- Beacon, a dongle that plugs into a standard electrical outlet, uses Bluetooth to communicate with retail point-of-sale systems from the likes of NCR and Micros (both of whom are PayPal partners), as well as to automatically check in store visitors who have downloaded a PayPal (EBAY) app on their smartphones and opted in to the system.
- PayPal foresees Beacon enabling in-store promotions, payments that require nothing more than verbal confirmation (a user is sent a receipt later), and the potential for retailers to act behind the scenes (one example: a drugstore filling a user's normal prescription after he/she walks in).
- To address privacy issues, PayPal users are able to decline a check-in immediately after walking in, in which case no info is shared.
- Square is trying to address this space via Pay With Square, but its solution isn't as seamless (yet).
- Beacon has the potential to address a frequent complaint levied at PayPal's current card-free offline payment solution, which requires typing in a phone # and PIN: that it simply isn't as convenient as swiping a credit/debit card. However, old habits often take a while to change.
- Last week, PayPal overhauled its mobile apps to give them a much stronger offline focus. And in May, the company revamped its PayPal Here mobile card reader/cash register solution.
PayPal launches Bluetooth solution for swipe-free payments, check-ins
Sep 9 2013, 18:32 ET