By Aimee Chanthadavong

Convenience ranked as one of the main reasons why almost three in four Australians are transacting via a mobile device, according to a recent Nielsen PayPal Mobile Study.

To help further drive this convenience factor for both consumers and retailers, PayPal has launched PayPal Beacon, a technology that lets consumers pay with their smartphones hands-free.

“PayPal Beacon opens the door to a fundamentally different way to use technology to make shopping more valuable and more personal for consumers and retailers,” said David Marcus, PayPal president.

“We challenged ourselves to find a better experience than swiping a credit card. We figured the only better way to pay would be to do nothing. Just walk in a store, and, like magic, when you’re ready to pay, money is transferred securely. No wallet. No card. Nothing to do. Not even touching your phone.”

The beacon device leverages Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) meaning it keeps energy consumption at a low level and does not require any GPS or phone signal to detect consumers in their store with the PayPal app.

It will run in any store running POS systems compatible with PayPal, including Booker, Erply, Leaf, Leapset, Micros, NCR, PayPal Here, Revel, ShopKeep, TouchBistro and Vend. The device is switched on when the dongle is plugged into a power outlet in the store.  

At the same time, consumers will have full control of stores they will want to check in to, those they will want to get prompted to confirm payment for, and stores they will want to enable a complete hands-free experience for.

PayPal hopes Beacon will eventually lend itself to be able to allow consumers to self-checkout on their mobile and to automatically place their usual order as soon as they walk through the door.

PayPal Beacon is expected to be available for merchants to purchase early next year in Australia, US, UK, Canada, Hong Kong and Japan.

This launch follows PayPal’s offering of Here, which was launched last year to help retailers turn their mobile devices into a credit card payment system.

“PayPal Here uses card swipe technology, which is something we’re going to have to scale because we’ve realised Australia is more of an EMV market,” PayPal Australia Jeff Clementz said.

“So we’ll be relaunching PayPal Here with an EMV device in it in the coming months. PayPal Here is just not just about focusing on the dongle but looking at ways to help satisfy small and remote merchants’ desires to accept different forms of payments.”