Corona has brought consumption in city centres to a standstill in the past 18 months, but also public mobility in many regions. What is needed now are instruments and concepts that accelerate the re-vitalisation of pedestrian zones, City Centre locations and (inner) cities in general. These instruments must be familiar, broad-based and flexible enough to offer added value and be easy for everyone to use. Ideally, these tools then connect several nodes that touch on the visit to the City Centre, the keyword here being the concept of the networked city.

A forward-looking project in this direction is the introduction of the new voucher card a digital, cashless payment solution, by the Berlin’s Public Transport Association (BVG). BVG, the city card specialist AVS and epay, the full-service payment specialist for the retail sector, as well as the bank Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen are partners in this groundbreaking project. They will jointly present this project, which is exemplary for the relaunch of City Centres, at the strategy workshop on 17 November at the trade congress and explain the benefits as well as the ease of use of such digital solutions for local retail.

Mobility (with the BVG offer), customer loyalty solutions for the point-of-sale (city marketing) and digital payment infrastructure (integration and processing of different payment methods) are combined, in this project. The focus is on the new credit card: the card, which can be purchased or topped up digitally or at BVG service points and at around 500 other sales partners (e.g., Lotto Berlin = kiosks), can of course be used to pay for public transport journeys. In the future, many more partners will be connected to the distribution and loading of the credit card as well as to its acceptance for services and products in addition to ticket sales. These include, in particular, retailers in the public transport environment (travel markets, kiosks at stations), but also other partners in the mobility environment (transport companies, urban mobility).

The basic idea behind it: People will visit City Centres more if the visit also offers added value and convenience in addition to the sensory shopping experience. The credit card solution combines the desire for efficient cashless (contactless) payment with the need for anonymous payment options and holds enormous potential for the entire retail sector: with the help of a digital payment solution, local retail is digitally networked with public transport, as well as with other mobility and also private service offers (e.g. e-scooters, bicycles, car sharing or parking) and the citizens and tourists in the city in the sense of a smart city.

In all cities, mobility concepts are moving into the Centre of attention; in the future, they will determine to a large extent, how livable a city is. The key role in this will be played by public transport. The BVG has taken on this role and, with their new credit card as a strategic building block, is driving the mobility concept and the mobility turnaround in the capital by further pushing digital payment methods, optimising distribution channels and further networking with public transport-related services.

The cooperation of BVG, with AVS and epay shows how much thinking needs to be done in “connecting the dots”: AVS is a high-performance provider specialising in customised customer loyalty systems, city marketing and city voucher solutions. This is exactly where epay comes in as an international full-service payment provider and licensed payment institution: In addition to the technical and commercial processing, epay realises, in particular, the simple technical connection and integration into the touchpoints and thus networks retail, public transport, citizens and much more via digital transactions. This creates a technological and sales infrastructure for the smart city – because the future of retail is digital networking in the city.

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