Mobile Credit Card Processing Solutions Compared: Flint Versus Phone Swipe

Flint Processing Solution

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Advantages of Flint Processing Software

Right now, when comparing the two platforms, it seems that Flint has only two possible advantages over Phone Swipe. First, there is Facebook integration. If a merchant really needs Facebook integration within the card processing software and links on the emailed receipts, then this is the one solution that does that. Second, there is the ability to use the phone's camera to "scan" the credit card number for input rather than use a plug-in card reader.


And that is where the "clear" advantages end.


In fact, it seems that the whole point of Flint is that it does not require the hassle of a "card reader dongle." The trade off is that the merchant sacrifices in just about every other aspect.

Phone Swipe Processing Solution

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Advantages of Phone Swipe Processing Software

While it may seem easier to use the built in camera on an iPhone, the bottom line is that while Flint touts the simplicity and speed, it really sounds like a more complicated process. Beyond that, the camera function would be best suited as an alternative for phones that do not work properly with the card reader. While there are a few of those still on the market, they are generally Android models, and the Flint software is currently iOS only. All the current iOS devices work perfectly well with Phone Swipe and the card reader, offering a speedy experience with additional perks.


The other areas that Flint suggests are prime selling points for their solution include a "hassle-free setup." The sign up process has the exact costs associated with it as Phone Swipe (nothing) and takes about the same amount of time. While they pretend that there is no merchant account "headache" involved, they still use a traditional merchant processing bank that merchants will have to qualify with. The big selling point here seems to be that you can start processing right away once an account is activated (no indication how long that takes, but it is presumably within a day or so).


The "real time processing" of transactions, which Flint states can be done in under a minute, is no different than any of its competitors... provided that there is a network connection. Looking around the Flint web site, I could not find any indication that the software is capable of store and forward functionality, which allows Phone Swipe users the option to capture card data when there is no network access and process it later.


Customized receipts are the next big selling point, but again, aside from Facebook integration, the receipts on Phone Swipe can be equally customized. Actually, Phone Swipe allows the inclusion of a web address on the emailed receipts, so that could easily be directed to either a business' homepage or a Facebook page or any other web site. Plus, Phone Swipe receipts come with the added bonus of offering referral fees to merchants whose customers sign up for their own accounts through an embedded link.


Flint offers what they call "customized payment modes," which is really just an item list to speed sales input. Phone Swipe has a far more robust inventory mode that includes categories to make finding the items easier and more efficient. Both offer tip and tax customization, though Flint does have a nifty sliding bar on the signature screen where a client can input a tip by dragging to the desired percentage. While that is pretty cool, it offers no advantage in functionality.


The online portals are virtually identical, though the Phone Swipe portal is being upgraded to include new features that should eventually take advantage of shared inventory among devices and more.


PCI DSS compliance should be about the same for each service. Flint claims not to save any data on the device, either in the form of the scanned card numbers or in key-entered text. Phone Swipe uses an encrypted card reader and also does not store card data on the device.


Speedy payments are the next item that Flint claims as an advantage. With their policy being the industry standard of two business days, they are pretty much in the middle of the pack. Square has a policy to initiate within 36 hours, but no guarantee of whether the bank will deposit the funds within that period. Phone Swipe is among the industry's fastest payers, with most transactions being funded the next business day. The basic rule for Phone Swipe is that transactions processed before 5PM eastern time will be deposited the next business morning. Once again, advantage Phone Swipe.


Nowhere on the Flint web site is there any information about cash-based transactions. Phone Swipe does allow merchants to make cash sales (at no additional cost) so that receipts can be emailed and records can be kept for cash sales.

Star Wireless Printer
Star Wireless Printer
Cash Drawer
Cash Drawer

Hardware Comparison

This is a simple comparison issue. Flint only works with the iPhone at this time, and there is no indication of any supported printers or cash drawers. Phone Swipe, on the other hand, can be used on a wide range of devices, including iOS tablets and phones, Android tablets and phones, and a selection of Blackberry devices. Additionally, many of the Phone Swipe compatible devices are also compatible with wireless printers and and the iPad may also be connected via a cable to a cash drawer.

Mobile Processing Options

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Rate Comparison

Flint claims that it offers a great deal on its low rates, starting at 1.95% +$0.20 per charge, and that it does not charge more for key-entered (or manually entered) transactions. This might sound like a great deal for merchants who do a lot of key-entered transactions, but not so much for those who swipe most cards. And, looking deeper at the costs, it is apparent that the 1.95% only applies to check / debit cards. In fact, credit cards are charged 2.95% + $0.20 per transaction. And Flint only takes Visa and MasterCard branded cards. That means no AMEX and no Discover.


Phone Swipe has a pay-as-you-go plan with the basic swiped rate of 2.69% with no transaction fee for all AMEX charges and that applies to all basic Visa, MasterCard and Discover cards as well. Rewards cards and business signature cards do go through at the higher rate which also applies to key-entered transactions, which is 3.49% plus $0.19. For merchants doing over $2,500 in monthly card sales, it makes sense to pay the $14.95 monthly fee and get a lower rate setup, which can be designed directly with an agent and customized to the merchant. If merchants do over $10,000 in monthly sales, there is a Phone Swipe plan that offers a free iPad placement and rates beginning at 1.69% for Amex and Qualified charges on Visa, MasterCard and Discover along with a lower $12.95 monthly fee.


With the various Phone Swipe solutions available for customized rate structures, there is a very limited range that Flint remains competitive with. Because most check / debit cards are used for small purchases, the additional transaction fee that is applied to those particular charges would dramatically increase the actual net percentage of the transaction. Look at it this way: if a charge is for $5.00, then the transaction fee alone is already 4%. That means, for a $5.00 purchase, the net percentage with Flint using a check / debit card is going to equal 5.95%. The same purchase with Phone Swipe's "Pay-As-You-Go" plan would cost 2.69%. Obviously, with higher ticket amounts the Flint comparison would change, with the net percentage lowering as the ticket amount goes up. For a $50 ticket paid on a check / debit card, the net with Flint would be 2.35% versus the 2.69% with Phone Swipe's "Pay-As-You-Go:; the same ticket paid on a basic Visa or MasterCard would cost 3.35% net with Flint. Of course, a $50 charge on Phone Swipe that is paid with a Rewards Card or a Business Signature Card (or that is keyed in manually) would have a net cost of 3.87%.

Summary

Ultimately, the Flint pricing is not particularly advantageous for merchants with low ticket amounts, even with the lower percentage for debit / check cards. And it may be a detriment for many merchants who would benefit from the ability to accept Discover and AMEX cards. As for the software, aside from Facebook integration and Flint's unique ability to scan the card numbers with the camera (a zip code and the security code from the back of the card also need to be typed in for verification), there is nothing particularly compelling to look at. The process of swiping a card is actually quicker than the combination of scanning the numbers and entering the verification information, so the speed advantage goes to Phone Swipe. And, for merchants desiring the broadest customer base, the ability to take Discover and American Express cannot be undervalued. While Flint has some novel ideas, it simply cannot compete on the features that Phone Swipe offers. If, on the other hand, a merchant anticipates entering all or most transactions manually, then the pricing would shift toward Flint's favor, especially for higher ticket amounts. That does more or less defeat the point of a mobile processing solution, as there are actually less expensive ways to process manual transactions with a proper Mail Order / Telephone Order account setup.

Wireless Receipt Printers on Amazon

Flint Features Compared to Phone Swipe

 
Flint
Phone Swipe
Has Online Portal
Yes
Yes
Offers "Next Day" Funding
No
Yes
Is PCI Compliant
Yes
Yes
Requires Manual Input
Every Time For Verification
Only When Not Swiped
Compatible with Receipt Printer
No
Yes
Compatible with Cash Drawer
No
Yes
Offers Email Receipts
Yes
Yes
Processes in "Real Time"
Yes
Yes
Has Inventory Function
Yes
Yes
Links to Facebook on Receipt
Yes
Yes (or any page)
Custom Pricing Plans Available
No
Yes
Comparison of Features Between Flint and Phone Swipe

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Comments 1 comment

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merchantdoctor 3 years ago from Reno

Hi Jeffrey Thanks for the great HUB regarding Flint! Marketing only gets a company so far and when it comes to putting performance where their campaign is all too often they fall short! Phone Swipe is the clear leader in mobile payment processing.

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