Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Alert: The following services will be unavailable on Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 6 a.m. CST due to system maintenance.

Financial institutions

New vehicles at a local car dealership
New vehicles at a local car dealership

These resources are designed to provide support for Wisconsin lenders and financial institutions that serve Wisconsin motor vehicle customers.

What's new for Wisconsin lenders

Title to lien holder

Starting July 30, 2012, Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will begin delivering titles to lien holders in accordance with recent statute changes. Any title with a lien will be sent to the lien holder rather than the owner. Lien holders can choose to have either paper titles or electronic titles.

If a vehicle has multiple liens, the liens will be listed on titles in date order. The title will be delivered to the lien holder whose loan was listed first; however, each lender will have equal repossession rights to the vehicle. Each lender will continue to receive a Confirmation of Security Interest (Lien) Perfection notice.

Electronic titles

On July 30, 2012, Wisconsin will also become an electronic title state. When a lien is listed against a vehicle, lien holders are encouraged to receive titles electronically via electronic service provider. The advantage to electronic delivery is that, in these cases, Wisconsin would not be issuing a paper title to the lender/financial institution or owner of the vehicle until the lien is satisfied. WisDOT is currently developing methods for the delivery of titles electronically. Please check back within the coming weeks or sign up for our lender mailing list for continuing updates.

For more information, please visit http://liens.dot.wi.gov

Electronic lien processing

Wisconsin liens required to be processed electronically

Non-individual lien holders are required to electronically process lien add and lien release transactions for Wisconsin customers effective July 1, 2010. Some transactions will be exempted by departmental rule.

Lien holders are not required to process applications to list a lien when it is part of any other title transaction, such as change of ownership, repossession, private sale or replacement title. Additionally, a transaction will be classified as exempt if the secured party is unable to process due to incidents associated with processing or if technology does not exist for the secured party to electronically process.

Am I required to process electronically?

If a financial institution added 48 or fewer liens in 2009, it may be exempt from the electronic processing requirement. If the financial institution is exempt and chooses not to electronically process, there will be an additional $5 fee per application manually processed by DMV.

If a financial institution is not exempt, it will be assessed a $20 surcharge for each application submitted to DMV for processing that can be completed electronically, in addition to the $5 manual processing fee. This surcharge cannot be passed on to the customer.

Newly established non-individual lenders are required to process electronically and will have 30 days to comply with the processing requirement.

How do I get started?

The first step is to choose a processing program. Wisconsin DMV is pleased to offer three options for electronic processing.

To sign up for one of the programs, please call:

  • CVR: Jordan Vaughn, (317) 615-9960
  • DealerTrack: Sales and Marketing, (800) 876-2312, ext. 4999
  • e-MV Agent: WisDOT Customer Service Unit, (608) 266-1425

What types of applications are required to be processed electronically?

Transactions that are non-exempt and should be processed electronically:

  • All vehicle types and body styles
  • Vehicles with VINs less than 17 characters
  • Vehicles with assigned or inconsistent VINs
  • Multi-stage vehicles
  • Vehicles with any plate or registration type
  • Vehicles with incidents that only affect registration

Transactions that are exempt from electronic processing:

  • Change of ownership
  • Vehicles with salvage brands
  • Incomplete or invalid title status, such as in-progress or restricted due to incidents
  • Wisconsin title with no record on database
  • Adding two or more lien holders
  • Adding a third or subsequent lien to the record
  • Vehicles with a No-Wisconsin-Title Issued
  • More than two owners exist on the record

The Mail to DOT form lists several common incidents or technology limitations. This form should accompany all applications mailed to WisDOT for manual processing.

How do I handle the paperwork?

Starting in July 2010, an "S" title number, such as S0182A001001-9, is issued when a lien add transaction is completed electronically by a secured party. Law requires the secured party to destroy the previous title provided by the customer after 60 days. No lien confirmations will be generated from electronic title transactions that issue an "S" title number.

Titles and applications for electronic lien adds and releases will not be imaged and should not be mailed in. Applications and receipts for replacement titles, repossessions, and title transfers must still be mailed to WisDOT for imaging.

As no lien confirmations will be generated for "S" titles, use the Inquiry function on your electronic processing system, or use WisDOT's lien look-up program to verify your lien is on the record.

What about the lien release?

Statute 342.22(1) states that the secured party shall deliver to the vehicle owner a notice stating that the release has been provided to the department within 30 days, or within 10 days if requested in writing. A letter on letterhead or a printed copy of the system-generated confirmation of the lien's removal are acceptable notices. This notification may also be done electronically. If you choose to write a letter, please include the year, make, and VIN, as well as the date of the lien satisfaction.

Tips and tools for lenders

Where to get help

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If you are unable to subscribe or unsubscribe from the list or if you have questions about the list itself, please contact:

If you have questions about mandatory lien processing:

Wisconsin Department of Transportation
Dealer & Agent Section
4802 Sheboygan Avenue, Room 201
P.O. Box 7909
Madison, WI 53707-7909

Questions about the content of this page:
Division of Motor Vehicles, Dealer Section, dealers.dmv@dot.wi.gov
Last modified: August 25, 2014

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