New York City mulling Apple Pay option for parking ticket payments

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In an effort to reboot an old and obtuse parking ticket payments system, the city of New York is investigating alternative forms of payment, including mobile transactions powered by services like Apple Pay and PayPal.

According to a report from MarketWatch, the city's finance department is looking to upgrade its parking ticket platform, which currently handles some $600 million annually from about 10 million issued tickets.

Potential replacements for the parking bureau's current system include Apple Pay, PayPal and cryptocurrency Bitcoin, the latter of which would likely be funneled through third-party banking apps. Whichever option is selected, an ideal process would see transactions carried out as one-touch mobile device payments.

While a platform is far from finalization, possible implementations include an "aesthetically pleasing" mobile solution that lets drivers scan in a ticket barcode, or take a photo of the ticket, and pay via any suitable digital payments service, like Apple Pay. With an easy-to-use system installed, the city hopes to cut down on $600 million in additional fines and fees resulting from delinquent or defaulted ticket payments.

Apple's payments system is a prime contender if the city's initiative gets off the ground. Launched in October, Apple Pay is quickly gaining momentum and accounted for one percent of all digital payment dollars in November, according to research firm ITG.

The publication notes New York City's current parking ticket platform does include an option for drivers to pay online, but the system is difficult to use on mobile devices. In addition, paying online means using a debit or credit card, which comes with a 2.5 percent processing fee. More traditional alternatives include delivering payment by mail or in person.

So far, the city has only taken preliminary steps toward a mobile payments rollout, recently issuing a Request for Information filing due Jan. 15 regarding the viability of integrating such services.