Pros and Cons of Cash Bonds Versus Surety Bonds

Table: Cash Bonds vs Surety Bonds

Cash Bonds – Pros
• Faster if you have the cash already
• You get most of the money back after court
• Don’t have to disclose financial information
• Don’t need a cosignor

Cash Bonds – Cons
• Expensive up front
• Slower if you have to get the cash
• Nobody else is helping track court settings
• You might lose the whole amount
• Usually have to physically go to the jail

Surety Bonds – Pros
• Cheaper up front
• Don’t have to get cash out
• Can pay with a credit card
• They help track court settings
• Bondsman can limit risks for no shows
• Might be able to do without leaving home

Surety Bonds – Cons
• Must disclose financial data
• Need a cosignor
• Bondsman can go off bond
• You don’t get any money back at the end
• Bondsman uses bounty hunters for no-shows

The bond company will only charge a portion of the bond as their fee. For larger bonds, that fee is usually 10%. For smaller bonds it is a fixed rate. For instance, a $500 bond should cost about $150. This fee is called a premium. Unlike a cash bond, this fee is non-refundable. However, if your family member or loved one does not make all their court dates, the bond company will seek to recover more money from the cosigner or the person who signed for the bond.