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PayPal comes out punching with wearable payments

Pebble smartwatch wearers can now make payments and receive payment notifications through online service PayPal and its mobile application, which shows the growing momentum of the wearable movement, anticipated to become a payment norm within a few years.

As buzz around the concept and integration of Apple Pay continues, PayPal wishes to stay relevant in mobile payments. With wearable usage expected to rise, the online payments service company is leveraging a different, hopefully reliable sector in the tech space.

“At PayPal, we’re always working to make shopping easy and seamless, so that you are one step closer to walking into a store and being able to place your order and pay without ever reaching into your pocket,” said Juliet Niczewicz, public relations manager at PayPal, San Francisco.

Extending range
For smartphone users that also have an integrated Pebble device, they can now check-in to pay or pay with payment code at retail locations, restaurants and other local businesses that accept PayPal.

They also have the option to check-in to a store using the PayPal app. If this method is chosen, the app will link with the merchant’s POS during checkout.

Without taking their phone out of their pocket or purse, users can also receive payment notifications on the smartwatch.

Users with iOS devices can use the Pebble app to make similar payments.

PayPal is also available across all available wearable platforms, including the latest Android wear, Samsung’s Gear 2, Gear S and Gear Fit.

Rumored expectations
EBay’s recent decision to spin-off PayPal reflects just how quickly mobile payments are heating up following Apple Pay’s launch, renewing enthusiasm for near-field communications technology.

PayPal is one of the early success stories in mobile payments, with strong consumer adoption enabling it to process approximately $20 billion in mobile payments volume last year. However, more recently the focus and excitement around mobile payments has shifted to Apple Pay, near-field communications technology and Stripe, with PayPal appearing to lose some of its headwind as a result (see story).

Its extension of range to wearables gives PayPal some fight.

In fact, in a bet that near-field communications mobile payments may still not be ready for prime time, Burger King has opted to power its application with PayPal’s cloud-based, PIN-driven solution.

In addition to paying via PayPal, users can also add a BK Crown Card digital gift card or activate a virtual card to pay from the app. In comparison, Burger King competitor McDonald’s recently ran up the flag for NFC payments by partnering with both Apple Pay and Softcard (see story).

Wearables may be just what PayPal needs.

“ABI Research recently forecasted that by 2018, there will be 485 million annual wearable device shipments, and that wearables could become a consumer norm,” Ms. Niczewicz said.

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York