How to Put Money on Phone for Jail Calls
Published April 8, 2022
Are you thinking about how to put money on phone for jail calls? We’ve written this guide to help you understand the procedure and manage the most commonly observed issues associated with sending money to an inmate’s commissary account.
Often, inmates receive an introductory welcome packet consisting of soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and prison clothing. Everything else can be bought through the jail commissary. This department covers personal hygiene products (lotion, shampoo, and deodorant), food, as well as pre-stamped envelopes/postcards, and stationery for personal notes. Additionally, funds added to the inmate’s commissary account can be used to make phone calls.
Where to Begin
To begin, contact the facility and inquire about the exact information required to transfer money to the commissary account. This often requires the sender’s name, address, and identification, as well as the prison ID or booking number of the receiving inmate. Additionally, inquire about any limitations that may apply, as they vary by facility. For example, some facilities impose a limit on the amount of money that can be transferred in a single transaction of $200 or $300.
In some instances, money can be sent only to those on the inmate’s approved visitation list. It may be useful to list down all of your questions before calling the facility and have a pen on hand to take note of any important details they provide.
Along with having your questions about facility-specific rules answered, you will also need the following information to deposit money into the inmate’s account:
- The full name of the inmate
- The ID of the inmate
- Current location of the inmate
How to Put Money on Phone for Jail Calls
Putting money to an inmate varies by state and facility type. Typically, each state follows a different set of rules and restrictions that apply specifically to federal prisons, prisons, and jails. The following are some general guidelines:
- Some state-level and federal prisons have centralized banking systems.
- All facilities accept cash deposits in person via a kiosk or front lobby staff.
- The majority of prisons will accept a postal money order addressed to the inmate’s mailing address of the institution.
- Numerous states are adopting online banking. Correctional departments are beginning to utilize this strategy because it reduces staff workload and gives a more accurate method of tracking money. In addition, online banking enables you to send money via a designated, secure site.
Additional Transfer Fees
Fees differ depending on the amount transferred and the method used to send it (online wire transfer, phone). Occasionally, these fees are added to the amount sent, increasing the overall cost; however, some systems deduct the fee from the amount sent, reducing the overall money sent to the inmate’s account.
When transferring large amounts of money, providers may charge a percentage of the total amount. This fee can range between 8% and 10% of the total for an amount higher than $1000.
It is recommended that your inmate maintain a limited fund in their commissary account. Excessive funds in their account can expose an inmate to extortion. Additionally, inmates are often restricted in terms of how much money they can spend per week — usually $40. Further, inmates’ access to the commissary may be limited on a weekly basis.
Never send cash via the mail. This is the least secure method of money transfer and can result in funds being lost or stolen. If paying via the United States Postal Service, ensure that all incoming amounts are sent via certified funds.
Keep all of your receipts and order confirmations. Tracking your money order allows you to file a claim if it is lost.
(Related: How to Accept Calls From Jail For Free)
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About The Author
Krizzia Paolyn is an SEO Specialist with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. It has always been her passion to share her voice, and at the same time, to encourage other people to speak up.