updated 02:52 pm EST, Mon January 13, 2014
Testing of hands-free Beacon system expands
Transaction service PayPal has started testing a new web feature called In-Context Checkout, reports say. Normally, web-based PayPal transactions have to be completed at paypal.com. With the in-context code in place, choosing PayPal checkout at a retailer's website will simply conjure a pop-up, where billing and shipping information can be entered. At the moment only a handful of retailers have the option, but PayPal is promising that more vendors will adopt it in the first half of 2014.
The company is meanwhile expanding trials for Beacon, a hands-free transaction system based on the PayPal mobile app for iOS and Android. Retail outlets using a compatible point-of-sale system -- such as Leapset, ShopKeep, or PayPal Here -- simply have to plug a USB dongle into a compatible power source. This hardware then detects phones loaded with PayPal using Bluetooth LE, and brings up a person's profile on the POS system. At that point, all shoppers have to do is give their consent, though they can set the app to require prompts before completing a transaction, and decide which businesses are allowed to detect their phone in the first place.
New testing has reached retailers in Canada, France, Germany, and the UK. PayPal is hoping to launch Beacon officially in early 2014.