How to Send a Large Amount of Money For a Car

When you buy a private-party vehicle, you’ll need to send payment. Easier said than done: almost every existing payment method is slow, inconvenient, or risky.
Large payments—such as for that $60,000 late-model Ford Raptor you’ve got your eye on—present special challenges.

Fortunately, we have a solution. It’s called PrivateAuto Pay, and it processes large fund transfers fee-free for PrivateAuto users. Transfers process instantly, 24/7/365, meaning you can get the deal done on the spot.

Before we get to how awesome it is, let’s look at the shortcomings of other payment methods for large fund transfers.

Which Payment Methods Allow Large Purchases?

Many popular payment methods cap out at $5,000, $10,000, or some other threshold. For example, Venmo has a limit of $4,999.

Of the methods that allow large fund transfers, all except PrivateAuto Pay are full of problems. Here they are:

Bank transfer
Physical cash
Personal check
Cashier’s check
Bank draft
Escrow service
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Are Cash Transactions Safe?

If you've got the funds, paying the full sale price in cash can save you thousands of dollars in interest payments.

But lugging around a bunch of physical cash is a hassle, risky, and awkward. Who wants to meet up with a stranger carrying $41,624 in bills to buy that Jeep Gladiator?

Here are the main drawbacks to using physical cash as a method of payment:

Paperwork: do you know how to do the bill of sale and title transfer for your state? Will you have a record of the transaction in case the other party wants to contest it?
Trust: do you know the person you're dealing with? No one wants to risk getting scammed or robbed by a complete stranger.
Inconvenient: ATMs and banks have withdrawal limits. If you’re trying to do it on the weekend, forget about the car.
Counting out bills: just imagine counting out $41,624 in bills in front of a stranger. It takes a long time and it's awkward.
Counterfeit cash: while counterfeiting is rare, can you prove to the seller that the bills are genuine? Are they going to trust you?

PrivateAuto Pay allows you to pay cash—digitally. It’s like Venmo but for high-dollar transactions. And you have the paper trail in your PrivateAuto account should you ever need to prove that you paid.

Are Personal Checks a Good Form of Payment?

A personal check doesn’t fly for most sellers; no one wants to sit around waiting for it to clear. And you probably don’t want to cut the check, and then wait several days before getting the car when the funds hit the seller’s account.

Too many steps, too much trust needed, too much time wasted. What should be a quick peer-to-peer payment turns into a headache.

How About a Cashier Checks?

Cashier’s checks are more trustworthy than personal checks, but even they’re not bulletproof. Plus, they’re inconvenient.

Cashier’s checks can be forged; the only way for the seller to be certain is to meet you at your bank and have the bank verify the funds. Skip the inconvenience and enjoy instant digital payments with PrivateAuto Pay. Round-the-clock availability means no banking hours restricting transactions.

What About Bank Transfers?

Traditional bank wire transfers are packed with limitations.

1. Potentially risky. Sellers don’t like exposing their bank account details because of the risk of fraud.
2. Slow. Transfers can take days to fully process.
3. Transfer limits. Your bank may have limits on how much can be transferred at once, necessitating multiple transfers. This delays sales and frustrates sellers.
4. Fees. Bank wires often cost money.

Are Bank Drafts Safe?

While more secure than a personal check, bank drafts have some drawbacks when purchasing a high-value vehicle.

Drafts take several days to clear. Nobody wants to wait that long to get the deal done. And you don’t want to send the money, only to wait several days for your car.

Can I Use an Escrow Service?

A legitimate escrow service can solve the problem of trust between strangers. Unfortunately, escrow services are expensive, time-consuming, and cumbersome.

PrivateAuto gives you escrow-like safeguards in the palm of your hand. Where escrow services charge fees, PrivateAuto Pay enables instant, fee-free payments.

PrivateAuto Pay Is Your Answer

PrivateAuto Pay is our built-in banking integration that enables instant, secure, and unlimited fee-free fund transfers. Whether you need to send $30K for a Silverado or $800K for a Ferrari, the funds will appear in the seller’s account in seconds—and you won’t be charged a cent for the transfer.

It’s a dream come true for buyers.

Your PrivateAuto Pay account is an FDIC-insured bank account you own, accessed via your PrivateAuto dashboard.
Instantaneous transfers enable real-time deals—no waiting or coordination. Close the deal when you meet for the test drive.
Instant payments work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. No coordinating around banker’s hours.
Easily move money from your bank account to PrivateAuto Pay and vice versa. A balance transfer can be done 24/7/365.
No exchange of contact information or banking info—your sensitive info stays safe, protecting you from scammers.
Encrypted data protects you from hackers.
You can even buy a car remotely with our escrow-like safeguards.

PrivateAuto Pay is great and all, but what if you're buying or selling on another platform? We have a solution for that. DealNow allows you to start a deal anywhere, and finish it with PrivateAuto's transactional infrastructure, including PrivateAuto Pay.

DealNow is so smooth, so safe, and so fast that you’ll never want to buy a car without it.
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What to Do After You Buy a Car from a Private Seller?

Key steps after buying a car privately include registering the vehicle, transferring the title, and getting new license plates issued in your name (unless you’re in California or Minnesota).

Here are some more details on handling those specific post-purchase tasks:

Before driving off, contact your insurance company to add the car to your policy. You typically need valid insurance in your name to drive legally. Make sure you have proof of insurance.
Head to the DMV as soon as possible to transfer the title to your name and register the car. Bring the title, bill of sale, ID, and insurance documents. Pay any required sales taxes and registration fees.
The DMV will provide you with new registration documents and license plates for the car in your name. These are required to drive the car legally.
All states except California and Minnesota: remove the old license plates and put on the new ones. Destroy the old registration and replace it with the new one for your records.
Consider having the car inspected for safety and emissions testing if required in your state. The DMV can provide guidance.
Notify your insurance company that the car is now registered in your name. Provide them the new VIN, plates, and registration.

Payments FAQ

How to avoid fraud when buying a car?

Unfortunately, when purchasing a car privately, fraud is a concern. Criminals use a variety of methods, such as faked vehicle history, odometer tampering, or title scams.

PrivateAuto offers vehicle history reports with all premium listings, and also has identity verification. These measures cut down significantly on fraudsters—but it always pays to be vigilant.

Don't let a seller rush you into accepting a high price or paying without verifying the details and test driving. If a seller gives you a high-pressure "act now or lose out" request, it's best to walk away. If the car is priced fairly, there will be other listings available without undue seller pressure.

The key is taking your time—carefully inspecting the car, verifying the VIN, test driving carefully, and not paying until you're confident about going through with the transaction.

PrivateAuto helps by letting you schedule test drives securely and make payments only when terms are met. With a little patience, you can find the right car without being rushed into a fraudulent deal.

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