PayPal Launches ‘Hands Free’ In-Store Payments

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

PayPal unveils another technology aimed at making payments “all but invisible”, launching Beacon

PayPal is launching an in-store Bluetooth payment system using that requires no action from the shopper other than telling staff what they’re buying.

Once users have the PayPal Beacon app on their smartphone, they can walk into a participating store and they will be checked in, with a vibration notifying them.

Mobile payment concept © bloomua - FotoliaPayPal Beacon

Their photo will then appear on a screen at the point of sale machine – something PayPal announced as a feature last month – and all of the security checks carried out. A product is chosen, the seller told and a transaction completed, without any exchange of physical money or swiping of cards.

PayPal has promised decent privacy too. “The consumer is in complete control. They will decide which shops they want to check in to automatically, and which ones they don’t,” the company said in a blog post.

“We value our customers’ privacy, so PayPal Beacon won’t constantly track people’s location unlike other technologies. If someone enters a shop and they don’t want to check in, or just want to ignore the prompt entirely, no information is transmitted to PayPal of the merchant.”

PayPal is hoping to make payments “all but invisible” and efficient. “Because it takes advantage of Bluetooth Low Energy technology, PayPal Beacon won’t drain mobile phone batteries the way other geo-fencing services do,” it added.

See the video below for how the technology will work:

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