When it comes to bail bonds, cash is king. However, cold hard cash might not be an option if you're low on cash and can't come up with the 10-percent fee required by most bail bondsmen. But what about using a credit card if you have one? That may not be feasible, either, due to low or maxed-out credit limits.

Bail bond financing comes in handy if you're short on cash and need a quick way of getting yourself or a loved one out of jail. But before you sign on the dotted line, here are a few things you'll want to know about bail bond financing.

Good Credit Helps, But It Isn't Necessary

As with any other type of loan, it helps to have a good credit history when applying for bail bond financing. The better shape your credit is in, the easier and sooner you'll secure financing for your bail bond.

However, this doesn't mean that bail bond financing is off-limits if you have less-than-stellar credit. Some bail companies don't bother with credit checks, making it easier to qualify for financing. You should also look for bail companies that offer "zero interest" financing. Just as the name implies, you won't have to pay any interest on the loan, making your payments easier to manage and more affordable.

Other Factors Could Impact Your Financing

Along with your credit history, your bail bondsman may take other factors into account when you apply for bail bond financing. Your employment history, place of residence, and whether you own or rent your home can all have sizable impacts on your loan.

Bail bondsmen use this information to determine a client's ability to repay the loan on time, just like any other lender. In the meantime, you should also ask questions of your own about the loan. For instance, some loans may carry penalties for early payment or hidden finance fees.

You'll Need a Modest Down Payment

Most bail bondsmen require a small down payment to get the ball rolling on your bail bond financing. Most bail companies will use your credit score and other personal information to determine the size of your down payment, as well as monthly payments.

Fortunately, most down payments are just a fraction of the 10-percent fee, which itself is a fraction of the total bail amount. Some bail companies simply skip the down payment requirement and offer manageable payment options without the need for a small amount up front.

If you're on a tight budget and you want to save money anywhere you possibly can, it's worth finding a bail company that offers zero down payment financing along with interest-free payments.

You're on the Hook Regardless of the Outcome

No matter how your case eventually turns out, you're ultimately responsible for repaying the bail bond loan in full. As long as you make all of your monthly payments on time, the loan will remain current and you'll have little to worry about. Missing a few payments or defaulting on the loan entirely can have serious consequences.

Missed payments can put a dent in your credit score and affect any future borrowing. Skipping loan payments can also violate the terms of the bail agreement between you and the bail bondsman. Not only can the bondsman pursue the debt just like any creditor, but you or anyone you've bailed out will also be taken back into custody and kept there for the duration of the case.

Unlike a cash bond where you'll get all of your money back after the trial process, you won't get back the 10-percent fee you've paid to your bail bondsman.

For more information, reach out to a bail bond agent today.