Like much of the world transformed by technological innovation, financial transactions are on a fast trajectory from physical to digital.
As a result of this shift, more security measures are necessary to protect buyers and their money. Often, the larger the transaction, the greater the risk, and the greater the interest of malicious parties to intercept the transaction. Many of the standard methods of payment put sensitive buyer information or funds at risk.
Wire transfer fraud is estimated to be the fastest- growing cybercrime in the United States. The FBI, National White Collar Crime Center and Internet Crime Complaint Center reported a 480% jump in wire transfer fraud in 2017 from 2016. Notably, in 2016, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center said wire fraud increased across all 50 states by 480%.
While the perils of wire fraud are well-known, the inherent security risks in checks aren’t readily discussed. Checks openly display account and routing information, as well as buyers’ personal information. This can lead to risk of identity theft or an account take over. Another peril of personal checks is insufficient funds leading to a bounced check. It can take up to 12 days to notify parties in the transaction about a bounced check, and in many cases, additional fees are incurred.
For our earnest money transfers, Earnnest uses Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments. The 2018 Federal Reserve Payments Study reported that growth in ACH payments has continued to accelerate by number and value since 2012, increasing 5.7% from 2016 to 2017. One reason for this increased use is in part attributed to the fact that ACH payment has to be approved by a payment solution platform, making it more secure as a means of non-cash payment. Unlike a wire transfer, in order to request an ACH payment, a buyer must be partnered with a financial institution, requiring a verified bank account attached to a legitimate, verified bank. ACH transfers also take a maximum of five business days to clear and deposit, less than half of the potential 12 days for checks, meaning buyers can settle faster.
As an additional security measure, we don’t store personal information, so there’s nothing for malicious parties to access later. Our system is also a closed network for escrow holders, requiring escrow accounts to be verified and carefully monitored to prevent unwarranted changes. Within the transfers themselves, once they have been created and requested, amounts and destinations are locked, guaranteeing that what and who the buyer agrees to pay is exactly how the transfer is carried out. Our system is OWASP Top 10 compliant, ensuring that we consistently meet the highest standard for cyber security.
Secure and efficient transfers aren’t impossible. They’re also not something to be handled carelessly, and shouldn’t come with large fees attached. Earnnest is committed to providing a digital platform that ensures safe and easy transactions every time.