Vodafone in car parking trials using Visa cash

Vodafone, in conjunction with Visa International, Leeds City Council, Landis & Gyr and others, has been participating in extensive trials to explore the opportunity for the acceptance of the Visa Cash 'electronic purse' for on-street, 'pay and display' parking meters in Leeds.

Visa Cash is a payment card embedded with a computer chip which stores money as electronic data. The trials are part of a programme to establish the commercial viability of the card. Car parks are ideal for Visa cash as they are visited regularly by motorists and the card overcomes the inconvenience of needing small change.

Up to 50 can be loaded onto a Visa card which is drawn from the cardholder's debit or credit account. Cardholders can then use the card to make purchases at over 1,400 retail outlets in the Leeds area that have terminals installed to accept Visa Cash. Research conducted by Visa International in the UK indicates that cardholders expect to be able to use Visa Cash for on-street pay and display parking meters.

The technical solution for accepting Visa Cash on the parking meters is supplied by a consortium headed by Parking Technology Equipment. Within each of the initial 60 meters provided by Parking Technology Equipment, a radio-pad connected to the Vodafone Packet Radio Service has been installed. This enables the Flexipark Central Monitoring System of Leeds City Council to remotely monitor the meters and to upload parking data each night for analysis. In addition, using wireless technology allows the council to reconcile Visa Cash payments through the Visa Cash settlement system within Barclays Bank.

Visa International, in conjunction with six major UK banks, has been operating Visa Cash in Leeds for almost two years. To date, some 60,000 Visa Cash cards have been issued and customers can load their cards at 60 stand-alone load machines in the city.

With the Visa Cash trials, payment for parking in Leeds has become much easier. No more fumbling for the correct change; or if the correct change cannot be found, being forced to pay for extra for time which the customer has no intention of using. Leeds City Council is benefiting from reduced cash handling and reconciliation administration, resulting in reduced costs and increased security.

Tony Riley, Sales & Marketing Director, Vodafone Value Added and Data Services, commented: "We are pleased to be participating in these groundbreaking Visa Cash trials in Leeds which have successfully demonstrated another example of how wireless technology is delivering tangible benefits in our everyday lives. We are actively seeking to identify and develop more applications for Visa Cash with third parties."

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