São Paulo beach goers can pay with a credit card

Edil Jorge (r) pays his purchases with a credit card at Carlos Roberto’s beach mall - Photo Anay Cury/G1

Tourists going to the beaches of São Paulo have less to worry about how to keep their cash away from water and safe from theft. Clothing, toys, surfboards, are items among dozens arranged in heavy loaded beach carts slowly moving through the sand along the water line, and can be bought and paid for with a debit or credit card. The ultimate in the informal trade circuit.

In Mongaguá, a beach near Santos, the use of portable pay card machines, which use a chip for the mobile phone, began this season and the ambulantes (regularized vendors moving from one spot to another) are expecting sales up to 40% compared with the same period last year.

Carlos Roberto Alves Gomes, 32, has two carts on the beach, and was the first on the beach to offer the service for mobile payment transactions. On the sides of his ambulant store, called Beach Mall, hang two posters telling customers that he accepts pay cards from Rede Shop to Diners Club International.

“We just started recently using the system. It’s paying off. A lot. Depending of the value we sell, not even the rate of the machine is charged”, he said. Today, according to the vendor, 60% of all payments are made with a pay card. “People see on the trolley that we accept cards and they start coming”.

Custódio Aníbal Pinheiro, 30, also joined the electronic payment facility, attending the demands of the beach goers. “The customers around here asked for it. They said it was better to walk with a card than with cash. As I am formalized as a MEI (microempreendedor individual = individual micro-entrepreneur), I went after it at the end of last year, got it and everybody really likes it”, he said.

By satisfying his customers, Aníbal increased his sales volume with 40% compared to the start of the season last year. According to the ambulante, not only his total sales grew, but the average value of a purchase also rose.

“Most come to the beach with a budget in mind. With the card, they take more, surf board, swimsuit, bikini. They needn’t do their shopping in the city before they come here. They can buy everything here”.

The initiative to accept card payments also ensures greater security for the beach vendors, who don’t carry anymore all their cash received from sales, and for the tourists, who avoid the risk of being robbed.

“It’s the first time I buy with a card on the beach. I find it a very good idea. I do not need much money to bring to the beach and what I need, I can buy. Not to mention that I am more relaxed by not carrying cash. It’s safer”, said accountant Edil Jorge de Lima Jr, 28, a resident of São Paulo.

The electronic payment technology is also implemented in Rio de Janeiro. Cielo, the company responsible for the accreditation of the vendors and for the transactions made through credit and debit cards of the major brands, started a project in Rio to encourage beach tent operators to  accept electronic payments.

Custódio Aníbal sells on the beach of Mongaguá, on the coast of São Paulo - Photo Anay Cury/G1

According to Cielo, the initiative is part of the project of professionalization of the trade on the beaches of Rio developed by PRO Rio, an association formed by the four entities that represent the Rio’s beach tent operators. The project intends to prepare the beaches and its ambulant vendors and beach tent operators for the World Games, which will take place in Brazil in the coming years.

“For the barraqueiro (beach tent operator), the advantage goes beyond professionalism and safety, as he now also has more control over his revenues”, Cielo claims.

photos courtesy Anay Cury/G1