The thought of queueing – especially during a global pandemic – may have deterred many South African residents from going through the tedious car licence renewal process.
Unfortunately, failure to renew your car’s licence will only result in penalties and arrear payments. You will, however, have a 21-day grace period, calculated from the expiry date of the current disc.
While you can renew your vehicle licence at any registering authority or selected post office, there is an easier way. Here’s how.
Car licence renewal made easy
We recently stumbled upon the ChatBack service, a company claiming to go the extra mile in customer service by enabling you to renew your car licence in a few simple steps.
It’s as simple as saving the service’s number – +2766-202-6685 – on your phone and going through the prompts. Alternatively, scan the QR code included below or SMS Renew to 44155.
If you use WhatsApp, take note of the green tick next to the number. More on that later.
How to renew a car licence over Whatsapp
When using the WhatsApp chat, you need to send the word ‘Renew’ as a message and wait for the automated response.
I selected the first option – Get a quote and renew my vehicle licence – but you can also select one of the following options:
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs) 
- View and image of how the renewal process works 
- Fine Reduction Service 
Once I selected , I was asked to enter my vehicle’s registration number and the expiry date on the disc.
Then, choose between a paperless delivery method or a delivery straight to your door. If you choose the first option, Chatback will send a PDF via WhatsApp, while a to-door delivery will consist of the physical copy.
You will then be provided with a quote and a link to make the payment, which is required before Chatback proceeds with the renewal process.
Car licence renewal: Docs needed
All in all, you’ll need to supply your delivery address, a photo of your driver’s licence, a copy of your proof of residence and your email address.
It took me less than 15 minutes to walk through the steps. Do ensure you have all your documentation ready before starting the process though.
The service costs R920, which includes the cost of a disc renewal and additional fees.
Is ChatBack trustworthy?
Chatback launched in 2019 and is safe to use. Back in 2020, Chief Executive Officer Jan Kotze said on SABC’s The Full View the service has all the necessary data protection measures in place.
Kotze said Chatback’s purpose was to “take care of the things which are a schlep in your life, to make it simple”. The licence renewal services was the company’s first offering.
Kotze said Chatback was the only WhatsApp approved licence renewal service in the world (at the time), hence the green tick next to the number in the app.
“We’ve done a lot of work to make sure everything is secure. It’s up to world standards, set up from a technology perspective. […] We also partner with some of the major banks and they’re very happy with what we’ve set up in terms of security”.