Contactless payment is not a new concept, in fact it has made life a little easier for most Australians since it was first made available here approximately thirteen years ago. And while we were slow to adopt early on, in recent years there has been a steady move away from cash; contactless payment is now widely adopted.
Since entering the market in 2014, we at DCA, have quickly seen our PayStay digital payment technology become the preferred method of parking payment in cities where it’s been introduced. Why? Because it is convenient and secure.
But what of the COVID-19 pandemic? As the community adjusts to a world of social distancing, contactless payments have surged, quite simply because people don’t want to handle possible contaminated cash. The AFR reports that “cash out” transactions with EFTPOS had dropped 70% as of mid-April compared to pre COVID numbers. And MasterCard reported 91% of customers in Asia were now using contactless payment, citing safety and cleanliness as the driving factor.
As the World Health Organisation reportedly encourages the use of contactless payments and central banks quarantine bank notes, what can we do to protect our community?
Municipalities around the country have supported small businesses to stay open safely with the assistance of safety messaging. And small businesses themselves have taken to posting signs at the point of sale, stating contactless payments are mandatory or at very least preferred, in a bid to protect their customers and staff.
Experts have found COVID-19 can stay alive on surfaces for days, and if that surface is a key pad (or parking meter) it could be touched by hundreds (or thousands) of people in a single day. The Australian Payments Network was quick to respond temporarily increasing the contactless card PIN limit from $100 to $200 at certain retailers in an effort to reduce the risk of COVID-19.
As we grapple to understand what the new normal might look like post COVID-19, it is safe to say the communities concerns pertaining to health and safety are at the forefront. More than ever people are seeking safe and convenient ways to go about their day-to-day business and move about their communities.
Paying for parking is no different. Offering and encouraging mobile digital payment where possible will not only provide the community with the safest payment option, it offers added convenience (which from our experience closely correlates with increased parking compliance), with the ability to stop and start sessions from the safety of your parked car, and the added benefit of only paying for what you use.
About the Author
Shane Tracey is Business Unit Manager-PayStay, Australia’s leading pay-by-mobile parking app. Shane’s analytical and technical skills together with his product management and software implementation experience ensures that PayStay continues to evolve and support smart city strategies in Australia and New Zealand.