Market escrows explained
When I started playing EVE Online, the market interface reminded me of the first time I started 3D Studio Max: it was overwhelming. I have gotten used to it now, but market escrows is something I did not understand completely until lately. The problem was that I simply did not understand the word, and my english-french dictionary did not help much as the french description was just as cryptic. A few questions in the corp and help channels did not yield much info either.
So what is a market escrow? In fact it’s very simple. When you place a buy order, the money required to buy the item(s) is removed from your wallet and placed in a market “escrow” account to ensure the required cash will still be there when someone takes your buy order. Quick example: I recently placed a buy order for an implant for 15 Mil. I had 20 Mil in my wallet, so the 15 Mil went to the market escrow and I had 5 Mil left in my wallet. This way I cannot accidentally spend too much ISK and not be able to afford the buy order anymore.
You can see how much ISK you have in market escrow by opening the market and switching to the “My Orders” tab. At the bottom, there is a summary containing your total ISK in escrow. If you cancel your buy order, the ISK from the escrow is transferred back to your wallet (minus the broker fees of course). If you do not have enough ISK in your wallet to complete a buy order, you will be able to see the additional ISK required to complete it in your orders summary.