Israeli contactless payment technology provider On Track Innovations (oti) is expanding its reach to enable self-service payments on several fronts.

Its initiatives include the recent expansion of parking payments and the addition of new technology that supports multiple payment methods.

The Rosh Pina, Israel-based oti recently signed a five-year contract to manage more than 5,000 on-street parking spaces in Arlington County, Va., with deployment beginning in July. Drivers activate a device that hangs inside their vehicle while parked, and then deactivate it when they leave. The device is billed for the time the car is parked, a method that's designed to eliminate feeding or overpaying parking meters.

"All the driver has to do is push a button in the device and that's it, you've paid to park," says Shlomi Eytan, chief sales and marketing officer for oti, which provides parking technology through its Parx subsidiary.  Oti also handles collection, processing and customer support.

Drivers purchase the devices for about $25, with $5 pre-loaded. Oti also provides the technology in the United States, Israel, Italy and Albania. Devices purchased in one region can be used in any other. "The drivers, in effect, have their own parking meters that they can take with them," Eytan says.

The use of mobile technology to enable digital parking payments has advanced quickly around the world, with other companies deploying systems in Paris, Indianapolis and Chicago.

"I do think that parking and digital payments are made for each other," says Zil Bareisis, a senior analyst at Celent. "We've all been there, searching pockets for loose change to feed the meter, realizing that we don't quite have the correct amount, then having to rush back to the meter to top it up if the meeting over-runs."

The ability to pay for the exact time required is hugely beneficial for users, Bareisis says. "Also, for the provider, not only do such solutions help ensure revenue collection, the increased visibility into transaction data opens up analytics opportunities and enables service and pricing optimization."

Oti is also adding capabilities for other self service payments. The company recently released a device that can accept both chip and non-chip cards.

The technology will be of particular value during the U.S. shift to EMV-chip cards, Eytan says. "For card readers, the U.S. is the biggest market, and in the self-service market we have shipped more than double the amount of readers as opposed to the prior year. As there's a move to EMV, there will be even more of a need for new readers."

Oti's customizable reader can be programmed to support or exclude any combination of magnetic-stripe cards, contactless magnetic-stripe cards,  EMV contact and EMV contactless cards. It is based on the oti Saturn 6500 reader. The product is designed to give merchants and consumers flexibility, Eytan says.

"Making the devices easy to use, and allowing different kinds of payments, will be key to adoption," Eytan says.

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