In Brixton, South West London, hundreds of businesses will soon integrate iBeacons as part of one of the first real-world networks for mobile payments using Apple’s Bluetooth LE iBeacon tech

In Brixton, businesses introduced a local currency in 2009 that eventually switched from paper into mobile payments by text. Around 250 businesses in the area accept the currency, which is meant to keep the money in the community and support smaller independent local businesses. By the starting of next month, the currency will have its own mobile app called Brixton Pound, and iBeacons will make it easy to automatically prompt users for payments. The Brixton Pound organization teamed up with Dingo for the payment solution and kontakt.io for the iBeacon hardware and integration:

The new mobile app provides a simple interface for using the Brixton Pound, as well as an innovative new Dingo payment solution. Upon stepping inside a business that accepts the Brixton Pound, the app will automatically prepare a shortcut right on the lock screen of the phone. This feature will enable users to pay for everything in a few seconds, with no searching or typing, thanks to the use of iBeacon technology and small bluetooth devices by polish company kontakt.io inside every business.

While payments have always been something Apple imagined since first introducing us to iBeacons, we’ve yet to see many implementations in retail locations. Up until now we’ve mostly seen the tech used for prompting users in proximity with offers, advertisements, product info, or other useful notifications when in a retail or event space. While the new Brixton Pound app limits the payments to the local currency accepted by those 250 businesses in Brixton, it’s easy to see how a similar solution using real money payments could soon arrive in more retailers. Not only could it speed up the checkout process for retailers, it also has the potential to cut down on long retail lines and make the process of paying for goods in-store as easy as online. PayPal and others are already testing similar solutions that use Bluetooth LE and iBeacons for payments.

Earlier this week we told you about some interesting stats on increased app and ad engagement due to iBeacons integration.

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9 Responses to “Hundreds of businesses in London are about to flip the switch on payments via iBeacons”

  1. Leo Chan says:

    Paypal is testing a BLE payment system in Palo Alto at Chantal Guillon. I dropped and tried some their macarons :)
    I’m wondering if Apple will build this capability into the iOS? Perhaps into a new and improved Passbook and connected to the credit card on iTunes.

    Here’s a video


  2. “This feature will enable users to pay for everything in a few seconds, with no searching or typing”
    I would love to get some explanations here… how the beacon’s notification will know the items I bought or even the amount I have to pay?
    And then, how will the seller know I actually payed?
    I ear a lot about using iBeacons for payement, but being 1-way dumb devices, what do they bring in that area that QR codes or nfc tags don’t already provide?


    • Leo Chan says:

      Greg, (Cool last name, is it real?)

      Here’s a video showing how paypal is implementing their system. Still need a cashier to link you account to a purchase.



      • Hey Leo!

        Nope, not my real last name, just some badly hidden ad for a french travel company I work with but not really relevant here ^^

        I saw your video and if I get it right, it only tells the PayPal app in which store you are. So nothing about the amount and nothing to ensure on both sides that the payement has been made. Those steps remain manual and through an internet connection. So in this case, a QR code or a NFC tag in the shop would work in the same way (though you’ll have an extra step scanning the code/tag).


      • Leo Chan says:

        Yes, the payment is still processed through an internet connection. The main convenience factor is not having to take your phone out of your pocket, as the cashier uses a picture that shows up on their “register” to identify which Paypal account to charge. I imagine your Paypal app would notify you that the payment has been processed.

        I didn’t have the Paypal app when I went to the store in Palo Alto. Now I have the app, but am hesitant to go back because the macarons are so decadent and addicting :)


      • Yes, Grégoire ^^

        So your iPhone is acting as a beacon and the cashier has to be equipped with something that receive and interprets BLE signals (that’s already way more complicated than simply deploying Estimotes in a shop).

        Then you enter the shop, choose your items and go to the cashier. He now has to recognize you on his screen.

        What if there is hundreds of people in the shop?
        What if you don’t really look like your PayPal avatar or someone look a bit like you?
        And above all, what about security? It’s more than easy to duplicate a beacon by sending the same UUID / Major / Minor as another beacon.

        Anyway, that’s all feeling really clanky to me…


      • Leo Chan says:

        I got the accent egu this time :)

        Yes, I agree that this probably would work only in small shops, where there wouldn’t be hundreds of people, and you do have to take a photo of yourself on the paypal app. I think there is some facial recognition as it won’t allow you to take a picture of your cat :).

        The range of BLE is really an issue here. There are rumors that the iPhone 6 may have NFC…