I was a contributor to a project where Scheidt & Bachmann, one of the major system providers for parking revenue control systems, launched a white-label product to offer mobile payment for parking services. Users pull a ticket upon entering a participating car park, and shortly before leaving, they use their mobile phone to pay. No search for an automatic pay station, no standing in line. Very convenient.
The process of doing this involved
- scanning the ticket (barcode) or entering the license plate number
- once the price is displayed, the user has a choice between
- paying by credit card or
- via Braintree, PayPal
Besides the actual payment flow, the application also provides static and dynamic information about all available car parks:
- a map (Google Maps / Apple Maps) shows the location of the individual car parks along with the number of currently available spaces
- the app offers to navigate the user to a selected car park
- the user can see detailed information about each location
Technically, the mobile application is connected to an backend-side gateway that puts all pieces together:
- communication with the payment service provider
- pulling of static contents from a content management system
- retrieval of dynamic (space count) information from all connected car parks
As mentioned earlier, the application is a white-label product, and all variants published on the App Store and Google Play Store show the branding of the corresponding municipality or car park operator.
While the solution started out as a native app for iOS and Android, some customers soon started to ask for a way to integrate the payment flow into their own mobile applications. I coordinated the effort of creating two options here:
- a customisable plugin managing the payment flow that can be embedded into a 3rd party app and
- an API that does not require any client-side code from the vendor (...and allows integration with other payment service providers)
All three variants are in active use at the time of writing.