Disruption likely when DVLA axes paper counterpart


After the demise of the paper tax disc this year, from 1 January next year the DVLA will no longer be issuing paper counterparts to photocard driving licences. However, there are fears that the licensing agency will not have its replacement online service ready in time and that the change could open people up to online fraud.

Car rental companies currently use the paper part of a driving licence to verify customer identities, but the online service that will be used in place of this system may not be ready for the changeover at New Year. Instead, companies will be obliged to use a premium rate phone number to perform the same function, which could lead to delays and higher prices for customers renting cars. The telephone service costs 51 pence per minute, which is likely to be passed on to customers. Drivers can access their DVLA records online without charge and a similar service is set to be launched for car rental agencies, but there are fears that this service will not be in place by 1 January. In the meantime, customers can choose to share their driver records online via a smartphone or by printing off the same details for rental agencies.

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), is particularly concerned about the timing of the move, which could affect holidaymakers trying to hire cars over the festive period. The association is also concerned that driver details can easily be falsified using the alternative print off system.

Furthermore, the DVLA has issued a warning about online fraudsters who issue emails requesting people to verify their driving licences by clicking on a link. Those who do, could allow fraudsters access to their bank details and other personal information, leaving them open to theft and identity fraud. The message purports to be from the DVLA but the agency has warned anyone receiving these emails to delete them immediately.

Along with ceasing to issue paper counterparts with new licences, the DVLA says that existing paper driving licence counterparts can be destroyed as they will no longer serve any purpose. Drivers using pre-1998 driving licences which are paper only can keep using these until they need to update their details, such as name and address, or renew their licence for any other reason.

The abolition of the paper licence is part of the same shake up that saw the paper tax disc phased out this year, in a move to save the DVLA millions of pounds in administration costs.

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