Gatson

CHARLESTON - Kanawha Circuit Court is following a recent trend in the retail and fast-food industries.

On Jan. 11, the court started accepting payments with a credit or debit card, the first circuit court in the state to do so.

The court decided to start accepting credit and debit cards after numerous requests from the public to provide the service, Kanawha Circuit Clerk Cathy Gaston said.

"We've had requests over the years, it's a convenience obviously to lawyers and litigants," Gaston said. "It's a plastic society."

To get ready for the change, the circuit court has had to train their employees and bring in the equipment. Gaston said Kanawha County is the pilot to accept credit and debit cards in the circuit courts, but magistrate courts have been accepting cards since 2003.

Gaston said it did not cost Kanawha County any money to implement the change, but the acceptance of cards might bring in more payment to the court. She said when the magistrate court started accepting cards it saw an increase in collections being made statewide. The Supreme Court will pay any transaction fees.

The circuit courts will follow the procedures the magistrate court has set in place and will accept cards for any payment except criminal bonds.

Gaston said the acceptance of cards is still fairly new, so there is no way to see how it is being accepted, but she also mentioned people often ask if they can pay for something with their card.

"It's a convenience," Gaston said. "We hear (people asking) at our public counters every day, and we're really pleased to provide this service."

The court will continue to accept cash, check and money order.

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