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Can Bail Be Paid with a Credit Card? A Simple Guide

Posted on Jan 31st, 2024 by Bail Agent 142 Views

According to California Bond statistics, only around 60% of defendants are able to cover the costs of their bail arrangements. This means that 40% of defendants spend unnecessary time in jail, while awaiting sentencing. 

In order to change these statistics for the better, it is important to note that there are many different ways to cover the cost of bail when defendants and their cosigners do not have significant savings or collateral to rely on. For example, many of those posting bail in California do so using a credit card.

Paying Bail with A Credit Card

Can bail be paid with a credit card?

Yes! In most cases, cosigners and defendants do not have the required funds to hand to post bail without paying using a credit card. For this reason, jails throughout California (and the US), will accept all major credit cards for use for bail bond payments, alongside debit cards and wire transfers. 

Typically, you can arrange to pay with a credit card over the phone or online. You can find out more about paying bail bonds online here.

Using a Credit Card for Bail

While defendants look into self-bail (i.e., paying for bail without a cosigner) can use a credit card for bail, so to can cosigners, even those who may be living out of state. Again, this process can be conducted online or over the phone, and all major credit cards are accepted. It's often easier for cosigners to pay through credit card, depending on the amount that the bail is set at.

However, the majority of jails and courts within California, may not accept direct payment from a credit card. This is because “cash bonds,” must be paid for in cash, or through bank checks. This means that while you can source money through your credit card, you may not be able to pay using it. In most cases, this means that you need to work with a bail bondsman.Paying a Bail Bondsman with a Credit Card

Many of those posting bail in California, do so through the support of a bail bondsman. This means that the defendant and their cosigners only need to put forward a percentage of the bail amount, while the bondsman covers the rest. This can lessen the financial burdens of all involved. 

Can you pay a bail bondsman with a credit card? 

While you may be unable to pay directly with a credit card at jails or court, the majority of bail bondsmen will accept payment for their services and the bail bond through credit card. As such, the best option for those looking to pay using credit cards is to go through a bail bondsman. This comes with the additional benefit of lowering the financial burdens they face, as they then only need to pay a percentage of the bail amount. 

Credit Card Payment for Bail: How Does it Work?

As mentioned above, specific courthouses and jails may allow defendants to post bail using a credit card outright, or for their cosigner to use a credit card. However, when a cash bail is a necessity, those looking to use a credit card to post bail, need to contact a bail bondsman. 

The bail bondsman will talk through your options with you, ensuring that you understand the bail process completely. Then, the client will be given the option to pay their bond (a percentage of the bail amount), via credit card, though other payment methods are available.

Pros and Cons of Using a Credit Card for Bail


  • Many of those trying to post bail do not have direct access to the necessary funds. Credit cards can help them access the money they need.
  • Credit card payments can be processed online or over the phone, quickly and efficiently. This reduces the amount of time the defendant spends in jail.


  • Any money spent on a credit card must be repaid within a given timeframe. This means that those who struggle to make repayments may be met with additional interest charges, increasing the amount they spend overall.
  • Many courts and jails within California do not accept direct payments through credit cards.

 Alternatives to Credit Card Payments for Bail

There are many alternative ways to pay for bail, or your bail bondsman, that do not require you to use your credit card.

At Mr Nice Guy Bail Bonds, we accept major credit cards, debit cards, cash, checks, BitCoin and PayPal payments. This makes it easier for defendants, their cosigners and loved ones to make payments, so that we can take action promptly. We also offer numerous payment plan options, which can make it easier to get the necessary money together to post bail. If you’d like to discuss your payment options further, please do not hesitate to give us a call today. 

Understanding the Process of Paying Bail with a Credit Card

While, as outlined above, it is possible to cover the cost of bail using a credit card, it is not always the most straightforward option when interacting directly with jails and courts. This is because cash bails (as their name indicates) often require the bail fees to be paid in cash, or through a check.

However, there are still ways in which you can cover the cost of your bail using a credit card, such as operating through a bail bondsman. Not only can this simplified payment process reduce your stress levels quite considerably, but it also means that you garner the support of an experienced bail bondsman. This means that you’ll better understand the bail process, and can make the best decision moving forward. If you’d like to find out more about our services, please do not hesitate to get in touch today. Our phone lines are open 24/7, and we’d be happy to answer any questions you have.


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