How Bail Bonds Work

After you’ve been arrested and before you go to trial, it may be possible for you to post bail in order to avoid spending time behind bars.

If you don’t have immediate access to cash, you will have to rely on a commercial bail bond service, which will charge a non-refundable fee of ten percent of the bail amount. In addition to the fee, you or your friends and family must put up enough property to cover the full dollar amount of the bail. Lower-income families often use their house, car, and other basic assets as collateral.

If you fail to show up for a court date, the bail agent is responsible for paying the full amount to the court. He or she then has the right to seize all property specified as collateral to cover that payment and any other expenses incurred in tracking you down.

How Check Cashing Outlets Work

If you have a check to cash but no bank account, you may need to utilize the services of a commercial check cashing outlet.

Check cashing outlets will cash government, payroll and personal checks at a premium rate. This includes a per-check flat fee, as well as a percentage of the check’s face value. If it is your first time using a check cashing outlet, you may be required to pay a new customer fee as well as purchase a photo id card.

In addition to cashing checks, check cashing outlets also offer bill payment, Western Union services, state lottery and money orders.

How Pawn Shops Work

If you need to get cash quickly, but have bad credit or no access to a traditional bank loan, you may have to visit a pawnbroker for a collateral cash loan.

You will take your valuable property such as jewelry, electronics, or firearms as collateral and the pawnbroker will give you a cash loan based on the appraised value of the items you wish to pawn. This is usually 25% to 35% of what the pawn broker would charge for the item.

Once a loan amount is set, the pawnbroker will write you a pawn ticket, file a copy of this ticket with the local police, and keep one for the pawn shop’s records. You will immediately receive cash for your item. Your merchandise will be held until you repay the full loan amount, plus any accrued interest, shop fees, storage fees, and insurance that may be charged.

If you fail to make a monthly payment, the pawn broker keeps your collateral, and your debt is forgiven with no further financial consequences.