Vehicle Payment Assurance Industry Establishes Association

Vehicle Payment Assurance Industry Establishes Association

Last week I attended the latest meeting of the Payment Assurance Technology Association’s board of directors that was held in conjunction with the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) show in New Orleans. This sub-segment of telematics is currently in a phase of rapid growth due to demand created by the global credit crisis. I love being associated with this group because to me it’s a concrete example of the ways in which telematics and M2M technology can be deployed to solve broader business and social issues. I provide a description of the association and industry below.

The Payment Assurance Technology Association (PATA) serves the starter interrupt/GPS tracking industry. The PATA seeks to unify, standardize and validate the activities of the industry and markets engaged in the manufacture, sale and use of technology for monitoring or disabling vehicles and for other applications.

There are different methods applied in implementing payment assurance technology.

· In some systems, the vehicle is fitted with a small box containing a cellular radio, a GPS, and a micro-processor. This box is wired into the ignition system of the vehicle with associated warning indicators installed on the vehicles dashboard. If the customer falls behind in making their scheduled payments, a signal is sent to the box over the cellular network and a color coded indicator light is displayed on the dashboard, warning the customer that they are late in making a payment and that if they do not make a payment in a number of days they are liable to have their ignition disabled. If the payment is still not made after the prescribed number of days, the service company may send a signal to the system, disabling the vehicles ignition. The vehicles location may also be retrieved using GPS in order for the vehicle to be repossessed.

· Other systems are simple keypads that are installed on a vehicle’s dashboard and wired to the ignition system. Warning lights warn the customer that within a predetermined number of days, a code will have to be entered via the key pad in order to keep the vehicles ignition enabled. Customers are provided with the code at the time that they submit their payment.

The PATA and its members are very conscious regarding the safety of the operators and passengers of vehicles fitted with our technology. Systems provided by PATA members will only disable the ignition of a vehicle that is already stopped and turned off. This greatly reduces any potential danger that would be related to disabling a moving vehicle.

The PATA was formed in order to establish best practices and to formulate a set of guidelines under which its members should operate. It’s the PATA’s desire to ensure that the value of this very important technology is understood by all constituents including; the vehicle buying public, government and regulatory bodies, automobile dealerships, and finance companies. It is the PATA’s intention to proactively work with all parties to resolve any industry or social issues related to this technology as soon as they are identified.

The technology provided and deployed by PATA members makes qualification possible for people who would not otherwise qualify to obtain financing for vehicles and equipment. The world wide credit crisis has cut off credit to all but those who have excellent credit. The lack of available credit limits individuals’ ability to purchase vehicles that they may need to get to a job, to college, or to start a small business. The implementation of starter interrupt technology reduces the risk profile for providing financing to these individuals, thus making the financing possible. The technology can be viewed as a behavioral aid for those with poor credit or little credit experience. The payment assurance technology always provides warning lights days in advance, providing customers the tools to aid them in keeping in good financial standing with their finance company and in building a strong credit history. Disabling a vehicle’s ignition is always a last resort as it means that the remainder of the loan will probably not be settled, reducing profitability for the financing company.

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