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PayPal Is Piloting A Wireless Smartwatch Payment System

The beacon-enabled system, being tested at PayPal's on-campus cafe, lets users buy their lattes simply by walking into the store with a Samsung Galaxy wearable.

[Image: Flickr user 15216811@N06]

From parking apps to Square, one of the key elements in the growth of the mobile industry is finding ways to make it easier for people to part with their money. Now PayPal is piloting a new program to enable wireless payments with smartwatches.

The pilot, which PayPal is trying out in its on-campus Starbucks in San Jose, pairs Bluetooth Low Energy beacons with Samsung Galaxy smart wearables. No bank card or smartphone is needed—just a face, and a wrist wearing the watch.

With PayPal’s new app for the Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 smartwatch and the Gear Fit fitness band, patrons receive a push notification when they walk into the area covered by a PayPal Beacon installed inside.

The user’s name and photo automatically appear on the point-of-sale system—also eliminating hilarious barista name misunderstandings. Another push notification is sent once a sale is rung up, and users tap their wearable to confirm payment. PayPal's new Samsung smartwatch app already enables users to check in to pay at thousands of stores around the country to avoid taking out their wallet or phone—the beacon-enabled program would eliminate even that login step.

No timeline from PayPal on an expansion, but PayPal senior PR manager Kathy Chui told Mobile Commerce Daily that "overall, PayPal employees that have used Beacon and/or Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch have loved their experience and are excited for the larger rollout."

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