RALEIGH — North Carolina citizens can now pay probation-related costs, fines and fees online using their credit / debit card with the launch of Online Collections and Payments (OCAP). Online payments are available 24/7 at onlineservices.NCcourts.org for supervised and unsupervised probationers with their case file number, the county that issued the charge, and a major credit card, including American Express®, Discover®, MasterCard®, and Visa® cards.
“OCAP is easy to use, more convenient for the public, and more efficient for the state,” said Judge Marion Warren, director of the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts. “It is a great online tool that is part of the larger ongoing initiative to modernize the North Carolina court system.”
The online payments system provides immediate benefits to citizens, as well as to court officials and staff. While it provides a more convenient payment option for citizens, the system also means less paperwork, less traffic in the courthouse, and shorter lines at the cashier window. Prior to OCAP, citizens had to pay costs, fines, and fees at the courthouse or by mail. In fiscal year 2014 – 15, North Carolina courts processed probation payments totaling more than $14.2 million.
“If you come down to New Hanover Courthouse on any given day and you look at the traffic of the public trying to pay fines and fees, anytime, there’s a line,” said New Hanover County Clerk of Superior Court Jan Kennedy. “[With OCAP] you won’t have to fight with driving down here or coming through the security system, or taking time off from work.”
The system was piloted in Chatham, New Hanover, and Wake counties prior to statewide implementation on May 31. Probation payments are the first statewide non-traffic citation-related costs available for online payment. Credit / debit card payments are eligible for most district criminal (CR) or superior criminal (CRS) cases that have gone to court and been placed on supervised or unsupervised probation with monies owed. The OCAP system can only be used for probation cases that have been tried in court.
A convenience fee is charged at the time of each credit / debit card payment and is remitted to a third-party company. Except for the convenience fee, most monies received do not stay with the courts but instead go to other state and local government agencies. Continuing on the technology success of NCAOC’s payNCticket program since 2010, the online payments system is another convenient epay technology making it easier for citizens to do business with the courts. NCAOC is working to expand payment options to all criminal cases for release later this year.