Convenient payments

 Union County has taken a positive step to make it easier on citizens to pay their traffic tickets to the Union County Justice Court.

The county has signed a contract with nCourt, a private online technology company, to allow tickets to be paid online with a credit or debit card. The City of New Albany already uses the same system for payments in City Court.

Larissa Edwards, clerk of the Union County Justice Court, said the county will pay nothing for the service, but ticket payers will have what is known as a convenience fee added to their ticket on the online payment.

“They will pay between 5 percent and 8 percent additional,” she said. The percentage starts at 5 percent and goes up as the court date approaches, she said.

The fee covers the cost that is paid to the credit or debit card company and the fee for using nCourt’s tehnology services.

Under the contract, nCourt will build, host and maintain a Web site with URL, Users also will be able to call a free 800 phone number to make a payment, but the convenience charge still applies.

Citations that require a court appearance will be ineligible for online payment. Citation holders will be notified by an automated e-mail if their payment has been rejected.

nCourt, which is headquartered in Woodstock, Ga., was created in 2002 and provides custom Web sites for more than 200 local jurisdictions.

Many government units are using the private service because it relieves them of the cost of building and operating a secure Web site.

We see this public-private partnership as an effective pay to provide convenience to citizens without incurring the cost of maintaining expensive technology systems at the local government level.