Can you make your earnest money deposit via Venmo?

By
Real Estate Agent with Thompson Company, REALTORS® 240.593.2860 MD594797

So much in the world of Real Estate is done digitally. You can tour homes from the comfort of your couch (although it doesn't replace in-person visits because floors don't creak in pictures), and sign offers, addenda, and loan docs on your tablet. 

So what about your earnest money deposit? Can you move it digitally as well? Could you make your earnest money deposit via Venmo or ApplePay? 

I attended a very informative meeting (digitally!) lead by Jack Carter of The Title Company who answered just these questions the other day. The Title Company is located in Columbia, MD, and is one that I, as an active agent in Howard County and beyond, can highly recommend. 

So can you use Venmo, CashApp, ApplePay, GooglePay, or Zelle to make your earnest money deposit? 

No. 

Venmo and CashApp are intended for peer-to-peer sharing. The user terms prohibit commercial transactions, plus there is a cap on each transaction which is (well) below the typical EMD in Maryland. 

ApplePay and Google Pay are backed by credit cards. You cannot make your earnest money deposit with a credit card (but you can use it to pay for items outside of closing, like the home inspection). Credit card transactions can be disputed, it's borrowed money not liquid cash, and debt cannot be put into an escrow account where the earnest money needs to be until settlement (or contract release). 

While Zelle is also a peer-to-peer tool, it may become an option for the transfer of EMDs in the future since it's backed by the largest US Banks (BofA, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo among others). 

What are the payment options for the earnest money deposit? 

You can still write a personal check which must be delivered to the buyer's brokerage or the title company (depending on the agreement) promptly after contract ratification. 

You can utilize a service such as ZOCCAM or Earnnest to digitally move your deposit from your bank account to the escrow account. 

You can wire your deposit. 

A word of caution, especially on the latter. When you receive an email with wiring instructions please verify these before initiating the transfer. There have been incidences of wire fraud and you don't want to be the next victim. It's best to contact your buyer's agent and/or the title company to double-check.

When you decide to work with me, I will remind you of that again when you have your ratified contract in hand - right after a celebratory moment and perhaps a happy dance. 

Planning on buying your first home? These are your first steps to take:

Steps for First Time Maryland Home Buyers

Posted by

Andrea Bedard
Thompson Co., REALTORS®

Silver Spring, Maryland
andreabedard.com

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Comments (8)

John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Hello Andrea Bedard thank you for the very valuable report about can you make earnest money deposit via venmo.

Dec 10, 2021 01:53 PM
Rocky Dickerson
Realty One Group - Las Vegas, NV
Superior Service!

Great post and that was certainly a great presentation on Tuesday. He was extremely well prepared

Dec 10, 2021 03:15 PM
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Jack Carter gave such a great presentation and I learned a lot from him during that zoom call.

Dec 11, 2021 04:00 AM
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® 240.593.2860 - Silver Spring, MD
Fluent in Real Estate & German, M.A. ABR ASP CIPS

I am so glad Jack made time to talk to us about this important topic! It was a great presentation, chock full of the good stuff followed by a lively Q&A. I've received this question more than once and wanted to package the answer(s) into a blog post to easily share. 

Dec 11, 2021 08:38 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Such a wonderful post, Andrea! Wasn't Jack a great speaker - so prepared and simply an informative presentation that we all needed for our businesses. 

Perfect graphic too! See you Tuesday!

Dec 12, 2021 07:07 PM
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® 240.593.2860 - Silver Spring, MD
Fluent in Real Estate & German, M.A. ABR ASP CIPS

Thank you Debe Maxwell, CRS! He was, and I hope we'll see Jack again some other time. Anything title insurance could be a great topic. 

Dec 13, 2021 11:04 AM
John Meussner
Mortgages in AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, MD, MN, MT, NC, NJ, NV, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI - Fair Oaks, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Fair Oaks, CA 484-680-4852

Great guidance, Andrea.  Nothing more annoying for a buyer than to have to pull money back and then document all the transfers because no one told them how they should or shouldn't send funds up front.  

Dec 13, 2021 02:03 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

This is good information to share.

I hope you are having a very productive week.

Dec 16, 2021 12:50 PM