Consumers call for parking meters to accept debit and credit cards
April 25, 2013

Cities and towns across the country have implemented measures to accept debit and credit cards as payment for many of their public services. Railroads, parking meters and taxis are beginning to take plastic instead of cash to better serve consumers and boost revenue. As more local governments start to understand the benefits of electronic payment solutions, one town in California is taking steps to install parking meters that accept plastic transactions.

Santa Rosa responds to criticism from citizens
According to The Press Democrat, the city of Santa Rosa is taking into consideration which payment methods its residents prefer. A downtown business owner asked customers and Santa Rosa residents to sign a petition asking the city to install new parking meters that accept debit and credit cards. Bernie Schwartz received more than 2,000 signatures and brought them to city council.

The current parking system replaced the traditional coin-operated parking meters in 2009 and requires consumers to remember their spot, purchase their ticket at a multi-spot pay station and place the paper ticket on their windshield. Many residents feel the system, which does not accept plastic payments, negatively affects their experience of going downtown. For citizens who only carry their debit and credit card for financial security, the parking meter system decreases their ability to frequent businesses in the area.

In response to the community outcry, the city is now considering spending almost $175 million on 215 new parking meters that offer payment flexibility. Because the smart meters will accept plastic payments, residents no longer need to worry about having cash with them and the move is expected to increase the chances of them frequenting the city's downtown area. This new adoption offers peace of mind for downtown stores that have lost business due to the current system.

For Schwartz, seeing the increase in consumer traffic will be a relief.

"Our visitors and workers deserve the best possible parking experience, as do our current and future downtown residents," Schwartz told The Press Democrat.

Accepting plastic payments at the point of sale is vital for small businesses and local governments alike in driving revenue and customer satisfaction. When one group of consumers is unable to purchase product or services, the results are sales and client retention losses.

Nexus: G-WEBCD2