When a new car park is installed, or an old one will be renovated, there is always the same question: paper parking tickets or plastic cards, which one should I use?

In the last years, it has been seen how the plastic cards turned more popular, thanks to their ability to be reused, allowing multiples uses of them.

But in spite of this important advantage, there are multiple disadvantages that make their use not as profitable as they look like.


Dispenser equipment of plastic cards are much expensive than paper ticket dispenser equipment. Therefore the initial investment to start up the system is higher.


The wear of plastic card dispensers is higher than the parking ticket printers. Their maintenance and the spare parts make the expense to maintain the system in the best conditions much bigger.


Plastic card dispensers has a smaller capacity, allowing to store between 250 and 500 cards, depending on the equipment. Parking ticket printers can generate between 2,500 and 5,000 different tickets in a single refill. Then, the parking staff have to recycle the cards frecuently, specially in high-rotation car parks.


Although plastic cards have more uses than paper parking tickets, that only have one, the suffer frictional wear when they are ejected / introduced into the equipment.

This wear generates a grease on the card’s surface, causing them to stick together. For than reason, whenever you want to reuse a plastic card, you need to clean it, wasting working hours on it.


Parking plastic cards don’t show useful information to the customers. Information than can be printed on paper tickets, as the entry date, entry time or the license plate if there is installed a ANPR system.

Therefore, the system is not complete transparent for customers, generating some mistrust. Papel tickets offer more security and a better experience.

The future goes to making the parking system compatible with mobile technologies. One of these digital features is paying from the own mobile phone, or apply discounts with an app, scanning the barcode or the BIDI code from the ticket.

This is impossible to do with plastic cards. Those car parks that use them, will be outside of the digital parking business, that is becoming increasingly important in many countries.