Cash bonds can be described as the accused giving the money to the court themselves rather than a bail bonds company. An individual would be required to pay the full amount of the bond to the courts in order to post a cash bond. If the party that gave the money is unable to fulfill the conditions required by the courts, the money is forfeited.
Surety bonds are when the accused pays a percentage of the bond amount to the bail bonds company. The bail bond company is therefore liable for the full bond amount and is obligated to the courts to guarantee the appearance of each defendant in court.
The benefit of posting a cash bail with courts is that the defendant will receive the money back as soon as he/she has met all of the obligations required by court (minus any court costs or fines). However the majority of individuals do not have access to large sums of money in order to post cash bonds. That is why they have the option to post a surety bond. An individual can pay a bail company a percentage and the individual will be released from custody. However this money is non-refundable regardless if the case is dismissed during further proceedings.