Apple’s payment-enable smartwatch may still be months off, but PayPal is hoping to beat the Cupertino-based tech giant to the punch with watch-based payments at physical retailers. The payment company today debuted its application for the Pebble smartwatch, which allows users to make purchases at supported locations.
Unlike the Apple Watch and its associated payment system, PayPal’s app doesn’t require a connected smartphone to use. It also doesn’t support NFC-based transactions. Instead, it generates a payment code that can be used to check out and charge an order to a user’s account. In some stores users will also be able to check out simply by checking into the store through the app.
Another difference between the two payment systems is the fact that the PayPal app can only charge your account on that service, while Apple Pay works with most credit and debit cards, giving users greater control over where the charges will show up.
Apple released the software development kit for the Apple Watch earlier today, and promised that a future version of the software would allow for apps that can run natively on the watch without the need for a connected iPhone. Theoretically PayPal could release an app for that platform as well, though it doesn’t seem Apple is allowing developers to access the NFC chip except is special circumstances.