Dishonored Payments - Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I received a “Demand for Payment” letter for a dishonored check; how do I pay?

A: You have two payment options:

By Mail –
Send a cashier’s check or money order payable to DMV.

Do not mail cash. Do not send a personal check or credit card payment information. Dishonored checks cannot be paid by personal check or credit card.

Write your account number on the front of your payment. Your account number is the ten digit number located in the upper right hand corner of the Demand for Payment letter. Mail your payment and a copy of the Demand for Payment letter to:

DMV
Revenue Services Support Unit
Mail Station C140
PO Box 825341
Sacramento, CA 94232-5341

In person at a DMV office –
For faster service, make an appointment online or call 1-800-777-0133 to make an appointment.

Bring with you:

  • Cash, or an ATM/Debit card, or a cashier’s check or money order made payable to DMV. Dishonored checks cannot be paid by personal check or credit card.
  • A copy of the Demand for Payment letter. If the Demand for Payment letter is lost and the dishonored check was for your:
    • Vehicle, bring your vehicle license plate number.
    • Driver license, bring your driver license.
    • Identification card, bring your identification card.

Q: Can I make my payment online?

A: No, there is no online option for dishonored check payments.

Q: Can I make partial payments?

A: Yes, however, partial payments will not stop the collection action.

Q: Why is the repayment amount more than the original check amount?

A: The amount requested in the letter includes:

  • The face amount of the original check.
  • A dishonored check service fee. A payment is considered dishonored and the dishonored check service fee is due if, for any reason, the department is unable to deduct funds from your account.
  • The maximum late penalties for the vehicle’s registration, if the dishonored check was for vehicle registration. The registration fees are subject to penalties if the dishonored check remains unpaid after the vehicle’s registration expiration date, regardless of when you received the dishonored check Demand for Payment letter.

If repayment of the total amount due (as stated in the Demand for Payment letter) is mailed (postmarked) to DMV:

  • Before the registration expiration date, the registration penalties will be refunded to you.
  • After the registration expiration date, but within 30 days of the expiration date, a portion of the penalty fees may be refunded to you.

Q: What if the dishonored check is the result of a bank error?

A: If the department is unable to deduct funds from your account because of a bank error, you must submit a letter from the bank explaining their error. The letter must have the bank’s letterhead, the check number, and the dollar amount of the check. Send all of the following to the Revenue Service Support Unit:

  • The bank’s letter.
  • A money order or cashiers check made payable to DMV for the total amount due as stated in the Demand for Payment letter.
  • Your full name.
  • The dishonored check account number (located in upper right corner of demand letter).
  • The vehicle license plate number (if the check was for a vehicle).
  • Your driver license number or identification card number (if the check was for a driver license or identification card).

Mail to:
DMV
Revenue Services Support Unit
Mail Station C140
PO Box 825341
Sacramento, CA 94232-5341

The department will review the bank’s letter to determine if the dishonored check fee may be refunded. If the dishonored check was for vehicle registration, the department will also review to determine if the registration penalties may be fully or partially refunded.

Q: How can I clear a dishonored check account if I did not submit the check for payment or if the check wasn’t written on my behalf?

A: If you received a notification of a dishonored check from DMV and you did not submit the check payment and you are not the registered owner of the vehicle indicated in the letter or are not the person the driver license or identification card was issued to—please provide a written explanation and mail to:

DMV
Revenue Services Support Unit
Mail Station C140
PO Box 825341
Sacramento, CA 94232-5341

Include copies of any papers that prove your claim. The department will research your claim and contact you with the outcome. You may also call the Revenue Services Support Unit at (916) 657-8101 for additional information.

Q: If someone else submitted the check for me or my vehicle, and their check was dishonored; who is responsible to reimburse the DMV?

A: You are responsible for the payment of the fees and any resulting penalties. If a check was written for you by someone other than yourself and submitted to DMV to pay for your driver license, identification card, or your vehicle’s registration and the check was returned by the bank (dishonored), the payment remains your responsibility.

Q: After making the payment for my vehicle registration renewal I discovered that I don’t have enough money in the account. I haven’t received a notice from DMV about the dishonored check yet. What can I do?

A: Once your payment is processed and returned by the bank, DMV will automatically send you a Demand for Payment letter and the department will be unable to stop the dishonored check from occurring. However, if you are able to pay your fees (with another payment method) before your vehicle registration expires; you may be able to avoid penalties. The dishonored check service fee will still be due.

Submit your registration payment as soon as possible and be sure to retain the receipt. When you receive the dishonored check Demand for Payment letter, submit the letter, a money order or cashiers check for the dishonored check service fee, and a copy of your repayment receipt to:

DMV
Revenue Services Support Unit
Mail Station C140
PO Box 825341
Sacramento, CA 94232-5341

Q: I already paid for my dishonored check, why did I receive another Demand for Payment letter?

A: If you have received a Demand for Payment letter, and full payment was submitted within the last 30 days, please disregard the letter. The Demand for Payment letters are printed in advance and do not reflect recent payments.

Q: My driver license or identification card was cancelled due to a dishonored check. I paid for all the dishonored check fees I owed; do I still need to surrender my driver license or identification card?

A: Contact the Driver Safety Mandatory Action Unit at (916) 657-6525 to ask about the cancellation status of your driver license or identification card.

Q: I paid my registration online with an electronic check (e-check). My bank record does not show a returned check nor any attempt to deduct funds. However, I received a letter from DMV stating my check did not clear my bank. If my e-check did not clear, why did I receive my registration card/sticker or my driver license or identification card?

A: As a courtesy to our customers, the registration card/sticker or driver license/identification card is mailed before the e-check information is verified by the bank. If any of the e-check information submitted to DMV is incorrect, DMV will not be able to locate your account and your bank will not show an inquiry or withdrawal. If the e-check cannot be verified by the bank, it becomes a non-payment and a dishonored check account is created.

When making a payment using an e-check, you must enter your checking account number and your bank routing number. Common mistakes that prevent e-checks from being verified are:

  • Using a deposit slip to key the routing number.
  • Including a check number with the account number.
  • Entering credit card information in the check field.

During the online e–check transaction, the department advises customers that if DMV cannot deduct the payment from your account for any reason, a service fee will be charged and if the e–check is for vehicle registration you will also be subject to late registration payment penalties.

Q. What is the difference between an e-check payment and a debit/credit card payment?

A: An e-check payment is an electronic way of writing a personal check. DMV uses your bank’s routing and account numbers to obtain payment from your bank. E–check payments are verified with your bank after you finish your DMV transaction. With debit or credit card payments, DMV obtains a payment authorization before you finish the DMV transaction.

Please note: There are two different payment confirmation pages that display depending on the type of payment that you select.