| August 12, 2010

County libraries accept credit cards for late fees

Residents of one California county with overdue library books and videos will soon be able to take on credit card debt to pay their fines.

According to a report in the Stockton Record, the Stockton-San Joaquin County libraries will begin accepting credit card payments to pay off delinquent late fees on September 1 as part of a systemwide tightening of restrictions on borrowers. Starting on that date, consumers with outstanding fees will have 30 days to settle the account, or else face suspension of their library privileges – including the borrowing of materials and use of library computers to access the internet.

The report said that several of the county’s libraries already accept credit card payments and have seen an uptick in borrowers returning past-due materials and paying off their fines. While one library official told the paper that they don’t intend late fees to be a revenue generator, they are certainly happy to have the materials back.

A recent report from an industry magazine said that cities who do not allow consumers to pay for municipal fines with their credit card could be losing revenues by not offering that convenience.

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