Parking meter security

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COLUMBIA - New parking meters near MU are designed to provide convenience for drivers who don't have change.

Columbia Parking Utility added 50 parking meters on University Avenue and Hitt Street Tuesday. The meters accept credit and debit cards in addition to coins.

Despite recent credit card security breaches across retailers, the city said these meters provide more safety and security.

"It does three things. It checks to make sure it's a valid card, make sure there is adequate balance on the card, for the transaction, and then it completes the transaction. After that is done all the data that was collected is released, so no data is ever stored on the parking meter head," said Steven Sapp, Columbia Public Works Information Specialist. 

Sapp said the company who provided the meters meets the highest standards for security. 

"We did our research and when we looked at what group we wanted to provide us with our parking meter heads, certainly security was one of those issues and we believe this company has a stellar reputation in protecting your credit card or debit card information," said Sapp. 

Mike Harrison, Regional Director of the Mid-Missouri Better Business Bureau, said meters like this are all across the state. Harrison said he hasn't heard of any attempted frauds yet. 

Sapp said he advises people to be vigilant when using the meters. If anything looks suspicious or tampered with call Columbia Public Works.