PayPal is reviving an old patent that focuses on augmented reality shopping in which virtual information would appear over real products in stores.
CNBC, citing a patent that was refreshed during the past week, reported that the PayPal patent could mean it wants to use the idea for payment-enabled glasses in the near term rather than down the road. The software laid out in the patent, which CNBC said was originally filed in 2016 but was just extended, could produce product and purchasing information by looking at the product on a shelf in a store. Information such as virtual description that includes the price would hover over the item. The glasses, noted CNBC, could also help shoppers through the process to purchase it online with the vendor and the payment information already stored within the system.
While it’s not likely PayPal will roll out the payment glasses tomorrow, it is likely to have an offering if the technology becomes mainstream, said Ramsey El-Assal, senior vice president and a FinTech analyst at Wall Street firm Jefferies. “As the physical and digital commerce kind of merge together, this patent makes it feel like PayPal continues to plan for that,” the analyst told CNBC. If PayPal were to roll one out, it would likely raise worries about security — but it would also cement the company as an early player with a practical use for virtual reality.
The reviving of the patent comes at a time when PayPal is in partnering mode, striking alliances with all kinds of companies. Earlier this month it announced that PayPal customers can now add PayPal as an option in the Samsung Pay wallet and use it at a physical merchant almost anywhere in the U.S. PayPal users who link their PayPal accounts to Samsung Pay will receive a virtual account with a $5.00 balance that can be funded using a network-branded debit card, bank account or their PayPal balance to pay at those brick-and-mortar merchants. PayPal users will receive Samsung Rewards each time they make a transaction. Samsung Rewards give users points based on spend that can be redeemed for gift cards or items for purchase in the Samsung online store. At launch, users can also earn 1,500 Samsung rewards points.