Renewing my car licence disc over WhatsApp was quick, easy, and a little bit expensive – but definitely worth it.
This was my recent experience after using ChatBack, a service which lets you renew a car licence disc through their WhatsApp Business account.
The entire experience was warmly welcomed, after battling for weeks to book an appointment on the government-run eNatis system to renew my driver’s licence card.
How it works
To use the service, you save ChatBack’s number on your phone and select their profile in WhatsApp.
You then send the word “Renew” to them as a message and you receive an automated response with several options.
In my case, I replied with “1” to get a quote and renew my car licence disc.
I was then required to enter my vehicle’s registration number, the expiry date of the current licence disc, and select a delivery option for the licence.
The choices were “Paperless delivery” and “Delivery to my door”.
Paperless delivery sees a PDF of your licence disc sent to you on WhatsApp, while delivery to your door provides you with a physical copy of your licence disc and the PDF version on WhatsApp.
I selected the “delivery” option.
Once you have selected a delivery option, you are provided with a quote and a link to make an online payment.
Making payment gives them the go-ahead to proceed with your renewal and provides ChatBack with authorisation to “retrieve vehicle licence information” and “sign and complete documentation” on your behalf.
Following the payment, it’s time for the ChatBack WhatsApp version of paperwork.
This was all completed via WhatsApp messages and consisted of the following:
- Entering your delivery address.
- Sending a photo or copy of your driver’s licence.
- Sending a photo or copy of a proof of residence.
- Entering your email address.
The responses from ChatBack were immediate on the WhatsApp chat, which made the experience very pleasant, and submitting the documents by taking photos was smooth.
And that’s it.
I did all the above over 12 minutes on a late Monday afternoon, and by Tuesday afternoon I had the PDF version of my new vehicle licence disc.
Before Wednesday close-of-business, I had the physical licence disc document in my hands from a courier.
How much does it cost?
I paid a single amount of R914 to use the ChatBack service.
This included the R504 it cost to renew a licence disc, and the service and delivery fees.
Is it safe?
At the start of 2020, ChatBack saw a surge in usage in South Africa – with ChatBack CEO Jan Kotze telling MyBroadband they received 44,000 messages in one day during a peak period.
This resulted in scrutiny from the RTMC, with spokesperson Simon Zwane stating the service had not been sanctioned by their organisation and cautioned people against using it.
Kotze said they have world-class data-protection measures in place, however, and had partnered with Infobip and financial institutions to ensure security requirements were met.
This is an opinion piece based on real-world tests. This article does not constitute an endorsement of the service.