These days, time is our most precious commodity. We want everything at our fingertips now. If it’s fast and convenient, we’re in. No one has time to wait. It’s no wonder then that old-fashioned payment hardware (aka pay stations) can’t keep up. Drivers want the simplest possible way to pay for parking so they can get to where they are going. And as a parking lot merchant, you deserve an equally simple way to get paid. Software to the rescue. 

There are two major types of software-based payment systems that anyone who runs a parking facility should become familiar with asap:

Scan-to-Pay is a quick, convenient software payment option for everyone, especially one-time or transient parkers. 

With Scan-to-Pay, the driver’s phone becomes the point of sale—almost like a mobile parking machine. Quick and convenient, it is a no-brainer to use. Drivers just tap their phone to pay for parking. There is no app to download, no obstacles to payment, no accounts to manage, and no hardware to rely on. 

Mobile App is the ideal software payment option for repeat power user parkers who want to manage their parking sessions. 

With Mobile App, the phone becomes the driver’s own personal parking account. Just download the app and create an account to be able to search, find, pay for, and manage parking. The personalized experience includes download of receipts and storage of payment information, among other features.


The 5 advantages of software-based parking payments


Regardless of which software payment type you offer (why not leave the choice to customers?), the advantages over hardware systems are obvious. Let’s break it down.


1. With a centralized backend, a software-based system is easier to configure and manage.


Software does the job of consolidating parking operations in one convenient place that can be easily accessed at any time. And accessibility is just the beginning. 

The software-based system expands management capabilities in a way that traditional pay terminals simply can’t. Consider the multitude of parking products that can be configured and offered to customers through software, including on-demand payment, programming reservations, permits, passes, and more. 


2. Software is way more cost effective than traditional hardware payment terminals. 


Software-based payments drive costs down because they are unattended, which saves big on labor and administration. No more hiring, training and retaining parking attendants to manage parking and no more investing in expensive hardware and ongoing maintenance. 

Physical terminals inevitably break down, fall off the network, or get damaged, and costs mount, resulting in lost time and lost revenue. Software-based payments, on the other hand, run 24/7 with zero downtime, keeping all profit where it should be—on the table.


3. You can use software to meet your customers right where they are.


Covid changed the way the majority of people pay for services, with 75% now choosing touch-free mobile methods. As our world becomes increasingly digital, businesses have to keep the pace. In 2023, 1.6 billion global consumers are expected to pay via digital wallet, citing safety and convenience as their main reasons. 

The bottom line is that implementing a software-based payment system is the only way to reach your customers where they are: on their phones and specifically, in their mobile wallets.  


4. Software offers the flexibility to make changes in a constantly changing world.


A software-based payments system is built on a self-service platform that offers the flexibility to make rate or zone changes in real time, right from your computer. Unlike with hardware, there is no waiting on a third party vendor for assistance. 

This built-in flexibility gives you control when outside forces intervene and you need to quickly adapt. Rather than installing hardware, you can respond from behind the scenes whether that’s by temporarily removing zones in the case of road closures, or creating a new event rate in minutes. 


5. Your brand will shine with software’s built-in marketing capabilities.


Whereas parking hardware can’t differentiate between various types of parkers, software-based payments segments according to behaviour. The resulting data points are useful in establishing custom parking programs that address their unique needs.

For instance, you can offer customizable mobile discounts to use at checkout, which incentivize first time parkers or reward valued customers. You maintain full control over setup, rates, and redemption in the creation of promo codes or validations for any individuals or groups.


And the winner is…


Software-based parking payments beat hardware’s capabilities in every category. Ultimately, making the switch from the old hardware system is a no-risk, high reward choice. You can count on lower costs and more customer satisfaction at your parking lot, which will bring in more business and more tapped revenue, a solid win for everyone involved.

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