Mobile payments technology has made it easier to purchase everything from movies to furniture with the tap of a mobile app. Now it’s making a particularly distasteful transaction just a bit more convenient: paying your parking tickets.
The city of Boston is partnering with local startup TicketZen to offer a mobile option to pay parking fines as soon as you get them. Every Boston-issued ticket will come with a barcode that can be scanned into TicketZen’s iOS or Android app via a smartphone’s camera. The app will then pull up a digital copy of the ticket, which you can pay by entering your credit card details. Even if the ticket was just stuck under your wiper blade and hasn’t yet made it into the city’s servers, TicketZen can accept payment details immediately and then process the transaction when the city records are updated.
New York City is weighing it’s own parking fines app which could accept anything from Apple Pay to PayPal to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. But while NYC is still in the information gathering stage, Boston’s mobile payments setup is already live, albeit without the plethora of financial options. In fact it just completed a three-month pilot with TicketZen in which 5,000 people paid 7,000 tickets using the app.
Boston is now taking the program out of pilot and offering TicketZen as option on all parking tickets for the next year. TicketZen is waiving its normal processing fees as well, though scofflaws are still on the hook for the city’s credit card processing fees.
TicketZen isn’t just available to Bostonian either. Its ticket payment service is actually available in NYC as well as in San Francisco, Los Angles, Chicago and Washington, D.C. as an independent service (though on iPhone only). The close partnership with Boston, though, makes TicketZen more or a less an official fine collector for Beantown as directions to its mobile app are printed at the bottom of every citation.