In the global push towards fully automated parking, more Operators are examining the impact different payment options have on efficiency and profitability. Cash in particular has fallen under the microscope in recent years, as an increasing number of electronic payment methods promise to reduce the challenge and expense associated with managing it.
The common misconception that cash is difficult and expensive to manage has led many Operators to question whether they should even allow the option to pay with cash, but eliminating it comes with its own set of drawbacks. Requiring parkers to only pay with cards or mobile apps removes a core payment choice from customers, and as such detracts from both customer service as well as profitability, especially when you consider the contents of most customers’ wallets.
As the recent cases of data breaches at parking facilities across the United States & elsewhere have demonstrated, card payments for parking bring potential risks and many customers would prefer to at least have the option of paying with cash. Studies show that people typically prefer to use cash for moderately priced transactions. In fact, Cardtronics surveyed Millenials in early 2016 about their payment decisions, with 45% saying they’re more likely to pay with cash now than a few years ago and 57% valuing having a choice of payment types at their disposal.
Whilst limiting the number of payment options may seem like a good idea, it can actually be a very risky decision. Cash payments may help to save Operators money over the life of the machine, as the initial cost of the technology (together with the cash-in-transit costs) should work out less than the combined transaction fees when accepting cashless payments.
Until recently banknote payment solutions tended to be large, which standard parking and pay-on-foot machines had to accommodate. They also didn’t recycle notes as change, so cash boxes had to be emptied frequently. Fortunately, cash payment technology has improved dramatically over the past two years. Today’s solutions can easily be integrated into smaller payment machines and offer rapid transaction times. In fact, the typical cash transaction today can often be completed just as fast as a card transaction.
Cash recyclers accept and store bank notes for use as change in future transactions. As a result, rather than having to be emptied every day, cash recyclers can run for days, even weeks, at a time with minimal float levels before having to be emptied. The compact CPI SCR bank note recycler can store two different bank note denominations to be used as change, as well as having a 600-note cash box for safe storage of higher denominations. It is also unique in offering multi-note escrow in parallel, enhancing the customer experience. The CPI SCR typically provides a return on investment within a year.
We can point to transactional data extracted from two pay-on-foot machines in the UK over a three day period – which equated to just over 1,500 transactions.
We demonstrated that switching from a note acceptor to a SCR bank note recycler would achieve savings of over £900 per machine per year.
Over 10% of transactions would involve bank notes being paid out as change, which would mean no pockets full of coins. The Operator would also able to reduce the volume of stored coins required to provide change, plus drastically cut back on their cash box collections and associated CIT fees. It was also demonstrated that they could take a one-time benefit from freeing up float in the form of stored coins of many hundreds of pounds.
Parking technology is constantly evolving and improving, and city parking managers have more options than ever when it comes to tools that can make parking more user-friendly, manageable, and profitable. Today, cash recycling technology is making it easier and more efficient for parking facilities to accept cash payment for parking and as a result helping them be more friendly and profitable.
Crane Payment Innovations (CPI) is part of Crane Co., a diversified manufacturer of highly engineered industrial products (NYSE:CR). CPI provides a full range of unattended payment solutions for Gaming, Retail, Transportation, Vending, and Financial Services applications. CPI is built upon the technological heritage and market expertise of the NRI, CashCode, Telequip, Money Controls and, most recently, MEI and Conlux brands.
CPI works in partnership with valued customers to enhance its portfolio of high-quality payment solutions – from coin and bill processing to cashless systems and asset management software.
CPI is headquartered in Malvern, PA with additional offices, manufacturing facilities, distribution and service centers worldwide. The company holds one of the world’s largest installed bases of unattended payment systems. For more information, visit www.CranePI.com.