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Expanding Payment Suite to Increase Parking Revenue and Compliance

There are many decisions a city faces when it comes to processing payments, but one of the biggest ones is what forms of payment to accept. Today, the question expands far beyond cash vs credit, as many Americans begin to utilize digital wallets, like Google and Apple Pay, and cashless options for the unbanked and underbanked become the main focus in cities across the country. Expanding beyond major Network providers, as well as looking at alternative forms of payment, cannot only help you boost revenue in your parking operation but can also help promote equity and increase compliance.

Look Beyond Visa and Mastercard

While Visa and Mastercard continue to be the most popular credit options in the US, they are not the only ones. Typically, operators think of AMEX as an expensive payment option because of the historically higher interchange rates, and Discover is typically overlooked altogether.  AMEX and Discover continue to gain users each year, however, with purchase volumes of $828 billion and $151 billion respectively at the end of 2019, and therefore should not be overlooked in payment suites. When choosing a payment processor it is important to understand the cost of accepting each payment type to ensure you aren’t losing money on high interchange rates. With an integrated payment processor, like Passport Payments, you can accept all four major card brands at a consistent flat-rate price helping to increase your bottom line while offering residents and visitors more ways to pay.

Explore Digital Wallets

As of February 2021, 85% of adults in America own a smartphone, and many don’t leave home without it. However, think about how many times you have left the house to run a quick errand only to find you left your wallet or credit card at home. Digital wallets ensure that if you have your smartphone, you can make a purchase. According to a study from 2018, 110 million Americans had used a digital wallet and 25% of those spent more money when using a digital wallet.

Apple Pay alone was projected to have 220 million users at the end of 2020 with Google Pay coming in at 100 million users. As these payment methods increase in popularity it will be important for parking operations to accept them as they provide convenience to the end-user and can help capture more parking sessions. With an integrated payment processor, like Passport Payments, you can easily offer both Google and Apple Pay as forms of payment for parkers.

Promote Unbanked and Underbanked Options

While cashless payments are at the core of a digital mobility platform, not all parkers will have access to a debit and/or credit card to pay for parking, citations, and permits. In fact,  FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) in the US conducted a study in 2017 which showed that 6.5% of households did not own bank accounts. With this in mind, cities should work with a processor, like Passport Payments, that can enable the following payment alternatives to serve these communities:

  1. Wallets: City officials can load cash payments into a closed-loop wallet on a user’s Passport account which could then be applied to future parking payments within the app.  
  2. Gift Cards: Pre-funded stored-value cards for all major card brands meaning a pre-purchased Visa or Mastercard gift card can be used to pay for parking sessions within the Passport mobile application.

If you would like to learn more about Passport Payments, contact a sales representative today