North Carolina-based cloud parking solutions provider PassportParking has announced that it will now allow parking operators to accept bitcoin payments for purchases.

PassportParking said that in doing so it will be the first company to facilitate bitcoin acceptance in exchange for parking at metered spaces and lots. The company serves 75 clients in 35 states, who now have the option to enroll in the service.

Speaking about the news, PassportParking suggested the program would appeal to privacy-focused drivers, as well as its existing merchant base.

Explained PassportParking:

“Paying with bitcoins allows privacy-conscious customers to have the same form of ‘identity-less’ payments that they would have with coins or cash.

The move also benefits parking operators with near-zero merchant processing fees, increasing revenues without an additional cost for the parking customer.”

Notably, Payward Inc., the company behind Kraken, and BitPay will process the payments.

Payward COO Michael Gronager, positioned the partnership as a way for its service to help PassportParking keep up with taxi operators, who are increasingly offering customers convenient, mobile payment solutions through providers like Square.

About the trial

PassportParking said one of the first parking operators to launch the program will be Park Charlotte, a major parking operator in Charlotte, North Carolina, a southern US city with a population of about 3 million. Notably, the company provides parking services near area attractions such as Bank of America Stadium (home of the Carolina Panthers NFL franchise), as well as the Charlotte Art Institute.

Park Charlotte said the testing would begin in 2014, but did not provide an exact date as to when service would begin.

Ross Brewer, CEO of Park Charlotte, indicated that he expects bitcoin be smart business for other lot operators as well, given the cost savings he believes it will provide.

Said Brewer:

“By allowing us to accept payment directly from our customer, without the need for a middleman, is a win-win situation for us and our customers.”

How PassportParking works

Available via the Android and iOS app stores, the PassportParking app allows consumers to pay for metered parking spots using its pay-by-text, pay-by-voice and mobile app services, which provide an alternative to traditional coin-operated meters.

Users do not need a smartphone to enroll in the company’s basic offering, though the company did not specify if this would change for bitcoin users.

To begin, mobile app users enter information provided on the meters to identify the space they’ve selected, then choose the amount of time for which they want to book the space.

App users can later extend their parking period via the app.

Mobile parking payments

Parking has long been seen as a use case more broadly for mobile payments. As such, it’s no surprise that PassportParking has previously explored other avenues of increasing this adoption. (PassportParking partnered with mobile carrier billing specialist Boku in October.)

Though, this is the first partnership in the bitcoin space, data suggests parking, like other services that thrive on micropayments, could soon become a powerful use case for bitcoin.

A recent report from the International Parking Institute found that 54% of parking industry executives expect mobile payment services to have the greatest affect on the industry in the coming years.

Image credit: Parking lot via Shutterstock

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