Parking coupons


Coupons can sometimes appear in the unlikeliest of places – when you recycle your newspapers and magazines, for example. Or, when you get money from an ATM. Now, you can get coupons just for parking your car.

A company that operates parking lot kiosks has partnered with MasterCard, to offer coupons when you pay for parking. The “unique couponing platform,” an announcement of the program reads, “will enable the delivery of offers from locally relevant retailers directly to shoppers as they are paying for their parking spaces.”

Drivers who park, and pay using a kiosk operated by Parkeon (“the world’s leading parking services provider”), can use the kiosk’s touchscreen to select one of several coupon offers that appear. Then the selected coupon will print along with your parking pass.

The idea has a few limitations, though. First of all, it will be a little while before you see the system near you, unless you live in Rockville Center, New York. That’s where the coupons are debuting this week. A full-scale deployment across all of Parkeon’s terminals is scheduled to begin early next year.


Secondly, the offers will be mostly coupons for nearby restaurants and shops – so don’t expect your parking kiosk to spit out manufacturer’s coupons for cereal and laundry detergent. But if the program is successful, a spokesperson suggests, you never know. “We are currently in pilot stage and recruiting merchants for the wider roll out of the scheme which will be open to support local merchants and retailers with no limitation,” MasterCard’s Corinne Raes told Coupons in the News.

And, since the program is operated by MasterCard, that means MasterCard users will get the best offers. “We will be developing personalized offers and added benefits for MasterCard users,” Raes said, though some “offers and coupons are available to consumers no matter what the payment method used.”

Not to look a gift horse in the mouth – but why exactly do we need coupons to print alongside our parking receipts? “The way we shop is changing and today’s shopper wants to feel that they are getting the best and most personalized experience possible,” MasterCard executive Hany Fam said. The coupon program will allow us all to “start the retail experience from the moment we get out of our cars.”

“Parking meters are evolving from a cash-intensive, low-value transaction industry, to one that is able to deliver huge commercial benefit to businesses and reward consumers,” Parkeon’s Stéphane Roques added. The program ensures that Parkeon is “meeting the growing expectations of consumers,” but also allows it to “have a positive impact on businesses in the 3,000 cities that we currently operate in.”

So, as with any coupon program, it’s really less about saving you money than it is trying to get you to spend more. So consider that, if you come across a high-tech parking meter that offers you coupons. The discount could cover the cost of your parking spot – or it could make the simple act of parking your car more expensive than ever.

Image source: MasterCard

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