I've seen the bright green signs all over the parking meters in downtown St. Cloud. I don't know why, but I've been avoiding using them, and have been digging in my purse pockets, my van console and wallet for change when I go up town for lunch.

I finally have run out of change. Seriously. There is nothing but pennies left in my car. I'm sitting in the parking space looking at the ParkMobile App sign above the meter.

I go to my phone and search for the ParkMobile App. It came up pretty quick and it didn't cost me anything to get it, so I downloaded it on the spot.

For the most part, it was easy to use. Just remember that when you download it, you will have to take a few minutes to enter your debit/credit card information, address, name; You know...the basics so they can take your payment.

That part was pretty seamless.

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The part I had trouble with was paying. I thought that the app would ask me for my parking space number, and it didn't. It asked me to "ENTER ZONE NUMBER."  This was confusing as it shows a map on your phone, with all kinds of groupings. At the time, it showed me that my car was in or around area 11. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do with this information.

I took a wild guess at what the meter wanted and entered the number on the meter in front of me....29.

This seemed to make the ParkMobile App happy.  It then asked me how much time I wanted to pay for parking. It took a bit for me to figure out how to dial it in, but once I did that, the rest was pretty simple.

The transaction was verified that I was indeed in the parking space, and the payment was taking. The whole process probably took me about 3 minutes to enter my card data into the system.

I've also used the other system they have in the parking garage behind the paramount. Park your car and make sure you get the 4 digit number of your parking space before you enter the building. The parking meter pay center is on the ground level.

It's pretty simple to use as long as you can remember your parking space number. You enter the space number, how long you want to park, and then you can use your debit/credit card to pay.

Overall, I think it's a great system for those that don't mind using their app. My only worry is that...don't we ALL forget our phones from time to time? I'm thinking that if you forget your phone at home anymore, it WILL be a legitimate reason to be late for work.. you may NOT be able to survive without it in the new world of parking anyway.

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