COLUMBIA — South Carolina drivers can go online to exchange current license plates or replace plates that are lost, stolen or damaged, Department of Motor Vehicle officials announced Wednesday.
“It couldn't be easier,” Executive Director Kevin Shwedo said. “Go to the website, pick your plate, pay for it and get it in the mail a few days later.”
There are 84 different plates available through the new service. They include the regular South Carolina plate featuring a sunset image, or one of the most popular designs that includes “In God We Trust.”
Some plates that support academic institutions such as the University of South Carolina or Clemson University, public school teachers, environmental groups and sports teams also are available.
However, the new system is not open to requests for first-time plates. It also won't accept specialty plate requests from veterans or military members who have been awarded a medal such as the Purple Heart, because specific documents must be shown to DMV officials.
Replacement plates must be the same design as those being replaced. The numbers and letters on the plate will be different, but it will be the same design. This is to protect against the fraudulent use of lost or stolen plates, officials said.
Customers using the new system must have a valid license plate and vehicle registration. Expired or suspended plates cannot be exchanged or replaced.
The system accepts only VISA, MasterCard and Discover credit cards. Plates are shipped at no cost.
The costs depend upon which plate a customer chooses. Specialty plate fees range from free to $70 and do not include regular registration fees, officials said. Replacing a lost, stolen or damaged plate costs $6.
Plates will be delivered by mail in five to seven business days.
Shwedo says the new system is expected to save customers time and decrease lines in its offices.
In all, South Carolina drivers have more than 350 specialty license plates to choose from. The plates help support the nonprofit groups that sponsor them.