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Paying Traffic Tickets Becomes Easier with Credit Cards

Nowadays you can hardly find a location where credit cards are not accepted. You can pay with your plastic at shopping malls and gas stations, book airlines tickets or rent a car. The number of institutions accepting credit cards is increasing. Now you can use your MasterCard, American Express, Visa and Discover plastics at sheriff's offices in California. They have started to accept credit card payments for traffic tickets.

Americans love to drive. And even though most drivers have passed a written test and a driving exam, many motorists fail to obey traffic laws. As a result, millions of traffic tickets are issued in the United States every year. Just a few weeks ago, deputies cited drivers for exceeding the speed limit in their ticket book. A carbonless copy was given to the driver, and the original went to the sheriff's office. Then the citation was sent to the clerk of court and to the state's motor vehicle department.

Now, California and some other U.S. states are developing new technologies. They update equipment and allow violators to pay fines with credit cards. A deputy has got a computer, a scanner and a printer in his patrol vehicle. He can scan the driver's licenses to determine if they are valid or not. Then he can receive all necessary information on the violator, for example how many tickets he has already got for the last three months. So the deputy evaluates all aspects of the case and makes a decision on whether the violator should get a traffic ticket or a warning.

If a deputy decides to issue a traffic ticket, he doesn't need to fill out any paper forms any more. He just inputs all information in his computer and prints out a copy of the citation. The computer uploads the data to the sheriff's office, and transmits it automatically to the clerk of court and the state's motor vehicle department. So there is no more need to retype traffic tickets or decipher deputy's signature. The work has become easier.

The clerk of court offices have began to accept credit cards as a preferable means of payment. So if you have Visa or American Express credit card, you can use them for paying traffic tickets.

Nearly all drivers appreciate the innovation: they can make a payment by phone. It helps them to avoid long official banking procedures and save time for more pleasant pastime.

At the present time there is a 3.2% fee on all transactions. However, after July 1, that will become a set handling fee of $2.50. This amount of money is fair enough if we take into account the convenience and flexibility of the new mode of payment.

Within the next 12 months, several other departments are going to follow the example. For example, it is expected that the building departments and departments which routinely accept cash will accept credit cards. There's still a risk of identity theft or credit card skimming, but the benefits of credit card acceptance outweigh. The authorities believe that the percent of collections will increase and violators will pay their fines sooner.


Melissa Donovan
01:06 AM, September 01, 2008
California rules! I hope I will be able to pay my fines in Texas too.
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