Parking Kiosk Hardware Options

5 minutes
Cheryl Lesniak
parking kiosks

Parking Kiosk Hardware Options

5 minutes
Cheryl Lesniak
parking kiosks

The days of scavenging for change to feed the meter are long gone, thanks to the implementation of modern parking kiosks. Quarter-fed street meters and manned booths at lot entries have been replaced with self-service kiosks, saving drivers time and businesses money.

But what exactly are parking kiosks, and how are their assorted functions suited to different environments? In short, parking kiosks are a type of self-service technology that lets drivers pay to park in public lots and garages, on the street, or on private property. Due to their relatively small size and less complicated heating and cooling needs, they also tend to be less expensive than other outdoor kiosks.

Kiosk functionality and devices will vary depending on the needs of a location. Below are some hardware options to consider when deploying a parking kiosk program.

Barcode Scanner

Barcode scanners are generally used for mobile or badge entry, making this feature a viable option for both public and private parking kiosks.

Whether through a one-time-use ticket, parking pass, or recurring subscription-based mobile app, scanners can verify authenticity within seconds and allow drivers to go along their way quickly and efficiently.

This device most often suits the needs of event venues, offices, airports, theme parks, hotels, and the like.

Credit Card Reader

While common, credit card readers are a multi-beneficial peripheral for parking kiosks. Not only is using an EMV reader intuitive, but the payment process becomes much faster when coin and bill counting can be eliminated altogether.

Replacing cash payment with credit card readers also provides added security benefits for those who employ the parking kiosks as well.

Frank Mayer Account Executive Ben Snider points out, “Cashless kiosks are much less likely to be vandalized or broken into than kiosks that collect or dispense cash.”

Another advantage to using card readers for parking kiosks is they’re less restrictive than other payment options, meaning it can be used as a “one-size-fits-most” feature for short-term parking.

Whether at a concert hall, business property, or even for street parking, kiosks equipped with credit card readers provide an easy and safe way for users to make a payment.

License Plate Recognition (LPR)

License Plate Recognition, also known as LPR, is a quick and efficient way for drivers to access private parking areas. Rather than stopping to scan a badge, enter a code, or swipe a card, drivers can simply roll into the lot or garage and let the LPR-equipped parking kiosk do the rest.

“The biggest advantage to LPR is you can assign the vehicle’s license plate to the specific user,” Snider says. “LPR is also more secure than a Barcode Reader because while you can share a QR code, you cannot share your license plate.”

LPR technology reads the license plate of the entering vehicle and matches it with a corresponding plate number that has been programmed into the system. This both improves security as well as prevents parking abuse.

This technology is optimal for long-term parking, such as at apartment complexes and gated communities, or for employee parking.

Facial Recognition

Facial Recognition technology scans the driver’s face and matches it to an existing photo in the system. Once a match is confirmed, the driver is permitted entry to the parking structure or lot.

While this technology does require drivers to stop for identification, making it less efficient than some other choices, it’s also one of the more economical options.

Snider explains, “The cost of a camera with facial recognition is much more affordable than the upfront hardware cost of the License Plate Reading Cameras, RFID Readers, or Bluetooth Beacon.”

Much like LPR, the use of facial recognition technology in parking kiosks is best suited for permanent and recurring parking, such as in multi-family complexes, offices, and universities.

Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID)

Radio Frequency Identification Technology, often shortened to RFID, is a slightly more expensive option that is better fit for lots and structures designed for long-term use.

RFID works through antennas and permanent fixtures, like stickers on registered vehicles. This creates a much larger range of signal for the technology to use, which speeds up entry time.

This type of technology is also best for frequent and long-term use, such as in private car parks or tenant-only parking garages.

Bluetooth Beacon

Bluetooth beacons are a great option for short-term parking at places like airports, event venues, and theme parks. It’s one of the more versatile options because, like barcode scanners, it can allow mobile access.

This technology can pair with personal devices through an app, allowing the kiosk to communicate with phones wirelessly and without barcode scanners, making it more secure than using QR code entry.

Another benefit to this particular peripheral is that it opens up more options than simple payment or registration recognition. This technology can use an app to alert users to available parking spaces nearby.

“Imagine having a mobile app on your phone,” says Snider. “You can see which parking garages are available and purchase it from your phone on the app. Then once you arrive at the kiosk, the Bluetooth beacon will communicate with your phone and recognize the payment to allow you in.”

Suddenly, it’s more than just a ticket into a parking garage, it’s what’s saving drivers from circling the block for an hour hoping to spot an open parking space.


When looking into purchasing a parking kiosk, it’s important to understand the requirements of the desired parking system because that will inform the functions needed to to fit those needs.

Is the kiosk intended for public or private parking? Is the system meant for long-term or short-term parking? Will it be pay-to-park or subscription-based entry? The answers to these questions will narrow down the best hardware device options for that kiosk.

The better understanding one has of these kiosk options, the easier it will be to identify the best fit for specific parking needs.


Curious about which features will work best for your parking kiosk program? Reach out to us at to discuss.

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