PayPal has announced a new gadget called the Beacon. The Beacon will be able to recognize shoppers as they walk into stores. PayPal president David Marcus announced the Beacon at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco.
The Beacon is a 3-inch stick that plugs into a wall socket. Stores will be able to automatically identify and authenticate PayPal users as they walk in. The Beacon connects to the stores’ point-of-sale system and to a shopper’s smartphone using Bluetooth Low Energy. This lets consumers pay without launching an application or checking in. Beacon does not need GPS or a cellphone signal to work.
“This is the one thing I’m most excited to launch since joining PayPal,” stated Marcus. “This is the first thing I think that is better than swiping a credit card.”
PayPal opened up Beacon to third-party developers on Monday. In Q4, PayPal plans to pilot the Beacon with large brands as partners. It will also have a massive roll-out in 2014. The Beacon will cost under $100.