May 29, 2014. For the first time, Watauga County citizens can pay fines and related court costs using their credit / debit card. The courthouse will now be able to accept American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa cards along with a valid government-issued photo ID.
“We are pleased to offer expanded services to anyone needing to pay court fines and fees,” said Clerk of Superior Court Diane Cornett Deal “Many people are unsure how much they will owe when they come to court to take care of a case. Now when their case is completed, they are able to take care of their fines and court costs without having to leave the building to get the cash, cashier’s check, or money order.”
The credit card payments system provides immediate benefits to citizens, as well as to court officials and staff. While it provides a more convenient payment option for citizens, the system also allows faster end-of-day register close-out procedures for clerks with less time spent counting cash drawers. As of May 20, the new system has processed nearly 24,000 transactions statewide totaling more than $4 million. Watauga County processed 90 transactions between April 8 (start date for Watauga County) and April 30 .
“The credit card payments system is a win-win service,” says Judge John W. Smith, director of the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts. “Accepting credit and debit cards is more convenient for the public and more efficient for the state.”
The system has been implemented in all 100 counties throughout the state as of May 2014, ahead of the statute mandate of January 2015. Credit / debit card payments must be $1,000 or less, and can be applied to criminal, civil and other fees – with the exception of alimony, bond forfeiture, cash bonds, child support purge payments, civil judgments, condemnation awards, disputed funds, rent bonds, trusts and upset bids. These categories are exempt because of the increased financial risk involved with these types of payments.
A convenience fee is charged at the time of each credit / debit card payment and is remitted to a third-party company. Except for the convenience fee, most monies received do not stay with the courts but instead go to other state and local government agencies.
Continuing on the technology success of NCAOC’s payNCticket program since 2010, the credit card payments system is another convenient epay technology making it easier for citizens to do business with the courts.
About the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC)
The N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC) is the administrative agency of the N.C. Judicial Branch, providing administrative services to help the North Carolina court system operate more efficiently and effectively, taking into account each courthouse’s diverse needs, caseloads, and available resources. Among the many programs and services that it provides to courts statewide, NCAOC uses technology to improve the delivery of services to the public and to provide greater and more convenient access to court personnel.