Parking ticket? Pay it with plastic

Paying that parking ticket at the Columbus Police Department just got easier.

Columbus Board of Works members last week approved PayPal as the vendor that will assist the department in accepting credit cards as payment for traffic tickets, background checks and other services with a fee, such as applications to operate a cab.

Before the approval, the department accepted cash, money orders or checks. People who need to make a transaction with the city will be able to make a payment on the city’s website, said Capt. Brian Wilder, who explained the system to board of works members. The service is expected to be operational in January.

People who use the credit card option will pay on average about a 2.2 percent fee based on the amount of an online transactions or a 2.4 percent fee on an in-person credit card payment at the police station, Wilder said. The fees are collected by PayPal for serving as the vendor in the transaction, he said.

People who begin the process of paying by credit card will have the option of canceling the transaction if they do not want to pay the PayPal fee. The city has not sent a minimum purchase or payment in the new system for credit card use.

City Attorney Alan Whitted said the new option of using a credit card might help the city collect from some people who are delinquent in payments to the department.

Board member Jim Strietelmeier asked Wilder if the department had encountered problems with bad checks in prior transactions.

Board members couldn’t help but laugh when Wilder said that wasn’t too much of an issue.

“It may deter some people because we are the police department,” he said.