PayPal unveils Beacon, a Bluetooth-powered add-on check-in device and opens its Mobile In-Store API

PayPal unveils Beacon, a Bluetooth-powered add-on check-in device and opens its Mobile In-Store API

PayPal announced a new way to better connect merchants with customers through the use of their mobile device. On stage at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, the commerce company unveiled Beacon, an add-on piece of technology that lets customers pay for goods at their favorite stores without needing to take out their phone — it’s all done through Bluetooth technology.

In conjunction with today’s news, PayPal is launching its Mobile In-Store API for retailers and developers.

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Hill Ferguson, PayPal’s Vice President of Global Product, said that the company has been focusing on mobile to help people better find the things that they need.

Utilizing Bluetooth Low Energy technology, PayPal Beacon gives consumers the ability to have control over what they want. The device is inserted into a wall outlet in merchant stores and removes friction in the customer experience. The device is fast, works across multiple platforms, uses less battery power than a GPS device, doesn’t require any Internet connectivity, and will protect user data and security.


Beacon works with PayPal’s mobile app, which it recently redesigned. How it works is that customers will walk into a Beacon-enabled store and have their phones vibrate or make a sound to confirm that they have successfully check-in. In doing so, it will notify the sales associate that you’ve arrived, leveraging eBay’s retail associate platform, and encourage the employee to begin a personalized experience with the customer. Implementing check-ins is a new feature for PayPal and opens customers up to offers and coupons.

If you’re worried about privacy and security of your data, especially as you’re navigating from store to store and checking in, PayPal says that you shouldn’t need to worry. Beacon “won’t constantly track your location” and that if you enter a store and decline to check in, no information will ever be transmitted to PayPal or that merchant.

PayPal Beacon works with any stores running the point-of-sale systems compatible with PayPal.

Launching of a Mobile In-Store API

But having all of these devices and tools is not enough for PayPal — it has also opened up its Mobile In-Store API to allow up to 100 developers early access to integrate their applications. If you’re looking to help enhance the shopping experience, the company is inviting developers a chance to submit their ideas on how they’ll use the API. The best ones will receive access and a free developer version of the PayPal Beacon device.

Photo credit: ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images

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