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A beginner’s guide to the Parking payments industry today: what you need to know

A beginner’s guide to the Parking payments industry today: what you need to know



In the world of parking management, self-service payments on an unattended device is certainly not a new concept.

When it comes to parking our vehicles, we expect to get from A to B smoothly and quickly when we’re out shopping and on the move. So how does that process look now, in a post-pandemic world? What can parking operators do to keep pace with changing customer expectations? And now that markets are starting to reopen, and consumers get back into Retail and Hospitality venues - is now is a good time for operators to completely rethink their parking strategy?

 

 

How does the cashless parking payments ecosystem work?

There are four key players in the cashless payments process:

 

  • The Terminal Hardware Provider, who manufactures the payment device(s) which is mounted in the pay station, and through which the cardholder will process their payment by card or digital wallet.
  • The Payment Provider, who facilitates the processing of the transaction to the acquirer through a payment gateway.
  • The Acquirer, the bank who authorises and processes payments on behalf of the merchants - making sure the payment goes through for the card issuers via the card schemes (e.g. Visa and Mastercard).
  • And the Integrator, who installs the pay station and software within the parking environment.

 

Integrators install many solutions within a parking environment – barriers systems, cameras, pay on foot kiosks, ticket machines and more besides. They will integrate their pay station to the terminal hardware. This then processes the transactions through the payment gateway. Finally, the funds are settled via the acquiring bank service direct to the parking operator’s bank account.

 

 

 

Would you like more information about Parking Payments technology?

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Solving challenges for operators

 

With the high cost of pay stations and barrier systems, there can be a large capital expenditure when setting up a parking system. The longevity of each system is on average ten years, or as long as payment technology compliance will allow. Once it is deployed the system has to recoup the initial outlay on top of the expected profit. Therefore, both private and public sector parking operators face challenges when it comes to minimising operational costs.

 

More so now than ever, parking businesses must adapt and scale new operational practices to preserve crucial revenue. The biggest challenge on all businesses into 2021 will be how they continue to adapt and react to the ever changing new normal we are all experiencing. [2]

 

 

Parking payments trends today

 

Parking is very much a steady domestic industry, used mostly by the local population or by regular commuters. The world economy has been hugely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with massive dips in air travel, however, there is still a regular requirement for local parking.  At Planet, 92million parking transactions were processed in 2020 Vs 152million in 2019. This figure is still relatively impressive given that 2020 was the year of stay at home and lockdowns. Imagine how this picture will change by 2022/3?

 

Furthermore, Planet processed 10.6million contactless transactions over the last 6 months across European parking. And of those countries Sweden, UK, Norway, Belgium and Denmark are leading the way as the top 5 countries adopting the technology. Will the countries who haven’t caught up yet, start seeing an increase and find themselves needing to make some updates?

 

 

Driving contactless payments forward

 

While we’re seeing positive adoption of contactless technology in the UK market, it seems there’s still some hesitancy. A recent survey of parking perceptions by the British Parking Association (BPA) revealed that 75% of the public still prefer to continue to pay for parking in cash. However since COVID-19, payment preferences are moving on due to changing attitudes to handling cash and touching buttons or screens. [3]

 

We’ve already seen the confidence to pay by contactless in other industry verticals. In the Hospitality sector there’s been a staggering 200% increase in contactless payments being made in 2020 when comparing with 2019. [4]

So it makes sense that consumers will also want to pay in the methods they know and understand when it also comes to parking.

 

Moreover, recent news highlighted that Britain is now intending to more than double its contactless limit to £100, as COVID-19 accelerates the shift to electronic payments from cash. [5]

This will surely cement this method as the norm for consumers when they make the choice in that payment moment.

 

 

Digital payment technology is growing

 

It’s not surprising then that parking businesses are turning to technology to reduce costs and simplify payments by implementing digital solutions. Pay by phone, either online or in-app, check-in check-out solutions, online reservation systems, and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) continue to rise in popularity.

 

Drivers are more self-reliant now, and becoming increasingly conscious of safety in parking facilities and their payment options.  People are using digital wallets such as Googlepay and Applepay, cards and international payment methods. Hands-free payment services reduce touchpoints and contact with employees. Therefore, it minimises the risk of spreading the virus within the parking facility. [6]

 

Parking operators need to install smart parking solutions in their facilities to give consumers the choice and flexibility to pay with the methods they know and understand, and feel safe with. Traditional parking payment methods won’t be disappearing anytime time soon. But it’s clear that many businesses will need to look to simplified digital solutions for self-service payments that can meet customer expectations and help them remain competitive. Whether that’s in the parking industry or across any consumer-facing industry.

 

Please contact our team of Parking Payments experts today.

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