Author: Terry White

Terry is the co-author of The Best Selling "The iPhone Book" 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th editions. He has been active in the industry for over 25 years and is the founder and president of MacGroup-Detroit, Inc., Michigan's largest Macintosh Users Group, host of the Adobe Creative Suite Podcast and a technology writer - Terry White Tech Blog.
Costco

The New Costco iPhone App

We knew this day would come! After all Sam’s Club is well into version 2 of theirs. As the saying goes, better late than never and Costco has done a really good job with this 1st version. What I hate is when a company that is already behind, comes out with a new product or service that isn’t at least as good as the competition that’s already been out for a while. You’re already late, you might as well take a little more time and do it right. While this is a version 1 App, it feels as good as Apps that have been out there for a while. What I expect to be able to do is:

  • Find my nearest Costco (hours, services, etc.)
  • See the latest deals/coupons
  • Check my membership details
  • Renew my membership
  • Order stuff directly via the App 
Anything above those features is a bonus! This app not only does those things but it also lets you read the Costco Connection magazine, make a shopping list, check your pharmacy prescriptions, and upload photos directly to be printed (nice!). As far as the coupons go, you still have to physically print them and bring them in on paper! Doh!
The Costco App does all that it claims to do in a nice interface. The only things I would ask for going forward is an iPad native version and the current Gas prices at the closest or chosen Costco Warehouse. Probably the biggest and most glaring omission of an App like this is why not have your membership card in the App? This way I would no longer have to carry it in my wallet and Costco would no longer have to print as many cards.
If you have a Costco membership, there is no reason not to have this App.

iTunes

Parkmobile

Pay for your Parking with your iPhone – Parkmobile

I’m used to paying for my beverages at Starbucks with the Starbucks App. I can add money to my card via my credit card on file and when I pull through the drive-thru, they just hold the scanner up to my iPhone and away I go. However, I didn’t know that this kind of convenience had come to parking meters. My good friend Linda told me about the Parkmobile App and I had to take it for a spin. The city of Ferndale Michigan uses electronic parking meters that are Parkmobile compatible. Once you download the App and create a free account you can then use your iPhone to pay for your parking. Just park at a Parkmobile friendly meter and fire up the App. Each meter is marked with a Zone and Meter number. Enter the zone and meter number and you’re all set. If your meter has a barcode on it you can even use the scanner feature in the App to just scan the meter rather than having to enter the data manually. You can go on about your business and once you return to your car just end the session and you’ll be charged only for the time that you parked. This might actually save you a little money because instead of putting in a bunch of coins to cover yourself and then you don’t use up your time, you only pay for the time you’re actually there. The parking fee is the same as you would pay if you put in coins. However, there is a 35¢ charge for the use of the service each time you park. No monthly fees or other costs. Just 35¢ plus your time at the meter.

You will get an email receipt for the charge each time you use the app/service. You can set up multiple cars (by license plate).

The Bottom Line

You can of course still use coins and therefore save the 35¢ fee. However, with Parkmobile you don’t have to worry about feeding the meter or having enough change to park. I’m happy to see these kinds of modern cashless systems come into play. Parkmobile is a US based company with call centers here in the US and boasts being one of the largest cashless parking providers in the country.

iTunes

 

On a related note I also commend the city of Royal Oak for also using cashless meters (although not Parkmobile) that are even solar powered. You can ether use coins or simply slide in a credit/debit card.

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