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News article entitled Cabinet approves move to cashless payments

Cabinet approves move to cashless payments

Published: 28/09/2020

Ashford Borough Council is set to move towards cashless payments in its Civic Centre and car parks.

Cabinet approved the phased removal of cash payment machines in response to changes in society, with many people increasingly using digital payment services and contactless payments in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The council has seen a big increase in contactless payments in its car parks as visitors have taken advantage of the simple RingGo app which lets people pay for their parking with a credit or debit card. The app even sends reminders when a parking ticket is about to expire, so drivers can top-up the ticket or return to their vehicle, avoiding receiving a parking fine for staying too long.

Stour Centre car park

It is initially intended that cash payment machines will be removed in small, localised pilots to mirror decreasing demand however this will be closely monitored with the option to retain the facility should this demand remain high.

The move also supports the safety of the council’s customers, as cash handling can lead to transmission of viruses such as COVID-19 as well as reducing contact with machines (another potential source of transmission).

The option of cash payments for council services is also available at PayPoint outlets throughout the Borough. Local PayPoint outlets can be found using a postcode search on their website: www.consumer.paypoint.com

The first cash payment machines in car parks are set to be removed in early 2021 with the phased removal of further machines throughout 2022 and 2023 (depending on demand).

Woman making a payment using her phone, bank card and laptop

Cllr Feacey, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Wellbeing said: “Having the option of contactless payment in our car parks has never been more important, and we have seen a significant increase in payments made via the RingGo app.

“This is a great example of how we are making the best use of technology to make life easier and is part of our wider approach to digital transformation and improving services by making them more efficient for our customers.

“Of course, we want to ensure that parking is accessible to everyone so the programme of removing cash machines will be monitored closely to ensure they are removed at the right time.”

Cllr Bell, Portfolio Holder for IT and Finance said: “Cash payments have been declining in popularity for several years and the COVID-19 pandemic has continued this. More people are now embracing technology to pay for a whole manner of things, including council services. We offer a wide range of payment options available to residents, you can find these on our website and choose the one most suitable for you.”