Q. What are Online Escrow Services for Internet Auctions?

A. Online escrow services’ primary purpose is to protect buyers and sellers from fraud. Escrow services accept and hold payment from the buyer – often a wire transfer via check, money order or credit card – until the buyer receives and approves the merchandise. Only then do they forward the payment to the seller. The buyer pays the fee for an online escrow service – generally a percentage of the cost of the item. Online escrow services usually are used for big-ticket items, like computers, cars or jewelry.