How to Access Public Charging Points

A guide to the primary methods of initiating a charge and their pros and cons.

Last updated: Jun 14, 2024 2 min read

Velocity charger wide shot Low res 36


There are several different ways to access public chargepoints. This short guide reviews the four most common.

  • “Plug and Play” - all you have to do is plug in.
  • App enabled - a mobile app gives you access via smart phone.
  • RFID card - similar to an Oyster, you swipe the card to start charging.
  • Contactless payment card - you tap it just like you would in a shop.
Person checking the Pod Point app on smartphone whilst stood by a Pod Point twin charger
App enabled charging

Access method comparison

Excluding Home chargers, all commercial EV charging stations have a system to allow you to access them. Below is an overview of the common types:

Access Methodology Pros Cons Typically found at
"Plug and Play"

Just plug in and the car charges

  • No sign up, instant access
  • No control over access
  • Can’t collect usage data or bill for usage
  • Some workplaces
  • Some public destinations
App enabled

Access via smartphone app

  • Any user with a smartphone can access
  • Can manage usage and billing, where necessary
  • See chargepoint details/location in app
  • Numerous apps needed for different networks
  • Issues in areas of poor signal
  • Workplaces
  • Public destination chargers
  • Rapid chargers
RFID card
Specialist card that allows access

(access method being phased out)

  • Can manage usage and billing, where necessary
  • Easy to use, even in areas of poor signal
  • No card, no charge - you have to wait for it to arrive in the post
  • Numerous cards needed for different networks
  • Poor security, cloning of cards
  • Workplaces
  • Public destination chargers

Contactless payment card
Pay with tap of debit or credit card

  • No sign up, quick access
  • Secure card readers make chargepoints expensive
  • Each usage incurs a transaction fee = no free charging
  • Rapid chargers
man tapping his debit card onto the contactless reader of a Pod Point Velocity rapid charger
Contactless rapid charging

Tip: Pod Point favour a combination of “Plug and Play” where our customers wish to offer it and the Pod Point app everywhere else with a contactless card reader as an option for rapid chargers.

When using the app, drivers get a 15 minute charging window in which to confirm charge, and a fail safe system in case of poor signal for top up chargers.

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