Under the trial at Cardiff Central Station, drivers will register their stay with a text or phone call and pay only for the exact time required.In a fully automated world your cell phone could act as your credit or debit card, and different "appliances" (cars, vending machines, check-out lines at the store) could have an interface or protocol to your cell phone.
Similar mobile phone payment systems have already been introduced at car parks in America, Ireland and London.
Under the system, motorists pay for the exact time they need to park using text message or by making a phone call.
Put your cell phone in your car and your car detects that it has a mode of payment that it can use at various places -- the parking lot in this example, the car wash, the drive-through at Dunkin' Donuts, or the gas station. Each vendor would have to be wired up to do this, of course.
Take your cell phone to the vending machine at work to pay for a snack. Use it to buy train tickets at the station. Use it at the check-out line in Wal-Mart. I think I've heard of some of these innovations going on in other countries already... many times I've heard that the US is lagging far behind other countries in the implementation of various cell phone technology.
UPDATE: Cell phones as credit card?