What Is the Difference Between a Cash and a Surety Bond?

What Is the Difference Between a Cash and a Surety Bond

If you or a loved one ends up in jail, you will probably search the web for bail bond information. Keep digging, and you will eventually find the words “surety bond” and “cash bond” in the search results. Both of these bonds can be used to post bail. However, surety bonds and cash bonds are not exactly the same.

Surety Bonds vs. Cash Bonds

Surety bonds and cash bonds both serve the purpose of guaranteeing that an individual will return to court. In short, both a surety bond and a cash bond trigger your release from jail after the amount of bail is set. The primary difference between surety bonds and cash bonds is the individual who pays the money and takes the risk. 

The Basics of Cash Bonds

Cash bonds are essentially cash that is held as a payment guarantee. The bottom line is that the easiest way to bail someone out of jail is to post the entire amount of bail with cash. When you post bail with cash, the bond court holds the entire amount of money to guarantee the defendant will appear in court at the scheduled date and time. The cash serves as the payment guarantee. If the defendant fails to show up to court, the court holds onto the cash. 

If the defendant appears in court, the money is returned. That’s all there is to a cash bond. You don’t have to worry about any extra paperwork or other considerations. The only caveat of note is that cash bonds carry small court fees, but there are also court fees with surety bonds as well.

The Basics of Surety Bonds

Surety bonds are best described as loans obtained to post bail. The contractor serves as the bail bondsman. The bail bondsman and jailed individual interact, and bail is posted. However, the bail bondsman does not reach into his or her own pocket to cover the cost of bail. The bail bondsman contacts the trusted surety business he or she works with to obtain the money necessary to post bail on behalf of defendants. As long as the defendant appears in court as scheduled, the money is returned. 

In short, surety bonds involve more parties than cash bonds and are that much more complex. There is also additional risk with a surety bond as the bond court will keep the entire amount of bail in the event that the defendant does not show in court as scheduled. However, the defendant pays the bail bondsman a premium in order for him or her to be completely responsible for the entire amount of the bail. The bail bondsman offsets this excessive risk by requesting collateral from the charged party, such as personal property. 

The surety company also takes on risk with a surety bond. Though this risk is less than that of the bail bondsman. The surety business loans the entire bond amount to the bail bondsman, meaning they are also risking the loss of the funds. However, bail bond specialists and surety companies work with one another regularly, so trust between the two has been established. The surety company makes money by charging a fee to the individual charged with the crime for using its services. Some defendants will prefer a cash bond as the fees for a surety bond have the potential to be fairly high in some situations.


The primary difference between surety bonds and cash bonds is the number of parties involved. Surety bonds involve three parties. Cash bonds involve two parties. Furthermore, cash bonds are that much more straightforward than surety bonds. If you have any questions or concerns about these two types of bonds or the bail process, do not hesitate to contact our bail bond experts for assistance.

A Way Out Bail Bonds Is on Your Side

Our bail bond specialists are here to get you out of jail and return your life to normal as quickly as possible. If you, a loved one, or a friend end up in jail in Tarrant County, contact us right away. You can reach A Way Out Bail Bonds by phone at 817-261-2828.

Need to Bond Someone Out of Jail?

Dallas County
Fort Worth