Smart Card - Smarter Parking

What is a SmartCard?

SmartCards are similar to debit cards. A person can insert the SmartCard into a parking meter and buy time on the meter, up to the maximum limit of the meter (2,3,4, or 10 hours). If there is time left on the meter when the person returns, they can reinsert the same SmartCard and have the remaining value on the meter refunded back to their SmartCard.

How Do I use my SmartCard?

Insert your SmartCard into the card slot on the front of the parking meter. The dollar value of your SmartCard will flash four times on the meter display. The meter will then display increasing time increments up to the maximum meter time limit. When the desired time is displayed, simply remove your SmartCard. The time you have purchased will now show on the meter display.

How Do I get a Refund using my SmartCard?

Insert your SmartCard into the card slot on the face of the parking meter. The current dollar value will flash four times. The the meter will display "rEF" and begin refunding your unused parking meter time. Once the refund is complete, the meter will display either "00:00" or "PULL CARD."

Do I have to insert the same SmartCard into the meter in order to get a refund?

Yes. Meters will only return the remaining value on the meter back onto the SmartCard that originally placed time on the meter.

How do I know which meters will accept my SmartCard?

There is a yellow SmartCard label on the front of all parking meters that accept the SmartCard. The yellow SmartCard label is clearly visible from the street so you can easily know which meters accept the SmartCard before deciding where to park.

If I use coins to purchase parking meter time, can I refund the unused time for the coins onto my SmartCard?

No. Only the value for unused time put on the meter with your SmartCard can be refunded to your SmartCard.

Where can I purchase a SmartCard?

The City of Des Moines has provided three automated SmartCard vending machines where cards can be purchased for $5.00 and value placed on the card using, cash ($20, $10 & $5 bills only - coins, $1 &$2 are not accepted), MasterCard and VISA (credit only). SmartCard vending machines are located at:
→ 3rd and Court Parking Garage office
→ 9th and Locust Parking Garage office
→ 400 E. Court Ave., Ste. 200 (near the elevator) 
→ Wellmark YMCA, located at 501 Grand Ave.

Can I add value to my SmartCard?

Yes. The same vending machines used to purchase SmartCards (locations above) can be used to add value to SmartCards. Simply insert your SmartCard into the marked slot. The machine will then read your SmartCard and give you the option of adding value to your card. Once you have added value to your card, you will be given the option of requesting a receipt. Your SmartCard can be repeatedly reloaded; however, you will not be able to add more than $75 in value to the card at one time.

What happens if I lose my SmartCard?

Because the SmartCard has value, it should be safeguarded. There are no refunds for lost, stolen or mutilated cards.

For more information on SmartCards, please call the City of Des Moines at 515-283-4973.