Parking & Garage Credit Card Payment Processing

Parking garages and management companies should always have a well-integrated payment solutions. 

It’s vital to have a seamless parking payment systems that will automate as much as possible. When you choose parking payment solutions, it comes down to a continuous development, meticulous understanding of the setup, a foresight of how it functions and it’s all said and done.

This article will analyze the differences of the payment system and why it’s vital to have such a setup, and how it should all come together overall.

What Specific Features Do Parking Garages And Parking Lots Require From a Credit Card Processor?

Prior to setting up parking garage payment solution or merchant account, it’s a good idea to understand various options to take into account when deciding on which systems to choose. There are five specific features that are worthy in parking payment solutions each of which is outlined below.

Integration

In many industries that aren't parking, integration is simple. Managing the gateways, processors, hardware, software access control and the like can be a more than full time job. The first question to take a look at is:

Will the payment processing system will be fully integrated into the parking garage facility? If not, what parts won't be integrated.

If it is, this means that it will manage the functional components of the parking center from start to finish. The payments will be processed via the parking garage payment processing solution the moment the vehicle enters the parking garage. This works best when catering to events or parking lots that have a fixed fee. A solution that is designed for the peak flow of visitors will streamline the entire process, reduce potential errors in the billing system.

A credit card account will work best as it will integrate the solutions before there are problems with payments.

Terminals

The payment system includes terminals that will help to process the payments as they come in.

This is the initial point of contact with customers and it ensures that everything is lined up with the modern standards. It allows for the parking garage credit card account to work as efficiently as possible without requiring more employees for additional labor.

Terminals will be located at each access point of the parking spaces in order to guarantee optimal results. All of the parking areas should aim for this.

Mobile Payments

Customers will be able to set their credit card accounts up on the spot and process it at the same time.

This is vital to the easy form of payment with the credit card and it will make the transaction as quick as possible. It will eliminate a lot of wasted time and waiting for customers who are in a hurry. It’s an ideal reason to implement such a program.

This can also be done for those clients who wish to secure a permit or hope to utilize monthly parking with their debit card. The system is so easy that individuals can literally roll up to the station in their cars and make the payments.

Tech Support For Malfunctions

Should there be a breakdown in the system, or should it quit working, it can be repaired easily via tech support.

This is vital when it comes to reducing the time for cars to stop and pay. If the machine is broken, it can cause all sorts of hardships and it will send out an alert that will resolve the problem before it becomes a huge issue. That should streamline the fix.

Otherwise, cars would be backing up and there would be a lot of potential loss to the parking garage financially. This is a vital reason to add the system to the parking garage.

Confirmation Of Batch Closing

Finally, the confirmation of the batch closing that will allow for the processing of the transactions.

All of the processing requirements to seal the transactions will be to ensure that they have gone through the system in a timely fashion. Each car that goes through will have its own identity as the payment is processed and this will allow for streamlining of the payments.

This confirmation is crucial to the system and it will be a solution that keeps it simple. It will keep the system running smoothly throughout the entire day.

Should I Stay Cash Only?

Picture a car coming in and it’s time to pay, is it reasonable to only allow cash when cards are so very popular in this era? Here are a few reasons to reconsider cash only.

Internal Cash Loss

Other than contract payments, it’s vital to note how internal cash can be lost. With money being mismanaged or moved when it doesn’t require moving, there is always the risk of loss when dealing with cash.

This cash loss can be difficult at best to overcome and it can eat away at the profits rapidly. It can also be difficult at best to “pay for the parking” and may make more of a hassle than it’s worth. Valet parking needs to be a simple process and easy to access, that’s one reason that cash loss should be avoided at all costs.

Comp Customers And Collection Issues

In today’s modern era, there’s no reason to have issues with the collection when considering valued customers. The payment methods should be streamlined and easy and there shouldn’t be any reason that they should be challenging. It’s not the ideal to have to hand out tickets for parking due to collection issues.

The credit card payment processing system itself will be streamlined so that there aren’t any issues. No one will have to face customers on their own and it’s a waste of time to have to deal with them that way. The focus will be on expediting the parking and the payment process.

Allowing customers to pay at the parking spot with debit cards is an ideal that will get the system rolling quickly and prevent backup. A ticket isn’t worth the trouble.

Turning Away Cashless Customers

Picture having to turn cashless customers away due to the forms of payment that are accepted. Another lost opportunity. It will be far more painful than giving out a ticket. Of course, no one wants to give tickets, that may be a valuable consideration to take a look at.

Allowing for multiple payment methods is a great way to follow this path. When people can pay their way, they’ll be far more likely to pay. They won’t have to wait in long lines, This only works when there are a variety of cards that are accepted.

When Should Customers Pay?

A lot of businesses will consider ways to ticket parking however, they won’t consider ways to accept payments. This is a huge mistake and one of the most shocking reasons that many of them aren’t functioning at their optimum level. Customers should be able to pay at access points and this can happen when they are picking up.

Cards can be authorized in advance so that the merchants will see that there is a full value headed their way with the incoming payment. However, this isn’t the only part that must be considered. Cars are rarely if ever, left behind and many will return for their vehicles anyway.

To top it all off, they are going to seek out ways to avoid these tickets and ensure that the payments are going through properly.

Reliable Parking POS Systems or PARCS

There are a number of reliable POS systems available to parking garage and parking lot owners. Point of sale systems are clearly designed for ease of processing. Here is a quick overview of a few specializing in the parking industry:

  • Amano: Specializing in parking systems and time management, Amano has been innovating in the parking space for over 40 years.
  • Skidata: While Skidata provides a variety of ski-targeted products, their parking platform is also a leader in the industry.
  • Hamilton: Focusing on the car wash, parking and amusement industries, Hamilton products are built on the latest technology with a focus on customer convenience.
  • Tiba: Tiba offers SmartPark, which includes a variety of options for payment processing solutions for parking structures.
  • Integrapark: While focusing on providing software solutions for parking solutions in the US and Canada, Integrapark also provides solutions in Paris, Geneva and Rome.

There are a variety of options that are available to those who are seeking ways to move forward with this type of investment. It’s vital to take note that it’s a key point in the process and it must be as streamlined and as effective as possible. Thanks to years of expertise and excellent results, it’s been easy to go with such point of sale systems. They work well and it’s a great way to streamline payment methods. There’s no need for tickets when these are used. They set up easily in a matter of minutes and there is a specialist available that can assist in the setup and the processing so that it will all run smoothly. Drivers will appreciate how easy it is and they’ll be ready to work as the drivers are returning time and again. They can handle large volumes of traffic effortlessly and allow the customers to make their payments via the streamlined system. They shouldn’t be the only method. When customers know how they work, they are the best method.

Terminals That Are Supported:

1. Vending Payment Gateways
2. Mobile Payments
3. Traditional Swipe Terminals
4. Visa/American Express/Mastercard/Debit Cards/Discover Cards/International Cards

Regardless of whether customers prefer to pay mobile, credit card, debit card or other ways they will have a solution at their fingertips. The system will give them the options to pay as they desire because there are so many different solutions. Customers can use their mobile phones and park where they desire. There’s no need to struggle to pay with these all customers have to do is bring their cards and pay. Car parks that don’t utilize such means will be losing out on business.

Working with such a system, cars can park and pay easily. The core strategy won’t be fazed. Mobile payment systems will get the job done easily or the customers can pay with a parking meter.

Regardless of whether they’re using debit cards, commuter cards, wage works cards or other cards the customers can easily pay at the terminal and be on their way without any waste of time. It’s easy to deal with the off-street parking and there shouldn’t be any reason to have to hassle for divers as it won’t be difficult to resolve issues.

PCI Compliance Resources

Of course, one of the most important questions that a business owner will ever ask is that of security.

Many are concerned about how the system will be protected from fraud and other issues. For this reason, the modern systems will be built with PCI compliance. This will allow for users to know that their cards are secure at all times. There won’t be anything to fear about the processing system.

There will be terms and conditions that will all mention this as well as the validation program.

Managing The Parking Hardware And The Parking Software Takeover

PARCS software system will be integrated beautifully with the software and the hardware that will be present. It’s not about to get in the way of what’s in place, it will remain as robust as required to ensure that everything is going smoothly. Fees will be paid and managed by a specialist at all times.

When paying the fees, there won’t have to be any concern about location. It can be frustrating but with the safety nets in place, there’s a modern-day solution to an age-old problem. Solutions will be well managed and easy to implement. The PARCS software will ensure this for decades to come.

Wage works commuters will be able to pay as they go. The entire process will be managed and easily handled with ease. Short term and long term parking will all be easy to pay for and there will be less hassle at the pay stations with these safety measures in place. Payroll deductions for long-term parking are also able to do with ease. Everything can be done thanks to the software program that functions effortlessly for everyone. Term parking will be easier than ever before.

Payouts With Peace Of Mind

After the payment has come and the access cards are set up, it will begin to focus on the long-term payments.

Access cards are one thing, however, handling everything on both ends is vital to the success of the system. Business owners can relax knowing that their money is going to be paid. It’s low risk and there’s no worry that they need to write tickets. It’s important that parking centers streamline the process so that people can pay before they exit. That would cause a backup and slow down the process. The system will have built ins to ensure that everything is flowing smoothly and that vehicles are all paid up as they exit the facility. This will also capture the license plate number if someone doesn’t pay.

As you can see, there are a lot of options when evaluating your parking garage and parking lot payment solutions. And as with any business, as the parking structure owner, it is your decision to evaluate, based on your business needs.

GAM Payments exists to make business operations easy and keeps things simple so you can focus on your customers and stakeholders.

Conclusion

Even in this age of conservation, ride sharing, public transportation, Lyft and Uber, one thing remains constant. People really do love their cars. They love the autonomy of hoping in, hitting the road, turning up the music, and moving through their daily life. Because of this fundamental truth, paid parking will always be a thing.

Parking lots and parking garages began as largely cash-only businesses and are often still run that way. Owners pay attendants to gather payments on entrance or exit of the building or lot. Parking solution owners don’t really see this as a risk, as cars aren’t something customers will generally leave behind. Too expensive, too personal, too vital to most of our lives to leave it sitting in a parking garage because they don’t have cash to pay their parking tab. Plus, it’s cash. No fees to pay banks or credit card companies. No expensive technology to install. Just a cash bag, some small change, and a warm body to process transactions.

Sounds simple, right? Not so fast. Cash-only parking lot and parking garage businesses have their own set of issues. Most painfully, what if potential customers don’t have cash on them? We’ve all done it. In a rush to dinner downtown or a concert or a sporting event, you pull into a lot just ready to get on your way. And then you realize you have no cash. And that’s the only option you have to pay for parking. If you are lucky, you get to leave your car keys or driver’s license with the parking attendant while you run to an ATM and back. If you aren’t so lucky, you turn around and continue searching for a parking spot. Parking garages and parking lots that only accept cash payment inevitably lose customers because of this policy.

In addition, there is often the issue of some of that untracked cash wandering away from it’s cash bag accidentally. Parking owners must have trust in their employees’ honesty, as the transaction tracking method is generally loose at best. It isn’t hard or even noticeable for some of those parking cash payments to disappear. In the end, the aggregate cost of being unable to account for all cash transactions costs parking garage and parking lot owners more than they know.

While cash payment for parking garage and parking lots may be convenient, easy, and flexible for owners, that’s not the case for customers. And in a day and age where less and less people carry cash and rely on debit and credit cards for their daily spending, it’s time for parking owners to make a change in their business model.

Technological advancements have increased the payment processing options for parking lot and parking garage owners and there are many reasons for parking solutions owners to consider alternate options. Companies providing credit card processing for parking solutions are numerous, but there are a few things that owners need to consider when evaluating the best solution for their business.

Perhaps most importantly, parking owners need to consider the impact of integrating credit card processing on their business. Credit card payments are more automated and more convenient for customers. This leads to the inevitable questions of staffing needs. While people are always necessary, managing a credit card payment processing system lessens the need for those cash collectors sitting at the gate. In addition, credit card processing for parking structures increases owners’ flexibility in determining if their parking business will be attended or unattended.

One benefit to credit card processing for parking garages and parking lots is the elimination of human error or poor choices. When your parking structure collects payments from customers via credit card, that cash doesn’t walk out the door. There is no human choice necessary in order to collect payments. Customers pull into your parking garage or parking lot, swipe their credit card at a terminal or through an attendant, and go about their business.

Merchant accounts for parking garages and parking lots often have a variety of options for credit card processing. From the stand alone terminals to mobile payment systems, where attendants can charge customers at entrance or at their vehicles, the options are as varied as you can imagine.

Perhaps the most important feature of using credit card processing solutions at your parking business is the convenience of the payment system itself. Instead of running to parking locations, collecting cash, and proceeding to the bank, parking garage and parking lot owners set up their merchant accounts so that the fees collected are deposited into their bank accounts automatically on a set payment schedule. As your parking structures take in payments, they are seamlessly routed to your bank account on a pre-determined schedule. This convenience is necessary for owners and helps streamline the business operations in an invaluable way.

 

Some additional items for parking owners to consider when choosing a payment processing company:

  • What forms of payment do you want to accept? Just credit cards or both cash and cards? Given the discussion above, you are aware that cash is not always king these days. However, there are customers who do not have credit cards either. Consider a cash option for those who prefer that choice.
  • For cards, what kind? American Express? Visa? Mastercard? Discover? Debit Cards? International Cards? All of the above? The more options you can provide your customers, the happier your customers will be, as they will appreciate the flexibility. However, you do need to also evaluate fees associated with each card as related to your payment processing system and consider cost and benefit of this choice.
  • When do you want your customers to make their payment? Prepay? During pickup? Keep in mind, a car is not a small item. The general understanding is that a car is not something that a customer will leave behind, so factor that into your decision.
  • What kind of terminal do you want to accept your payments? There are three main options:
    • Traditional Swipe Terminals – this option allows customers to swipe their credit cards, just as they would in any grocery store.
    • Vending Payment Gateways – this option allows unattended, self-service payment in parking garages and parking lots.
    • Mobile Payments – this option allows you to use mobile devices, such as phones and iPads to collect payments. This is a particular convenience for parking lots that are attended by a person collecting payments at the car.
  • How are payouts handled? Merchants should insist on a system that allows payouts with peace of mind. With the credit card processing system collecting payments for parking owners, the more seamlessly those payments get batched, finalized, and distributed to owners’ bank accounts in a timely manner, the less stress for parking owners.
  • What does the payment processing company focus on? Are they familiar with the end to end pieces of a payment processing system? Do they manage the full stack of your system, including software and hardware? Keep in mind that companies that focus on the full stack of payment processing systems will be able to directly answer your questions and most importantly, troubleshoot your issues in the future.
  • Does the parking payment processing company have resources and guidelines in place to ensure PCI Compliance? The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard is a set of rules governing all types of credit card processing companies to ensure that customer credit card information is handled securely. Any payment processing company worth your time to investigate has a strong PCI Compliance program to protect your customers.