This December, hundreds of small merchants have set up huts and stands at Christmas markets in every region of Europe. Consumers have been visiting them in their thousands – buying trinkets and gifts, while drinking mulled wine and eating local delicacies. And they have been paying for almost all of it with cash. Indeed, it doesn’t matter if we’re in Munich, or London – at a Christmas Market cash is King.
Yet, in my view, a Christmas Market is the ideal place for digital commerce – and particularly ideal for contactless payments. They’re all busy, and therefore in need of the speed contactless payments provide. They’re filled with tourists – often affluent tourists, and those from regions where they use card regularly and don’t carry much cash. They sell many small trinkets – which fit perfectly below the spend limit for contactless payments, and those stalls that sell more expensive gifts don’t have to worry if their customers are carrying enough cash as they can pay with card. Finally, the merchants at the market can feel secure that they aren’t going to lose any customers that leave in search of an ATM. Indeed, the benefits of contactless payments are so significant that 1.2 million merchants across Europe accept them. 1
With this in mind, we took a busy, cash-heavy, Christmas Market in Vienna – an already cash-heavy region – and worked with acquirer card complete to provide selected merchants with the ability to accept card and contactless payments.
Here is what some of the merchants and the consumers at the market thought:
1 Visa Processing Data, Jan 2017