Retain a Registration Number

The Retention Scheme is where a private number plate is taken off a vehicle and placed onto a certificate of entitlement. This then allows the owner to transfer the plate to another vehicle at a suitable time for them and allows them to sell or scrap the donor car or other vehicle it was on.

To keep the rights to a registration mark on a certificate (separate to a vehicle), you will need to fill out a V778/1 form, available to download and print out from the DVLA’s website.

The retention scheme enables the keeper of a vehicle to hold its registration on a certificate indefinitely.

To retain the registration mark, You will need to send your application form to the DVLA, along with the following documents:

  • V317 form.
  • A cheque for £80.

Your vehicle will be assigned with a non transferable age related registration mark.

When the retention is complete, you will receive the following:

  • V5C Registration Document. Showing the change of registration mark.

Upon receiving this document, you may legally display your new number plates on your vehicle. Before doing this, please remember to inform your insurance company of the change to your policy. Your MOT (if applicable) and road tax will be updated electronically.

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Cheap Number Plates

We all know or think number plates are very expensive, however it’s still possible to personalise your vehicle without the hefty price tag. Go straight to our Bargain Basement section. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Call us on 0121 353 33 33 and speak to our team of experts.

Top Tip: The rule is you can make your vehicle look older, but not one day newer with your choice of private plate.

There are a number of ways to secure a low cost number plates:

Northern Irish Plates
Prefix Plates
Dateless Plates

Where to get cheap number plates for cars

The most efficient way to bag a cheap private plate is to buy one securely online from British Car Registrations. There’s a huge range of registrations, with prices starting from as little as £39. View our full list of our cheap private plates.

Northern Irish Plates

Some of the cheapest number plates available are those which come from Northern Ireland. Closely resembling cherished plates as they hold no age identifier, you can buy them online directly online from British Car Registrations.

Cheap Northern Ireland number plates start from £39. The format consists of 3 letter, plus 1,2,3 or 4 numbers. The letter combination always includes an I or a Z. This is the distinguishing feature from cherished registration plates.

Northern Ireland number plates are exactly the same as dateless plates. Which are assigned to give no indication of vehicle age.

The inclusion of an I or Z in the letter combination may suit those whose names have those letters – GAZ, BAL, LOL and so on. Alternaiteyly, the numbers could represent a significant day such as a birthday for example, 2487  could represent 2nd of April 1987.

The price different between a cheap Irish reg and a dateless personalised plate can be stricking, with a cherished plate being much more expensive.

Top Tip: If you have a fleet of cars, it may be possible to get a consecutive run of numbers such as BCR 1987, BCR 1988, BCR 1989, allowing you to customise them all.

Prefix Plates – Make Your Own Plate

Prefix private regs are usually under £300 which enables you to choose a prefix year letter plus 1,2 or 3 numbers followed by 3 letters (not including I, Q or Z). This is a great way top personalise your vehicle to match your initials.

Top Tip: Parents, if your child has three names, this is a perfect way of securing their future car reg purchase!

Prefix private plates are subject to availability and hold an age restriction to the age of the vehicle – unlike cheap Irish plates.

Dateless Plates

The last type of cheap plates are the dateless plate ones. For example, 306 FXM, 319 DCG, 426 CLV, the number/ letter format can also be switched around the other way too. However, due to the format, there is a high chance they match someone’s initial and special numbers.

Top Tip: The more uncommon the letter combination, the cheaper the plate! Try a search and see what appears. Search our Bargain Basement to find the perfect gem!  If you can’t find your perfect private plate, call us on 0121 353 33 33 and speak to our team of experts.

British Car Registrations are proud to have been trading for 30 years. Our team of experts will provide you with the same service whatever your spending. We pride ourselves on quality, customer service and value.


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Transfers: Basic DVLA Regulations

The donor vehicle must be currently MOT’d and taxed, taxed and MOT expired or MOT expired and tax expired less than 6 months.

If you have declared SORN on the donor vehicle then the last tax disc must have expired (not refunded) less than 6 months.

A fee of £80 to the Department of Transport is payable for a vehicle to vehicle transfer and £105 (£25 of which is the actual registration fee) is payable for placing the mark onto a retention certificate. The certificate is valid for 12 months and can be renewed annually for £25 per year.

A donor vehicle must be subject to MOT testing at some time during its life.

Registration marks legally are owned by the Secretary of State for Transport – it is the right to display the mark on a vehicle which is granted or transferred. If you pass on a vehicle to a new keeper, then you lose control of the registration mark. If you scrap a vehicle without retaining the mark, the mark is lost.

You can’t use a mark to make a vehicle look newer than it is. e.g. you can’t assign an R registration to a D registration car. You are allowed to use an older registration.

You can’t put a cherished number onto a Q registered vehicle.

Registration marks, which have never been used on vehicles before, are issued in the form of certificates of entitlement (V750). Like V778’s, they are renewable annually for a fee of £25 per year. So if you find the registration you’ve always wanted, you can keep it on a certificate until you have a suitable car. Marks on certificates are ideal to give as surprise presents since the actual vehicle documents aren’t needed until after the event, so you can give the certificate and a pair of plates, attractively wrapped.

To assign a registration mark on a certificate to a vehicle, you need to take/post your registration document (V5/C), MOT (if applicable), current copy of the tax disc or note of the expiry date and serial number (or tax application) to your nearest local Registration Office – usually in the telephone directory under “Transport, Dept. of”. The assignment fee will already have been paid at the time of purchasing the mark, or placing it on a retention, so there will be no more costs to pay. You will be given back your tax disc showing the new mark and given an envelope to send back your old disc. Any MOT submitted will be re-stamped with the new registration. Your V5 will be sent to DVLA, Swansea for the new reg to be put on and then returned direct to you. The V5 will not show another keeper.

Department of transport local offices provide an “over the counter” service for V750 assignments only. Other transactions take approximately 7-14 working days.

The legal time in any registration transfer to actually change your number plates is when you have a current tax disc showing the new mark.

You can apply for tax at the same time as a transfer by sending in your insurance certificate or cover note, a completed V10 (This can be obtained from a post office and should, technically, be filled in with the existing registration mark) and the appropriate fee (Cheques to the Dept. Of Transport).

You can apply to put the vehicle into your name at the same time as the transfer by filling in the appropriate part of the V5/C. If you only have the small green slip of the V5/C (V5/2) you can use this to do a cherished transfer accompanied by a completed V62 form. The green slip must not already show cherished transfer having taken place and can only be used for up to two months from the date of sale.

In general the documents needed for a cherished transfer are: – V5/C, MOT (if applicable), V317 (Transfer form). When you take a cherished registration off your vehicle, you will be given back a registration mark suitable for the year of the car. Usually, nowadays, you will be given back the original mark. This simplifies DVLA records and, also, is better for drivers who have had their windows etched with the original registration mark.

In certain circumstances, a cherished number can be put onto a brand new vehicle. This involves sending the appropriate entitlement certificate to the car dealer. Since many dealers register new vehicles online it is always necessary to discuss your requirements with them first.

The forms for applying to retain a mark (V778/1) or transfer from one vehicle to another (V317) are available from your local vehicle licensing office.

Buying a car reg

Selling a car reg

What is the Retention Scheme?

Cheap Private Number Plates

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Buying a private number plate

Where can I buy a private number plate?

It’s very simple, just give us a call and our team of experts will be able to assist you in the purchase of a suitable registration plate. They’ll be on hand to help you with any questions you may have regarding your purchase or the car reg transfer.

Alternatively, we have a large variety available to buy online – safely and securely!

Make Your Own personalised car reg by searching for your initials, name, car or special number now.

Step 1: Search

Enter the registration you want into the SEARCH box. You may have seen it advertised in one of the national newspapers or on our website. By using the SEARCH box, you will be able to see whether the car number plate is still for sale. If not, alternative options will be shown to you. If you would like further assistance, please call our team of friendly experts on 0121 353 3333 or email us at

Step 2: Buy online or call us on 0121 353 3333

If your selected private plate is available, that means you can purchase it online straightaway. All you have to do is follow the onscreen instructions and ensure you have a valid credit or debit card (there is a small card-processing fee).

Tips when searching for your new personalised plate:

  • Limit the combination of letters to 3 – KAT, TOM, DAZ for example.
  • It is worth noting that UK registrations can only include 3 consecutive numbers max.
  • Try a combination of initials and numbers to find something special – KT 30, P9, GEM 57 and so on.

Registration Transfer

You’ve got your new private plate, now you need to get it transferred onto your vehicle. Read our Reg Transfer Guide –


Need some help with the jargon? Read our handy Glossary.

About Us

British Car Registrations was established in 1983 by Brian and Jane Bell. Its success has been down to being one of the first private number plate specialists and now offer a range of products and services. The company prides itself on its high level of customer service, quality and value. They offer a range of financial plans, price matching and a 7 day transfer guarantee.


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Selling a private number plate

How to sell a private number plate in 3 easy steps

All you need to do is complete our online, no obligation number plate valuation form and we’ll tell you instantly how much it is worth. We will also add you to our database and keep a record of the car reg mark to assist us in answering private number plate enquiries. If you would prefer not to be added to our database, please let us know and we will remove you. If you would like more information on this process, view our handy selling guide.

How to transfer a private number plate.

How to buy a cheap number plate.


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Private Plates

Private registrations are increasing in popularity all the time. We have new customers buying from us each day as well as customers who already own private registrations, coming back and purchasing additional registrations for their other car or as gifts for their loved ones.

One of the reasons customers love purchasing private registrations is for the investment potential it brings. People who previously bought plates from us are coming back in order to sell them – many of whom are taking advantage of our ‘Buy Back’ scheme whereby we purchase their private plate from them at their original price.

More often than not, when a customer sells their private reg plate with us, the profit that has been returned is significant. Certain personalised number plates which do well are the ones which represent names or ages or the most coveted ‘1’ car regs. has made it so easy for you to search for private reg plates, just add your initials or special numbers to the box on the homepage. You can also use the prefix and current search style.

Still not sure where to start? Click on one of the headings below to get you started!

Where can I buy a number plate?

How can I sell a private number plate?

What are the rules surrounding number plate transfers?

How do I retain a car registration number?

We hope you enjoy browsing.


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Finance for private number plates now available

Here at British Car Registrations, we have made it easy to spread the cost of your perfect personal number plates. We are delighted to have teamed up with V12 Retail Finance in order to offer our customers greater flexibility when choose how to pay for their new car number plate.

We now offer low-cost, no deposit options, which means that our car registrations are affordable for many of our customers.


You must be a permanent UK resident and able to supply 3 years address history.
You must be either in employment or retired and receive a gross annual income of at least £10,000.
You must have a good credit history and own a debit or credit card.
You must have a UK bank account capable of accepting Direct Debits.
No discount or price match is applicable in conjunction with our Finance payment option.


V12 Finance processes online applications straightaway, meaning you can have a decision in minutes. There is also no waiting around for paperwork. Your new personalised car registration number plate can be ordered immediately if approved.

For many people, budget restrictions mean that their choice has been limited to cheaper numbers. Low cost number plates are fantastic value and fun, however the extra choices made available with finance options, brings a whole range of outstanding number plate variations within reach.

Explore that expanded choice using our variety of search tools. The general search that you’ll find on every page is a good way to get ideas. By entering whichever names, words or initials may occur to you, we’ll return a selection of numbers that may suit you. Whatever you’re looking for, you have come to the right place.

We are delighted to have teamed-up with V12 Retail Finance in order to offer our customers greater flexibility when choosing how to pay for their new registration mark.

The table below shows an example:

Choose what’s best for you with finance from 24, 36, 48 or 60 months at a very competitive 15.9% apr (subject to status, of course).

Example illustration:-

Buy a registration costing £1999 + vat (£2398.80) + DVLA transfer of £80 over 36 months.

Total sum borrowed:                      £2478.80

Deposit:                                               £0.00

Loan amount:                                    £2478.80

Number of monthly payments: 36

Monthly payment:                          £84.91

Cost of loan:                                       £601.96

Total amount payable:                   £3056.76

APR                                                        15.9%

Only available to UK residents over 18, subject to terms and conditions

For further information please contact a member of our sales team on 0121 353 3333.


Once you have selected the private number plate that you wish to purchase, proceed to checkout. Under ‘BUY – Registration Details’, look out for the Finance (V12 Retail Finance) option and select the finance offer your wish to apply from the dropdown selector.

Please remember to select either 24, 36, 48 or 60 months from the dropdown. Please remember, Interest rates on each option are at a very competitive 15.9%.

Once selected, you will see a breakdown of the costs including the APR, instalment amount, repayment term, total interest charged and the deposit amount.

You will then move on to a secure application form – simply complete the form, submit your application and wait for the decision.

-Upon acceptance by the finance company, relevant details of your finance agreement will be displayed on screen which you will need to review and agree, before signing your credit agreement.

Upon receipt of your deposit payment, we will be authorised to proceed with your order.

Please note: we can only ship orders to the address that corresponds to the billing address on the finance agreement.



If you have a question, require further information or if there is anything you do not understand regarding the credit agreement, please call V12 Finance on 029 2046 8900 or seek free, independent advice from organisations such as the Citizen Advice Bureau or the Money Advice Service.


Our online application form is a fast and easy process. Once complete, your application will then be instantly sent to the finance company and they will get a response to you as soon as possible. Some applications may take longer to process. If for any reason we can’t give you an instant decision, you will be notified on screen as part of the application process and also by e-mail, with a follow up e-mail as soon as a decision is confirmed.


No, promotional codes are not valid on orders placed using V12 finance as a payment method.


You have the right under section 66A of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 to withdraw from the agreement without giving any reason before the end of 14 days (beginning with the day after the day on which the agreement is made or, if later, the date on which we will tell you that we have signed the agreement). If you wish to withdraw you must give the finance company notice in writing or by telephone or email. The name of your finance company will be clearly shown on your credit agreement (see contact details below). Please note that if you do give notice of withdrawal, you must repay the full amount of the credit without delay and in any event by no later than 30 days after giving notice of withdrawal. If you want to settle the loan after the 14 day cooling off period, you may do so but you will also have to pay interest accrued from the date the agreement was made until the date you repay it. If you wish to pay by debit card please telephone the finance company. If you wish to pay by cheque please send it by first class post to the finance company. Please allow 10 working days from the day you post the cheque to allow time to process the payment.

Telephone: 029 2046 8900


V12 Retail Finance Limited
20 Neptune Court
Vanguard Way
CF24 5PJ


Yes. A credit check forms part of the automated decision making process.


Yes. You must have a UK bank account capable of accepting Direct Debits.


No. If your credit application is accepted, you will not be required to pay a deposit online using a credit or debit card. The amount of the deposit is shown in the credit summary and on the credit agreement itself.


Your monthly repayments are collected by Direct Debit.


Yes. You have the right to repay all or part of the credit early at any time – you should contact V12 Finance for details by phone, e-mail or letter at the following;

Telephone: 029 2046 8900


V12 Retail Finance Limited
20 Neptune Court
Vanguard Way
CF24 5PJ


The total cost of the loan is shown on the finance agreement that you will see before you purchase your item(s).


If you fail to pay any amount you owe under the Credit Agreement by the date it is due, V12 Finance may charge you interest on that amount, they may also levy additional fees – details of these can be found in the credit agreement.


V12 Finance will write to you to confirm the date that your repayments will commence. The first payment is typically due 30 days following the date of delivery of your order.


The APR is shown clearly on the credit summary. It is also shown clearly on the credit agreement itself.
Loan agreements are only available to UK residents over 18, subject to status, terms and conditions apply. A minimum deposit of 10% is required at the initial payment stage. A credit check will be performed by the finance company as part of the automated transaction process.

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Happy Birthday to us! Celebrating 30 years of quality, service and value.

A 30th birthday is a special occasion in anyone’s book. At British Car Registrations we have chosen to celebrate this exceptional landmark in our trading life by refurbishing our offices (inside and out). Why not? We all need a bit of a makeover as the years go by!!

But it is still business as usual – we have been at the forefront of the car registrations and are proud to offer the following services;

7 Day transfers on Make Your Mark registrations.

Make Your Own registration by choosing a number plate format – either using the prefix or current style. You can check the availability of millions of options straightaway.

Unique buy-back Guarantee

We are the only Buy-Back Promise’ suppliers available in the marketplace. We promise to buy a registration back from you within 12 months of the date you bought it from us – for the same price you paid.

Finance options

We have made it easy to spread the cost of buying your private number plates using V12 Finance Payments. Choose from 24, 36, 48 or 60 months finance plans to suit you. APR is 15.9% and no initial deposit will be required.

Price Match Guarantee

To prove how much pride we have in the services we offer and our great prices, we offer price matching on identical registrations which are advertised with another company. Give us a call direct on 0121 353 3333 to receive a price match today.

Click here to read a couple of reviews from our price matched customers.

Birmingham-based Showroom open to the Public

Come and visit our Showroom based in the leafy, affluent area of Sutton Coldfield. We have a range of plates for review in our windows. View our Showroom opening hours and address below and pop in for an informal chat;

Monday – Friday 9–5.30pm
Saturday 10–4pm
Sunday & Bank Holidays – Closed

Midland House
Chester Road
Sutton Coldfield
B74 3ED

And so we raise a glass to the future and to more than half a million customers who, in the course of the last 30 years, have chosen to make British Car Registrations the company they want to use for buying and selling their registrations. We appreciate your custom very much and hope to continue serving you for many years to come.

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Mr Williams, Bedfordshire

private number plate

I’m very grateful to British Car Registrations for helping to find a suitable registration for my 1963 Sunbeam Tiger.  They did all the work including providing the plates making the process smooth and trouble-free.63 TG

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Miss A-J, Staffordshire

personalised number plate

I am very happy with my new registration and with the fantastic service I received when buying it.  I chose British Car Registrations because I was aware of your great reputation but also because your price was so much better than anyone else’s.  Overall, it was a very quick and easy process, thank you.AND 81A - Happy Customer pic

Posted in What Our Customers Say
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