The City of Columbia has an easy way to ensure citizens do not have to maintain a supply of coins in order to pay for parking at meters.

The PassportParking app which allows a parker to pay by a cellular device. Simply download the app and follow the associated instructions. When entering the license plate number into the app, use only letters and numerals; no spaces or special characters.
SmartCards and tokens are available for sale at the Parking Service Department's Customer Service Office at 820 Washington Street, located in the Lincoln Street Garage. For additional information, call 545-4015. 

One token will give a parker a full hour on any of the City's 4,600 parking meters. Tokens can be purchased in bags of 50 for $35, a savings of $2.50.

Smart Cards are the size of a credit card, so they fit conveniently in a wallet or pocket. These can be purchased with $20, $50, $75, $100 and $150. The SmartCard itself costs $5. Customers who purchase SmartCards will receive a bonus 6% of time on their cards.
Once the original amount has been used, the card can be "re-charged" at the Customer Service Office. Cards can also be re-charged at the Pay by Space machines in the City Center Garage located on Taylor Street between Main and Sumter.
SmartCards can be used in all City meters except those on five blocks of Bull Street from Lady Street to Laurel Street. To pay for parking with a SmartCard, a customer simply inserts it into the slot on the parking meter. The meter will read the tiny microchip embedded in the card and the meter will show you how much money is left on the SmartCard. By leaving the card in the meter, the card will purchase time in 20 minute increments every few seconds.

When inserting money into a meter using a SmartCard, the card will not put more time on the meter than the maximum the meter will take.