Pay cash, save money at the tag office

WICHITA, Kansas – Got cash? It’s going to save you some money.

Depending on the county, swiping fees for using your credit card start at 2.25% and go up from there.

“That is correct. It’s another illustration where the King does as he wishes,” says Republican Kansas House member Pete DeGraaf. ” I was on a committee for government efficiency and we asked about doing away with the fee. There was an attempt to do so but the agency said they would be raising their fees to cover the cost.”

The “fee” is in play at tag offices and treasurer offices across the state. And the fee is to cover the cost of credit card company fees associated with counties using systems like KanPay and others that are, technically, run by the state.

“The state has a certain cost of doing business, and that’s just the reality,” says DeGraaf.

Other lawmakers say they don’t like the idea of the fee.

“As a consumer, I can tell you, I pay cash at the tag office. Or, I use a stamp and mail them a check,” says Democrat Kansas House Member Gail Finney. “So it goes back to convenience. And you have technology and you have to pay for it. It is the cost of doing business.”

DeGraaf says there is a law on the books that prohibits the adding of extra “fees” onto those who use credit cards to make payments. It’s a Kansas Statute… a law.

Kansas Statute K.S.A. 16a- 2-403 says “No seller or lessor in any sales or lease transaction or any credit card issuer may impose a surcharge on a card holder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash… “

But, Kansas lawmakers made an exception that has stayed on the books since 1994.

Kansas Statute K.S.A. 79-2973 says “The director of taxation, any county treasurer and any authorized employee or agent of the director or treasurer may accept credit cards… The director and the county treasurer may set a fee to be added to each credit card transaction equal to the charge paid by the state , county treasurer or the taxpayer for the use of the credit card by the taxpayer.”

Different counties charge different amounts, depending on what company is used for processing credit card transactions.

Still, lawmakers say, buyer beware. And, better to use cash.

“Just use cash,” says Finney. “I know people love using that plastic, but another fee is another fee.”

After the interview, Shane Myers, General Manager of Kansas.gov, offered the following statement concerning the fees for those who use debit/credit cards, or eChecks:

Together with the Sedgwick County Treasurer’s Office, the Information Network of Kansas has been providing the online payment processing for the Web Tags service in Sedgwick County for more than 10 years. This has provided Kansans the convenience of processing their vehicle registration renewals online. As is common with many everyday online transactions, a minimal processing fee is assessed for credit card payments. This fee is allowed under KSA 19-122, authorizing counties to add a fee to credit card payments. The efficiency fee collected for all forms of online payment, including credit card, debit card, and e-check, are used by the state to provide for the development, maintenance, and enhancements of additional online eGovernment services. Residents are also offered the alternative of paying by check and mailing in the paper vehicle registration renewal form. – Shane Myers

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