PayByPhone is revamping its app to help make it easier for people to park their vehicles.
The Vancouver, B.C.-based company today rolled out a redesigned iOS app with new Apple Pay functionality for users in the U.S. and Canada, as well as new location-based imagery and the ability to pre-book parking spots.
PayByPhone, which lets people fill the meter without visiting their car or displaying a stub, added Apple Pay as a payment option to offer more security and flexibility for iOS users.
The new app also now tracks the walking distance between you and your parking location, utilizing that information to offer a time extension when appropriate.
In addition, city transportation departments that have partnered with PayByPhone to let citizens use the app to pay for parking — there are more than 300 of them across six countries — can now create custom messaging within the app looks based on what’s going on in their city. For example, the City of Seattle could notify people about July 4 and how parking is free that day.
Later this year, the app will include a feature that lets users pre-book parking spots at private lots like Impark and SP+. There is also a new way to tag vehicles and license plates based on who the user is, allowing for more specific parking rates depending on the individual.
“We can use profiles on the back end to charge accordingly,” said PayByPhone CEO Kush Parikh. “This is not new in the tech world, but for sure in the parking world. This capability, to me, is the first step in rendering meters and display machines completely obsolete.”
Parikh, who works out of Seattle, told GeekWire that the 15-year-old company has made a recent push to focus on the consumer side of its app as it works with both private parking lot operators and cities like Seattle, San Francisco, London, Paris, and Geneva.
“We’ve been thinking of ourselves as more of a consumer payments company and less as only a parking company,” said Parikh, who previously worked at traffic data giant INRIX.
Parikh said that PayByPhone added more than 2.5 million users over the past year and now counts more than 12.5 million total customers. It also now processes more than $300 million in parking payments annually.
PayByPhone, a subsidiary of U.K.-based PayPoint that employs 100 around the globe, hopes to add some technology and innovation to a $100 billion global parking business, Parikh added.
“It really is still an old economy experience to get change, stand in line, swipe your credit card and use the meter to pay for parking,” he said. “We’ve created a seamless parking experience to pay with the app and made the consumer experience very clean.”
PayByPhone debuted in Seattle in July 2013 and now does 750,000 transactions per year in the Emerald City. Users in Seattle pay a $0.35 convenience fee when they use PayByPhone to park — Parikh said he hopes the city absorbs that cost to drive consumer adoption of its app.