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PayPal Beacon: The Days of Card Swiping Are Almost Over
By: Emory Brown
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We've watched the evolution of money over history, from people carrying around small pouches of gold to silver coins to paper bills. And just when we thought we reached the pinnacle of trade with the credit card, innovation surprises us again. PayPal is taking the payment and transaction game to a new level with its newest product, PayPal Beacon.

We all remember when the “Clapper,” the automatic light switch, hit the market. People thought it was genius. Hands-free light controller? Awesomeness! We remember the when Bluetooth had half the world thinking everyone was talking to themselves when it first debuted. Now, our fascination of doing things with no hands has been taken to a new level with the same tech that keeps us from getting a ticket while driving.
 
PayPal has created an app that utilizes Bluetooth Low Energy to connect with mobile devices to give its base of 100 million customers the ability to pay for their favorite products and services while their wallets rest safely at home. In a 60-second spot they created to show the power of PayPal Beacon, we see young women as they go through their day never once reaching into purses to find a wallet.  They simply run their fingers across their smartphones, and presto, the balance has been paid.
 
PayPal is out to beat the crap out Square, the cute device that plugs into retailers’ phones for credit card transactions. Their tech people have identified the weakness in Square’s tech, and they’re running with it. The problem with Square is that when a retailer’s phone battery goes dead, so do the credit transactions. This can be a very bad proposition, especially if your store is filled with teenage girls who are having their "MTV Sweet Sixteen" moment when daddy hands them a credit card and says “shop to your heart’s desires are filled.” The PayPal Beacon plugs right into an outlet in a retailer’s store and can transmit all day long without any problems. Plus, the great thing is that PayPal Beacon will work with any smartphone. There’s no need for Apple’s iOS wars with Google’s Android. With Beacon, everyone’s a part of the club. 

Furthermore, it’s simple to use. The user experience has been thoroughly thought about. It’s simple; all you have to do is download the PayPal app and opt into the retailer’s system to use Beacon. Instantly you have the ability to use hands free checkout payments. Once activated, every time a consumer walks into the store, PayPal Beacon notifies the consumer via a vibration or sound to confirm a successful check-in in a matter of seconds. Then the shopper’s photo appears on the screen of the merchant’s point-of-sale system so you can be greeted by name. Shoppers can buy what they want and payment is made with a verbal confirmation; a receipt is emailed to them.
 
Soon wallets and credit cards may be the lore of yesteryear. 


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About the Author
Emory Brown is an award-winning creative director/writer whose mission is to spread the gospel of what great marketers can do when they put their heads together and work together for the greater good and not the bottom line. Working with many esteemed clients, his portfolio of work ranges in genre from conservative to ultra-modern including American Family Insurance, United Airlines, Mazda 6 and RX-8, Illinois Lottery, Tyson, Miller Genuine Draft, Nike Air Force 1, and Mercedes Benz, to name a few.  
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