A comparison of popular domain name escrow options.
The domain name escrow landscape has changed in recent years. Escrow.com is under new ownership, Payoneer has added a service and some escrow services have closed.
With this in mind, I spent some time comparing the services based on features, payment options and fees.
I limited my analysis to Escrow.com, Payoneer and Escrow.domains (the latter being a legal service of Greenberg & Lieberman). You might consider other services for secure domain transactions including those offered by Sedo and Afternic.
Each escrow service has different fees both for the overall transaction and the methods of payment. Here’s a comparison:
|Wire||Yes - free||Yes - free||Yes - $20|
|ACH or equivalent||No||Yes - free||Yes - $5|
|Credit Card||Yes - 3.05% fee||Yes - 3.00% fee||Yes - 3.5% + $.20|
|PayPal||Yes - 3.05% fee||No||Yes - 3.00%+$.30 (U.S.), 4.70% (non-U.S.)|
|Check/Money Order||Yes - free||No||Yes - $5|
|Bitcoin||No||No||Yes - $5|
|Payment restrictions||$5,000 limit on credit/PayPal. Credit only accepted if one party has completed an Escrow.com transaction before. $2,000 limit on check/money order||$2,000 limit on credit cards.||Some payment options will be added shortly.|
|Domestic Wire||Yes - $10||Yes - $15||Yes - $20|
|International Wire||Yes - $20||Yes - $15||Yes - $40|
|ACH/Equivalent||Yes - free||Yes - free||Yes - $5|
|PayPal||No||No||Yes - PP fees|
|Check||No||No||Yes - $10|
|Bitcoin||No||No||$100 + network fee|
|Cancellation fees||Buyer pays fees if cancellation after payment made||No cancellation fees||No cancellation fees|
|Currencies||USD, EUR||USD (EUR and GBP soon)||USD, BTC|
|Other features||Broker transactions, domain leasing/holding||Broker transactions, domain leasing/holding. Payments can be made to Payoneer accounts. SEPA in EU and BACS in UK for disbursements.||Broker transactions, legal assistance options|
Many people will look at just the bottom line cost of using an escrow service. But there’s a lot more to it than that, and I hope the above table sheds some light on this. You should also consider licensing, which can vary from location to location, as well as service and ease-of-use.
But money matters, so I put together a chart comparing how much it costs to do a transaction at various dollar levels at each service. Other than the first line, which assumes a credit card is used for payment, each one assumes the cheapest option is selected for depositing funds and withdrawing funds and both parties are in the U.S. I added $5 to each one for Escrow.domains because that is its cheapest option (ACH), but it also offers a free wallet service to hold onto your funds for future transactions.