Google Maps recently announced that its users can now pay for street parking and public transit fares without ever leaving the app. Through an integration with parking payment apps Passport and ParkMobile, Google has imported specific parking rates and policies into the Google Pay app experience. This means that as long as users have a Google Pay account linked to a debit or credit card, they can pay for parking at any Passport or ParkMobile location without having to download either of these apps.
The feature is available at parking meters in more than 400 cities across the U.S., with plans to launch over 100 new locations this month. For payments, users can set up any method available in the Google Pay app, but it must be accepted by the individual parking provider. “If a city does not accept American Express for parking payment, the user would have to switch to Visa or Mastercard within the Google Pay app to make a payment at that location. The ParkMobile app works in a similar way,” explained Jeff Perkins, CMO and head of product at ParkMobile.
Google now also allows users to pay transit fares for over 80 transit agencies around the world from within Google Maps. When users get transit directions, they will also see an option to purchase tickets. As with the parking feature, customers will need a valid Google Pay account linked to a debit or credit card in order to pay transit fares from within Google Maps.
Navigation app Waze, a subsidiary of Google, similarly announced last August that it has partnered with ExxonMobil and Shell to integrate contactless fuel payment capabilities in its app. This means that drivers using Waze can pay for fuel at certain gas stations without having to touch a keypad or swipe a card. “Right now, contactless fuel payments are available at participating Exxon, Mobil and Shell stations across the US. We’re also piloting this feature in Israel,” a Waze spokesperson told Tearsheet.
When Waze users stop at one of these stations, they get a notification that redirects them to either the Exxon Mobil Rewards+ app or the Shell app, where they can make contactless payments for their fuel. “Both apps accept most U.S. credit cards, debit cards, checking accounts, and mobile wallets including Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay,” said the Waze spokesperson. Users need to install these apps in order to use this feature. So, unlike Google Maps, which allows users to pay for parking and public transport within its app, Waze redirects them to its partner apps for fuel payments.
Waze has also partnered with ParkWhiz in Manhattan and with SpotHero in several cities including New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco to help essential workers find discounted parking. Waze has updated its map in the U.S. so that essential workers can find parking spots with lower rates by simply searching for phrases like “parking near me” or “hospital parking” within the app. ParkWhiz and SpotHero accept all major credit cards, Apple Pay and Google Pay.
“These integrations for parking and fuel payments are helping people to maintain social distancing by reducing contact with PIN pads and screens at the pump or parking toll booth,” said the Waze spokesperson.
The pandemic has been a major catalyst for the adoption of digital payment methods. “We have seen a big increase in demand for contactless payments as a result of COVID. 2020 was a record year for our company, with over 70 new market launches,” said Jeff Perkins of ParkMobile. “Consumers are clearly moving away from physical parking hardware to contactless options.” According to a survey conducted by ParkMobile, 40% of its users expect to increase their use of contactless payments as a result of the pandemic.
Perkins says we’re likely to see payments being embedded in a growing number of navigation, parking and other apps in the future. “In the coming year, you will start seeing ParkMobile embedded into all different kinds of apps. If you think about event venues, large retail centers and universities, they all have their own apps. And we will be able to embed our solution into many of those apps. This will make it quick and easy for consumers to pay for parking no matter what app they are using.”