Private Seller Exchange vs PrivateAuto for Peer-to-Peer Car Transactions

Up until recently, AutoTrader was a “meetingplace,” offering no transactional infrastructure. Autotrader’s parent company, Cox Automotive, recently acquired Tred, an online peer-to-peer car transaction facilitator. Autotrader wrapped Tred into its offerings and rebranded it Private Seller Exchange (PSX).
PSX enhances Autotrader’s transactional functionality via human facilitators working behind the scenes. PrivateAuto, in contrast, is a tech-enabled transactional marketplace with software solutions for every stage of the deal.

Let’s compare PSX and PrivateAuto across the metrics that matter to users.

Is Private Seller Exchange Cheap?

PSX is a lot more expensive than PrivateAuto.

On PSX, buyers pay a fee ranging from $80 to $199, depending on their state. Sellers pay a listing fee of $49, plus an additional “service charge” of $99 or .99% of the sale price, whichever is greater.

If you’re selling a $55K Toyota 4Runner, that service charge amounts to $544.50.

PSX may charge additional fees related to their facilitated services; these costs are not well-documented in their website literature. Anecdotally, we’ve heard reports that PSX's total costs amount to $800–$1000 for most transactions.

PrivateAuto charges a mere $99 (pay now) or $150 (pay when the car sells) to sellers. Buyers use the platform for free.
Image highlighting Buying/Selling Car Privately by PrivateAuto

Is PSX Fast?

PSX is comparatively slow. That’s because its human facilitators need time to complete the many steps involved in the process. Even the simplest car sale on PSX can take hours to complete, with many transactions spanning multiple days from start to finish.

PrivateAuto is blazing fast. You can meet up for the test drive, inspect the car, sign the bill of sale, transfer money, and drive away—with the entire transaction taking 15 minutes in your local Walmart parking lot. Technology needs no processing time, and PrivateAuto is 100% tech-enabled.

Is PSX Convenient?

For a cash-in-hand buyer and a title-in-hand seller, PrivateAuto is far more convenient than PSX. The main reason: time. You can get the deal done in one meeting, safely and securely, with minimal touchpoints.

Why would you want to drag a transaction out over hours or days, with many touchpoints and inputs needed?

If a seller has a lien (vehicle loan) on their car, PSX is the more convenient choice (see next point).

How Does PSX Handle Liens?

For cars with an active auto loan, PSX can work directly with the lien holder to facilitate the payoff of the outstanding loan balance using the buyer's payment.

1. PSX receives payment from the buyer
2. PSX pays off the lien
3. The title is cleared of the lien
4. PSX facilitates the transfer of title to the buyer

PrivateAuto is working on a tech-enabled lien-release solution. As of mid-2024, we recommend a seller pay off a lien before listing with us, which may be untenable for some sellers.

If you’re a seller with a loan that you can’t afford to pay off, go with Private Seller Exchange.

Does PSX Let Buyers Schedule Test Drives?

PSX does not facilitate the scheduling of test drives.

PrivateAuto has an in-app test drive scheduling feature, which makes it seamless for a buyer to schedule a test drive with no communication needed. The process is simple and straightforward: once a buyer expresses interest in a listed vehicle, they can select their preferred date and time slot for a test drive.

This eliminates the back-and-forth communication required to arrange a test drive through traditional channels, saving valuable time and reducing the potential for miscommunications or scheduling conflicts. This also keeps both parties’ contact info protected, thwarting bad actors.

Does PSX Offer Pre-Purchase Vehicle Inspection?

PSX does not facilitate nor offer any sort of vehicle inspection service.

PrivateAuto’s LemonSquad integration lets a buyer order an inspection from a qualified mechanic from their PrivateAuto dealflow.

How Does PSX Handle Financing?

PSX offers integrated financing options from third-party lenders. PSX's facilitated model requires buyers to navigate multiple interfaces or involves additional coordination with human facilitators.

On PrivateAuto, buyers can apply for financing and get a car loan without ever leaving the platform. This keeps them within the same user-friendly interface where they're conducting their vehicle search and transaction.

How Does PSX Handle Car Transport?

PSX doesn't offer car transport.

PrivateAuto’s RunBuggy integration allows buyers to order car shipping as part of their transaction, right within their PrivateAuto workflow.

Does PSX Offer Car Photography?

PSX does not offer vehicle photography services.

PrivateAuto’s CarLive integration sends a professional vehicle photographer to the seller’s location. After the shoot, high-quality images automatically populate the vehicle listing.

Selling a Car with a Salvage Title

PSX doesn't offer vehicle insurance services.

PrivateAuto offers car insurance solutions in its workflow. Through its partnership with Insurify, PrivateAuto provides buyers with a convenient and efficient way to compare insurance quotes and get car insurance coverage without ever leaving the PrivateAuto app

How Does PSX Handle Payments?

PSX functions as a third-party escrow service, receiving a buyer’s payment and later releasing it to the seller. PSX transactions take time and are based on the company’s operating hours.

PrivateAuto Pay allows buyers and sellers to transfer unlimited funds, instantly, anytime, and with no transfer fees. The instantaneous, secure nature of PrivateAuto Pay facilitates on-the-spot transactions and provides escrow-like safeguards without the expense and inconvenience of a third-party escrow service.
Image highlighting Buying Car Privately by PrivateAuto

Do I Have to Use Private Seller Exchange on Autotrader?

You do not have to use PSX on AutoTrader. While PSX is an option on Autotrader for those who want a facilitated service, you can buy and sell on Autotrader. If you’re smart, you’ll conclude your Autotrader transaction on PrivateAuto by using our DealNow bridge product.

Private Seller Exchange FAQ

Is Private Seller Exchange safe?

PSX is generally considered a safe option for facilitating private-party vehicle sales on Autotrader.

Should I give out my phone number out on Autotrader?

How do I make sure my seller is legit?

How do people contact you on Autotrader?

How to avoid fraud when buying a car?

Can I pay for a car with a cashiers check?

Are wire transfers safe payment options?

What is the best place to buy a car from a private seller?

Is Autotrader trusted?

How secure is the PrivateAuto Pay feature?

Does AutoTrader offer any fraud protection?

How does PrivateAuto vet buyers and sellers?