Upstart Flint taps smartphone cameras for mobile payments

By cutting out the need for separate card reader, the startup hopes to make it simpler for small businesses to test mobile transactions.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

Many of the mobile payment solutions for accepting credit cards on-the-go rely on separate readers to collect the card information.

A new option from upstart Flint Mobile, which just received $3 million in Series A venture funding, uses your smartphone's camera instead to scan the card number.

Flint's first application is a free iPhone app that lets small-business owners use a smartphone to scan a customer's credit card number using the camera. The merchant is prompted to enter the additional card verification. For security purpose, neither the card image or the associated data is saved on the phone itself, according to Flint Mobile. The application follows PCI DSS guidelines to protect consumer data, the company said.

Flint Mobile is clearly focused on building a following with smaller retailers and companies. It charges 1.95 percent plus 20 cents per transaction for debit card purchases and 2.95 percent plus 20 cents per transaction for credit cards. There are no specific set-up or merchant account costs.

The application also allows merchants or small-business owners to create customized digital receipts for social marketing purposes.

Flint, which is based in Redwood City, Calif., is launching with $3 million in venture capital from Storm Ventures and True Ventures.

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