How To Put Money On Phone For Jail Calls

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How To Put Money On Phone For Jail Calls

Wondering how you can send money to an inmate? We’ve prepared this guide to address the most common issues you can face in sending funds to the inmate’s commissary account.

Usually, inmates are provided with a minimum welcome packet: soap, toothbrush, paste and prison clothing. Everything else can be purchased from a prison commissary if required. It can be an individual lotion, shampoo, stationary for personal notes, snacks, etc. This money will be used to pay for phone calls as well.

Where to start

Firstly, you should contact the facility and ask about restrictions that may apply. Don’t forget to ask what information you will need to provide to send funds – sender’s name, address, and identification, inmate’s prison ID or booking number. Some facilities limit the amount of money to $200 – $300 at once. Other allows only people on the inmate’s approved visitation list to send money.

The information you should know before sending funds:

  • Inmate’s full name;
  • Inmate’s ID;
  • Inmate’s current location.


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 How you can send money to an inmate

Sending money to an inmate depends on the state and type of the facility. You should expect different rules from state to state for jails, prisons, or Federal Prisons:

  1. Centralized banking systems are available in some state-level prisons and Federal Prisons;
  2. All facilities allow you to deposit cash through the lobby or a kiosk;
  3. Most facilities will also accept a postal money order mailed to the institution’s inmate mailing address;
  4. Many states are switching to online banking. Correctional departments are starting to adopt this method because it requires less work for staff and provides a more accurate way to track the money. Online banking allows you to send the funds online;

Before sending any funds, you should find out a specific procedure for the facility where the inmate is incarcerated!

Depending on how much is sent and how it is sent (by phone, wire transfer or online) you will pay different fees for sending money. For example, sending $200 online can cost $10 with JPay. The same amount by phone is $12. For larger amounts of money, services may charge fees based on a percentage of the amount transferred, such as 8%-10% of any amount over $1,000.

Useful Tips:

  1. Your inmate should have a limited amount of money in jail (around $150-$200). Otherwise, an inmate may become a victim of extortion. Also, jails do limit the spending, sometimes to $40 a week or limit the number of times per week prisoners can access the commissary;
  2. Don’t send cash in the mail – this is the least secure way to transfer money. Money can be easily stolen or lost. If paying through the U. S. Postal Service, make sure all incoming monies are sent by certified funds
  3. Always keep receipts and order numbers. Orders do get lost from time to time money, so having a way of tracking the money order provides you with recourse.

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