What Forms of Payment Are Safe for Private Car Sales?

What Forms of Payment Are Safe for Private Car Sales?

Private car sales can be confusing. You may even wonder what kind of payment to accept when selling a car privately. Review all    the ways a buyer might want to pay and the risks you take on as a seller if you accept payment methods other than cash. See how which forms of payment are safest when it comes to private car sales.

Safe Payment Methods to Accept

PrivateAuto Pay is the safest payment method available. It avoids many inconveniences and fraud opportunities available with other payment methods like cash or checks. As an individual, you have little recourse if a buyer gives you a bad check, and you only find out days or weeks after handing over the keys. Not only will you pay a fee if the bad check bounces, but you will be out of the full sales price of the car. Cash leaves you open to theft as you carry large sums of money before depositing it in your bank. Explore the key features of PrivateAuto Pay to explore its benefits and unique safety advantages.

PrivateAuto Pay

It’s a great time to sell a car safely, thanks to the latest payment technology by PrivateAuto. PrivateAuto Pay is the safest method available. If you’re tired of constantly trying to avoid scammers and carrying large amounts of cash away from a transaction, then it’s time to use PrivateAuto Pay.

This secure app requires you and any prospective buyers to verify your identities. This is done with driver’s license verification and facial recognition technology.

PrivateAuto Pay is the only way to instantly and securely transfer large sums of money, while most payment apps don't allow more than $5,000 in transactions within a week. You can even verify that the potential buyer has the necessary funds in their account before you even meet up.

When you create a PrivateAuto Pay account, you are creating a traditional bank account, with our integrated banking partner, in your name behind the scenes. When the buyer and seller are ready to close the deal, the flow of funds becomes an interbank transfer, and the seller instantly receives legal custody of the funds. This allows the buyer and seller to conduct a deal on their own terms, whenever they want, without having to rely on a third party telling them what to do. There are no fees associated with the transfer of funds with PrivateAuto Pay.

PrivateAuto Pay is the safe and secure way to sell or buy a car privately.

Safest way to transfer money in a private sale


Fraudsters have many schemes where they get money into your bank account. That money will appear to clear, but at some point, the fraudster will take the money from you again. Your bank might even say the funds have cleared, and you're able to spend from them or withdraw them. However, the money they gave will disappear from your account at the end of the scheme, or the bank will ask you to give it back if you've already withdrawn it.

So, to keep yourself safe as a seller, you can request cash only for your vehicle. When accepting cash, check the bills to ensure they are real and do the deal in a public place.

Person counting cash.

Certified Cashier's Checks

A cashier's check is different from a personal check. A cashier's check is a check the bank issues directly at the request of an account holder, and it requires the full amount of stated funds to be available in the account at the time of issue. These checks may incur a $10 to $25 fee, which you or the buyer can cover to give you peace of mind.

Of course, just like any check, cashier's checks can be duplicated or phony. That's why your best option when accepting a check is to go straight to the issuing bank and have them confirm the check is legitimate.

Funds Through an Escrow Service

Many businesses exist online and in your local area to help individuals and companies securely transfer money to one another. An escrow service will charge a fee, but they'll give you a great deal of assurance and an extra layer of legal protection should anything go wrong with the payment.

The function of an escrow service is to accept the funds from the buyer and hold them in an escrow account while you, as the seller, prepare the Bill of Sale and car title. The escrow service mitigates the transaction to ensure that you receive payment while the buyer gets the title and car keys. These services are ideal if you're selling long-distance or for sizeable sums of money. They're also one of the safest alternatives to cash.

While the services are often reasonably priced, you may pay between 3.25% and 0.89% of the vehicle amount in fees. This could result in hundreds of dollars in expenses.


Wire-transferring money is a method of transferring money electronically through a network conducted by banks and transfer services. Wired funds become available within 24 hours

To wire-transfer money, whoever is initiating the transfer will need to provide the recipients following information:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Routing number and account number

Be aware of the fees involved with wire transfers. You will pay $30 or more as the sender of the wire and $15 or more as the receiver of the wire.

Funds from a domestic wire are available within 24 hours. Be sure to plan your wire around the bank's operating hours. Most banks close at 4 PM and are not open on the weekends or holidays.

Wire transfers are non-instantaneous, meaning you won't be able to do the transaction at one time.  This will require trust between the buyer and seller, which can be scary between strangers.

Sell Your Car the Secure and Simple Way

PrivateAuto believes that buying and selling a used car should be secure and straightforward. You shouldn't have to worry about payment scams. PrivateAuto Pay exists to assure safety and simplicity to both the buyer and seller when closing the deal. Interested in learning more about PrivateAuto? Get started today.