July 6, 2011, 4:31 PM

More online payment options can cut Nevada’s DMV transaction costs 78%

That’s why it allows motorists to pay with debit cards and e-checks.

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Roughly a third of the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles’ business, such as car registration and license plate renewals, is conducted online. However, until 2006, when the department began working with First Data Corp., a provider of online payments processing services, the department only allowed consumers to pay using a credit card. Those credit card transaction fees proved expensive, says Ginny Lewis, the DMV’s director.

That’s what led the department to look at adding new payment options. “The legislature increased our budget in 1999 to cover the additional expenses incurred from credit card transaction fees and it’s been an investment well worth it when compared to the alternative of adding more offices and staff,” she says. “However, as good stewards of our taxpayers’ dollars it’s our responsibility to continually find innovative ways to lessen our expenses while also providing greater levels of service.”

That’s where First Data came in. Because both e-check and debit card transactions costs are lower than credit cards, it made sense to add the option, says Lewis. Working with First Data the department enabled consumers to pay via debit cards and electronic checks, in addition to credit cards.

The department pays a flat rate of $1.20 per e-check or debit card transaction. That compares to a credit card rate of 1.83% to 1.99% per transaction, says a department spokesman. Because the average transaction amount is $280 that means that a consumer using an e-check or debit card saves the department between $3.92 and $4.37 per transaction. “We’re thrilled with the expense savings so far,” says Lewis.  

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