In what could become a trendsetting move, the world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace, Freelancer (ASX: FLN), has unveiled a new partnership with leading automotive marketplace eBay Motors.
The new partnership is set to deliver an added layer of protection for buyers and sellers by escrowing client money, ensuring every transaction is genuine and that it meets both buyer and seller expectations.
In a statement to the market, Freelancer said it completed the partnership via its subsidiary Escrow.com, an entity that specialises in secure online payments and with a US$4.5 billion transaction history.
As things stand, Escrow.com is already integrated into both the eBay Motors website and mobile app, with users able to select a digital payment option for both the website and new eBay Motors app, which launched in December 2019.
Escrow.com has been a recommended payment method on eBay since 2000, although the new partnership announced today is the first time the payment system has integrated into eBay’s service.
Faster and safer
According to Freelancer, the partnership will allow eBay Motors customers to store their funds with Escrow.com while the vehicle is tracked and delivery is verified.
Upon delivery, the buyer has the opportunity to inspect the vehicle and accept the transaction, and once accepted, the transaction is completed with the seller receiving the proceeds of the sale, securely via Escrow.com.
“If there is an issue with the purchase, the vehicle can be returned to the seller and funds are returned to the buyer from their escrow account,” the company said.
The rationale behind the agreement is to alleviate the risk faced by both buyers and sellers, especially within large transactions that carry significant risks to both parties.
By adding a third party to a transaction, the sale is staggered to allow buyers to verify quality and prevent fraud. Meanwhile, sellers are protected from counterparty risk, allowing them to reach more buyers in more locations, making it easier to transact securely over long distances.
Moreover, Freelancer said it plans on running an education campaign that will be coupled with the new offering, to assist with changing consumer behaviour.
eBay Motors general manager Ron Jaiven explained that by introducing Escrow.com, the company is “serving an elevated experience” that is unrivalled in the market for buyers and sellers alike and is a game-changer in the way users buy and sell cars on eBay.
Freelancer also confirmed that “several thousand” listings have already been created on eBay Motors with Escrow.com as a payment option, with the first completed transaction being a 1931 Ford Model A sold for US$10,000.
Escrow.com enabled a secure sale after the vintage vehicle was sold by a seller in California to a buyer in New Hampshire — a distance of over 3,000 miles.
Importantly for both Escrow.com and eBay Motors is to demonstrate that high-sum transactions can be completed successfully over long distances.
In the past, expensive transactions over the Internet were problematic because of counterparty risk and the inherent uncertainty that either the buyer or seller will cheat the other party.
Freelancer said that dozens of transactions have already been funded via Escrow.com for the purchase of sedans, SUVs, vans, motorcycles, trucks, classic and exotic cars, motorcycles, boats and electric vehicles.
“Our partnership comes at a time when online security is of the utmost importance. Auto enthusiasts want the assurance of buying safely online. Escrow.com protects eBay Motors customers on those transactions that matter, such as cars, motorcycles, boats, RVs, Powersports and more,” said Jackson Elsegood, general manager of Escrow.com.
“From start to finish, each transaction runs smoothly and securely, while buyers and sellers receive equal levels of protection throughout the entire sales process. The Escrow.com experience ensures both parties’ payments are protected and professionally handled,” he said.
In other news, Freelancer jointly won the US$25 million NASA Open Innovation Services 2 (NOIS2) tender last month.
Under the contract, Freelancer has been tasked with helping NASA crowdsource talent to design innovative tools and technology for its new era of space exploration.
Freelancer said it had a “reasonable expectation” that it would be allocated one of the larger portions from the tender worth “at least US$1 million”.
Freelancer shares were up 22% to $0.605 in morning trade.