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Rrring! Your Parking Has Expired

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 29, 2005

Sure, we’ve heard all about how Japanese and Korean consumers can pay for drinks at vending machines with their cell phones. Now, this much-talked-about technology is finally making its way into the U.S. A major U.S. city will announce this week that it will allow its residents to pay for their parking wirelessly, with their cell phones. It won’t be the first to do that: Denver drivers and bicycle riders are already able to pay for parking and bike lockers with their mobiles.

What’s nifty about the new service is that it will text-message consumers’ phones, letting them know, say, that their parking meter will expire in 10 minutes. Now that’s what I call service!

It’s funny that, in the U.S., cell phone payment service has begun with parking, while, in Japan, it began with grocery stores and vending machines. That just shows you the huge differences between the two cultures. Clearly, the U.S. is walking to its own beat, and mobile payments will be used differently here. I wonder where we might see cell phone wallets deployed at next. My bets: gas stations and McDonald’s. What do you think?

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Reader Comments

Michal Wlodarski

August 29, 2005 01:00 PM

Payments for parking via cell phone (using SMS) has been available in Warsaw (capital of Poland) in 1999 already.

News here is that it starts to be possible in the U.S in 2005!

Jim Dermitt

August 30, 2005 09:23 AM

More terrorists are using cell phones as remote control detonators from what I have read. Nifty! I guess they figure screw that suicide mission stuff. I was getting into wireless and now I'm not so sure I like it now. I'll stick with cash and change. That's just me.

Brian Hamlett

August 31, 2005 11:47 AM

Now, I have no clue where gas stations (or their parent companies) come up with their policies for cell phone usage around gas pumps. I'm not sure if their is a potential danger in sending radio signals through the air around a pump or it's just because people's I.Q. drops about 50 points when they're on one, but here in North Carolina you're not allowed to be on a cell phone while pumping (or basically anywhere around the pump.)

Maybe someone can clarify this? Is there an actual reason other than the stupidity of some people when on a cell phone around a gas pump?

I wouldn't mind using my cell phone as a payment processor, however, we'll have to find a way around the legal issues in some situations.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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