California DMV to allow customers to pay with credit card — but at a cost

THIS year, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is expected to allow customers to make transactions via credit card but will charge a fee. 

Currently, the DMV does accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover credit cards through internet, over-the-phone transactions and payments at self-service DMV now kiosks and has never imposed fees for those payment methods. But if you plan to visit your local DMV office, it’ll only allow payments through cash, check, money order or ATM/debit cards.

But that’s expected to change this year through administrative changes that would impose extra fees for credit card payments. 

Per Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to “bring the DMV into the 21st century,” the famously antiquated department will be making changes to its payment system that would allow in-person payments through credit card, but with a fee of 2% or 3% of the transaction. 

According to reporting by CalMatters, DMV spokesperson Jaime Garza affirmed the change but did not provide a precise date for when the changes would take effect or a specific number for the fee itself. 

“There are some technical requirements that are necessary to implement this process,” Garza told CalMatters. “We will be communicating with the public after we have determined a date for the passing of the fee.”

The department estimates that it’ll raise approximately $45.3 million a year and it’s expected to grow to about $72 million a year after the department adds field offices and establishes more DMV Now stations.

The revenue is set to achieve the long-term goal of improving technological efficiency and reducing long wait times at the DMV. 

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