Facebook Marketplace vs PrivateAuto for Cars

Facebook Marketplace (FBM) is a popular platform for buying and selling cars, but it has limited transactionality. PrivateAuto is an up-and-coming transactional marketplace that empowers peer to peer car sales from start to end.
Let’s compare the two platforms and see how they stack up in terms of convenience, security, transactionality, and speed.

Is Facebook Marketplace Good for Selling and Buying Cars?

Not only is Facebook Marketplace a massive local classifieds platform, but it’s also incredibly popular for selling and buying used cars from private parties.

The good: Facebook Marketplace has a massive user base. This means a lot of buyers and a large selection of cars for sale.

The not-so-good: Facebook Marketplace’s downsides fall into three buckets.

1. A lack of tools to get the deal done
2. A lack of security
3. An abundance of scams
Image highlighting Buying/Selling Car Privately by PrivateAuto

What Is PrivateAuto?

PrivateAuto is an end-to-end platform for used vehicle transactions in the US. In addition to used car listings, this platform includes integrated payments, vehicle financing options, in-app messaging and scheduling, and an easy way to e-sign the bill of sale.

Because PrivateAuto offers total functionality to get the transaction done, we consider ourselves to be the first and only automotive transactional marketplace. Platforms such as Facebook Marketplace act as “meetingplaces” to connect a buyer and seller but don’t offer much value beyond the matchmaker function.

Comparing Facebook Marketplace and PrivateAuto

PrivateAuto and Facebook Marketplace each have vehicles for sale. However, the entirety of Facebook Marketplace’s offering is that of vehicle listings. PrivateAuto, in contrast, is an entire technology solution that includes a marketplace for buying and selling used vehicles.

Let’s look at some key differences between the two platforms.

Advertising Features

List vehicle

Buyer inquiries

Mobile app

Vehicle history report

Window brochure w/ QR code

Fraud Prevention


Facebook Marketplace

In-app chat without sharing private information

Driver’s license verification

Selfie verification

Banking-compliant background check

Deal Features


Facebook Marketplace

Verified Buyer Funds

Test Drive Scheduler

Offers: Accept/Counter/Reject

Bill of Sale - eSign (In App)

Payment Features


Facebook Marketplace

Proprietary Transaction Technology

PrivateAuto Pay

Integrated buyer financing

Available in all states (U.S.A.)

Available nights, weekends, and holidays

Split payment options

Transaction speed


Transaction limits


Transactionality: PrivateAuto offers an entire tech stack to help you through every aspect of the transaction, while Facebook Marketplace is feature-poor.
Dealer vs private-party: Facebook Marketplace offers dealer inventory in addition to private-party inventory. PrivateAuto is exclusively for private party vehicle transactions.
Payments: PrivateAuto offers an integrated payment option (PrivateAuto Pay) that is instant and fee-free. Facebook Marketplace integrates Venmo (useless for transactions over $5K) and PayPal (charges transaction fees), as well as credit card integration via Stripe (charges transaction fees).
Fees: neither platform charges buyers; neither takes a cut of transactions. For sellers, FBM has a free basic listing options, with pay-to-play for higher visibility ($.99 to $9.99 per day). PrivateAuto offers two choices to sellers creating a listing:
Pay now: $90
Pay when the car sells: $150
Fast transactions: PrivateAuto offers a fast-track deal option, DealNow, that allows buyers and sellers to use PrivateAuto to get the transaction done, even if they meet on another website (such as Facebook). DealNow allows them to bypass the listing process and use PrivateAuto as a transaction-processing tool. More on DealNow below.
Escrow: FBM acts as an escrow service on behalf of the buyer and seller, holding the buyer’s funds until the buyer is satisfied with the car and then releasing the funds to the seller. Because PrivateAuto Pay is instantaneous (and works any time of day, every day of the year), the buyer can release funds to the seller after they’ve approved the car and after both parties have electronically signed the bill of sale in the PrivateAuto mobile app.
Messaging: PrivateAuto has a built-in messaging feature that keeps your personal info safe. FBM uses Facebook Messenger, revealing your public identity to the other party and potentially increasing your exposure to fraudsters.
Scheduling: on Facebook Marketplace, buyer and seller would have some back-and-forth on Messenger to coordinate a time when they’re both available. PrivateAuto has a built-in scheduling feature that allows the potential buyer to select from available times set by the seller.
Negotiation: PrivateAuto allows a potential buyer to make an offer on a vehicle. The seller can then accept, reject, or counteroffer. Facebook Marketplace doesn’t have negotiation functionality; the buyer can accept the stated purchase price or move on (though they could message the seller via Messenger).

Facebook Marketplace Review

Let’s look at how FBM performs for buyers and sellers in used car transactions.

Facebook Marketplace for Car Sellers

As a seller, you create a listing on Facebook Marketplace and add vehicle photographs and the price. Then you wait for interested buyers to contact you via Facebook Messenger. Once a buyer contacts you, it’s up to the two of you to navigate the test drive meetup, figure out how to receive payment, and all the rest.

Since Facebook Marketplace doesn’t offer any fraud prevention features, you should be very careful when selling your vehicle. Furthermore, since your personal identity (Facebook profile) is exposed in the vehicle listing, you are potentially exposing yourself to fraudulent buyers and scams.

Facebook Marketplace for Car Buyers

As a buyer, you can look through available listings on Facebook Marketplace and contact sellers when you’re interested in a vehicle. Communication occurs via Facebook Messenger, which involves exposing your public profile to strangers. Since there is no way for you to verify your identity or funds, it can be difficult to get the seller to trust you (and vice versa), which can complicate the vehicle-buying process.

Facebook Marketplace Pros

Nonexistent or low seller fees
No buyer fees
Large pool of buyers
Extensive vehicle inventory

Facebook Marketplace Cons

Mixed dealer and private-party inventory
No clear way to filter out dealer inventory
No clear way to identify private-party inventory
No vehicle history report
No “make an offer” feature
No counteroffer feature
No secure messaging
No scheduling feature (for test drives)
No identity verification
No buyer’s funds verification
No integrated financing option
No integrated payment feature
No fraud prevention features
No way to sign documents in-app
Releasing personal information to strangers (exposure to scams)

PrivateAuto Review

Let’s see how PrivateAuto compares.

PrivateAuto for Car Sellers

Sellers can easily create a listing for their vehicle and manage incoming offers via their listing dashboard, with the option to accept, reject, or make a counteroffer. They can chat with potential buyers via the in-app messaging feature without ever giving out their personal contact info.

With PrivateAuto’s ability to verify funds, sellers can stop dealing with buyers who can’t afford their car. When they accept an offer, the PrivateAuto scheduler allows sellers to arrange a test drive with the buyer without all the back-and-forth of other marketplaces. At the time of the test drive, buyer and seller can conclude the entire transaction via the PrivateAuto mobile app, which allows for the following to occur:

The app guides each party through a step-by-step process that includes documentation, title, and payment
Both parties e-sign the bill of sale
The buyer pays the seller via PrivateAuto Pay and the seller receives the funds instantly, 24/7/365

PrivateAuto for Buyers

Buyers on PrivateAuto can place offers on vehicle listings and communicate with sellers. They can schedule a test drive with sellers and complete the entire transaction at the time of the meeting—including sending unlimited funds instantly and fee-free. PrivateAuto also allows buyers to apply for car financing within the app.

Because PrivateAuto Pay provides escrow-like services for free, you can easily buy a car remotely and have it shipped to you.

Buyers can also access the following within the PrivateAuto app:

PrivateAuto Pros

No hidden fees
No buyer fees
Window brochure QR code included
Vehicle advertising available
In-app messaging and test drive scheduling
Buyer and seller verification
Vehicle history reports available
Instantaneous payments of any amount, 24/7/365
In-app financing
E-signing of the bill of sale for both parties
Guided walk-through of necessary paperwork for buyer and seller
Verification of buyer funds
No dealer inventory to sort through
Get additional services without leaving the PrivateAuto app (warranty, insurance, financing, inspection, transport)
Share PrivateAuto listing across other platforms, including Facebook Marketplace, to broaden reach
If you already have a buyer, you can skip the listing process and use the PrivateAuto infrastructure to get the deal done.

PrivateAuto Cons

Higher seller fees than Facebook Marketplace
Less vehicle inventory than Facebook Marketplace
Fewer buyers than Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace vs PrivateAuto: Reach

Facebook Marketplace has far more users than PrivateAuto, so a listing on Facebook Marketplace gets many more eyeballs than a listing on PrivateAuto. Unless the PrivateAuto listing is shared across other platforms.

Unlike other car websites, a PrivateAuto listing is shareable. This means that a seller can use their PrivateAuto listing URL or QR code on Facebook Marketplace or other sites, with messaging such as “I’m using PrivateAuto to process the transaction” or “message me on PrivateAuto for details.”

Essentially, a seller can get PrivateAuto’s transactional infrastructure AND Facebook Marketplace’s reach. Win-win.

A seller could share their PrivateAuto listing across Facebook Marketplace and many other sites, making their visibility far greater than what Facebook Marketplace alone can provide.

Facebook Marketplace vs PrivateAuto: Pricing

Neither Facebook Marketplace nor PrivateAuto have buyer fees.

When it comes to seller fees, Facebook Marketplace wins out, as listings are free, with the option to pay for greater exposure. Paid listings range from $.99 to $9.99 per day, with higher rates correlating to more exposure.

PrivateAuto has a listing fee of $150 or $90 (depending on whether sellers opt for “pay now” or “pay later")

PrivateAuto allows you to share your PrivateAuto listing on other platforms, including your website—or to Facebook Marketplace—at no additional fee.

Facebook Marketplace vs PrivateAuto: Advertising

Facebook Marketplace allows you to “promote” your listing by paying between $.99 and $9.99 to have it featured more prominently. PrivateAuto allows you to advertise your vehicle on their website and mobile app, and it allows buyers to look up your vehicle’s VIN and get more information about the car.

PrivateAuto also offers detailed vehicle history reports and a window brochure with a QR code that allows sellers to drive online and offline traffic to their car listing.

You can also share your PrivateAuto listing on your website, across social media, in a text message, or on other listings sites.

PrivateAuto vs Facebook Marketplace: Transactionality

PrivateAuto is the clear winner when it comes to features that make it easier for buyers and sellers to transact. Aside from a built-in messaging app (Messenger), and an escrow service, Facebook Marketplace doesn’t offer much transactionality; it’s pretty much a regular old classifieds site.

PrivateAuto offers the following transactional features:

1. Instant, fee-free funds transfer up to $1M, works 24/7/365
2. Verified buyer funds
3. Messaging and test-drive scheduling
4. Accept and reject offers, or make counteroffers
5. E-signing the bill of sale

Verified Buyer Funds

PrivateAuto can verify buyer funds, and sellers can opt to receive offers only from buyers with verified funds. Facebook Marketplace does not offer verification of funds.

Messaging and Test-Drive Scheduling

PrivateAuto allows buyers and sellers to message inside the PrivateAuto app without exchanging contact information and schedule test drives through the app. Facebook Marketplace forces buyers and sellers to interact via Messenger with their public Facebook profiles (and expose themselves to risk in the process).

Where Facebook Marketplace requires the buyer and seller to spend time on back-and-forth communication for negotiating price and meeting up, PrivateAuto allows for seamless negotiation and test drive scheduling. It’s built into the app workflow.


PrivateAuto allows buyers to make offers and sellers to accept them, reject them, or make counteroffers. Facebook Marketplace only allows buyers to accept the listed price or move on.

E-signing Feature

PrivateAuto allows both the buyer and the seller to e-sign documentation, such as the bill of sale, on their mobile app. Facebook Marketplace does not have an in-app signing feature.

PrivateAuto vs Facebook Marketplace: Payment Features

Facebook Marketplace is simply a platform to connect buyer and seller, and does not offer any features that make the transaction process quicker and safer. On the other hand, PrivateAuto offers an integrated banking solution called PrivateAuto Pay.

This feature is available in all 50 US states and works 24/7/365. That means sellers will get their money as soon as the buyer initiates payment—no more checking your bank account time and time again, waiting for that payment to finally come through.

PrivateAuto also offers buyer financing and split payment options, so sellers can arrange whether they want to be paid in cash, crypto, through PrivateAuto Pay, or all three. PrivateAuto Pay can process up to $1M, making PrivateAuto ideal for those high-end vehicles.

Facebook Marketplace vs PrivateAuto: Fraud Prevention

PrivateAuto is the clear winner when it comes to fraud prevention. Facebook Marketplace doesn’t verify identity, and it exposes users’ personal contact information to strangers.

On PrivateAuto, both the seller and buyer verify their identities via selfies and driver’s license information. Sellers can choose to sell only to verified buyers, and vice versa.

The verification process is quick and simple, and PrivateAuto does not use your information for any purpose other than to verify your identity and make the vehicle-selling process safer for everyone.

Facebook Marketplace vs PrivateAuto: Service Integrations

For vehicle buyers seeking additional services, Facebook Marketplace is not much help. PrivateAuto, in contrast, has integrated a number of core services that buyers may need. On PrivateAuto, you can apply for vehicle financing, get an insurance quote, arrange to have your vehicle shipped to you, get a warranty, or arrange a vehicle inspection.

PrivateAuto is a one-stop-shop for getting the deal done—and everything that comes after.

Choosing the Best Online Car Platform

The verdict on Facebook Marketplace vs PrivateAuto? PrivateAuto wins in every regard except price—but the transactionality PrivateAuto provides for the price is a terrific value.

Best Platform for Sellers

PrivateAuto wins out over Facebook Marketplace when it comes to selling vehicles easily and securely.

Facebook Marketplace has the edge in pricing, but PrivateAuto’s fee is well-deserved, considering the time savings, security, and transactionality the platform offers.

With identity verification, instantaneous payments, financing, and scheduling features, PrivateAuto has no comparison in the private-party vehicle space.

Best Platform for Buyers

PrivateAuto wins on the buy-side as well.

Neither platform charges buyer fees, and PrivateAuto offers many more buyer benefits than Facebook Marketplace. To maintain their safety, buyers can choose to only contact verified sellers and those with a detailed car history report (including repairs, maintenance, and accident history) on PrivateAuto, while the same is not possible on Facebook Marketplace.

PrivateAuto also offers split payment options, and instant fee-free payments up to $1M.

PrivateAuto connects buyers to a world of services that integrate seamlessly with their PrivateAuto account. Whether they want to shop for a warranty, get an inspection, or apply for financing, it all happens in one place.

There’s nothing else like PrivateAuto in the world of automotive transactions.
Image highlighting Selling Car Privately by PrivateAuto

Selling Your Car Privately with PrivateAuto

Thinking about selling your car privately? Check out PrivateAuto—the easiest, safest, and only self-service way to sell your car privately. The sales process consists of a few simple steps:

1. Gather necessary documentation

You’ll need your vehicle title and other documentation. Have all the paperwork you need to sell your car privately handy, so you’re not scrambling to find it at the moment of completing a sale.

2. Register on PrivateAuto and get verified

To make PrivateAuto a safe place for everyone, we require email, phone, and driver’s license verification, including facial recognition. Get started here.

3. List your car

Easily create your PrivateAuto listing with our step-by-step guide. Bonus: we include a window brochure with a QR code scannable to your listing.

4. Set your terms

It’s your car, so you drive the deal! You can control where, when, and who you meet. Decide whether to accept only ID-verified buyers, or buyers with verified funds. Don’t waste your time with buyers who aren’t verified to your preference.

5. Vet incoming offers

Manage offers in one place with the ability to accept, reject, or counter offers within the app. Listing on multiple sites? Filter all communications through PrivateAuto by sharing your listing link on all platforms. Your personal info is protected: no more giving out your phone number or email address. All communication happens in our app.

6. Choose a buyer

When you find an offer you like, accept it and proceed to the next step with that buyer.

7. Schedule a meeting

The buyer will want to look at your car. No more back and forth texts. You never have to give out your phone number. Rather, use our handy scheduling feature to schedule test driving and coordinate a time and place for meeting. (Oh, and you’ll be able to finalize the transaction instantly at the first meeting, FYI.)

8. E-sign documents

After the buyer is satisfied with your car and the two of you have agreed on a purchase price, you can easily e-sign the Bill of Sale within our app, from your phone. With our shared documents feature, you can easily locate the paperwork needed after the sale.

9. Get paid, instantly

Before PrivateAuto, receiving funds was the most stressful part of the entire selling process, especially for any used car sale over $5,000. There just aren’t a lot of good ways to move large amounts of money quickly and conveniently. Those days are over! Verify and receive funds instantaneously with PrivateAuto Pay, our innovative banking integration. Guaranteed funds for transactions large and small.

10. Transfer title

When you sell your vehicle, fill out the necessary information on the back of the title transfer form and sign the car title in order to transfer ownership of the vehicle to the new owner.

Is PrivateAuto safe?

Yes, PrivateAuto is the safest vehicle-selling platform available. In addition to allowing you to communicate with vehicle buyers without sharing your contact information, PrivateAuto offers fraud prevention features including driver’s license verification and selfie verification.

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