PayPal Launches Hands Free Mobile Payments with Beacon

PayPal has launched Beacon, a hands free mobile payment technology.

The Beacon itself is a Bluetooth device which detects when PayPal users enter a store. Each shoppers mobile will give them the choice of checking in at that location, which then triggers an extension of the picture verification method PayPal launched in the UK last month (you can see our video report here).

Through the PayPal app, users can customise their check-in settings, including selecting individual shops to check into automatically. This is where the idea of a hands free payment experience kicks in – the shoppers device will notify them of check-in on entry and automatically send their photo to the merchants POS system. This means users dont need to actually touch their phone, and instead just give verbal confirmation to make the payment..

PayPal is quick to point out that Beacon won’t constantly track users location, and that they can decline to check in or opt out entirely.

PayPal is also opening up access to Beacon functionality through an API, and is challenging developers to submit ideas, which the first 100 receiving a free dev kit of the device and early access to the API.