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Paying Everywhere with an E-Z Pass?

  • By Timothy Roberts
  • Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fast Company featured a great article a couple weeks ago on how E-Z Pass – the toll booth system in the US Northeast – is a rising form of electronic payment. E-Z Pass which is an association of 14 states has nearly 23 million transponders on the road, is attracting a lot of interest as other industries requiring payments realize how very convenient this technology really is.

According to the article, right now, the toll payment market mirrors the mobile one in that there’s major fragmentation. The industry is working towards interoperability between the systems, and actually are mandated by a law called MAP-21. Once interoperability is achieved, the possibilities for the use of existing toll passes for other payments is very compelling. Especially as these accounts are already in place.

If that sounds far fetched, the Fast Company article shares that E-Z-Pass and McDonald’s worked together to pilot a system for drive through payments. While McDonald’s opted to take another route after they realized they needed to settle payments nightly opposed to weekly as the toll system is set up to do, it goes to show the possibilities.

The success or failure of taking the toll infrastructure and leveraging it purely depends on how fast interoperability can be achieved and the ability for these systems to create systems that can handle the needs of other industries. If they can do that rapidly and keep pace with other developments in mobile, they may just have a winner as they have the distinct advantage of accounts and technology already in place.