One of the worst feelings in the world is walking down the street and seeing a meter maid papering tickets on the block where you parked. On the same level is showing up 30 minutes early to the most important meeting of your life, and ending up late because you couldn’t find parking. Fortunately, mobile parking payment apps have helped the masses avoid the stress of failing to put an extra quarter in the meter and ending up with a citation, all the while ensuring you’re on time for that life-changing meeting.
But fintech companies aren’t getting involved just to provide consumers a convenience — the parking market is worth $25 billion in the U.S. alone. There are currently 40,000 garages and surface parking lots in the U.S., providing parking payment platforms a plethora of partners to work with. With more cars on the road and increased demand for parking spaces, it’s not surprising that parking apps are competing over the market.
Here, in no particular order, are the top 5 mobile parking payment apps:
Founded in 2005, Pango is the granddaddy of mobile parking payments. In an early version of the app, people who wanted to plug a local meter accessed Pango through an automated phone system. Eventually, Pango expanded to app form, allowing users to pay for parking at participating locations. Pango’s bread and butter is providing mobile payments for on-street parking, eliminating the need to feed meters with change, and allowing users to extend their parking time through the mobile app. Recently, Pango has formed some strategic partnerships to provide its users with access to municipal lots, fuel services, and car washes.
Pango reports having 700,000 users, and is available across Israel, and select U.S. cities. For a blast from the past, users can still call and pay for parking through their phones.
Focusing on off-street parking, the Chicago-based SpotHero enables users to reserve parking spaces in participating garages. With both hourly and monthly parking options, customers can lock-in discounted parking rates through their home computers or mobile phones. The app also comes with a navigation tool, giving customers mapping assistance to find their reserved lot easily. SpotHero monetizes their operation by charging a commission on all parking transactions.
SpotHero was founded in 2011 by Lawrence Kiss, Mark Lawrence, and Jeremy Smith, and is available in 12 major US cities, including NYC, San Francisco, and Chicago.
Another off-street parking service, Parking Panda is one of the most sprawling North American parking apps. Currently available in 39 major cities and 30 airports, Parking Panda allows users to search, book, and pay for parking through its website or app. Users can use their current location or select a specific location to find parking. Parking Panda has inked partnerships with lots, garages, airports and arenas, and also unveiled an in-dash integration for IoT cars at the 2016 Mobile World Congress.
Parking Panda was founded in 2011 by Nick Miller and Adam Zilberbaum.
Focused more on the number of cities than the number of locations in cities it services, Parkmobile is one of the vastest parking apps in the world. Using the ParkNow reservations platform, Parkmobile offers services in 600 international cities and reports having 11 million global users. In 2015, BMW announced a partnership with Parkmobile to bring parking payments into BMW dashboards. The previous year, Parkmobile reported $37 million in US sales.
Founded by Albert Bogaard in 2008, Parkmobile is part of the BCD group, a travel services conglomerate that reported $25.6 billion in global sales.
A B2C and B2B service, Passport works with cities to provide municipal-level, mobile parking solutions. Users can book a variety of municipal services through the Passport mobile app, including: making street-parking payments, acquiring parking permits, purchasing bus and train passes, and paying off parking citations. For cities, municipal workers can monitor data in real time and make sure nothing out of the ordinary is happening.
Founded in 2010 in Charlotte, NC, Passport just finished a funding round in May, raising $8 million. MK Capital led the round, and featured by Grotech Ventures and Relevance Capital.