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e-gold OutExchange Comparison
The number of business accepting e-gold is relatively small. I believe that the most important barrier to wider use is the fact that it "behaves like" a foreign currency — you can't pay your bills with it directly; you have to exchange it for your local currency first. This wouldn't be a problem if the digital gold economy was large, but it can't become large without overcoming this barrier first.
From a merchant's point of view, advantages like finality of payment and low transaction fees are secondary to the need to convert e-gold into regular currency.
So I've done some research. There are a ridiculous number of e-gold exchange services (the Global Digital Currency Association has a list) so I've slogged through a huge number of them to get a snapshot of their fees for someone in the United States to convert e-gold to US dollars. I haven't listed all of them; some have non-English homepages, or appeared defunct, or didn't have competitive rates (2% or less), etc.
I'm not endorsing any of them, nor have I sold e-gold through any of them. This information is based solely on what they claim on their websites. Some might be fraudulent and run away with your money; I don't know.
Different exchangers offer different options; for example, rush processing for a fee, or discounts for special customers. I'm ignoring all that and giving the figure for their basic services. The links are to each exchanger's fee page. In some cases I had to hunt around to find all the fees because they weren't on a single page. Empty cells mean "not available"; if there's no fee, I'll write "0".
Notice that several exchange providers are more competitive than OmniPay, e-gold's "mint" (the only ones who bail gold bars into e-gold). If this is a long-term condition (and I believe it is), it is the result of e-gold's growth: more funds are flowing in than are flowing out, so exchange services would prefer to buy e-gold from customers at spot rather than from OmniPay at 2%.
Growth also explains why OmniPay is the most competitive exchanger to buy e-gold from — everyone else is ultimately going through them, anyway, so they have to pass along the cost. (The others compete on the basis of offering other forms of payment, and lower minimum order sizes.)
I was surprised to discover that one exchange provider, GoldNow, is offering apparently completely free e-gold OutExchanges. They maintain a news log on their site and it appears that they've had recurring delays delivering e-gold to buyers. They may be offering such a good deal on OutExchange because they're desperate to get more e-gold.
Overall, the existence of several exchange providers offering 0% or 1% OutExchanges, plus low fees for checks (and reasonable fees for wires) means it's less costly than I had previously believed to sell e-gold for local currency. It might even be free.
Why, then, do so few business accept e-gold as a payment option? It's possible that there's widespread ignorance that it exists or that they can get funds out cheaply. Or there may be other reasons that continue to elude me.