Mobile payment provider Flint is adding team accounts to support the move beyond its roots as a vendor to micro merchants.
The new feature "enables larger businesses to use Flint," said Greg Goldfarb, Flint's co-founder and CEO. "Weve been getting demand among local businesses that have more than one or two employees."
Flint's team account feature, which it released Sept. 18, allows up to ten users within an organization to use a single account to accept payments, create invoices and send Apple Passbook coupons from a smartphone.
"It will enable small businesses and groups of people to take advantage of what will become the Apple wallet," Goldfarb said, adding businesses could pair group accounts with Apple Passbook, which Flint has supported for about a year, to enable staff to accept coupon redemptions. This feature is also a precursor to broader work that Flint will do as Apple Pay hits the market, Goldfarb said.
Staffers who use Flint's team account feature have separate login credentials and account permissions, and there's automatic data sync across iPhone and Android devices. The feature gives business owners access to bank account information and the ability to enable or disable transaction features for staff.
Staff members receive updates and customizations, such as itemization of business services, receipt design and coupon creation, in real time. Flint charges transaction fees of 1.95% for debit card payments and 2.95% for credit cards. Flint's app uses the phone's camera to scan card numbers, scan invoices for online bill payment, run promotions and handle cash and checks.
Flint, which does not offer a hardware-based card reader, uses the phone's imaging capabilities to counter the encroachment of larger companies such as Amazon into the mobile point of sale market.
"The advantages of having no hardware are larger when a large group of people are using the payments system," Goldfarb said.
Many small business-focused payment companies are also targeting larger merchants. Square markets its Register app as a replacement for a cash register, a strategy also pursued by Groupon with its Breadcrumb product.
Goldfarb envisions group account users to be relatively small and mobile, such as local insurance companies with a team of agents working in the field, or a gym with multiple personal trainers.
"It opens up a slightly bigger tier of merchants, and that's an explicit strategy of ours," Goldfarb said, adding that strategy also includes an integration with business services software such as QuickBooks. "Remote staff can all use the same account, and all transaction data is synched up with accounting, and in some cases other systems such as CRM."