Commentary

Mobile Payments Meet the Mobile Business

To say the mobile payments market is fragmented would be a great understatement.

Mobile payments are starting to come in almost all forms.

There are payment options that use dongles on phones to swipe credit cards, most notably Square, and those that let customers pay by tapping or waving a phone, like Google Wallet.

And now there’s a relatively new targeted market for payments, the mobile businessperson -- literally.

Not just the businessperson with a phone, but a businessperson who is mobile, like a personal fitness trainer, a tax advisor who goes to your house, specialty contractor or personal hairdresser. Someone one the go, typically delivering some type of service remotely.

This mobile person marketplace now has an option targeted specifically at them that uses just the phone with no add-on hardware.

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California-based Flint, a well-funded mobile payment startup founded in 2011, launched its twist on mobile payments late last year.

The app uses the phone camera to identify and transmit credit card information for payment.

Without taking a photo, the phone camera reads the credit card number in real time, transmits the information to Flint, receives notification that it is a valid card number and executes the transaction.

“We have hard-core algorithm technology,” says Greg Goldfarb, CEO and co-founder. The phone interprets the numbers on a credit card.

“It’s transmitting data rather than a photo,” says Goldfarb. “It’s the lowest friction way to pay. In two minutes, you can start processing credit cards.”

Goldfarb counts as customers tens of thousands of merchants and the average transaction size averages more than $100.

While major financial institutions experiment with and fine tune mobile payment solutions for global scale, smaller entities like Flint are targeting smaller pieces of the pie.

With mobile commerce, if there’s a market that can be identified and segmented, some mobile application will find its way to serve it.

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Update: Speaking at MediaPost’s  OMMA Mobile at Advertising Week Monday and Tuesday: MasterCard, comScore, USA Sports Media Group, BBDO, Usablenet, Havas Media, Pandora, Catalina, IAB, Leo Burnett, Foursquare, and many more. If attending, come say hello. Here’s the Agenda.

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