Information and FAQs to help you navigate through the vehicle title process.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between title and registration?
The title proves that you own the vehicle. The registration is permission from the state to operate it on the road. It will come to you with license plates and/or a sticker to display on the vehicle. In most states, your registration should always be with your vehicle, just like your license plates.
The final step of owning your new vehicle is to register and title it at your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). It may also be known as the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV), or the Department of Transportation (DOT), depending on your state. For simplicity here, we’ll refer to it as the DMV.
DCU only holds onto the title while your auto loan is open if you do not live in an owner retained state. If you live in an owner retained state, the DMV will send you the title to keep safe until your loan is paid in full.
How do I give my title to DCU?
As part of your loan agreement with DCU, and because your car is serving as the collateral for the loan, you are required to provide the title to us within 90 days of opening the loan. The title must display your name as the owner and list DCU as a lienholder. Being a lienholder means we have an interest in the property that’s on the title until the loan is paid in full.
Some states are owner retained title state, where you retain your car’s title. Even so, you are still responsible for listing DCU as lienholder. Once you have the perfected title, please send us an image of the title so that we can confirm. You can send it through the Document Share option in Digital Banking, by mailing a copy to DCU, PO BOX 25166, Lehigh Valley, PA 18002-5166, or by faxing the image to 508.983.6418.
Once we receive your title or confirmation that a new title with DCU as lienholder was created, you will receive a letter through the mail and a message in Digital Banking confirming we are all set.
What happens if we don’t receive your title with DCU listed as lienholder?
You will receive three letters notifying you that your title, with DCU listed as lienholder, has not been received. If the title is not received within 90 days of your loan funds being disbursed, your interest rate may be increased to 18.00% APR (Annual Percentage Rate). Once we receive the perfected title, we will revert the rate to the rate on your loan agreement. This will not affect your credit history.
How will I know that the title with DCU listed as lienholder has been received?
If we receive your title or confirmation that a title was created with DCU listed as lienholder, you will receive a letter through the mail and a message in Digital Banking confirming we are all set.
If we receive a title for your vehicle that does not have DCU listed as lienholder, add lienholder forms will be mailed to you. Please complete the highlighted sections and return them in the envelope provided so we can file for lien placement on your behalf. The state’s DMV lien recording fee will be added to your loan balance.
Note: If the envelope is lost, please send documents to: Digital Federal Credit Union,PO BOX 25166,Lehigh Valley, PA 18002-5166
What information needs to be on the title?
Once you get your title, there may be some changes that need to be made before the title is ready to give to DCU. Please do not write on your title, as this will void the title. In the Names and Mailing Address of Owners section, it must list you as the owner and your current address. If there is another person on the title that is not a borrower on the loan, the person must sign as Owner of Security on the Note and Loan Agreement. If the title application with the DMV is completed properly, we’ll be notified that the title has been created with DCU as lienholder.
IMPORTANT: The VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on your Note and Loan agreement must match the VIN on your title. If you are aware of any discrepancies, please contact us as soon as possible. If you have documents with the correct VIN, you may upload a copy through the Digital Banking Document Share option or fax the image to 508.983.6418. You may also call 800.328.8797 ext. 6400 to update the VIN over the phone.
If the vehicle you are titling is for your business and you would like it in your business name, you must open a business membership and apply for a commercial loan. If you have started the loan as a personal vehicle loan, the title will need to be in your name.
DCU’s lienholder information:Digital Federal Credit Union,PO BOX 25166,Lehigh Valley, PA 18002-5166
What are the different ways to purchase a vehicle?
If you purchase your vehicle from a dealership, they may complete the title application paperwork and send it to your local DMV. Please make sure the title application is accurate with your dealership. The DMV will then issue a lien recorded title to DCU.
The dealership may instead give the title to you to complete the title work with the DMV. Please be sure to give the DMV the correct lienholder address and code, which are listed in the glossary of terms below.
If there is a delay in receiving the title, contact your dealer to confirm they submitted the necessary paperwork to the DMV. If they did, contact your state’s DMV.
IMPORTANT: Even though the purchase was done through a dealership, you are responsible for ensuring the title is issued to DCU.
Click to learnmore aboutTitle and Insurance Requirements for a Dealer Purchase.
2.Buying your leased vehicle:
If you are purchasing a vehicle off a lease, the leasing company should provide you with the title, bill of sale, and other required documents to take to your local DMV. The DMV will then issue a perfected title to DCU with you listed as the new owner.
Sometimes the leasing company will send the paperwork directly to DCU. In that case, we will send the title to you with the pertinent documents for you to correct the name on the title and get DCU listed as lienholder with the DMV.
Click to learnmore aboutTitle and Insurance Requirements for a Lease Buyout.
3.Purchasing a vehicle from another person (also known as private sale):
If you purchased your vehicle through a private sale, a bill of sale may be necessary. It must be signed by both parties and list all pertinent information about the vehicle and money exchanged. Check with your state’s DMV to make sure you have the required paperwork to complete the transaction. Per your loan agreement, it is your responsibility to get the title from the private seller and take it to the DMV to transfer the ownership to your name. Once the DMV has those documents, they will send the perfected title to us.
Click to learnmore aboutTitle and Insurance Requirements for a Private Sale.
4.Refinancing your vehicle loan from another financial institution to DCU:
If you are refinancing your vehicle with us, the prior lienholder should be instructed to release the title to DCU. Per your loan agreement, it is your responsibility to confirm that the previous lienholder has released the title to DCU. Once we receive your title, we’ll mail you the forms to add DCU as lienholder. The state’s DMV lien recording fee will be added to your loan balance.
Click to learnmore aboutTitle and Insurance Requirements for an External Refinance.
What do I need to do with my title if I’m moving to another state?
IMPORTANT: DCU cannot process the state change for you. You must complete this process with the applicable DMV.
If you’re moving to a different state within the U.S., a state change request should first be submitted through Digital Banking. The option can be found by following these steps:
Membership > Services > Title Services
This request allows us to print/prepare the title so you can process the state change at the DMV. We’ll mail the title to you at the address we have on file. Then bring it to the DMV to complete the title and registration in your new state. We cannot do this for you.
IMPORTANT: The process is different for owner retained states. If you live in an owner retained state, you do not have to file a state change with us. Simply go to your new DMV to title and register there. Please make sure all DCU’s information is correct on all documentation so that we get notified of the state change.
Going to the DMV before filing a request with us will result in delayed processing of your forms. The DMV will contact us to request that the title be mailed to them, resulting in a higher chance of title loss. In this case, we will not be able to provide you with a duplicate title unless DCU is listed as lienholder.
How do I change or remove names on my title?
IMPORTANT: DCU cannot process the name change for you. You must complete this process with the applicable DMV.
If you’re adding, changing, or removing a name on the title, you can submit a name change request through Digital Banking. The option can be found by following these steps:
Membership > Services > Title Services
This request allows us to print/prepare the title so you can process the name change at the DMV. We’ll mail the title and permission letter to the address you have on file with us. Then bring those documents to your DMV so they can process the name change and send the title back to us.
What if I or the DMV lose the title while doing a state or name change?
One of the following must be done if you have lost or misplaced the title that was mailed to you while the loan is still open:
- Contact DCU at 800.328.8797 to request a duplicate title. Processing time will depend on the DMV. You will be responsible for a $15.00 title application fee and the state’s duplicate title fee.
- Contact your state’s DMV if you live in an owner retained title state for a duplicate title. You will be responsible for the state’s duplicate title fee.
What happens to my title after my loan is paid in full?
Before paying off your loan in full, please make sure your address with us is current. Once your vehicle loan is paid in full, we’ll release our lien and mail you the title within 3-10 business days.
IMPORTANT: Making sure your address on file is current will make sure that the title gets to you as soon as possible!
If the title is a paper title:
We’ll send the title to the address we have on file. If the vehicle loan was paid in full by a third party, we’ll send the paper title to the address provided in the payoff instructions. Please consider standard mailing time. If you need your title faster, you can choose to have it express mailed to you at your cost. Please call 800.328.8797 to set up express shipping for your title. The current fee is $15.00 and will take 3-5 business days to get to you. We usually receive the tracking number from the warehouse by the fourth business day.
If the title is held electronically:
DCU will request the state’s DMV to release the lien and mail a paper title to the address we have on file for you. If the vehicle loan was paid in full by a third party, DCU will request the state’s DMV to release the lien and mail a paper title to the address provided in the payoff instructions. Please consider standard mailing time. We cannot expedite electronic titles.
- If DCU had a Florida or Ohio electronic title on file, DCU will request the state’s DMV to release the lien, and you will need to contact the DMV to request a paper title be mailed to you. These DMVs do not allow us to do this on your behalf.
- If we did not receive a title for your vehicle loan, a paid loan letter, which includes the lien termination statement, will be supplied in Digital Banking at no cost to you. We’ll send a paid loan letter to you two business days after the loan is paid in full. The option can be found within Digital Banking by following these steps:
Membership > Services > Paid Loan Letter
What if I lose my title after my loan is paid in full?
The following must be done if you have lost or misplaced your title after the vehicle loan is paid in full and our lien is released:
- Bring the paid loan letter, which includes the lien termination statement, to your DMV to request a new title. You can generate the letter through the self-service option in Digital Banking. The option can be found by following these steps:
Membership > Services > Paid Loan Letter
You will be responsible for all fees. The DMVs do not allow us to apply for a duplicate title on your behalf since we are no longer a lienholder.
Additional Information and Links
DCU’s Lienholder Information
Digital Federal Credit Union,PO BOX 25166,Lehigh Valley, PA 18002-5166.
Additional Lienholder Code Information
DCU lienholder codes:Certain states require you to include DCU’s lienholder code on the title application. Please reference the following:
If your state is not listed here, please use:042683316
State and DCU Registered Lien Code:
- Arizona: 04-2683316
- California: X00
- Colorado: E0426833160001
- Florida: 0204242935
- Georgia: 001100020591
- Hawaii: DIG
- Idaho: 042683316
- Iowa: 04268331600
- Louisiana: ELDD
- Maryland: 0577
- Massachusetts: CO1259
- Mississippi: 90012252300
- Nebraska: 10233546
- Nevada: DZ0003
- New Hampshire: 73
- New Jersey: 270 338 244 180020
- New York: 51213
- North Carolina: 000031453258
- Ohio: VNTK001042683316
- Pennsylvania: 21139182501
- South Carolina: DFC2710
- South Dakota: 04268331602
- Texas: 04268331600
- Virginia: FK8
- Washington: DCU
- Wisconsin: 00114896
Links for DMVs
Glossary of Terms
Terms and Definitions
Lien Release: A lien release is a document that is signed and notarized by the lienholder that states your loan obligation has been satisfied and there is no longer a lien on the vehicle. Since this is a notarized document, it can’t be sent electronically.
Lien Termination Statement: a statement that the institution who previously held the loan is no longer lienholder.
Note and Loan Agreement: Also called the security agreement or loan documents. This document is a legally binding agreement between a borrower and a lender that includes terms of the loan – the payment schedule, due date, principal amount, interest rate, and any prepayment penalties.
Owner of Security: An individual who is an owner of the property/vehicle but is not listed as a coborrower/cosigner on the loan.
Paid Loan Letter:A document that indicates the loan has been paid in full and includes the lien termination statement.
Perfected Title:A title with correct owner and vehicle information that lists DCU as a lienholder.
Third Party:Using an auto loan as an example, the member and DCU are considered primary and secondary parties, respectively. A third party could be a dealership or another lender if the loan is being refinanced.