Volkswagen purchases PayByPhone for parking

PayByPhone, the app that lets you pay for parking (and parking tickets) with a smartphone, has been acquired by Volkswagen Financial Services. PayByPhone is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and operates in Canada, the US, France, Great Britain, Switzerland, and Australia. In 2016, company processed $250 million in parking payments from 12.5 million users.

Volkswagen Financial Services had already bought Sunhill Technologies, the largest cashless payment solution in Germany, last year, so PayByPhone expands the company’s parking payment possibilities.

“It is important to make the distinction that it is Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS) who acquired us, and they have a charter to focus on general mobility services,” said PayByPhone CEO Kush Parikh in an email interview. “Outside of being the largest parking payment provider, the key asset we bring to the table is the relationship we have via our flagship mobile applications with our users. The mobile relationship is a one to one relationship that┬ácan extend into a myriad of additional services.”

PayByPhone is focusing on parking payments first before branching into other mobility technology spaces, like car sharing or ride hailing applications for this service. “Our plans are focused on making the parking payment experience as seamless and easy as possible for users,” Kush wrote. The company already has a program in London where license plates are coordinated with a user account when the car arrives in a lot, and then the user is charged for her┬áparking time when she leaves. “[This] can quite easily be extended into the autonomous vehicle movement,” Kush said.

PayByPhone’s expansion hasn’t been hindered so much by its ability to scale as by an entrenched parking industry “that continues to hold on to archaic cash and credit card based systems, which are very capital intensive,” as Kush put it. PayByPhone does expect that VWFS’s investment will help the company expand into new countries.

Kush noted that while the company will be focused on making parking payments as seamless as possible, they do have an eye on the future. “Parking is a great way to attract users where their identities can be used for a myriad of additional services, including movement around cities (aka smart cities) and distributing our service into any application, such as mapping and travel applications.”