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Earnnest Is on a Mission to Create a New Standard for Secure Money Movement

On a mission to make electronic payment the norm in real estate within the next five years, Earnnest—a digital platform that allows buyers to securely and electronically deposit funds directly to an escrow holder—is changing the way money moves in real estate.

Created out of necessity, Earnnest was conceptualized around the closing table two short years ago. Built by real estate agents, escrow attorneys and technology veterans, the digital platform was designed to facilitate fast and secure real estate transactions.

And it’s taking the real estate industry by storm.

“Sitting around the attorney’s table on closing day after purchasing our first home, when asked about what I would change about the process, I confided in my agent that I would change everything,” explains Daniel Jeffords, Earnnest CTO and one of two original co-founders.

At the top of his list? The process surrounding paying earnest money.

Seeking to become the standard for a new way to move money within the real estate industry, the team at Earnnest is pushing to make paper checks a thing of the past by promoting transactions through technology.

“This is something that should have been digitized and simplified long ago,” says Rick Altizer, Earnnest CEO, who is leading the charge to bring the earnest money transfer and other frustrating and time-consuming processes into the 21st century.

Committed to building a wholly transparent digital system and removing unnecessary tedium in the busy lives of agents, the team at Earnnest is changing the home-buying process as we know it.

In fact, all it takes is a few simple clicks for agents to invite buyers to use Earnnest and authorize the earnest money transfer. Then once buyer identity is verified as well as a funding source—Earnnest is connected to more than 12,000 banks nationwide—a buyer is ready to complete the transfer. With Earnnest, there are no physical checks required; everything is completely digital.

“We’re intent on taking out the manual parts of the process, while keeping it safe and secure,” says Altizer, of the proprietary business process they’ve built.

Making the lives of real estate agents—and the brokers who help grow their businesses—easier, Earnnest is putting hours back into their busy days and removing unnecessary stress.

“Agents view the time spent tracking down and collecting earnest money as one of their biggest pain points, so any way we can simplify their lives, make them more productive and put time back on their side is a huge benefit,” says Jeffords.

But the benefits associated with using Earnnest to bring a real estate transaction to fruition extend even further, especially when you consider the number of people who need to be kept in the loop regarding the status of a given transaction.

With so many moving parts that must come together in perfect succession for a successful real estate transaction, simplifying and streamlining these processes for everyone involved is a huge win for the industry.

Taking the onus off the shoulders of agents and brokers alike, Earnnest has gone above and beyond in creating a trackable and secure money movement system.

“We’ve built an entirely transparent and trackable transaction process that provides instant notifications to all parties involved along the way,” explains Altizer.

In addition to making life simpler for a lot of people, Jeffords explains that the level of security inherent in Earnnest’s system keeps buyers in control of the situation.

Built from the ground up to secure real estate payments, Earnnest uses the 256-bit AES encryption standard chosen by financial institutions and the U.S. government. By utilizing the most advanced and secure encryption algorithm, buyers can fund their money payments while keeping sensitive banking information secure.

With a clear focus on safety, Earnnest has a proprietary way of using ACH payment transfers. Additionally, utilizing ACH transfers instead of wires also helps combat the ever-growing issue of wire fraud. Unlike a wire, ACH payments require a buyer to be partnered with a financial institution; this means he or she must have a verified bank account attached to a legitimate and verified bank. ACH payments also take a maximum of five business days to clear and deposit, less than half of the potential 12 days for checks, which means buyers can settle faster.

“Inside our platform, no one ever shares their account information, and more importantly, the information is never stored,” says Jeffords, who equates wire transfers to sending money into a black hole and hoping it works.

Keeping buyers at the center of the process also negates the need for paper checks that contain account, contact and personal information, preventing them from being placed in the hands of unknown individuals.

“We’re working to become an end-to-end solution for transactions,” says Jeffords, who is looking forward to a bright future of continued growth that will spread far beyond the real estate industry.

“Since we’re platform-agnostic, there’s a huge opportunity to transition into other verticals and industries where money is moving and needs to be collected in time for a transaction to take place,” adds Altizer. Expanding beyond the confines of real estate, Altizer has his sights set on being able to integrate with any software platform by the end of the year.

“We’ve hit our sweet spot,” Altizer says. “And we’re truly looking forward to this next year of growth.”

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Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at