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Zipcar lets new members drive off within minutes if they send a selfie

Zipcar has just launched a new Instant Access feature that lets new customers drive off in one of its cars within minutes of signing up.

Dramatically shortening a process that before could take several days, the new system, rolled out this week, requires you to send Zipcar a selfie together with a photo of your driver’s license so the carsharing company can confirm your identity.

Once verified, Zipcar will enable you to access the vehicle using your smartphone, and away you go. Regular RFID-enabled Zipcards that are usually used to access its vehicles will still be mailed to new customers, the company said.

The extra convenience could certainly win the app-based carsharing service some new customers, especially those who suddenly need a vehicle but have no easy way to access one, or folks who like to leave everything until the very last minute.

“Shortening the time it takes from joining Zipcar to booking a vehicle has been one of our members’ biggest requests,” said Zipcar president Tracey Zhen. “Bringing people more immediate access to reliable and cost-effective transportation has never been more important, as urbanites face new economic challenges and uncertainty in pandemic times.”

Zipcar has recently adapted some of its offerings to meet members’ needs for on-demand access to a vehicle during the coronavirus pandemic. For example, in select cities across the U.S., the Boston-based company recently introduced a service called Dedicated Zipcar, which offers exclusive use of the same vehicle for five or seven days a week. It also launched a Stay Local Plan, which offers up to 50% reduced hourly rates plus a fee for mileage as a cost-efficient option for those sticking to local trips.

While Zipcar continues to operate through the pandemic, the crisis proved the final straw for GM-backed Maven, which last month announced it was shuttering the service, describing it as a “tough but necessary decision” caused in part by the current circumstances.

But similar services for short-term car rentals remain operational during these difficult times. For more information on the best carsharing services currently available, check out this piece on Digital Trends telling you all you need to know.

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