Arrested With Cash?
People arrested in Tampa now face service fees on release.
A recent article in Time Magazine details how private companies are squeezing money out of families with loved ones in prison. In Tampa, a new debit card system charges fees for being arrested while holding cash.
When someone is arrested and taken to jail, the jail takes possession of whatever they have on their person – cell phone, license, car keys, and any cash they may have. When that person bonds out, the jail gives them their things back, as long as it’s not evidence in a criminal case. Until recently, the jail would either give back any cash (minus the jail fees) or give the arrested person a check.
Now with the system put in place in Hillsborough County, people arrested with cash will have their money converted into a debit card provided by a company called Numi Financial. While getting a debit card instead of a check may seem like a convenience for some, Numi actually charges service fees for money kept on their card.
Here’s a snapshot of the fee schedule for a Numi card
Some important things:
- Numi charges $2.95 to withdraw cash from the card at any ATM. This is on top of any additional fee the ATM charges.
- The weekly account maintenance fee is charged two days after the card is started, which means people only have two days to “zero out” the card balance or be charged the fee.
- Cash back at a merchant is free, but nearly all merchants require a purchase to do a cash back transaction.
Extra punishment for carrying cash
Numi’s card fees are almost an extra punishment for people arrested while carrying cash. It’s unclear whether these fees are constitutional or not, but for now Hillsborough County exclusively uses Numi. If you have any questions about your options after an arrest, please don’t hesitate to contact an attorney.