HonkMobile launches app-free Apple Pay NFC payments

woman tapping phone on sign
HONKTAP: iPhone users tap an NFC tag on a parking sign to pay via Apple Pay

Parking payments specialist HonkMobile has unveiled a ‘virtual parking meter’ that uses Apple Pay’s new support for NFC tags to let iPhone users tap an NFC sticker to quickly make a payment via Apple Pay — without first needing to download an app or register for a service.

HonkTap is now live “in select cities across North America” with 10,000 HonkTap signs and structures to be installed across 20 cities in Canada and the US by the end of summer 2019, the company says.

To use the service, drivers start by tapping their iPhone to Honk’s NFC-enabled signage. They are then automatically directed to a guest checkout page on HonkMobile’s website. They then type in their licence plate number, select the amount of parking time they require and pay with Apple Pay.

NFC-enabled signage “can be as simple as a sticker or as elaborate as a custom sign,” Honk says. Drivers can also “opt-in to receive text notifications when their parking is set to expire, and can add time remotely from their iPhone”.

The service is available to iPhone XR and XS users, currently the only iPhones with support for app-free NFC tag reading.

Android NFC phone owners can also use the service to pay via Google Pay, while QR codes are also included on HonkTap signs for owners of earlier iPhone models and other smartphones.

The NFC tags being used by the company combine NXP’s SLIX2 Type 5 NFC chips with Smartrac’s Block On-Metal NFC tag technology “to meet Honk’s needs for maximum read range and user convenience.”

A short video shows the service in action:

“With HonkTap, parking operators no longer require bulky and expensive payment terminals that can be exposed to vandalism, and experience periods of downtime and long lines of drivers waiting to pay,” HonkMobile says.

“Instead, customized, NFC-enabled signs and structures can be used throughout parking locations, saving tens of thousands of dollars, giving customers even more choice and accessibility in parking payment options.”

The new Apple Pay NFC tag support was unveiled in May and is being piloted for both payments and for loyalty card signups.

Merchants piloting the service include Dairy Queen, Bonobos, Panera Bread, Yogurtland, Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, Dave & Buster’s, Caribou Coffee, PayByPhone and Bird.