The money commonly used with sales contracts and leases that is paid in good faith to assure performance of a contract. If the party who put up the deposit fails to perform, the deposit is forfeited, unless conditions in the contract allow a refund. Brokers are to put deposits in a separate checking account pending completion of the contract See Earnest money. Example: Whitman presented a $1,000 check as an earnest money deposit on a home she would buy provided she could get a 10% rate, 30-year loan for 80% of the price. The broker deposited the check in an Escrow account, and refunded it when Whitman could not arrange said loan.