Forget phones, maybe it's time to use electronic toll tags for mobile payments

Fasttrak toll road stock 1024

There has to be a better way than pulling your wallet out and shoving over a fistful of cash or handing over a credit card, but mobile payment systems from Google Wallet to ISIS face a major problem: getting hardware into consumers' hands. What if, instead of forcing new equipment to make transactions happen, we used something that already has a large userbase — say, electronic tollboth payment systems.

It's not as crazy as it sounds; in fact, a recent Fast Company article points out how the idea has been gaining steam. EZ-Pass, an electronic toll collection system used with 22 million active tags through 14 states, ran a trial at a few McDonalds locations in New York to facilitate drive-through transactions back in the 2000s. According to Fast Company, that trial ended because McDonalds wanted accounts to be settled daily, not weekly — a change that would require a lot of work on EZ-Pass' end. Still, there are others that already use the transponders, like some parking garages at some airports in the New York area, while others like trucking companies and gated communities apparently have some interest as well. And, thankfully, the issue of different incompatible electronic toll systems across the country should be addressed by the end of 2016, thanks to a bill signed into law back in July. That's a long ways away, but going off of the lack of progress phone-based systems have had, it's not too bad — so long as you have a car.

The Verge
Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.