Beware Hidden Charges Of Parking Apps

Sun 14th Aug 2022

The convenience of paying for your parking spot on a handy app on your phone is great for those who don’t carry cash, but motorists are being warned that many of the most popular apps are actually charging you extra for the privilege. 

The growth of the car parking apps sector has been phenomenal, with many of us now having at least one of the apps in our phones, casting a smug eye at those forced to queue at the paystation. But where you think that councils and local authorities would want to promote cash-free parking, there may be a more obvious reason to promote them, they cost more to use.

Some of the apps are now charging as much as £1.50 extra to use the apps to pay, with others charging a premium if you don’t pay for your space in advance. RingGo, one of the most popular parking apps charges a ‘convenience charge’ of 12p extra on top of the normal parking fee. PayByPhone has a range of hidden extras, including 20p for a text receipt and the same for a text reminder if your parking is about to expire. JustPark has a 49p transaction fee, which rises to 99p if you stay longer than two hours.

While it may seem like a small price to  pay for those who need parking sorted, it could be a costly habit for those who need to use the car parks often. And with many cash options being taken away, or machines out of service, it seems in many cases we are left with little choice.

Analysis from the AA suggests that there are up to 200,000 daily users of parking apps, and they have called for more regulation.

“When the pay-by-phone apps were first introduced, there was an expectation that parking charges would fall rather than rise,” said Luke Bosdet from the AA.

“This was based on the fact that there would be savings for car park operators such as local councils which would no longer have to maintain and collect money from payment machines. But charges haven't fallen. They've risen.

“We now need a clear and uniform charging structure throughout the pay-by-phone industry so that no car park user is misled or left confused over the charges they are paying. 

“It is not right that a motorist ends up paying far more for a car park spot than expected, or gets charged for simply receiving a receipt.”