Does California DMV Take Credit Cards? (Answered)

California DMV

Yes, California DMV accepts credit cards as a means of payment.  Though it started as a pilot project with a fee, you can currently pay for services using a credit card in most outlets. 

Key Takeaways

  • DAVIS CA was the first DMV to accept credit cards as a form of payment in California
  • One key advantage of using a credit card to pay at the DMV is it will help you build your credit score
  • The use of credit cards has increased revenue and it is expected to grow to 71.8 million dollars
  • The introduction of credit cards at DMV reduces the waiting and queuing at bay windows

In 2019, only the Davis field office accepted payments via credit cards. At the time, Governor Newson, the governor called the DMV offices out for not incorporating the use of credit cards at their establishments. 

A task force was created with the sole purpose of implementing and making sure that the state of California’s DMVs used credit cards. As a result of this act by the governor, a bill was introduced in the state. The bill (Assembly bill 867) required all DMV offices to accept plastic money. 

However, before the bill was passed, the DMV opted to accept payments using credit cards, which led to the bill being put on hold.

People who choose to pay online or at the DMV or even through their phone services can now comfortably make payments on their credit cards. Although, there will be extra charges imposed on the payments.

Payment using a card online, at the DMV, or through the phone service will be a 2.1 percent transaction cost. Those paying with the card at the field office will be charged a 2.3 percent service or transaction cost. Anyone paying with cash, money order, or a cheque will not incur a service fee.

Which DMV Outlet Was The First To Accept The Use Of Credit Cards?

DAVIS CA was the first DMV to accept credit cards as a form of payment at its establishment in California. Later the other DMV offices started using credit cards but, it was done as a pilot program to see whether the option was viable.

But, soon, it was noted that the use of credit cards improved the services and made it easy for the citizens to pay for the services.  It also ensured that there was a quicker turn-around time at the DMV. Therefore, this led to the rollout of credit cards in other outlets across California. 

The Importance Of Using A Credit Card To Pay At The DMV

1. Using a credit card at the DMV builds your credit. Having a good credit score is important as it helps you in future purchases. With the authorities incorporating this payment method at the DMV, it is just another way to build your credit score.

2. Ease of access to credit. With the introduction of credit cards as a payment method, you can access goods on credit. This eliminates the process the need to have money to pay for the services you want at the DMV there and then.

3. Keeps the DMV outlets honest. With credit cards, payments made are recorded, and transactions are tracked easily. When cash is used, it is easy for the DMV outlets to keep the money with them and not record the transactions. 

4. Easy access. With the use of credit cards, it is easy for services online. Thus, people traveling from different states or countries can pay to access services offered at the DMV from the comfort of their homes. 

5. Reduced time wastage. Incorporating credit cards in the DMV offices would eliminate the time wasted on the queues. Payments would be made faster since the options for payments would be more and easily accessible.

Advantages Of DMV To The State

1. Increased Revenue: The switch from the use of cheques, cash, money order, and other payment methods to the use of credit cards picks up 45.3 million dollars in a year. The DMV would have rather absorbed this amount since they did not use credit cards before, and the transaction costs were not captured. Besides, from the already existing articles and research papers, this amount is expected to grow to 71.8 million dollars once all the DMV offices switch to the use of credit cards.

2. Reduce The Queues At The DMV. The introduction of credit cards at DMV reduces the waiting and queuing at bay windows. You can make your payments at the comfort of your home, book an appointment and be at the DMV for only a few minutes.

3. Improving Customer Care Services. With the use of credit cards, customer service is expected to improve. The public employees working at the DMV will not be overwhelmed as they can comfortably serve everyone.

Disadvantages Of Using Credit Cards At The DMV

1. Attract Some Fees. Using a credit card is not a free service; it will cost you some money to complete a transaction. Though it might seem like a very small cost, you might end up incurring a lot of money that might be hard-hitting on your account when it accumulates.

2. Interest Charges Of Credit Card: Once you pay using a credit card, you are lending money as the amount is not in your account. The charge is a loan that can gain a lot of interest if left unpaid beyond the stated period. As a result, people might start to shy away from using a credit card. 

3. Damage Your Credit: When you use your credit card at DMV, your FICO score may go either way, i.e., it becomes good or worse. If you miss a payment, it pile-up the debt. These debts grow every time you make a credit purchase and don’t pay up on time. As a result, it can affect your purchasing power in DMV and other stores. 

Final Word

In the fast-paced world we live in, it is increasingly unsafe to carry cash and count every dollar. And, the DMVs in California have taken the challenge and now accept credit cards as a form of payment.  It has now become easier to transact at their outlets and keep track and record your expenses. Besides, credit cards reduce the workloads for the workers and improve the quality of the services. Plus, the government has also reaped big in terms of increased revenue. 

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Last Updated on November 5, 2022 by Magalie D.

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