Berlin is a modern, contemporary city like any other, but in one respect it has an awfully bad reputation: Credit cards – let alone any other modern-day form of payment – not accepted! You will read this as a warning in any guide book or hear this from any visitor of the city who complains that they had to pay in cash in the restaurant, couldn’t pay with credit cards in a big electronic stores or with any card whatsoever at the cinema. Germans really seem to value cold hard cash…
But this is changing right now, we just haven’t noticed it yet! With my last visits to the IFA consumer electronics fair I have come across new forms of digital payment multiple times and I wondered, how these are already implemented in Berlin so far. I investigated a bit and made some practical tests.
One of the technologies that I found especially intriguing is the so called mobile wallet that you have on your smartphone. They exist on multiple platforms, the one being interesting for me as an Android user is called MyWallet and it’s available for free at the play app store. What it is is a digital version of your wallet that includes your credit cards, right on your smartphone. Another technology that I tested is the mobile app of Paypal that let’s you use your Paypal credit to pay in stores. More about that and my favorite stores, cafes and restaurants that offer mobile payment after the jump.
The use of a mobile wallet such as MyWallet is quite easy. In the app you set up your credit card and when you come to the counter of a shop to pay for something you just hold your phone over the card terminal and the transaction happens in seconds. The technology behind this is the NFC transmission of your phone that basically mimics your credit card. You can set it up in a way that lets you use your MyWallet on the fly without even activating the app for smaller amounts of under 25 EUR. With higher amounts the transaction needs to be finalized by entering your PIN in the terminal. Simple as that. Your actual credit card can stay at home.
But where can you pay with this method? In more shops in Berlin than you would think. The system is based on the PayPass technology by MasterCard that runs on a lot of normal Credit Card and Debit Card terminals. It’s the same that is also used by the so-called contactless credit cards. Many regular card terminals already have this feature thanks to a software update. The PayPass Locator mobile app tells you which shops already have this feature, but as this is quite new the person at the cash register might not know this yet, so you might end up being the one to introduce them to it. I had this situation a couple of times in some stores, it was funny to see their astonishment when I swiped my phone over the terminal and it actually worked.
With the alternative Paypal it works quite different. Here both customer and sales person will have to open an app on their devices, they request an amount on their side and you basically approve the payment on your end. It requires more actions than a mobile wallet, but it is at the same time very clear and intuitive. Only real downside: Far fewer shops offer this payment option because it’s not hooked to a wide-spread standard such as PayPass.
Here we have listed some of our favorite stores, cafes and restaurants in Berlin that already offer mobile payment. It’s quite a lot in total and the list is ever growing. Wow, Berlin finally seems to have caught up with the advances of modern technology in this field. Hallelujah!
Quick coffee but no time to hassle with coins and credit cards? Here’s your places where you can pay with a swipe of your smartphone. In Mitte there is a quite high percentage of places that accept mobile payment. The raw food joint Daluma at Weinbergsweg happily accepts your MyWallet payment on the fly. So does pancake heaven Distrikt Coffee at Bergstraße and the coffee king of town The Barn. In Prenzlauer Berg you’ll get lucky at Spreegold. And for those wanting to relieve some of their ebay money on Paypal you’ll have a chance to do that in the cafe at the co-working place betahaus in Kreuzberg.
Daluma, Weinbergsweg 3, 10119 Berlin-Mitte
The Barn, Auguststraße 58, 10119 Berlin-Mitte
Distrikt Coffee, Bergstraße 68, 10115 Berlin-Mitte
betahaus, Prinzessinnenstraße 19-20, 10969 Berlin-Kreuzberg
Nano Kaffee, Dresdner Str. 14, 10999 Berlin-Kreuzberg
It happens so often to me: Going out for dinner and after you feasted you realize you don’t have enough cash on you. At these places you don’t have to worry about it because you can pay with your mobile wallet. Lokal, the lunch and dinner restaurant specialized in local ingredients, is your save bet in Mitte. In Kreuzberg you can digitally pay for your traditional German meal at Jolesh. For some Italien delights the restaurant Lava in Neukölln is a good option. And one of the hottest new places in town – Industry Standard – is accepting Paypal.
Lokal, Linienstraße 160, 10115 Berlin-Mitte
Fräulein Kimchi, Kollwitzstr. 46, 10405 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg
UMAMI, Knaackstr. 16, 10405 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg
Jolesh, Muskauer Str. 1, 10997 Berlin-Kreuzberg
Lava, Flughafenstraße 46, 12053 Berlin-Neukölln
Industry Standard, Sonnenallee 83, 12045 Berlin-Neukölln
One of the most unlikely places to be able to pay with anything other than cold hard cash is a bar. But things are changing here too! The Beuster Bar in Neukölln (technically also a restaurant) accepts MyWallet payments. The cosy Vater Bar in the same districts will accept Paypal and the Neu Bar in Prenzlauer Berg does so, too.
photo: Vater Bar
Beuster Bar, Weserstraße 32, 12045 Berlin-Neukölln
Neu Bar, Greifswalder Str. 218, 10405 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg
Vater Bar, Reuterstraße 27, 12047 Berlin-Neukölln
Shops usually take different kinds of cards like debit and credit cards. So it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that they would also accept mobile payments. Basically almost every major store that takes Master Card will also allow you to pay with MyWallet and similar apps. But also the more independent ones and small boutiques and concept stores start to offer this option. Fashion and interior store Baerck at Mulackstraße in Mitte is one of them. The big “supermarket” for architects and other types of crafty creative people, Modulor, accepts it too. And one of our favorite interior design stores, the Hallesches Haus, has also been approved for mobile wallet payment.
Baerck, Interior & Fashion, Mulackstraße 12, 10119 Berlin-Mitte
Modulor, Crafts & Materials, Prinzenstraße 85, 10969 Berlin-Kreuzberg
Hallesches Haus, Interior Design & Cafe, Tempelhofer Ufer 1, 10961 Berlin-Kreuzberg
Bikini Berlin, Concept Mall, Budapester Str. 50, 10787 Tiergarten
Of course this is just a small selection of the places in Berlin. To find more use the “near me” options in both the above mentioned apps. Happy shopping 😉
Thanks for the support by MyWallet