Flint is adding a number of new features to its software-based mobile acceptance app, including invoicing, Apple Passbook support and multi-item transactions.
"Our users have said they want a way to encourage customers to come back for repeat business," says Greg Goldfarb, co-founder and CEO of Flint Mobile.
Flint's app uses the smartphone's embedded camera to scan payment card numbers, and charges 1.95% for debit card transactions and 2.95% for credit cards. The updates allow merchants to use the Flint app or merchant portal to create and send invoices to consumers via email; and consumers can pay online from their mobile phone, tablet or computer. Merchants can also track invoices and send reminders.
"Integrating invoices with e-commerce payments is challenging for businesses of this size," Goldfarb says. Flint's merchants are typically on the move, and not in a fixed location like a store, he says.
"We've also been told our merchant they want more modes to get paidnot just cards on the spot," Goldfarb says.
Flint also added integration with Apple's Passbook app and enables merchants to create Passbook-compatible offers from Flint's app or the merchant portal. Consumers receive an email with a coupon code, and then add the coupons to their Apple Passbook app. Consumers without Passbook can redeem coupons by displaying the QR code sent in each email.
"We want to enable these merchants to create their own 'Starbucks-like' loyalty program," Goldfarb says.
The Starbucks mobile app links to users' closed-loop Starbucks card to allow mobile payments in Starbucks stores. The app is used for 11% of Starbucks purchases in the U.S. and Canada.
"Demand generation and loyalty are very high value capabilities for small businesses," says Rick Oglesby, a senior analyst at Aite. "It's tough to really make these programs work, but it's the right direction."
Flint's clients include photographers, consultants, trainers, and IT specialists who visit their customers in person. The goal of the Passbook integration is enable these merchants to pair offers with payments without requiring the consumer to download a separate app.
"This isn't remote as in card-not-present, but remote as in not tied to a store, and therefore a laptop or a database. Integrating the whole piece allows an 'on the go' issue and track couponing system," says Gareth Lodge, a senior analyst at Celent. "For, say, fitness trainers, those allows for the '10th one is on us' type of offernot just issuing a coupon, but management of more complex processes.
All businesses want to maintain customer loyalty regardless of size, says Zil Bareisis, a senior analyst at Celent.
"Many of them are probably emailing coupons and special offers to their customers right now," he says. "Enabling these coupons via Passbook, serving up reminders and being able to apply them at the time of transaction helps these merchants close the loop and could be very desirable."
In other changes, Flint will now enable multi-item transactions, including the automatic calculation of the total amount due and taxes, and merchants can add payment amounts and apply discounts to transactions. Flint will also accept cash or check payments, sending receipts through the app. Merchants can track all payment types in one account.