Searching for a parking space or a car park with reasonable hourly rates can be a stressful experience, especially if you’re driving around somewhere unfamiliar.
In addition, many of us no longer carry change around in our pockets, purses or wallets. This can make paying for parking impossible, especially if the pay stations don’t accept cards. Fortunately, the smartphone era has been able to solve both of these problems with the creation of parking apps.
From helping you find a space and giving you information on parking regulations to providing a secure and remote payment method, parking apps work seamlessly to make the end of your journey easier and more convenient.
AppyParking is the best all-round parking app on the market offering UK-wide coverage for on-street and off-street parking including disabled and motorcycle bays as well as electric charging points.
You can search for free off-street parking options to help you save money. Alternatively, the app will automatically find the cheapest spaces with real-time availability.
The slick and friendly interface is simple and easy to use. Once you’ve found somewhere to park, you can access Google StreetView within the app to have a better idea of what the space or car park actually looks like.
Navigation to the car park or space is provided within the app when you’re in the car. It also features a walking route so you can find your way back to the car when you’re ready to leave.
The app even offers an option to pay for your parking via card or phone as well as UK-wide petrol prices and locations.
Cost: Free / £4.99 (Premium)
Founded in 2007, Parkopedia has grown to become the world’s largest parking service provider with detailed information on over 70 million parking spaces (including car parks, street parking and private driveways) in 89 countries.
The app tells you how many spaces each parking area has and colour codes them based on price, so you can easily see which ones are the cheapest. Although there isn’t a navigation feature within the app itself, it integrates with the navigation apps already installed on your phone.
Upgrading to the Premium version for £4.99 unlocks a number of additional features, including real-time parking availability for compatible spaces. You’ll also get access to a pre-booking service allowing you to reserve parking spaces through the app.
The most useful Premium feature is the ability to pay for parking via the app, online or in-car. It’s unfortunate that you have to pay extra in order to receive this functionality.
RingGo is the largest mobile phone parking payment company in the UK, offered in more than 400 towns and cities nationwide. Many car parks throughout the country have chosen to use its system to enable drivers to pay for their parking without coins.
The app is simple and easy to use. All you have to do to sign up is enter your vehicle registration and payment card details. Every RingGo enabled car park has a unique code, which you can normally find near the pay stations, that you can enter into the app so it knows which location you’re parked in.
You can check space availability in real time using the colour-coded map, navigate to your chosen car park within the app and pay for a parking session in advance.
If you need to stay later than anticipated, you can extend a session or set up helpful reminders to let you know when you’re running out of time.
JustPark provides access to 1.4 million spaces throughout the UK, including off-street (car parks, driveways and private spaces) and on-street (meters and free parking zones) parking.
Where it stands out from other parking apps is that it lets you rent out your own parking space to other app users. This could be your driveway, garage or designated space that you’re not using – you can choose when your space is available to rent.
As expected, you can view information on the live availability, price and restrictions of parking spaces with navigation provided by a chosen app already installed on your smartphone.
You can reserve a space in advance at over 45,000 locations and pay for your parking sessions via card, PayPal or Apple/Android Pay. Use your account to set up expiry reminders and complete extensions in a few taps.
PayByPhone does exactly what the name suggests as a parking app – it lets you pay for your parking session using your phone. Available in more than 400 cities across 8 countries, it’s the highest-ranked parking app in the world.
Every eligible car park displays a unique code that you put into the app to let it know where you are. Payment cards are added using the camera-based image-recognition system, or you can pay via Apple/Android Pay.
Once your payment method is set up, paying for parking is a fast and easy process. You can choose to receive text messages before your parking session expires and you can extend your stay from anywhere.
Despite it’s limited range of features, PayByPhone is the best parking app for payment. It allows you to set your stay for as little as one minute which will automatically adjust to the longest time available for the minimum fee.
ParkMe is developed by INRIX, a company dedicated to providing innovative products for the automotive and transportation industries. The app is available in 15,000 cities, but was primarily developed for the American market.
Although it does cover the UK, you don’t get as many parking options as with rivals on this list which is a shame because the interface is slick, nicely designed and easy to use.
When you find a space, the app displays the price, distance from your current location, estimated availability and a Google StreetView image so you know what you’re looking for.
The US version offers the option to pay for your parking session via the app; unfortunately, this feature hasn’t made its way across the Atlantic yet. However, you can mark the location of your car and set a timer for when your parking runs out.