Use of e-pay system for fines picking up

You have to pay it, but you don’t have to do it in person.

Since Pennsylvania’s e-pay system was implemented as an alternative means of paying court-ordered fines, costs and restitution, usage of the system has steadily increased.

According to a June 10 Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts press release, approximately one in every eight dollars collected in Pennsylvania is now paid through the e-pay system, compared to one in every 17 dollars in 2011, shortly after the system was implemented in 2010.

It’s a trend that is mirrored in Warren County, where just under $100,000 of the approximately $1 million collected in the county during 2012 came through the e-pay system.

“Pretty much on a daily basis we get payments through the system,” Warren County Court Collections Officer Bonnie Webster said. “We probably get 20 to 30 payment per week online.”

In the second half of 2010, after e-pay was implemented in the county in May, Webster reported the county received $13,446.55 through the system. In 2011, that number jumped to $51,762.53 over the course of an entire year. In 2012, payment totals nearly doubled to $93,657.89; a figure the county is on track to match this year, having already collected $47,675.42 through e-pay.

Each of the last four years, Warren County’s total court-ordered payments were just over $1 million, according to Webster.

“We’re right in line with doing that (2012 payments) again,” Webster said. “I still get more mail-in payments and people coming to the window.”

Webster estimated approximately one in ten payments in Warren County are made through e-pay.

“It’s working out really well,” she said. “I was kind of skeptical at first, because they charge $2.75, but people are willing to do it.”

Webster thinks the ability to pay by debit or credit card is contributing to usage of the system.

“I even have people who come into the office and want to do an online payment,” she said. “We don’t have a credit card machine. We set up a kiosk out in the hall so they can pay online from here.”

To make payments online without visiting the court collections office, visit the Unified Judicial System portal at ujsportal.pacourts.us/default.aspx and click on the e-pay button.