News & Views - Savantor

Shining a light on cash

Monday, 16 September 2013

From contactless to NFC and now Beacon is the flavour of the month.  PayPal has just released its Bluetooth plug-in for merchants for a transaction to take place with the consumer hardly doing anything.  Beacon is a USB module that is based on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology and that is made for merchants so that their customers can pay for what they buy, hands free. The device makes it possible for smartphones with the PayPal app, and POS devices to be able to communicate with each other. This requires no mobile network, wireless, or GPS to function.

Not to be outdone Apple has announced its own Beacon technology called, of course, iBeacon allowing Bluetooth-enabled devices to communicate with iPhones and opening up the potential of micro-location-based services to retailers.  This would allow hardware to be installed around shops to broadcast radio signals to customer phones.  Retailers can use Beacons to send tailored information such as product prices, photos and reviews to handsets that are in range, with the data changing as customers move through the store. Businesses can also send coupons to customers and potentially accept payments using the technology as well as gain insight into shopping habits by using the location data picked up.

So it looks like BLE may become the latest poster boy in the battle to get rid of cash although a town in Ireland is doing its bit by ditching small change altogether.  Between 16 September and 17 November, all cash transactions at participating businesses in the town of Wexford will be rounded to the nearest five cents. Prices of individual goods and services will remain unchanged, with only the total bill rounded. Customers are free to refuse to take part.  The Irish central bank says that one and two cent coins are inconvenient for the public to carry around; cost more to count and store than they are worth; and are also more expensive to make than their value.   

 

  

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