Residents of Charleston, South Carolina have a new and convenient way to pay for parking when out and about downtown. The city recently revamped their parking meters with smart card readers. All of the roughly 1,800 parking meters are outfitted with the new technology.

Accompanying the new readers is a system of cashless payment cards for city residents. The $5 cards work like debit cards with the new meters. After purchasing the card, users load the cards with money and feed the card into the meter to pay for only how long they need to park, or up to the maximum time allowed by the parking space. Money can be loaded onto the card at any time.
Unlike coin-operated parking meters, card holders can recapture any unused credit from their initial payment. If they paid for an hour and only stayed half that time, the unused payment is debited back to their card. In the long run, this will offset the cost of paying for the card itself. Besides the convenient benefits to card holders, the new system of smart parking meters will reduce the frequency with which the city has to send workers to collect change from the meters.