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Flint mobile payment system replaces card readers with iPhone's camera

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Mobile payment solutions company Flint looks to take on established names in the segment with its new app, which eschews magnetic card readers for a unique camera-based image-recognition system.

Flint


Flint (AppStore) is taking on the bigger players in the mobile payment market with a new credit card payment product that doesn't rely on a card reader like Square, PayPal and other competitors. Instead, the app uses image recognition algorithms to read the numbers off of a card's face and process a transaction that way.

"It doesn't take a picture of the card," Flint CEO Greg Goldfarb tells me, anticipating my question. "It just reads the numbers, and we do that to protect consumer privacy."

Flint


The system Flint created is nifty and well-realized, especially for a first-time app developer. Flint allows users to link an account to their business' Facebook page. Customers will then have the option to share testimonials directly to a business' page, as well as to their own wall.

Aside from the app (currently an iOS-exclusive), Flint also maintains a web portal, allowing users to run analytics on their sales and to target customers for additional communications.

Flint


It will be interesting to see how the app fares against the competition. The number recognition feature works quickly, but it still feels a step slower than simply swiping a card. The tradeoff, though, is that a retailer doesn't have to pay for a card reader dongle and can start accepting payments very quickly after downloading the free app.

"We've had people going from downloading the app from the App Store to processing their first transaction, literally, in two or five minutes," Goldfarb said.
post #2 of 14
Link: https://www.flint.com/
post #3 of 14
Con: you have to give Flint your social security number or tax ID in order to create an account.

No thanks. I'll stick with Square.
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by rumpels View Post

Con: you have to give Flint your social security number or tax ID in order to create an account.

No thanks. I'll stick with Square.

I thought Square required it when signing up. I honestly can't remember. 

 

I DO know Square will report annual transactions of $20,000 or more to the IRS, so there has to be a way for them to link it to the user for tax purposes. 

 

All of these credit card processing apps/companies are required to report the aforementioned transaction totals. 

post #5 of 14
This will make it even easier for waitstaff and counter help to skim money off unsuspecting customers' cards. 1oyvey.gif

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

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   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

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post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

This will make it even easier for waitstaff and counter help to skim money off unsuspecting customers' cards. 1oyvey.gif

 

Cold hard truth. If they can. Take the card out of your sight, they can skim money off you. All they need is a shot of the details to load it on a blank and have at it. 

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #7 of 14

This will quite obviously never take off in any big way at all, never be adopted by any company with an employee count larger than 1, and never be even half as secure as even NFC, which is itself, notoriously insecure (but still somehow a contender).  

 

Anyone investing money into this poop is seriously dreaming.  

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

This will make it even easier for waitstaff and counter help to skim money off unsuspecting customers' cards. 1oyvey.gif

 

Cold hard truth. If they can. Take the card out of your sight, they can skim money off you. All they need is a shot of the details to load it on a blank and have at it. 

 

If they were working of an image of your credit card taken on the sly, it could be weeks or months later that they ever processed charges against it.  Scary how this lowers the bar for the bad guys.  I'm surprised to see Visa/MC/Amex on board with this.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rumpels View Post

Con: you have to give Flint your social security number or tax ID in order to create an account.

No thanks. I'll stick with Square.

 

Thieves will always have a ready supply of stolen SSNs or Tax IDs to work with.  Maybe even yours.  :(

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

Reply

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

Reply
post #9 of 14
As things are now, someone could write down your credit card info and enter it manually into almost any POS without difficulty; this does not pose any novel security risks.
post #10 of 14
Takes too many hands (for wallet/pocketbook, credit card, camera and data entry), and too much time. Strikes me as really cumbersome. Clunky, like this demo:

http://www.finovate.com/spring12vid/flintmo.html
post #11 of 14
Originally Posted by DeanSolecki View Post
As things are now, someone could write down your credit card info and enter it manually into almost any POS without difficulty…

 

I always read that as the other acronym in my head. I have no idea why; I don't talk like that. It makes these conversations slightly more humorous, but I can see that thought being a subconscious detriment to adoption of this sort of thing if it becomes pervasive. 

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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post #12 of 14

I thought it would help to clarify a couple things in the comment stream here. 

From a security point of view, Flint meets PCI-DSS requirements and processes payments through major financial services providers.  All transaction information is securely transmitted and no sensitive data or images are stored on the merchants phone.

(By way of background, I have received extensive training in payment card security auditing and hold a CISSP certification.  In full disclosure I am also a security architect for Flint Mobile)

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

This will quite obviously never take off in any big way at all, never be adopted by any company with an employee count larger than 1, and never be even half as secure as even NFC, which is itself, notoriously insecure (but still somehow a contender).  

I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic, but assuming you're not, you sound like an idiot.

 

1) This and other similar services (Square, etc.) were basically designed for businesses with an employee count of 1. It allows merchants who couldn't previously accept credit card payments to now be able to: craft show merchants, farmer's market stands, etc.

2) Assuming that the card image isn't stored on the iOS device, this is no more or less secure than handing your card to an employee at a store. And it's already more secure than NFC since it isn't invisibly broadcasting your data.

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic, but assuming you're not, you sound like an idiot.

 

Why do some people feel the need to insult others like that?  It doesn't promote your case.

 

Quote:
1) This and other similar services (Square, etc.) were basically designed for businesses with an employee count of 1. It allows merchants who couldn't previously accept credit card payments to now be able to: craft show merchants, farmer's market stands, etc.

 

True.  Of course, mobile payment devices date back at least two decades, so those merchants have always had that capability if they wanted it.  This is just a bit easier to get started with.

 

Quote:

2) Assuming that the card image isn't stored on the iOS device, this is no more or less secure than handing your card to an employee at a store. 

 

The difference is, a card swiper reads the stripe info.   So an id thief would at least have to spend the extra effort to encode the data on a fake card.

 

For this visual recognition method, the thief doesn't even have to do that.

 

Quote:
And it's already more secure than NFC since it isn't invisibly broadcasting your data.

 

Of course it has to transmit your data over the cellular / wifi network.   

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