Pay by Phone FAQs

The Basics

What is the PassportParking App?

The free PassportParking App is an easy and convenient way use a debit/credit card to pay for metered parking in Cambridge using a mobile phone or web browser.

What are the benefits of the PassportParking App?

  • Pay for parking using your phone without having to go to a meter.
  • Receive mobile alerts 10 minutes prior to your time expiring.
  • Extend your parking time remotely, up to the maximum allowable time limit displayed on the posted signs associated with your zone.

Can I still pay with quarters at the meter?

Yes. If you choose, you may still pay using quarters at the meter just as you have traditionally done. However, please note that you may not park for more than the defined maximum allowable time limit within the zone in which you are parked, regardless of your payment method, or you will be subject to an overtime parking violation. Find the zone number displayed on signs next to the parking regulation signs, and on decals attached to each parking meter. 

How do I use my mobile phone to pay for parking?

Download the free PassportParking App from the App Store or Google Play. A web version is also available at Please note: your wireless carrier’s message and data rates may apply.

Without the meter showing paid or a dashboard receipt, how do parking enforcement officers know that I have paid for parking?

Each time you use Passport to pay for a parking session, you will enter your license plate number (without any spaces or hyphens ex: ABC1234). Enforcement personnel will look up your license plate number to determine if you have paid. You do not need to display a receipt or proof of payment in your windshield.

Can I stop my parking session?

Your session will end when the time you have paid for has passed. There is no refund available for unused time.

What devices and browsers can I use to access Passport?

We highly recommend using Apple or Android devices for downloading the free PassportParking App. When using mobile pay in a web browser at, modern browsers such as Chrome, FireFox, and Safari work best.

Is there a fee to use Passport?

When parking time is purchased through Passport, a 35-cent convenience fee applies to each transaction. Passport will inform you of the convenience fee and you will be asked to confirm a transaction before you are charged.

Does Passport require a minimum purchase amount for a transaction?

Yes. Passport requires a minimum purchase of 10 minutes, 12 minutes, or 15 minutes depending on the hourly rate of the zone in which you are parking. Time purchase increments are automatically set for each zone depending on the zone's hourly rate, the app will also prompt you to select the minimum purchase for the zone you are parking in.  

Is it safe to make payments via Passport?

Passport is committed to protecting your customer information. Your credit card number is encrypted and your information is handled as specified in Passport’s privacy policy, available at

“Zones” and Understanding How to Use Passport

What is a zone number? How do I locate my zone number?

A zone is a group of parking spaces with the same parking rates, hours of operation, and maximum length of stay. The zone number is displayed on the Passport signs which are posted with the associated parking regulation signs close to where you park. You can also find the zone number on a decal attached to each meter within the zone. Entering the wrong zone number may result in a ticket.

Why is it important to use the correct zone number?

Each block, and even each side of the street, may have different parking rates, hours of operation, or maximum length of stay. You must pay for parking in the same zone that you are parked in to avoid tickets.

I parked using the wrong zone number; can I change it?

You cannot change a zone number once your parking session has started, so remember to review the information screens before confirming your sessions. Make sure you check for parking rates, hours of operation, and maximum length of stay on both the meter and permanent or temporary signage in order to avoid a ticket. Each meter will also have a sticker on it displaying which zone that parking space is a part of. 

How do I know my parking session has started?

When using the PassportParking App, you will know your parking session has successfully started once you see the countdown timer on the screen.

Why doesn’t the meter change/how does enforcement know I paid?

The meters don’t sync with the Passport system, but the parking control officers will see your mobile payment on their handheld enforcement device. When they verify your payment status, they search on their handheld enforcement device using your license plate. This is why it is important to enter your license plate properly, without any spaces or hyphens (Ex: ABC1234).

Account Management

Can I use Passport without having to set up an account?

No. In order to use Passport, you must set up an account first. Setting up an account is quick and easy, and you can create an account by downloading the free PassportParking App from the App Store or Google Play, or you can create your account using a web browser at

I regularly park in Boston, and use the ParkBoston App. Do I need to download the PassportParking App and create a new account to pay for parking from my mobile device in Cambridge?

Nope! You can use the ParkBoston App to pay for parking with your mobile device in Cambridge as well as Boston. Just be sure to check the posted parking regulations for the zone in which you are going to park, and verify that your license plate is entered properly without any spaces or hyphens (Ex: ABC1234). 

Why won’t the PassportParking App let me extend my time?

The PassportParking App will only allow you to purchase parking time according to the parking rate, hours of operation, and maximum length of stay in a particular zone. If you can’t extend your time through the PassportParking App, it could be because you have already reached the maximum allowable time for the zone, as shown on the posted parking regulation signs. You may also be unable to extend parking if you are outside the zone’s hours of operation or due to a parking restriction. Please note, if you initially purchased less than the maximum allowable time, and you intend to extend your session, it must be done prior to the expiration of the session. Once a session has expired, it may not be extended.

Make sure you check for parking rates, hours of operation, and maximum length of stay on the permanent or temporary signage in order to avoid a ticket. Like many Apps or mobile services, the PassportParking App requires a cellular or Wi-Fi signal. If you experience failure in wireless service, you will be unable to extend your parking session remotely.

How does Passport bill me?

You can pay for your parking sessions with Passport using a Credit/Debit card. Transactions completed using a Credit/Debit card will show up on your card statement as individual line items and will be deducted from your account once the parking session is completed.

I have received multiple charges on my bank account after I used the PassportParking App. I believe I am a victim of fraud. What can I do?

Contact the bank associated with your Credit/Debit card immediately if you believe you may be a victim of fraud. In addition, please call Passport immediately at 704-817-2500 for help determining if the charges are legitimate.

I drive multiple vehicles. Can I add more than one license plate to my Passport account?

Yes. Passport allows you to add as many license plate numbers as you like, and multiple users can add the same license plate number (say for a shared family car or company car). As you start a new parking session, you will be asked to select the license plate number you want to purchase parking for.  Remember to enter your license plate properly, without any spaces or hyphens (Ex: ABC1234).

Can I change my notification alert to a duration other than 10 minutes?

No. At this time, the time period for the notification alert feature cannot be changed.

Troubles Managing the PassportParking App?

What if I encounter a technical issue?

You can send a bug report through the PassportParking App and the Passport support team will get back to you promptly.

How do I know if my parking time was processed?

The PassportParking App or mobile web session screen shows the start and end times of your parking session. Additionally, a countdown timer will show the remaining amount of time to your current parking session at any point in time.

Why do I get a "Locked Parking" error message?

If you receive a “Locked Parking” error message, Passport has manually suspended your account due to payment discrepancies. In such cases, please contact Passport at 704-817-2500 for more information.

Why am I receiving a time out error?

Passport allows 90 seconds to complete a transaction before the system times out. If a time out occurs, simply begin your transaction again.

May I get a refund for any unused time?

No. Refunds for unused time are not available. Make sure you check for parking rates, hours of operation, and maximum length of stay on the meter, and permanent or temporary signage, in order to avoid a ticket.

My phone battery has run out and I can't pay for my parking with the PassportParking App. How can I pay for my parking?

Return to the block where your vehicle is parked and pay at the meter using quarters.

I have a new license plate. What do I do?

If you are parking with a new or different license plate number, enter the new license plate number in the PassportParking App or mobile website when prompted. The system automatically saves recently used license plate numbers for your convenience. Remember to enter your license plate properly, without any spaces or hyphens (Ex: ABC1234).

I have a new phone number. What do I do?

If you have a new phone number, you will need to register a new account for that phone number. Deactivate your current account and then sign up for a new account.

I'm trying to create an account but it keeps saying “User Exists.” I've never signed up before. Help!

Call Passport at 704-817-2500 and they can help you sort out the situation.