An Increasing Number of Jails Allow Use of Credit Cards to Pay Bail

Sep 13, 2017

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

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.

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Having a merchant account allows an account holder to take advantage of merchant cash advances. When a merchant is approved for an advance, the business agrees to receive a lump sum of cash in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of future credit card sales.

Pricing varies depending the merchant’s industry, past credit card processing history, the type of business seeking the account, average ticket sales, and average transaction volumes.

Yes, EMB works with merchants who are building their credit, as well as those who have poor credit. EMB also approves merchants that have no credit card processing history and businesses that have lost their merchant accounts due to high chargebacks.

Several factors influence a merchant’s risk level. Though only one factor likely will not get a merchant classified as high risk, a combination of these may: business size, location, and industry, credit score, credit card processing history, a industry’s reputation for excessive chargebacks, a prior history of high chargeback ratios, and whether a merchant exclusively sells online.

Virtual terminals are stationed on a merchant’s website, making it easy for customers to make a payment or purchase online. Merchants or a payment processor can easily set up virtual terminals, so online businesses can accept credit and debit card and e-check transactions.

A merchant account is a business account with an acquiring bank. Without this business account, which actually works more like a line of credit, a merchant cannot accept and process credit and debit card transactions. Businesses need a merchant account to accept major credit cards via a static point-of-sale terminal, mobile card reader, or through a virtual payment gateway.

After filling out EMB’s simple online application and submitting any necessary, requested documents, many merchants get approved within 24 and 48 hours.

EMB specializes in working with high-risk merchants. EMB works with many merchants, including but not limited to businesses in these industries: gambling and gaming, adult entertainment, nutraceuticals, vaping and e-cigarettes, electronics, tech support, travel, high-end furniture, weight loss programs, calling cards, e-books and software, and telecommunications.

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