March 29, 2023

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“e-Estonia, model for the future”. How easy and how fast to buy and register a car online

While we still struggle with bureaucracy, in Estonia a car can be bought and registered online in just a few minutes. Citizens sit comfortably at home, choose the model and solve everything on the Internet.

In Romania, however, people are put on the roads and prepare piles of papers, because the authorities were not able to simplify the procedures.

Watch a new report from the PRO TV News campaign, “e-Estonia, model for the future“.

With almost 450,000 inhabitants and an area of ​​129 square km, about the size of Timisoara, Tallinn is also the largest urban center in Estonia. But the city does not give you the feeling of suffocation for a moment. The traffic is not congested either.

Almost 795,000 cars are registered throughout Estonia, which means 598 per thousand inhabitants, and obviously most of them drive in the capital. The number of registrations increases from year to year and everything is done online.

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Reedik Poopuu, Head of Service Management Department at the Transport Administration: “You put in the details of whoever you want to sell the car to, then the application basically goes to the other party, who has to answer, yes, I want to register this car in my name, you pay the taxes and that’s it. It lasts a maximum of 10 minutes”.

Fast, efficient and hassle-free. Such services were what the Estonian authorities wanted for their citizens and they succeeded. For years, this has been the norm for them.

Reporter: Can you imagine what it means to sell a car in Romania?

Reedik Poopuu: I can’t really, in Estonia it’s so simple!

Reporter: Just try to guess what it means to sell your car, write it off and so on?

Reedik Poopuu: Let me think! Basically, I should… But no, I can’t imagine, actually, because we’ve simplified this process so much that I feel like we’re missing some steps now.

But no, the Estonians don’t miss a beat. They simply record the ownership data of an asset without being interested in the transaction itself, which is exclusively the business of the seller and the buyer. Everything is done by digital signature in the most secure cyber conditions.

The system, impossible to defraud

Kristjan Järvan, Minister of Entrepreneurship and IT: “You have the architecture that makes data transfer fast and secure, and also the digital identity for people, so you know who you’re serving. We have to make sure that you are you.”

And thus, officials say, any attempt to defraud the system is eliminated.

Reedik Poopuu, Head of Department of Service Management in the Transport Administration: “You have to sign everything. If you signed or declared something that is not true, you are liable. There’s no way you can do that and then say you don’t know how it happened. Whatever you do, you leave a mark.”

And Estonians know all this. Fraud attempts were few and far between, and confidence in the system grew. In 2019, for example, the Transport Administration’s e-services portal recorded 9.5 million transactions. Most were changes in the owners of a vehicle. But many other services can be accessed on the platform.

Carmen Raal, digitalization advisor e-Estonia: “We can publicly check car information. If I have the registration number, I can see if that car has been involved in accidents.”

One of the most used services on this portal is changing your driver’s license with just a few clicks. A useless operation, the Estonians would say, because, for them, the identity card is also a driver’s license.

Reedik Poopuu: “If the police stop you, they just ask for your ID, and if they put your data into their system, then they get all the information about you, all the categories of license you have, or if you have a problem, in the sense that it’s no longer the medical certificate is valid”.

But this only happens with them. When traveling by car abroad, Estonians need a permit, so they set out to take digitization beyond their own borders.

Reedik Poopuu: “Ultimately, the goal of our efforts is for Europe to reach the same level of efficiency in this regard, so that Estonians just take their ID card and can drive from Finland to Spain without even needing the pink card , which is the driver’s license”.

And the Estonians offer their European colleagues the secret of success: cheap, fast and efficient public services through digitization.

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