Justice court to accept electronic payments

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, March 11, 2015

People on the hook with Warren County or the highway patrol for traffic tickets and various misdemeanor fines might soon be able to swipe their way to a clean slate.

If county supervisors accept one of two quotes on the table to install machines and software, those fines paid to justice court will be accepted via credit card for the first time.

“Having credit cards in there will enhance daily collection of the current amounts due,” county administrator John Smith said. “Right now, you pay cash or money order when you come out of that courtroom. You can’t write a check.”

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Two companies, nCourt LLC and Derby Software Solutions, have supplied quotes on their annual percentage rates. Hired a year ago to implement credit card payments for Vicksburg Municipal Court, nCourt stated a rate of 7 percent. The firm has clients in local government in 27 states. Georgia-based Derby, owned by Vicksburg native Larry Derby, stated a 5 percent rate. Despite the difference, the board indicated the offers are on equal footing due to the city’s favorable experience so far with nCourt.

Each company would receive payments at a kiosk set up at justice court and then settle the fee with the justice court clerk, Smith said. The system would be the second function in the courthouse to be wired for credit card payments; the tax collector’s office has accepted credit card payments for car tags since 2002, Tax Collector Antonia Jones Flaggs said Tuesday.

Warren County’s three justice court judges pressed for the credit card option to bring the county in line with modern-day payment options and to improve collections, which have been sluggish for years. Collections averaged $23,162 during fiscal 2014, behind the pace of the $25,680 collected on average during fiscal 2013.

Terms on each, call for renewals each year. Either way, supervisors said, getting a system in place as soon as possible would show how it could help chip away at millions owed in the past decade. Most common fines paid in justice court are misdemeanor DUI and domestic violence cases. Traffic citations issued by the Mississippi Highway Patrol are also paid in justice court.

“We’ll have the option to see how it affects our return with collections,” District 5 Supervisor Richard George said.

In the city, court fines may be paid at www.vicksburgpayments.com or by phone at 877-793-7925.