Kentucky residents can now get a REAL ID at four offices in the state, but only if they pay with a credit or debit card. Cash and check are currently not accepted at the new offices, and it’s unclear if that’s legal.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Attorney General’s office said they could not locate a statute requiring state government offices to accept specific types of payment, such as cash.
But the United States Federal Code says cash is considered legal tender and must be accepted as payment for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues.
Matthew Henderson is the former Commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Vehicle Regulation.
“As we grow the model and get more locations, we intend eventually to have a cash option. But currently, in this stage of the project, we can only offer credit card payment,” he said.
Henderson said the new regional Real ID offices don’t have the capacity to accept cash or check.
“In order to stand these up quickly enough to make the Real IDs compliant, we don’t have the infrastructure currently to do that, but it will be coming in the future,” he said.
The department didn't provide a timeline or plan of when the regional offices would accept cash or check. The four offices issuing REAL IDs are in Bowling Green, Frankfort, Paducah, and Somerset.
Kentucky is one of the last states to comply with the Real ID Act of 2005. The legislation created increased security standards for the identification cards federal agencies, like the Transportation Security Administration, can accept.
Governor Andy Beshear’s office did not return a request for comment on this story.
Clarification: This story has been updated to show that Matthew Henderson is no longer the Commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Vehicle Regulation.