Your card may bail you out, but at a price. Most jailers are now allowing the use of credit cards to post bail, and if you are lucky the charge could earn you bonus points that can sort you vacation expenses when you’re set free.
An increasing number of jails in the United States are now offering online bail payment services that permit the use of debit, credit, and prepaid cards to pay their bail bonds. However, you’ll have to put up with the heavy multiple fees and its costly services— after all, freedom comes at a price.
According to jailers, the card-to-bail system is helping reduce the waste of public resources despite the fact that bail bond agents are not pleased with the legal system allowing the public to access this service. Departments responsible for housing inmates say that they are able to avoid maintenance, care and any other costs when the convict averts a day in custody.
Bail goes online
New York State’s Westchester Department was the first to authorize use of credits card to post bail online back in 2011. A multipurpose kiosk allows the detainee or a pal or family member to post the bail. Unlike in 2007, friends and siblings can now pay via the internet too.
While market research experts haven’t evaluated how common the use of credit card in making bail payments have become, detention officers, sheriffs and firms like GovPayNet who offer this service say more convicts are loving the idea.
Cards that Can Bail you Out
Not all cards can charge bail. Of the four card-processing companies, American Express can only be used to pay a bail bondsman’s fees; you can’t use it to directly pay your bail. MasterCard, Visa and Discover can post bail and charge a bail bondsman.
Fees vary according to the system your jail uses, whether kiosk, online or a traditional credit card machine. The total may include the charges set by the processing company plus all court processing fees.