Paying traffic fines online

You just saved 37 cents on your next parking ticket -- Hennepin County's website now allows e-check payments.

You type in your ticket number, your bank routing number and your checking account number at Done.

The county started the program in June without much fanfare and 341 people had used it in less than a month, paying roughly $20,000, said Dave Beckman, the county's manager of application design and construction in information technology. The numbers should jump. The county processes roughly 59,500 parking tickets per month.

If fewer people pay their tickets in person at District Court, it will save staff time, too.

"The cost for having a transaction in person costs in the neighborhood of $3 to $8 per transaction, when you count the people time involved," Beckman said. "Whereas on the e-check level, it costs between three and eight cents per transaction."

The county hasn't put a dollar figure on the savings.

"It means the people will not devote as much of their time to processing checks," Beckman said. "They will devote their time to other things. The savings is our ability to do more work."

As easy as online payment can be, the county's Web site won't accept Visa, Master Card or other credit cards for ticket payment. The county would not be able to absorb the credit card transaction cost, without charging more for the ticket, Beckman said.

People can, however, pay by credit card through a District Court interactive phone message system.