Frequently Asked Questions

How does credit card acceptance work?

Once a card is presented at an IPS meter, the card information is encrypted and wirelessly transmitted for authorization via the Level 1 PCI-DSS certified card payment gateway.  The card is authorized by the issuing bank and time is placed on the meter. Complete transaction and settlement details are found in the IPS Data Management System (DMS).

What are interchange fees?

Interchange fees, also called discount rates, are fees collected by the Credit Card Network (such as Visa and MasterCard) and are dependent on the type of card used by the consumer.  Typically, the merchant’s bank, or the “acquiring bank,” pays a customer’s bank, or the “issuing bank,” when the merchant accepts  a credit card using a card network. The interchange fees are typically a percentage of the total purchase, a flat fee per transaction, or a combination of the two.  The term “interchange fees” is often used to include all of the fees inherently charged by default for card processing services, which can include assessment fees, authorization fees, settlement fees, and more. Your merchant services provider can provide a complete list of interchange and other fees.

What is the difference between Single Space and Multi Space meters?

A single-space parking meter manages and is located beside one parking space. A multi-space pay station can manage multiple parking spaces, typically 6 to 8 on-street parking spaces and sometimes over 100 off-street parking spaces (such as in a parking garage). Customers should consider the public convenience, ease of maintenance and enforcement, total cost of ownership, and the application when making a decision between single-space parking meters and multi space pay stations.

What does pay by plate, pay by space, and pay-and-display mean?

Pay-by-Plate, Pay and Display, and Pay-by-Space are three types of pay station payment configurations. While the machines function the same  internally, the customer interacts differently with each configuration. To determine which configuration is right for you, consider total cost of ownership for both parking and enforcement technology, as well as public convenience, urban environments, and public policy.

Pay and Display:  User parks, walks to the central pay station, makes a payment, and receives a receipt that must be displayed on the vehicle (typically on the dash or window) to allow for proper enforcement.

Pay-by-Space:  User parks, walks to the central pay station, enters the space number where the vehicle is parked, makes payment, and optionally receives a receipt.

Pay-by-Plate: User parks, walks to the central pay-station, enters the license plate number for the parked vehicle, makes payment, and optionally receives a receipt.

What is the purpose of the Data Management System?

Because meters are wirelessly connected and have the ability to send data related to transactions, maintenance events, and configurations, a hosted, web-based data management system is an essential tool to properly manage, maintain, and optimize your smart meter system. 

How can the Data Management System help me manage my parking?

The Data Management System (DMS) provides a comprehensive set of financial, technical, and administrative reporting features and remote meter configuration capabilities. With the DMS, customers have the ability to monitor real time maintenance needs, measure user trends to optimize the system configuration, and adhere with public policy. With easily accessible data, information is at your fingertips 24/7. The IPS DMS is a truly integrated system, collecting data from single-space meters, multi-space pay stations, vehicle detection sensors, pay-by-cell capabilities, and enforcement applications into one single backend system.

What does my hourly rate need to be to consider smart meters?

IPS smart meters support all rate structures. Cities generally configure their rates between $0.25 per hour and $6.00 per hour. In our experience, the greatest benefits are achieved when the rate per hour is at least $0.75 or greater

Can I pass credit card fees onto the customers?

While it is possible to pass credit card fees onto customers, the ability varies by state depending on the local or state laws. To understand the variance, let’s first define the terms “convenience fee” and “surcharge fee.” 

“Convenience fee” is defined as follows:  “For merchants who offer an alternate payment channel (i.e., mail, telephone, or e-commerce) for customers to pay for goods or services, a convenience fee may be added to the transaction amount. If the merchant chooses to assess a convenience fee to its customers, the merchant must adhere to Visa rules.” (Source: Card Acceptance Guidelines for Visa Merchants, 06.APR.14). 

“Surcharge fee” is defined as follows: “A payment card surcharge is a fee that a retailer adds to the cost of a purchase when a customer uses a payment card.”  (Source: www.usa.visa.com

Merchants are required to disclose the surcharges to consumers, provide notification to Visa and the Acquirer, and there are limits to the amount of the surcharge per transaction. Please note that some States explicitly prohibit credit card surcharges by law.  However, there are also certain exemptions for Local and State Governments. Please contact your local merchant services provider, your local Visa/MasterCard representative, and your City Attorney’s office to determine the laws for your state.

For more information, visit:

http://www.merchantcouncil.org/

http://www.knowyourcard.org/

http://usa.visa.com/merchants/merchant-support/merchant-surcharging.jsp

https://www.mastercard.us/en-us/merchants/get-support/merchant-surcharge-rules.html

Can customers get receipts from single space meters?

Yes, customers can visit https://receipt.ipsmetersystems.com/to enter the relevant information and receive a receipt.

How doe the new EMV regulations affect parking meters?

The following Wikipedia entry provides background information on EMV use as it relates to parking meters:

“EMV (Europay MasterCard Visa), is a technical standard for smart payment cards and for payment terminals and automated teller machines which can accept them. EuropayMasterCard, and Visa, are the three companies which originally created the standard. EMV cards are smart cards (also called chip cards or IC cards) which store their data on integrated circuits rather than magnetic stripes, although many EMV cards also have stripes for backward compatibility. They can be contact cards which must be physically inserted (or “dipped”) into a reader, or contactless cards which can be read over a short distance using radio-frequency identification technology. Payment cards which comply with the EMV standard are often called chip-and-PIN or chip-and-signature cards, depending on the exact authentication methods required to use them.” (sources:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMV)

EMV regulations will affect parking meters beginning In October 2015, when liability related to card present counterfeit fraud will shift. Card present counterfeit fraud occurs when an EMV card is stolen and used at a location that does not have EMV certified card reading equipment. While the card issuer was previously liable for such fraud, beginning in October 2015 the merchant will be liable, unless the merchant implements EMV certified card reading equipment. This will not affect any transactions that are initiated with a non-EMV credit card and does not affect cards that are reported as lost/stolen.  Additionally, merchants are not required to support PIN acceptance and all cards must support transactions with No PIN cardholder verification method (CVM).  As parking meters are considered Unattended Cardholder Activated Terminals, parking meters will also be affected by this change. 

Fraud in the parking industry as it relates to card present counterfeit fraud is extraordinarily low. Speak with your merchant services provider about the current level of fraud in parking.  While IPS offers our customers the option to purchase EMV card readers, other options like Card Present Counterfeit Fraud Reimbursement Services are also provided by IPS as a much more cost effective way to protect the City from liability. 

Get the facts first at  http://usa.visa.com/merchants/grow-your-business/payment-technologies/credit-card-chip/docs/Chip_Payment_Acceptance_Putting_it_Into_Perspective_for_Small_Ticket_Unattended_Merchants.pdf.  IPS can also arrange direct conference calls between City representatives and card companies upon request.

What is the difference between variable rate pricing and demand based parking?

Variable rate pricing is a rate structure that changes as more time is purchased. For example, at a 3-hour space, the first hour costs less and each subsequent hour costs more. 


Demand based pricing is a policy that allows for the adjustment of meter rates, both up and down, based on the measured demand of parking. The goal is to use pricing to optimize the use of the parking asset, create parking availability, and reduce the amount of time people circle for a parking space. This is largely done by increasing rates in areas of higher demand and lowering rates in underutilized areas.  Demand based pricing can vary by the day or the week, the time of day, or can even incorporate a variable rate structure into the programming.  Demand based pricing can be adjusted periodically, such as once every 6-8 weeks, or can be designed to adjust in real time based on the actual real time parking occupancy.

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