Until now, parkers in downtown Wilmington had two alternatives to searching through the seats for spare change… the parking deck or a $6 park card. But now, Port City drivers have another option. The city recently partnered with Verrus mobile payment to allow drivers to use their credit cards to pay by phone. The first time you call it takes a few minutes to set up; you'll need your cell phone number credit card and the meter location number. “From then on every time you go to a meter and you don't have the coins you just simply call that number and give them the location number and you're on your way,” said Wilmington Parking Manager Betty Gurganus. Some parkers are worried about giving too much information over the phone. “Oh man, I think it seems like a scam or something, giving your credit card number out I don't think that's right,” said Henry Boone. But most say it's a great idea. “It’s convenient, it's easy. Most of the time, people don't have cash. I know most of the time I don't have cash,” said Tracey Corle. “Everything is going to credit cards these days. Nobody carries cash any more so I typically don't carry any change,” added Louis Padgett. If you've used the new pay by phone feature to feed the meter and input your meter location number, no time shows up on the meter itself. But don't worry; all the parking attendants have phones that they use to check whether or not you've paid by credit card. If you have, it will show how much time is remaining. If time's up or you haven't paid, it will read 'no vehicle'. Whether you're in a one or two hour meter, don't worry about beating the clock. “It text messages you back five minutes before it's to expire and lets you know you're about to expire, and so if you need to add more time you just call that number right back and you add more time,” Betty Gurganus explained. But with a 35-cent additional charge per transaction, some say it's easier just to make sure you're prepared ahead of time. “When I get downtown I make sure I have change in my pocket or in the car so I have enough money so I can park,” Boone said. For those who would rather use the traditional method, you're still going to have to keep track of time. The new service only accepts Visa and Mastercard. If you don't want to give out all your information over the phone you can pre register online at paybyphone.com. The website also allows you to print out receipts.
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