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« Mobile payments report | Main | You say RFID, I say contactless »

Getting it out in public

By Dave Birch posted Apr 13 2006 at 3:14 PM

[Jane Adams] As I was up in Edinburgh over the weekend, I took the opportunity to look out for parking meters offering mPark's mobile parking service. There were certainly a good number of mobile enabled meters, especially in the business areas of the city centre. Here's how the system works.

"The Pay and Display machines that are enabled for mobile payments have an extra blue button which is used for selecting the parking time required. Press the yellow button to activate the machine and to display the parking meter number. Call 0870 840 1000 and input the parking meter number using your mobile phone's keypad. Then follow the pre-recorded instructions. You will then increment the time period of parking required using the blue button. When you are happy with the value, press the green button to print out your Pay and Display ticket. Display this as usual in your vehicle. Your mobile payment is now fully registered with the system and will appear as a separate transaction on your bill (credit card)." (taken from the mPark website).

To be honest, this sounds a bit complicated for my little brain, and slow too. Here's what the site has to say about time required:
"From waking up the machine and hitting the ring button on your phone to should take less than 40 seconds. It will then take a further few seconds to select the desired amount of parking and print out your ticket."

Parking charges are then billed to a credit account which the phone owner has previously set up with mPark which is certainly a lot more convenient than fiddling about looking for small change. Nonetheless, I couldn't help nipping over here, where I found the following information about street crime:
"Last year over 710,000 mobile phones were stolen.....The chances of being a victim of robbery are low, but there are plenty of things you can do to make it even less likely:        

  • be aware of your surroundings and keep your valuables hidden – talking on a mobile, wearing headphones, carrying a laptop all show potential thieves you have something worth taking"

Personally, if I were planning on mugging someone for their mobile, I know exactly where I'd be waiting. Next to the parking meter.

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