Website design By BotEap.comCompeting rates. Website design By BotEap.comFor a while, there has been a big shift towards surety companies offering not just payment plans, but little to no down payment and interest. Like other industries, such as law firms, medical offices, etc., it is not difficult for clients to simply not be able to pay for their service unless the company is willing to take additional financial risks and offer flexible payment options. Smarter credit card users may realize once they take into account how much they would pay in residual interest, even credit card bonuses have their downsides. While they are also subject to late fees on credit cards, the payment options offered by surety companies are starting to look quite attractive. Website design By BotEap.comAlthough the in-house kiosk fees are only 7%, a decent amount less than the 10% to 15% that bail bond agents must charge, it is a fee that must be paid in full; often more than a defendant can pay. For small bonds that are not felonies, this might not apply, but would the bail industry really prefer someone to be held in jail for hours, sometimes overnight, in order to charge a $ 100 minimum fee? The answer is hopefully no. Website design By BotEap.comOnline threat in disguise. Website design By BotEap.comThese kiosks may affect small family businesses, but there is still a long time before this option is available to all prisons. A bigger threat to small businesses is the relatively recent developments of surety firms hiring aggressive search engines and social media marketing services. Driving to any city, one has no difficulty finding a surety company, especially near jails and court buildings, so the industry seems to be doing quite well. For example, if only a handful of businesses within a city closed, they would largely go unnoticed and bail bond kiosks could hardly be described as a punishing blow to the industry. Website design By BotEap.comWith search engine trends showing an increase in searches related to bail bonds, we can expect that during these next 5 years smaller companies will be pushed out due to increasing competition online rather than bail kiosks. Website design By BotEap.comThere is no shortage of literature describing how the recession has negatively impacted the surety industry. This can be seen from the competitive payment plans on offer, but the market itself is growing. Industry leaders typically earn 7 figures a year. The number of people with a bail bond license issuing bonds on their own far exceeds the number of companies with offices, employees, websites, etc. This is analogous to real estate agents; Not everyone with a real estate license can be expected to compete with the big real estate companies, just like all surety agents, they cannot expect to survive the economic and legislative fluctuations that all companies face. Website design By BotEap.comDefending Responsibility. Website design By BotEap.comThe surety industry was entrenched and has yet to be built on liability. Bail bond agents are paid a fee to make sure defendants appear in court so they don’t have to stay in jail in the meantime. Surety companies cannot be successful without adhering to this responsibility and maintaining very low forfeiture rates (also default). If the courts allow this liability to be eliminated with these credit card bonds, then not only will there be a higher no-show rate, but state costs will increase from having to hire people to detain the fugitives. In Nevada, for example, there are more than 100 Las Vegas bail bond companies. Imagine the total amount of liability and overhead that each county would have to bear if the kiosks were to become widely used. Website design By BotEap.comOne way or another, it will always be necessary for a group to take responsibility. For this reason, credit card kiosks are more than likely to stabilize and serve only defendants who have very minor offenses (also misdemeanors). Potentially, in the future, what could happen is that bail kiosks are sold to bail bond companies to manage within prisons. This would be analogous to how people can easily buy DVD kiosks from original equipment manufacturers and offer the movie rental service as a private business. The kiosk manufacturer would benefit from the sale of hardware vs. team management. Of course, with the bail kiosks provided by prisons, there will always be a concern as to whether the defendant will appear in court, even for unintentional reasons. Operationally, this is something that kiosk manufacturers cannot provide, and essentially unrelated fugitives and suspects are apprehended by law enforcement agencies. Website design By BotEap.comIncrease in the bond schedule. Website design By BotEap.comFor defendants recognized as a “flight” risk, judges may impose a higher bail to either (1) indirectly prevent bail from being posted because it becomes unaffected or (2) cause indemnifiers to invest so much On bail, it creates additional pressure from family or friends to appear in court. If credit card rental kiosks become widely accepted, the state could impose higher bonds for crimes in case there is an increase in runaways. Any change like this would certainly help the surety industry by creating, on average, larger bonds to issue. Website design By BotEap.comThose who have not needed bail bond service may be unaware that the fee (also premium) required for some defendants may be equivalent to, and sometimes higher than, the monthly salaries of your average doctor or attorney. It’s not a bad day at work, is it? If the State were to increase the amount of the bail for common and misdemeanors, the bail industry could expect a measurable increase in revenue. Furthermore, the appearance of a crime problem within a city can be created by the misconduct of even one individual or group. If the number of fugitives increased due to rental kiosks, the possibility of changing the bond schedule for certain crimes would surely also increase. However, the county can reduce the number of kiosks or tighten restrictions on their use to compensate for a problem before increasing the bail amounts. There is a common saying: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Website design By BotEap.comConclusion. Website design By BotEap.comAll in all, the advent of new kiosks offering credit card surety will not significantly change the business side of the industry as a whole. People with the ability to get out of trouble quickly should be able to do so because prisons are indisputably overrun with non-violent offenders. While the image of the surety industry could improve, over the years it has remained virtually complaint-free regarding any failure to provide a valuable 24-hour service with incredible payment flexibility. Occasionally, you read or hear stories of guarantors applying for services illegally, but not so often as to achieve widespread national recognition, such as the 2009 home loan modification scams, which made weekly headlines. For now, what the future holds is just speculation, but those in the surety industry shouldn’t fear that things will change overnight. For the most part, county credit card bonds will not change the industry as a whole, and with some potentially helpful results, concerns should resolve over time.