How To Pay For Parking By Phone In San Francisco

Finding parking in San Francisco can be a headache. Circling the block again and again, trying to find an empty spot wastes time and gas. Luckily, San Francisco offers pay by phone parking. This allows you to pay for metered parking right from your mobile device.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: There are a few pay by phone parking apps available in San Francisco, like ParkMobile and PayByPhone. You can download the app, enter your zone number and payment info, and pay for parking without having to dig for quarters.

It’s quick, easy, and convenient.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about paying for parking via phone in San Francisco. You’ll learn the benefits of pay by phone parking, how to set up accounts with the major apps, tips for using the apps properly, and more.

The Benefits of Pay By Phone Parking

Paying for parking by phone in San Francisco offers numerous benefits that make the process more convenient and hassle-free. Here are some of the key advantages:

Saves time compared to paying at the meter

One of the biggest benefits of using pay by phone parking is that it saves you time. Instead of having to wait in line at a parking meter or search for loose change, you can simply pay for your parking spot with a few taps on your phone.

This means less time spent fumbling with coins or standing in line, allowing you to quickly get on with your day.

More convenient than carrying around coins

Carrying around coins for parking can be a hassle. They can easily get lost, misplaced, or run out when you need them the most. With pay by phone parking, you don’t have to worry about having the correct change or dealing with coin-related frustrations.

All you need is your smartphone and a payment method, and you’re good to go.

Can extend your parking session remotely

Another great advantage of pay by phone parking is the ability to extend your parking session remotely. If you realize that you need more time in your parking spot, you can easily extend your session from wherever you are.

This eliminates the need to rush back to your car to add more time or risk getting a parking ticket.

Is available almost everywhere in SF

Pay by phone parking is widely available throughout San Francisco. Whether you’re downtown, in residential neighborhoods, or at popular tourist destinations, you’ll likely find pay by phone parking options nearby.

This makes it incredibly convenient to find parking and pay for it, no matter where you are in the city.

Gets you receipts and parking history

When you pay for parking by phone, you receive detailed receipts and a parking history. This can be useful for expense reimbursement or tracking your parking expenses. You’ll have a record of when and where you parked, as well as the amount paid.

It’s a convenient way to keep track of your parking activities and stay organized.

The Main Pay By Phone Apps in San Francisco


ParkMobile is one of the most popular pay by phone apps in San Francisco. With ParkMobile, users can easily pay for parking from their mobile devices, eliminating the need for coins or credit cards. The app allows users to find available parking spaces, reserve spots in advance, and extend their parking time remotely.

ParkMobile also offers additional features such as parking reminders and the ability to track parking history. The app is user-friendly and has a high rating in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

It is accepted at various parking locations throughout San Francisco, making it a convenient choice for residents and visitors alike.


PayByPhone is another popular pay by phone app in San Francisco. Similar to ParkMobile, PayByPhone allows users to pay for parking from their mobile devices. The app provides features such as finding available parking spaces, extending parking time remotely, and receiving parking reminders.

One unique feature of PayByPhone is the ability to use the app in multiple cities across the United States and even internationally. This makes it a great option for frequent travelers. PayByPhone also offers a loyalty program where users can earn points towards future parking fees.

Comparison of features

App Features
  • Find available parking spaces
  • Reserve spots in advance
  • Extend parking time remotely
  • Parking reminders
  • Track parking history
  • Find available parking spaces
  • Extend parking time remotely
  • Parking reminders
  • Multi-city and international use
  • Loyalty program

Both ParkMobile and PayByPhone offer convenient ways to pay for parking in San Francisco. The choice between the two apps may come down to personal preference or specific features that are important to the user.

It is recommended to download and try both apps to determine which one works best for individual needs.

For more information on ParkMobile, visit their official website:

For more information on PayByPhone, visit their official website:

How to Set Up a Pay By Phone Account

If you’re tired of fumbling for loose change or worrying about expired parking meters, setting up a pay by phone account is a convenient and hassle-free option. With just a few simple steps, you can easily pay for parking using your smartphone in San Francisco. Here’s how to get started:

Downloading the app

The first step in setting up a pay by phone account is to download the appropriate app. San Francisco offers several options, including ParkMobile, PayByPhone, and EasyPark. Simply visit your smartphone’s app store and search for the app that suits your needs.

Once you’ve found it, click “download” and wait for the app to install on your device.

Entering your payment info

After you’ve downloaded the app, open it and follow the prompts to create an account. Typically, you’ll need to enter your personal information, such as your name, email address, and phone number. You’ll also need to provide your payment information, such as your credit card details or link your account to a digital wallet like Apple Pay or Google Wallet.

Rest assured that these apps prioritize the security of your financial information, so you can feel confident about entering your payment details.

Adding vehicles

Once you’ve set up your account and entered your payment information, the next step is to add your vehicle(s) to the app. This ensures that the parking enforcement officers can easily identify that you have paid for your parking.

Simply enter your vehicle’s license plate number, make, and model, and save it to your account. Some apps also allow you to add multiple vehicles if needed.

Getting help if needed

If you encounter any issues or have questions during the setup process, don’t worry— help is just a phone call away. Most pay by phone apps provide customer support that you can reach out to for assistance.

Whether you need help navigating the app or have questions about parking regulations, their knowledgeable staff will be happy to assist you. Additionally, you can visit the official website of the app you’re using for further guidance and frequently asked questions.

Setting up a pay by phone account in San Francisco is a great way to simplify the parking process and avoid the hassle of carrying around loose change. By following these steps, you’ll be able to pay for parking quickly and easily using your smartphone. So why wait?

Download the app and start enjoying the convenience of pay by phone parking today!

Tips for Using Pay By Phone Apps

Know your zone number

When using a pay by phone app in San Francisco, it is important to know your zone number. Each parking area in the city is assigned a specific zone number, which you will need to enter into the app when paying for parking.

These zone numbers can usually be found on signage near the parking space or on parking meters. By knowing your zone number in advance, you can save time and avoid entering the wrong information.

Extend sessions to avoid tickets

One of the great advantages of using pay by phone apps is the ability to extend your parking session without having to physically return to your car. This can be especially useful if you find yourself running late or need more time for your errands.

By extending your parking session through the app, you can avoid getting a ticket and save yourself the hassle of rushing back to your car.

Use reminders and receipts

Pay by phone apps often offer features such as reminders and receipts, which can be incredibly helpful. Reminders can alert you when your parking session is about to expire, ensuring that you don’t forget to extend it.

Receipts can provide you with a record of your parking transactions, which can be useful for expense purposes or disputes. Take advantage of these features to make your parking experience more convenient and organized.

Re-up before time expires

It’s always a good idea to re-up your parking session before the time expires. This will help you avoid any potential issues or delays that may arise when trying to renew your parking through the app. By re-upping your session a few minutes before it expires, you can ensure a seamless transition and avoid any unnecessary stress.

Don’t wait until the last minute!

Update location if you move your car

If you move your car to a different parking spot within the same zone, it is important to update your location in the pay by phone app. This will ensure that you are paying for the correct space and avoid any confusion or issues with enforcement officers.

By keeping your location information up to date, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are following the rules and regulations of parking in San Francisco.

Paying at Meters vs. Pay By Phone

When to pay at the meter instead

While paying for parking through your phone is convenient, there are times when it may be more advantageous to pay at the meter. For example, if you are not comfortable using technology or if you don’t have a smartphone, paying at the meter is a straightforward option.

Additionally, if you prefer to have a physical receipt or if the parking meter is located in an area with poor cellular reception, paying at the meter is a reliable alternative.

Pros and cons of each method

Paying at the meter Pay By Phone
  • Pros:
  • Easy to understand and use
  • No need for a smartphone
  • Physical receipt
  • No reliance on cellular reception
  • Pros:
  • Convenient and time-saving
  • Ability to extend parking remotely
  • Receive notifications when time is running out
  • Option to add more time without returning to the meter
  • Cons:
  • Requires having cash or coins
  • No reminders for expiring time
  • May need to return to the meter to add more time
  • Cons:
  • Relies on smartphone and internet connection
  • Requires setting up an account
  • Potential for technical glitches or app malfunctions

Ultimately, the choice between paying at the meter or using a mobile app comes down to personal preference and circumstances. If you value convenience and the ability to manage your parking remotely, Pay By Phone is a great option.

On the other hand, if you prefer a more traditional approach or don’t have access to a smartphone, paying at the meter is a reliable alternative. No matter which method you choose, the most important thing is to ensure that you pay for parking to avoid any penalties or fines.


In summary, pay by phone parking apps make parking in San Francisco much more convenient. By setting up an account with ParkMobile or PayByPhone ahead of time, you’ll save the hassle of carrying change and rushing back to feed the meter.

Be sure to know your zone number, take advantage of handy features like reminders and receipts, and brush up on the best times to use pay by phone versus old-fashioned meters. With these tips, you can cruise around SF stress-free knowing your parking is already handled.

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