Friday Frivolity: $2 Processing Fee

It is time for me to  renew our van’s license plates.  I’m considering the internet option to accomplish that task.  The State of Michigan allows that.  It would seem to be quite expedient.  No lines at the Secretary of State Office to wait in.  No check to write.  Just log in, give them a Credit Card number and they’ll ship the tabs.  Very simple.

Simplicity costs money though.  There’s a $2 processing fee for on-line renewal.  What’s to process?  The fee is only applicable to internet processing.  I’m already paying an internet access fee with my phone bill so it’s not justifiable as processing the communication.

Would it then be for some physical processing—like a handling fee associated with internet purchase shipping.  That’s not reasonable as there is no “handling processing” of the tabs if I order them by mail. Could it be for “handling” the keyboard?  Seriously? Two bucks to click a mouse but it’s free processing to tear open an envelope with my mail ordered tabs?

I’m mystified as to what the $2 processing fee covers.  Other than two computers talking for a few nano-seconds, all other incurred costs would be identical whether I apply for my tabs electronically or with paperwork via United States Postal Services.  And USPS processing is paid for with the stamp.

So then, what is the difference between processing a mail and internet order for renewal of our plates?  Ah, wait a minute.  There is one other aspect I have not considered yet.  That is the methodical processing of the means of payment.  Mail order: paper check.  Internet:  electronic check, commonly referred to as Credit Card.  However, as before, paper processing is far more labor intensive than electronic. Credit Card processing via the internet is entirely electronic.  A person must process the check.  Why not charge the two dollars if I walk into the SOS office?   That would seem just slightly more reasonable for the $2 fee go to offset the salary of a  human actually working rather than memory a chip factually recalling my creditability?

If I was mystified before, now I am baffled.  How does the State of Michigan rationalize the $2 Processing Fee?

That’s a rhetorical question.  It’s not one that I’m hopeful you can answer.  However, if you would like to submit your theory, you may do so in one of three ways.  Of course, you are always welcome to stop by the house and chat personally (you won’t even have to take a number).  Or you can jot me a note and snail mail it to me for price of a postage stamp.  Third.  If you prefer to respond via e-mail or Facebook, please include your credit card number so I can charge your account a $2 processing fee.

2 thoughts on “Friday Frivolity: $2 Processing Fee

  1. It may actually be a credit card fee rather than an Internet fee. Credit card companies will charge a small merchant fee to handle the transaction, which the State of Michigan will happily pass on to you. I can’t prove this, since I don’t recall the last time I paid with a credit card at a SOS office. In fact, I haven’t visited a SOS office in many years, always opting to swallow the $2 Internet fee for the convenience of not having to look into the eyes of government.

    This form of reply wasn’t covered in your instructions. Let me know if I owe you $2. I’ll pay by credit card.


  2. They should be link (hidden ?) that explains it.
    It’s to pay the cc company for the handling fee.
    Paying Property Tax (> $2) has the same thing, in part because that can not budget for cc fees, different for each cc company. This would be case for MI and any other state that is setup to handle payment by cc.
    CA DMV for plate tags can be paid using a CC at Self-Service Terminal at Safeway and get your new tag from the machine.


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