Cashless Payments: The Rapid Adoption of Digital Solutions Post COVID-19

Passport recently hosted a panel discussion, moderated by Greg Hammermaster, parking payments expert at Passport, that explored the subject of cashless parking payments and the rapid adoption during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Greg was joined by Dennis Pedrelli, CEO of Chicago Parking Meters, LLC and Bill Dobbins, SVP Business Development of Visa for the engaging conversation. Here are some key takeaways:

Card-not-present transactions in general have increased and will continue to be the preferred way to pay

Americans are no stranger to the eCommerce space or digital transactions. However, according to Visa, card-not-present transactions have increased by 20% during the COVID-19 crisis. This has become evident as more daily necessities like groceries, home cooked meals and household items can now be secured through digital platforms

As demand for healthy and safe ways to shop continues to increase, experts predict this broader shift to contactless payments will likely stick. This means businesses, including parking operations, will need to offer digital experiences moving forward. While the switch to cashless payments can seem daunting at first, these forms of payment can often lead to increased spend, operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Contactless payments will be important for the parking industry post pandemic

With fear surrounding mass transit and ride sharing as cities begin to re-open, most agree that driving will be the preferred form of transportation post pandemic. This creates an opportunity for the parking industry to innovate and expand digital offerings including mobile pay parking. In a city like Chicago that has reached 70% app utilization since the launch of the Passport Parking app, the challenge becomes identifying new and innovative ways to offer safe payment options for the unbanked. 

“Many banks and fintechs are moving to prepaid and virtual cards to provide more options for the unbanked,” said Bill Dobbins from Visa. These cards can be purchased at local drug stores or gas stations, and work like a normal credit card. According to Dennis Pedrelli, cities are currently exploring these prepaid cards that can be purchased in cash and then used for transit services. He believes a similar model could be used for parking services.

Advancements in security over the past years ensure a secure digital environment

The shift from MAGstrip to EMV in recent years in the US has helped promote a more secure card present processing environment. However, as more consumers turn to their devices to purchase goods and services, they want to know that their card data is secure. Visa, with the help of other card brands, has put heavy emphasis on secure remote commerce and developed agreed upon standards to ensure the highest levels of security. When transacting digitally, a consumer’s core credentials are tokenized into a meaningless series of letters and numbers in order to create a safe environment. Consumers can rest assured that when they type in a card number on any device that it will be stored safely and securely.

In these uncertain times, we are navigating new practices and leaning on each other to prepare for the new normal post COVID-19. As your partner, Passport is here to help and welcomes conversation.