Posted: Tuesday, July 24th 2012 at 12:27pm
ATM brings convenience to Habersham County Courthouse
By Rob Moore Editor
This ATM was installed at the Habersham County Courthouse on Friday and was placed in operation Monday. (Photo/Rob Moore)
CLARKESVILLE – People paying fines or paying for copies of public documents in Habersham County now may find the process a little more convenient.
That’s because a new automated teller machine (ATM) has been installed in the hallway of the county courthouse in Clarkesville, and was activated Monday.
“Probably the last year and a half to two years we’ve had a lot of people come in who didn’t have cash on them and who needed to pay for items,” said Habersham County Clerk of Court David Wall. “We don’t accept personal checks, because in years past it was amazing how many bad checks we got to pay for some type of offense, then they’d write a bad check and create a new one. So we stopped accepting personal checks.”
That led to another challenge for Wall’s office.
“We’re not set up internally to accept credit cards – we are set up to take credit card payments and debit card payments online,” Wall said. “That created a challenge on court days.”
“With the debit and credit card companies, you have to pay a percentage to them for the use of it and the funds that we receive, 100 percent of those funds have to show up on our payout, so we don’t have the funding to pay for the use of debit cards and credit cards,” Wall said.
“We had looked into it and we could charge a user fee or a convenience fee, but we have so many different levels of payments that we receive, a flat fee would be hard to figure,” Wall said. “If you had somebody needing to pay $250 or $300 as opposed to somebody that needed to pay a $15 seatbelt ticket, that’s where ran into problems trying to do a convenience fee or a user fee.”
Wall said his office had been exploring options to offer credit/debit card service before the interest from an outside company to install the ATM.
“The ATM was the best solution, because that way they can go to the ATM and get whatever they need and come in and make their payment,” he said. “It’s convenient for them and us, too, and also saves the work and time of processing debit cards and credit cards for us as well.”
The closest ATM to the courthouse used to be just across the Clarkesville Square, at the former Habersham Bank location. It has been removed, meaning the closest bank or ATM is about one-half mile from the courthouse.
“With this ATM, you can use a credit card or a debit card,” Wall said. “It’s set up to release the amount of funds that person would need for most things that they would need to pay here.”
And the ATM, located in the hallway on the first floor, is available for use by anyone who needs it.
“It’s open to use for anyone in the courthouse, or anyone from the public,” Wall said.
Wall sees that being a big time-saver for those appearing in court.
“On days that we have court, especially traffic court in state court, people were all the time coming in not knowing what their fine might be,” Wall said. “Then they would have to leave here and go find a bank somewhere and come back. Now they can go to the ATM in the hall.”
“It’s on county property, but it belongs to a company that handles ATMs,” Wall said. “It’ll be a real convenience for everybody in the public, as well as us, to keep from having to leave and come back.”
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