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What is Internet Escrow?

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  • Written By: Jim B.
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 29 November 2016
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Internet escrow is the service provided by a third party to make sure a fair transaction is made over the web between a buyer and seller. Many websites provide this service as a means of security for those who like to do business over the internet. When using internet escrow, the buyer of a product or service sends his or her money to the escrow service instead of the seller. At the time that the product is delivered or the service is rendered to the buyer, then the escrow service releases the payment.

The ease of online shopping coupled with the instant availability of such a wide variety of items has made the internet a destination for buyers and sellers of all manners of products. This boom in internet transactions has been accompanied by an inevitable rise in fraudulent behavior on the web. To ensure a fair transaction and eliminate the chances that one of the parties involved is the victim of fraud, a website specializing in internet escrow services can be utilized.

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When using internet escrow, a small fee is rendered to an escrow service to monitor the transaction between a buyer and a seller. First the party buying the product sends the required payment to the escrow service, who verifies that the payment is valid and for the specified amount. The service then contacts the seller and asks them to send the desired product to the buyer. Once the buyer notifies the escrow service that they have received the product or service as advertised, then the service releases the payment to the seller.

In this way, internet escrow prevents the possibility of both the payment and the product being in the hands of one party at any point during the transaction, helping to eliminate any type of reneging by either party. If the product or service being sold is of minimal value, then the parties in question might want to skip the extra payment to the escrow service and take their chances, since little is at stake. For more expensive items like jewelry or electronics, internet escrow provides a safety net for both parties.

Buyers enjoy the benefit of knowing that their payment is protected from theft and will only be released when they have received what they purchased. Sellers don't have to worry about bad checks or other invalid payments and don't have to be concerned about fraudulent claims of buyers saying that they never received their package. An escrow service also allows for the flexibility of different payment types and provides protection for personal information like credit card numbers.

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