ability to beat Square in terms of widespread adoption: platforms. As of now, Flint Mobile is only available on iOS devices. I’m told by a Flint PR rep that Android and Windows Mobile versions of the app are “down the road a bit.” That’s good in the long term, but two of our band members are Android users. In the meantime, chances we’ll have to stick with Square and pass around our credit card swiper.

But Flint has made enough of a case for me to be optimistic about its possibilities in the future. I’ll keep my eye out for the Android version when it comes out. Anyone out there interested in giving Flint a try until then? Let us know in the comments.

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