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What Is Parking Validation and How Does It Work? 

  • City Parking
  • Celine Jerly
  • 6 minutes

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Who doesn’t like to save a few bucks? So, perks like parking validation help businesses attract more customers. But how does it work – how to validate parking at a store, restaurant, mall, hotel, or other businesses you visit? Here’s all you need to know: 

You must have come across signs at parking lots near busy commercial areas that say “1-Hour Free Parking – Ask for Validation”, “We Validate Parking,” “Validation Available,” or simply “Parking Validated.” Hope you never missed the chance to get a discount on your parking fee!  

save more on parking with Way.com

In most cases, there are a few steps to get parking validated by a business offering it. Let’s find out how. But first –   

What does ‘validate parking’ mean?   

Validated Parking is free or discounted parking at a paid parking lot, usually offered as a perk by businesses to their customers.  

If a business validates parking, you can park for free or a discount at a nearby parking lot after you shop, dine, make an appointment with them. For example, a restaurant may offer its patrons a discount on the parking fee charged by a nearby lot that they recommend. Similarly, hospitals, hotels, banks, malls, or even residential/office buildings can use parking validation as an incentive. 

How to find validated parking spots? 

Parking validation is common in busy commercial or downtown areas due to limited space availability. Paid parking becomes a necessity in areas where there are not enough spots to meet the high demand. If it’s free or cheap, anyone can park in the spots closest to the business, leading to the loss of potential customers.  

So, parking validation is usually offered by: 

  • Stores, malls, outlets, and other shopping centers 
  • On-site service providers like salons, spas, gyms, etc. 
  • Government offices and institutions 
  • Restaurants, bars, clubs, and entertainment venues 
  • Hospitals, clinics, banks, educational institutions 
  • Hotels, apartments, and office buildings 


In the case of professional service providers, retailers, and other businesses, signs outside or within the parking lot usually inform you of parking validation.  

You can also check official websites for details, such as for malls, hotels, venues, hospitals, etc., or call to enquire about parking rules at on-site lots or alternative sites where the off-site garage operator may have the right to grant discounts with validation. 

Parking lots managed by apartments, office buildings, or commercial complexes may offer free parking to residents/tenants and their visitors; others pay the full fee.  

How does parking validation work? 

Generally, for a Payment at Exit parking system, the business or service provider gives a discount coupon or code to use when they pay for parking. Here’s how parking validation works in such cases: 

  • When entering the parking lot, the driver takes a ticket and keeps it with them. 
  • You may spot signs instructing the parking lot users to “Ask for Validation” with time limits and other details. 
  • Follow the instructions – usually to present your parking ticket at the store or restaurant after making a purchase. They’ll either stamp or scan your parking validation ticket. In some cases, you’ll get a separate discount coupon or pass.  
  • At the payment point on exiting the parking lot, you can use this coupon, pass, or validated parking ticket to avail of the specified discount, which can go up to 100%.  


The lot may have staff or no to check parking validation. Nowadays, it’s common to use contactless parking – the machine will detect your pre-scanned ticket and automatically apply the discount. Or you can enter the code provided by the business before making the final payment.  

The process of parking validation varies based on the system used – Payment on Exit, Payment on Entry, Smart Meters, or Pay by License.  

Places where you make appointments – such as the doctor’s office or a fine-dining restaurant – may use the Pay on Entry system. You’ll get a validation code when making the appointment; use it when entering the designated parking lot for an instant discount. Pay & Display and Smart Meters use a similar system – enter the PIN or scan the barcode when the dashboard displays your parking fee.  

What is the benefit of validated parking? 

Parking validation benefits both businesses and customers.  

When a business validates your parking, they bear a portion or the full parking fee. As parking validations are usually time-limited (1-hour free parking with validation, for example), it isn’t a huge expense to the business. Besides, they attract more sales by incentivizing visitors who make a purchase. 


Businesses could arrange parking at a nearby facility if they do not have an on-site lot or garage. A guaranteed parking space at discounted rates is not easily ignored and will drive more footfall to the store, restaurant, bar, etc. In busy urban neighborhoods, validating parking at paid lots is almost always necessary to improve business.  

As for lots and garages that allow parking validation, the time limit could be beneficial. Say a customer parks for free for up to 1 hour. But if they stay longer, they’ll have to pay additional charges. Meanwhile, the perk of saving parking fees for an hour guarantees takers for the available spots during business hours.   

 Download the Way Auto Super app for the cheapest parking rates near you

Not shopping but need cheap parking? 

As a customer, if your biggest takeaway from learning about Parking Validation so far is – “But I have to buy something to get a discount!” we got good news for you!  

You need no validation to get unbelievable discounts on parking! Find the cheapest rates at the best parking lots and garages when you book your spot on Way.com. It’s the only auto super app you need to save up to 60% on parking anywhere, any time.  

Get a guaranteed spot and exclusive discounts now – here’s how you can find and book cheap city parking near you 

Don’t let parking leave you in a tight spot – the Way out is right here on your phone! Book the best parking spots anywhere in your city at unbelievably cheap rates.    

Download Way, the auto super app, and get unbeatable offers on city and airport parking, auto insurance, auto refinance, car wash, gas discounts, EV charging, and more. 


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