In the broadest sense, a bail bonds business is quite simple. Somebody gets arrested for a crime (any). The person is taken to court within a few days and the judge sets a bail – the amount you have paid if you want to wait for your next court date from home.
Let’s say the judge sets your bond at ten thousand dollars. The court will demand that you pay the amount in full before you can be released. The good news is that you can always recover the money as long as you show up at the court when you’re supposed to. If you don’t, you forfeit the money.
What if you don’t have the ten thousand dollars at the moment? This is where the bondsman comes in. A bondsman will pay the whole amount with an agreement that he/she will get a percentage of the amount as commission. Bondsmen charge their commissions as guided by local and state laws. For instance, some states have structured the payments to allow defendants to pay in stages. For instance, you may be asked to pay a 10% commission on the first $3,000, 8% on the next $5,000, and 5% on anything above that. So, for a $10,000 bail, you may end up paying about $900 as commission.
The biggest problem in the bail-bonds business is the huge risk involved. For instance, what if you pay the court the entire $10,000 and the defendant takes off to a far away country? You could lose your money. For this reason, most bondsmen demand collateral before they can pay a significant amount. Collateral can come in the form of cash held in an escrow account or agreement to hand over car keys or property deed to the bondsman. It is also customary for the lender to demand that at least two people, currently employed, sign the agreement and agree to cover any losses.
Since the business is so risky, merchants may not be able to open traditional accounts with conventional account providers. So, accepting payments and acquiring funds may become a huge problem. The increasingly popular idea is to open a bail bonds merchant account. These accounts are easy to open as long as you can find a reliable merchant. Providers, such as EMB, are very experienced in risk management. Moreover, you will be able to accept card payments easily.