I live in the Central Valley of California now and we have no toll roads or bridges; but when I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I had to pay a toll every time I crossed the Bay Bridge or San Mateo Bridge. If you’re familiar with toll booths, sixteen U.S. states have several lanes where you can pay cash, and a few lanes where you can speed right through, paying with something called EZ Pass.
EZ Pass uses the same technology in all states where it operates. You sign up and they give you an RFID transponder that you keep in your car, ideally mounting it above the dash or inside the windshield. It comes preloaded with funds. You can buy it at various pharmacies and grocery stores. Then, when you pass through the toll booth in an EZ Pass lane, you don’t even have to slow down. The transponder sends a signal to the toll booth and the toll payment is deducted automatically from your account.
You can also link your credit card to your EZ Pass account so that when your account drops below a preset amount – typically $20 – it automatically gets replenished from your credit card.
Third Party Payment Services for EZ Pass
There are also online payments services and online bank accounts where you sign up, create an account, and can pay your EZ Pass tolls from there. In Maryland, for example, thousands of drivers use an online service called Doxo to pay their EZ Pass.
It’s important to be aware with such services that there can be a delay between the time you make the payment, and the time it goes through to EZ Pass. This delay can be as long as several days. If you go through the toll, then add money to pay for it through a third party service it will be too late, and you’ll get fined.
Then why use such services? Many people like them because they allow you to pay online (rather than going to a retail location) and to track all your bills in one place. Just be careful to have funds deposited at least a week in advance before trying to use these online bill pay services for EZ Pass tolls.