The world needs more mobile payment options. Sort of. Really, I’m waiting for the day when someone comes up with a service that will keep my banking information on my phone so that I can shop online and complete a purchase simply by tapping a button. Like Amazon’s one-click payment, but for the entire Internet. I know that this is the equivalent of begging the universe for an identity theft crisis, but damn it, I’m willing to risk it.
A new mobile payments startup that launched Wednesday has not brought my dream entirely to fruition, but it’s a step closer. Flint Mobile, a mobile payments service for merchants, announced its beta launch today, as well as a $3 million Series A round of funding led by Storm Ventures and True Ventures.
You’re probably wondering (as I did) what Flint Mobile could possibly be bringing to the table that Square and Google Wallet haven’t already covered. The competition is pretty tight. But Flint Mobile is actually offering a pretty interesting solution, at least for the time being. The company’s free iPhone app allows merchants to process credit card payments by snapping a photo of a customer’s credit card.
I say that this is a good solution for the time being because the future is—according to general consensus—a cardless one. Getting to that point, however, is going to be tricky. Both Square and Google Wallet are still fairly limited in terms of where you can use them, and they require extra hardware that Flint Mobile does away with.
Of course, if someone asked to take a picture of my credit card, I probably wouldn’t go for that. But the company says that no images are actually stored on the phone, and the data is protected according to industry PCI DSS guidelines. Flint has also developed its own patent pending methods for protecting customer data.
“Flint will be a game changer in the world of mobile payments for small businesses,” said Alex Mendez, Founding Managing Director of Storm Ventures, in a statement. “They have created a simple approach that couples payments and social marketing to provide a huge leap forward for the mobile small businesses that form the backbone of our economy. The Flint team consists of seasoned executives who have created market-leading products, and we’re very excited to be teaming up with them.”
The company says it will use the new funds to accelerate product development, hiring, and customer acquisition.