Shopping Centre
Dash for cashless
Published:  26 March, 2014

Cash is no longer king and cashless payment is becoming the norm as ANPR and card payments combine to make payment painless

Bemrose Mobile, RingGo, Verrus and Parkmobile are four companies offering cashless parking systems, enabling people to pay for their parking quickly and easily via mobile phone without the need for a ticket and without having to scrabble around for change.

With many operators now offering cashless payment options as part of their armoury, and with shopping centres beginning to latch on to the benefits, cashless payment systems are continuing to grow.

Once registered for the service – usually by logging their vehicle registration number and credit or debit card details – the visitor is able to pay for parking by making a quick phone call outlining their location and length of stay and the payment is taken automatically. If the motorist is running late it is easy to extend and the whole process can be done by text message, allowing the shopper to lengthen their parking time remotely via mobile, spending more time in-centre rather than having to return to their cars.

Cashless parking is becoming increasingly popular, not just with motorists, but with car park owners, operators and local authorities up and down the country. Cashless parking provider Bemrose Mobile says demand for its ‘Phone and Pay’ service has more than doubled in the last 12 months, aided by operators looking for a wider range of ‘at desk’ options for monitoring car park use, adapting tariffs and providing more convenient payment options for motorists.

‘Phone and Pay’ provides a secure and convenient way for shoppers to pay for parking sessions via phone, SMS or app. Unlike traditional methods, motorists benefit from useful features including text confirmation that parking has been booked and a reminder when a parking session is due to expire.

“Cashless parking provides a huge boost to retailers, hotels and restaurants, as visitors don’t have to rush back to their cars to avoid a parking ticket, and are therefore encouraged to stay longer,” says Bemrose Mobile’s Nick Kibel.

‘Phone and Pay’ can also provide car park operators and retailers a direct communication channel with customers via SMS, presenting a new revenue stream opportunity.

The centre’s retailers could advertise a promotion at the bottom of a confirmation SMS letting people know about a sale or new range of products, for example. And centre managers can use the service to let customers know of late night shopping hours during busy shopping periods like the run up to Christmas.

Some shopping centres also combine a cashless parking system with the use of ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) technology which helps car park operators monitor use, prevent misuse and offer free of charge parking periods.

In car parks where ANPR cameras are used, Creative Parking Solutions, sister company to Bemrose Mobile, has also started to introduce a customer focused parking experience, ‘AutoPay’. It is an automated payment system where the motorist has zero interaction with any payment machines, or method. They simply register their details and can then enter and exit a car park as they wish while being charged accordingly, making it the most user-friendly parking payment system available to date. It is the ideal solution for people who visit their local shopping centre on a regular basis and means they never have to worry about paying for parking again.