How to select the right crypto escrow service
Bitcoin escrow payment systems have become an increasingly popular payment method. However, some scam platforms have noticed this and are attempting to lure innocent buyers and sellers into providing payment to their addresses. To help you avoid these scams, there are some criteria that users can keep in mind to help choose a safe cryptocurrency escrow service.
Although this isn’t a tried and true rule, in general, companies that have been around longer tend to be less likely to be scams. That said, new and reputable cryptocurrency escrow services do exist as well.
If the company is younger, this second criteria becomes even more important. General user sentiment and reviews on third-party websites can provide a clear picture of the escrow payment system, customer support availability, and ease of use. Negative reviews won’t be hard to find; if others have experienced a scam in the past, they will likely vocalize it to the public. That said, standalone reviews on the platform itself can be adjusted to only provide positive comments and may leave out less than stellar experiences. Reviewing various forums like Twitter, Quora or Reddit will equip users with the information to decide.
This criterion is especially important for first-time cryptocurrency or escrow users. Many exchanges do not offer 24/7 support or the ability to deal with high transaction volumes, so submitting a help ticket might not elicit a response for days or weeks. Selecting an exchange with enough staff to support your transaction and any questions you might have can be important if any problems occur. It may not hurt to send an email before signing up for an escrow service to test the response time.
Before selecting a crypto escrow service, it is important to verify that the platform will allow you to engage in a certain product or service transaction. Depending on the item, officers may not be able to facilitate transactions in a certain product category due to preset guidelines. This can be true if real estate is involved or taxes specific to a location exist and the service provider is not well versed in its workings.
In some cases, users may need to purchase certain cryptocurrencies if they don’t have the right coins on hand. Other times, users may not have a specified seller or buyer in mind but may be looking for a platform to find this party. Certain platforms have expanded their offerings to include a bitcoin marketplace, built-in wallet or cryptocurrency exchange in addition to escrow services.
Not only are the features of each platform important, but so is the interface. Some of the newer escrow systems maintain a step-by-step timeline to help users track their transactions’ progress. This way, they can easily determine if any steps need action on behalf of either party, and progress can remain on track.
Fees/ escrow service charges
The cost to use an online escrow service may differ, so it is important to check the fees before engaging in any transaction. Sometimes flat fees or a waterfall approach can be confusing to users and may make the use of certain services unaffordable. It is important to do the necessary research ahead of time. After all, there is nothing worse than racking up a big bill that you didn’t expect.
Anonymity and privacy
One of the key reasons why people use cryptocurrencies is for anonymity. That said, some cryptocurrency escrow services may require various documentation such as a driver’s license or birth certificate to verify a user’s identity. Asking for additional verification can be a red flag for those seeking cryptocurrency as a safe haven from privacy scares.
Like any other online platform, users should confirm the return policy details for escrow services. Some of these exchanges will offer a full refund if the buyer does not accept the product. Other platforms may only offer a partial refund of funds if the product is not accepted. Buyers who do not receive a good should not have to pay for it in part since this is often the result of misadvertisement from the seller.
This list of criteria is not exhaustive and should only act as the starting point for comparing escrow service options. You may identify additional criteria you feel are important to your experience as a buyer or seller through some initial research.