For an extra $5, you can renew your vehicle tabs at a kiosk instead of waiting in line at a license bureau.
State leaders and deputy registrars are rolling out a new way for people to register vehicles, first at Cub Foods locations in the Twin Cities and Rochester, then hopefully across Minnesota.
"We're trying to make sure we take the state government to them," Gov. Tim Walz said at a demonstration of a DMV Now kiosk Tuesday afternoon inside a Rochester Cub.
Eight kiosks are now open in Minnesota. Another seven will open over the next few months, with more planned in populous areas. They won't always be inside Cub Foods, but registrars say they'll likely install kiosks in high-traffic places for convenience.
Kiosk locations can be found at minnesotadvsnow.com.
Some of the kiosks have been in place since June, though registrar offices piloted them for up to a year prior. The kiosks have done about 1,600 total transactions — up from about 300 in July — but state officials say they expect more people will use them as marketing efforts ramp up.
The kiosks are built and run by a separate contractor, without the use of state dollars. They come with step-by-step instructions that appear on a screen in English or Spanish, though state officials say more languages such as Somali and Hmong can be programmed.
Drivers can scan their renewal notice or enter their home address, license plate number or vehicle identification number, then follow the on-screen prompts. Drivers also must enter insurance information.
Kiosks will calculate the total due and add a $4.95 convenience fee. Drivers swiping a credit or debit card will also pay a 2.49% surcharge, the same fee imposed when using a credit card when renewing in-person at a DVS or deputy registrar's office, online or by mail. The machines don't accept cash.
When payment is complete, the kiosk spits out a receipt and prints new tabs.
Part of the fee is split between nearby registrar offices to offset lost business to online services. Registrars came up with the idea in the wake of the economic hit caused by the failed Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) launch in 2017. The new computer system had years of technical delays and launch troubles, with more than $100 million in public funding spent before state officials scrapped the project.
Mike Hintz, a deputy registrar at Crossroads License Bureau in Rochester, said kiosks in the metro area are doing much better compared to the one or two customers a day at the Rochester location. Yet he hopes the funding will supplement registrar offices once people realize they can buy groceries and get their tabs done at the same time.
"It's never going to change the way we do business, but it should help," Hintz said.