U.S. consumers now use debit cards more often than cash, according to the Federal Reserve, and credit card and debit card transactions combined far exceed cash transactions, 51 percent vs. 26 percent. It’s likely that a driver would prefer to quickly dip or tap a payment card at an unattended payment kiosk than pay with cash at a booth.
The right parking payment system can also address challenges that parking authorities or private parking facility managers face. With minimum wage increasing to $15 per hour or more in many parts of the country, unattended payment can help balance the budget while also alleviating security concerns of accepting and storing cash in a booth.
Parking Payment System Options
Just as there are a variety of different types of parking facilities and paid parking operations, there are also various options for unattended parking payment systems:
Payment lane for one-time parking
Paying for parking via payment card can be easier with a credit card in/out system. The driver inserts or taps a card or uses a mobile wallet to activate a gate to the parking facility. The unattended payment system then creates a token. When the driver reinserts the card to exit, the system calculates the time spent in the lot and charges the card. An added benefit of these parking payment systems is that paper tickets aren’t required, saving operating costs — and drivers’ frustration when searching for it so they can leave the lot or garage.
For lots or garages that sell permits to park in some or all of their spaces, there are parking payment systems that remove friction for the consumer as well as reduce overhead for the facility. Permitted vehicles can be identified via RFID or license plate recognition for entry to the facility. Billing can also be easier and more convenient. Using Account Updater, your clients can be assured that payment data is always up to date, reducing the number of declined charges and the calls they have to make to customers.
Walk-up payment kiosk
For some parking garages and parking lots, walk-up payment kiosks are the best solution. Drivers receive a ticket when entering the facility, which they insert in a kiosk to pay before returning to their vehicles. The authorized ticket with proof of payment on a magnetic stripe or barcode allows them to quickly pass through the exit gate.
Drivers often pay for municipal parking at meters. Solutions are available that allow drivers to pay from a mobile app — and avoid the time on a meter from running out and getting a parking ticket. These solutions benefit municipalities by enabling them to collect a higher percentage of parking fees without paying additional employees.
Technology Provides More Flexibility
In addition to improving customer experiences and saving labor costs, upgrading a lot or garage with a new parking payment system can result in added benefits. The system can give operators new management capabilities that allow them to charge based on actual time or a flat rate. They can also manage special rates, such as event parking or discounted parking for certain days or times. Additionally, management software can provide data, giving operators real-time visibility into capacity — which facilities can share with drivers via apps to help them find available parking.
Solutions providers can find parking payment systems that improve payment experiences, address challenges — and possibly even deliver more ROI than their clients anticipated.