From Futuristic Forecourts to Parking Payments – Is Essex Going Cashless?

GridServe Essex

Regular visitors to our site will know how there are always plenty of exciting activities going on in the Essex region. However, how many times has the area been a real technological trailblazer?
Earlier this month, it was revealed that an exciting new development for electric cars has opened to the public in Braintree, with the location being the first of its kind in the UK.

Charge up in style

Microsoft has revealed how its technology has played a key role in the creation of GRIDSERVE’s Electric Forecourt, which has been designed to provide car charging support as well as a host of other services to drivers.

The site makes use of energy produced by a solar farm around 40 miles away, while it features retail space for notable brands such as WHSmith, Booths and Gourmade. Other services on offer include free WiFi and business meeting room pods. Microsoft states that up to 36 vehicles can be charged simultaneously at the site, with the available chargers being compatible with a range of models. Toddington Harper, chief executive of GRIDSERVE, added that the aim was to make charging as straightforward as refuelling a petrol car.

One other intriguing element that he flagged was that the location offers contactless payment – an option which comes at a time when the idea of going cashless seems to be really taking off across Essex.

New ways to pay

Physical pounds and pence have been a crucial part of paying for goods and services for several years. However, the idea of paying with contactless cards or via digital means seems to be really gaining momentum at the moment.

This has been seen in Essex a lot recently, with InYourArea, for example, discussing how many of the region’s country parks offer cashless payment options for parking. Earlier this year, Essex Echo also highlighted how Leigh’s Corner Club had announced it would no longer take cash payments from the start of February.

Also, there seems to be a growing trend of both businesses and consumers embracing digital payments and e-wallets, with PayPal’s site detailing how it is now accepted by a range of different brands including Argos, Boots, John Lewis and Next. It is also one of several digital payment methods commonly supported in the world of online bingo, with WDW Bingo highlighting how many sites tend to accept it alongside the likes of Neteller, Skrill and Paysafecard. The site even dedicates an entire page to the brands which specifically support PayPal’s services. These payment methods are likely to become more commonplace as times goes on.

Changing times

All in all, it appears that payment trends are really changing at the moment. With that in mind, it is perhaps unsurprising that Essex’s new futuristic forecourt has seemingly embraced the cashless phenomenon.

While it may still be too early to write off physical coins and notes just yet, it does seem like there is a real shift towards other ways to pay at present. As such, it will be fascinating to see whether more services in the region embrace contactless or digital payments in the near future.

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