Offerup vs PrivateAuto

OfferUp is a local listings site that allows people to buy or sell items (including cars). PrivateAuto is a tech-powered platform that makes peer-to-peer car transactions simple and secure.

The two platforms share some similarities and also have significant differences. If you’re about to buy or sell a car, let’s explore which is the better option.
The verdict: OfferUp has more users (therefore more reach for sellers and more vehicle inventory for buyers). PrivateAuto has much better technology and is more intuitive and convenient.

Here’s the good news: you don’t have to pick just one. You can start a deal on OfferUp and complete it on PrivateAuto. We’ll explain how.

But first, a side-by-side comparison of the two platforms across all aspects that matter.

What is OfferUp?

OfferUp is an online classifieds site for local transactions. It allows users to sell or buy a wide range of items, from furniture and clothing to electronics and even cars.

The process is similar to other classifieds sites such as KSL and Craigslist. Sellers upload pictures of their cars, add descriptions, and set a price. Buyers browse through these listings and call or chat with sellers.
Image highlighting DealNow by PrivateAuto

What is PrivateAuto?

PrivateAuto is a specialized platform for buying and selling vehicles. It stands out with its focus on security and efficiency in car transactions.

The platform offers identity and fund verification for buyers and sellers. Users can negotiate prices, schedule test drives, and complete paperwork digitally, including e-signing of documents.

PrivateAuto offers unique features that set it above other platforms. See how PrivateAuto holds up against its competitors.





Instant, fee-free fund transfers up to $1M

Parties must navigate payment outside the platform


Fraud prevention with identity and verified funds; encrypted funds transfer

Lack of fund verification; identity verification is available

User and offer management

In-app messaging; offer management (accept/reject/counter); detailed vehicle history reports

Simple process for listing items; in-app messaging

Scheduling test drives

Easy in-app test drive scheduling

No scheduling features

Deal signing

E-signing bill of sale

Physical paperwork has to be arranged


Flat seller fee ($99 to pay upon listing or $150 to pay when the car sells); free for buyer

Free to list and buy items, no fees or commission charged

Market reach

Smaller user base, but growing rapidly due to superior user experience

Large user base with many vehicles for sale and many potential buyers

OfferUp Review

Like Craigslist, OfferUp facilitates the buying and selling of items locally, with a specific section for vehicle sales. The platform has great adoption; if you’re selling a car, there are a lot of potential buyers on the platform; if you’re buying a car, you can browse a large selection of makes and models for sale.

Here are some specific areas where OfferUp falls short (as do similar sites)

Lack of a built-in communication system that facilitates negotiation
Lack of a scheduling function for arranging the meetup
Lack of a good payment method (there aren’t many great ways to move large amounts of money between strangers—or at least there haven’t been until PrivateAuto created one)
Inventory is a mix of dealer and private party, with no obvious way to tell which is which and no filter function to filter out dealership vehicles. This matters for buyers and sellers alike, as private-party sales are widely preferred and OfferUp dilutes them with a preponderance of dealer inventory.

OfferUp for Sellers

OfferUp exposes your used car to a lot of potential buyers. It’s fairly easy to create a vehicle listing. The platform is fairly similar to other listing sites in functionality (CarGurus, eBay Motors, etc).

The platform’s lack of transactionality results in some points of friction:

Buyer funds are not verified, leaving sellers dealing with tire kickers.
The lack of a scheduling feature leads to friction with setting up the test drive meeting.
Lack of electronic docu-signing means more paperwork and hassle.
Since there is no integrated payment processing, sellers don’t have a good way to get paid for their car.

OfferUp for Buyers

OfferUp gives you access to a large inventory of vehicles for sale. You can filter searches by make, model, year, mileage, and location. The interface is a bit clunky, with banner ads taking up large portions of the screen and distracting from listings.

OfferUp mixes dealer inventory with private-party cars for sale. As we all know, you often get a better deal when you go directly to the seller and cut out the middleman (this is one of the core reasons PrivateAuto exists). Because there’s no easy way to distinguish dealer vehicles from private party ones, buyers are left to click through listings in search of private sellers. The least OfferUp could do would be a filter for private-party vs dealer offerings, but they don’t even do that much.

Beyond the issue of dealership cars diluting out private sellers, OfferUp lacks transactional features that lubricate the private sale:

No test drive scheduler means you must go back and forth with sellers to set a time to meet.
Cannot make offers—negotiating a lower price is awkward and clumsy via messaging.
No vehicle history reports leave you blind to any hidden issues or accidents.
No e-signing of the bill of sale.
No integrated payment system leaves you to muddle through unwieldy payment options outside of the OfferUp platform. Cash, bank transfers, checks, and other external options introduce inconvenience, risk, delays, or all three.
Difficult to complete the purchase in one go—multiple meetings are often required to exchange paperwork, check the vehicle history, and handle payment.

OfferUp Pros

Large user base for sellers to sell to
Many car options for buyers
Free and simple listing creation for sellers
In-app messaging for both parties

OfferUp Cons

No test drive scheduler
Inability to make offers
No fund verification
No vehicle history report
No e-signing the bill of sale
No easy, instant, fee-free way to make and receive payments

PrivateAuto Review

PrivateAuto provides a seamless, end-to-end dealflow powered by cutting-edge technology. It includes a full suite of features to facilitate transactions: listings, identity and fund verification, messaging, scheduling, payments, and paperwork signing.

Sellers pay a listing fee. They can choose between paying $99 at the time of listing or $150 when they sell their car. If they choose the latter, they only pay if the car sells. There are no fees for buyers.

PrivateAuto empowers peer-to-peer car transactions with the following:

Instant, secure payments of up to $1M with zero transfer fees.
Voluntary identity and fund verification make it easy to identify trustworthy parties who can afford your vehicle.
Scheduling features make planning a test drive easy for both parties.
Offer feature facilitates fast, easy negotiations without any awkward messaging back and forth.
E-signing of the bill of sale protects both parties and provides a legally binding record of the terms of the transaction.
Private-party cars only; no dealer inventory.

PrivateAuto for Sellers

PrivateAuto removes friction from the private car sale. Self-serve technology solves the problem of trust between strangers, keeps your sensitive information private, and gets you paid instantly.

Avoid scammers by choosing to deal with verified buyers only.
Avoid tire-kickers by choosing to deal with buyers who have verified funds.
Manage all offers in one convenient dashboard. Accept, reject, or counteroffer buyer offers without juggling multiple conversations.
Set meetup location and availability with an in-app scheduler; buyers choose a time slot and the test drive is scheduled with no back-and forth.
In-app docu-signing is convenient and reassures the buyer that they can send payment since you’re legally bound to deliver the vehicle.
Instantly receive up to $1M from the buyer with PrivateAuto Pay. This allows you to get the deal done when you meet up for the test drive.
Avoid costly and inconvenient escrow services with the escrow-like safeguards of PrivateAuto Pay. Buyers can even purchase a car remotely via an inspector intermediary and get the deal done on the spot.

PrivateAuto for Buyers

PrivateAuto makes it easy for you to make offers, schedule test drives, make payments, and get your car. PrivateAuto’s end-to-end transactionality gets the deal done in the following ways:

Complete the entire process, from initial contact through sending payment, without revealing any sensitive information or contact details.
Easily schedule test drives in-app without having to ask sellers about their availability.
Make offers with our built-in offer feature. No more awkward chats along the lines of "Would you accept $500 less?"
Access vehicle history reports.
Apply for financing within the PrivateAuto app. If approved, our FDIC-insured lending partner will fund your PrivateAuto Pay account.
Both parties sign the bill of sale in the PrivateAuto mobile app prior to you sending payment. The seller is legally bound to follow through by signing over the title and delivering the vehicle.
Make a fee-free payment of up to $1M that the seller will receive instantly, enabling you to get the deal done on the spot.

You get your car and the seller gets paid. It all happens quickly, in one session, with an intuitive step-by-step guided process that reassures each of you at every step along the way.


No buyer fees
Easy offers and negotiations with no communication needed
Easy test drive scheduling with no communication needed
Apply for financing, get approved, and get funded without leaving the PrivateAuto ecosystem—no awkward coordinating between multiple parties
Vehicle history reports
Identity verification for security
In-app messaging protects your privacy
Endpoint-to-endpoint transactionality
Very low fraud/scam risk
Guided documentation signing
Instant and secure payments


There are no cons to PrivateAuto. We intentionally designed it that way.

PrivateAuto vs OfferUp: Getting to the Deal

OfferUp is what we call a “meetingplace”: it is great at connecting a buyer and seller to one another, but that’s about it. It lacks all of the transactional functionality that makes PrivateAuto so easy to use.

That’s OK. You can still use OfferUp to find your buyer (or to find a car for sale) and then use PrivateAuto to close the deal. Best of both worlds, and we’ll show you how it’s done. But first, let’s compare the two platforms for functionality.

Verified Funds

On PrivateAuto, sellers can choose to only negotiate with buyers who have verified their funds (every buyer who chooses to verify their funds gets a badge on their profile). With OfferUp, sellers have no way to validate this. You could be wasting your time with tire kickers.


Buyers and sellers can communicate safely without revealing personal contact information on PrivateAuto. You can make offers and schedule test drives without exchanging numbers.

OfferUp includes a seller's phone number with their listing and lacks the privacy and scheduling features that PrivateAuto offers.

Offer Management

PrivateAuto facilitates easy, fast negotiations. Buyers can choose to accept a seller’s asking price or offer less. Sellers can accept, reject, or counteroffer with the click of a button.

OfferUp does not have similar negotiation technology. Buyers and sellers must message one another, which adds friction to the process and takes longer.


Test drives can be conveniently scheduled in-app in PrivateAuto with no communication required.

With OfferUp, all you have is unstructured communication and a lot of back and forth.


You can sign the bill of sale electronically with PrivateAuto. This can happen on the spot once both parties come to an agreement.

OfferUp lacks electronic docu-signing and the trust that is built between buyer and seller when both have signed a legally binding document and each counterparty’s signature is confirmed to the other party.

OfferUp vs PrivateAuto: Payment Features

You can quickly process transactions up to $1 million with PrivateAuto Pay. You can also apply for financing without leaving the app.

Everything happens securely, with no need to exchange sensitive financial information. This provides much-needed speed and protection compared to traditional methods.

OfferUp lacks any payment functionality, so buyer and seller are left to navigate clunky payment options on their own.
Image highlighting DealNow by PrivateAuto

Which Platform is Best?

PrivateAuto is the best place to buy or sell a used vehicle online. It outperforms other platforms like OfferUp across every metric of speed, security, and convenience.

We don't dislike OfferUp and other "meetingplaces"; we understand that you might benefit from their widespread adoption and large reach.

That’s why we created DealNow: you can start a deal on OfferUp or some other site, then move it to PrivateAuto to fast-track the transaction and process the payment.

DealNow gives you PrivateAuto's identity verification, payment processing, digital paperwork signing, and other transactional features in a fast, intuitive dealflow. Want to try it? Whether you’re a buyer or seller, start a DealNow, now. You’ll create your own private deal room, invite the other party, and enjoy the smoothest transaction of your life.


Can you get scammed on OfferUp?

OfferUp has minimal safeguards, so scammers tend to proliferate. If you're using OfferUp, we recommend moving the transaction to Dealnow to complete it.

How to pay on OfferUp?

How do I sell safely on OfferUp?

Is it safe to buy a car on OfferUp as-is?

Should I use cash to buy a car on OfferUp?

How do I check if a seller is legit on OfferUp?

Can you get scammed by a buyer on OfferUp?