Covid Bail Out NYC, a group raising funds to get people out of jails during the coronavirus pandemic, has a list of hundreds of people waiting to be bailed out.
But because of constant security freezes and transfer limits imposed by PayPal and its mobile payment service Venmo, the group is only able to bail out around five people— $20,000 worth of cash bail—per week.
Coronavirus spreads like wildfire in prisons and jails. In response to the pandemic, several grassroots bail out organizations popped up, using community outreach, social media, and payment processing platforms like PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App to raise funds quickly. The crisis became even more urgent during the Black Lives Matter protests, as police arrested and jailed thousands of demonstrators across the U.S. in late May and June.
Some groups have raised tens of thousands of dollars in just a few short weeks, but in several cases, the money is stalled by payment platforms because of weekly transfer limits and security locks on their accounts.
Payment platforms weren't ready for new accounts to start receiving hundreds of dollars per hour. And what they're doing in response, in many cases, is not enough.