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Renewing tabs online? Prepare to pay more

Posted by: James Eli Shiffer under Government spends your money Updated: June 1, 2010 - 3:23 PM

These days, many consumers have to pay a fee to keep getting paper statements, because merchants know it’s cheaper to do business online. So Mike Bohmbach of Hopkins asked why it cost him $1.75 more to renew his vehicle registration online.

The extra fee goes to U.S. Bank, which processes the transaction, said Kris Chapin, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety. 

“Some consumers are not aware that when they use their credit cards, the restaurant or retailer is charged a bank fee. They usually absorb it,” Chapin said. “The Minnesota Department of Public Safety cannot — thus the charge for the convenience of credit card use is passed on to the customer.”

Chapin acknowledged that users are warned about the fee only after starting the renewal.

Lest you feel it shows Driver and Vehicle Services is behind the times, the agency is upgrading its computer systems. To achieve that end, drivers pay a $1.75 technology surcharge on registration renewals. It's assessed no matter how you renew your tabs. It's set to expire in 2012, and unlike the bank fee, it's revealed up front.



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