Salmon Arm is hoping to upgrade its meters in 2021 with a card reader assembly making it possible to pay by credit or debit card. This is one of the meters in Salmon Arm that would be upgraded. (File photo)

Salmon Arm is hoping to upgrade its meters in 2021 with a card reader assembly making it possible to pay by credit or debit card. This is one of the meters in Salmon Arm that would be upgraded. (File photo)

City of Salmon Arm moves closer to credit card pay parking

Changes in technology expected to take place in early 2021

By early next year, the city hopes to have at least three parking pay stations upgraded to accept debit and credit card payments.

Council was told in June 2020 that the biggest obstacle to switching from coins to a new system is that the city’s accounting system does not take credit or debit cards.

On Aug. 24, Tracy Tulak, acting chief financial officer, reported to council that a card reader assembly can be purchased and easily installed to allow for other parking payment options.

The option staff recommended was an EMV3 model, which would be available in approximately six months. The price per assembly would be $1,000 to $1,200 each, plus delivery and tax.

It would feature a card reader and PIN pad, as well as EMV chip card ability and mobile payment. (For example, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay)

She said although the six-month wait will delay the ability to pay for parking with a credit card, once it’s purchased it will provide multiple options and have the most up-to-date technology.

Read more: New parking pay stations coming for Salmon Arm but they will still take coins

Read more: Parking in downtown Salmon Arm moving to two hours except for one street

Other obstacles being considered were the additional fees that come when installing a card reader assembly to the ‘pay by plate’ parking.

Service fees for the meters would increase by $10 per month, and there would be a one-time credit card set-up fee of $295.

An unknown amount would go to Chase Paymentech, a monthly fee plus transaction fees per use.

The city now has three machines that can be converted, along with three more similar ones ready to order. The funding required would come from the city’s 2021 budget.

Coun. Chad Eliason, council’s rep on the parking commission, said the aim was to be progressive so the city wouldn’t have to be replacing vandalized machines.

Coun. Sylvia Lindgren asked about revenue and was told parking brings in about $59,000 per year. She asked if the machines could be emptied more often and stickers put on advising not to bother breaking into them as they are emptied daily. Staff said they would take the recommendation under advisement.

Coun. Debbie Cannon asked if the six-month delay is due to the devices being back-ordered and, if so, should the city be ordering them immediately.

Tulak said they’re not back-ordered. The meter company representative told her they’ve been working with the banks to get the prices down for the technology, plus working on ensuring it is compatible with all of the machines.

“So they are just six months out to ensure that the technology works with everything here,” she said.


marthawickett@saobserver.net
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