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Mobile Payments - Parking

Mobile Payments - Parking

In this post will cover some basics of Mobile Payments related to Parking Tech using recent Google Maps partnership announcement.

Google recently(Sep 2020) announced a partnership with Passport Labs Inc, provider of the mobile technology platform used in the transport and parking industries, that would allow users to pay for their parking directly from Google Maps.

Passport Inc, a VC backed startup, has raised $123.5 M as of Dec 2019. As of July 2020, the company has reported $1.9B in mobile payments and serves 1,265 cities.

The above partnership highlights the importance of having an industry-specific mobile payment solution. Google owns the Maps applications and holds Google Pay, a digital wallet used to make the transaction. However, Google is tying up with Passport Labs Inc for a pilot in Austin, Texas.

So let's try to understand the mutual benefits of such a partnership. Let's begin with Google (a) Google Maps can increase user engagement and retention, (b) Google Pay usage will increase, since users may pay for the parking using it. (c) Google doesn't have to work with individual players in the parking eco-system to deliver such a solution.

Similarly, for Passport Labs Inc, (a) Having a name-brand partner such as Google will give a tremendous exposure and signup more partners. (b) Passport Lab's will have increased revenue -depending on how the transaction is structured. Overall - it is a win-win for both teams involved.

There appear to be two paths for digital parking in the industry today, (a) Vendor-Specific Applications or OEM version of the Application that may get labeled with a customer name. In this scenario, the vendor lets say a hypothetical vendor "parking app." launches a mobile app or a website, and end-users must download the app or go to the vendor site to reserve and pay for parking. Or "parking app" may have a customer called "my city" (where "my city" is the name of a city)  and may launch a "my city app" to specific geography. In both cases, end-users will have to use a different app, and the "parking app" will own the end-end development of the payment solution.

(b) Native Application embedded with parking mobile payment solution, similar to Google and Passport Incs partnership. Here the end-user doesn't have to download another application; they can continue to use the Application they are familiar with ( in this case, let's say "Google Maps"). Here Google will use the APIs provided by its payment partners to offer a new parking experience for their users.

Let us view various components in the above solution.

First, an "owner"  can be a city, university, or municipal, or whoever owns the parking meter will signup with a digital parking platform "vendor."   The platform vendor will provide the required integration to manage parking meters and interface to set price, timing, and various other business parameters required. The Goal of the vendor is the accumulate as many "owners" as possible and will reach out to partners (partners can be app providers or can be the "owners"  themselves). The vendors provide the APIs or the complete app for the "partners" or the "owners." The end-user will use the platform to make parking reservations and parking payments.