The Best Way to Accept Payment for a Car

When you sell your car, receiving money is often the trickiest part of the whole transaction. Pretty much every form of payment has drawbacks—until now.
You need a convenient, secure, and fast payment method. It’s here, and it’s known as PrivateAuto Pay.

Before we get into how amazing it is, let’s look at why other forms of payment are less than fantastic.

Cash is The Best…or Is It?

Physical cash can be a bit sketchy, especially where large sums are involved.

Here are some drawbacks to receiving a physical cash payment:

Trust: do you really know the person you're dealing with? How do you know they’re not going to attack you and take back their cash as soon as you’ve transferred the title and handed them the keys?
Counterfeit cash: while counterfeiting is rare, do you know for sure that the bills are genuine?
Counting bills: do you enjoy counting out stacks of bills under the watchful eye of a stranger?
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?

PrivateAuto Pay allows you to get paid in cash—digitally. Actual dollars in your account, instantly. All the benefits of physical cash, none of the drawbacks.

A Cashier's Check is No Guarantee

If you're smart, you won't even think of accepting a personal check unless you wait for it to clear—and who wants to deal with that delay?

Cashier’s checks are more trustworthy, but even they can be forged. The only way for you to be absolutely certain a cashier’s check is good: meet the buyer at their bank and have the bank verify the funds.

If you want to skip the inconvenience (and the limited banker’s hours), welcome to PrivateAuto Pay.

Peer-to-Peer Cash Sharing Apps Fall Short

Peer-to-peer payment apps like Venmo and PayPal have transfer limits, fees, or both.

Low sending limits are unsuitable for high dollar transactions—Venmo has a $5K limit and PayPal has a $10K limit on personal accounts.
PayPal’s fees of 2-3% quickly add up on large payments.

In contrast, PrivateAuto was designed specifically for high-value private party car transactions:

Send and receive up to $1 million instantly, no limits
Escrow-like safeguards
Encrypted data keeps your information safe

While Venmo works great for splitting a restaurant tab, it just won’t cut it for a $33K Tundra. For a secure car payment solution with ironclad protections, choose PrivateAuto Pay.

Wire Transfers are Inconvenient and Risky

Another common choice for reducing financial risk is a wire transfer or bank transfer. Traditional bank wire transfers are packed with limitations.

1. Slow. Transfers can take days to fully process as buyers coordinate multiple transactions due to low account limits. This delays sales and frustrates sellers.
2. Inconvenient. Transfers are clunky to set up.
3. Potentially risky. Exposing bank account details opens the door to fraud.

PrivateAuto Pay enables instant transfers between verified user accounts 24/7 with no limits or transfer fees. Encrypted data keeps your information secure.

What is PrivateAuto Pay?

PrivateAuto is PrivateAuto’s built-in banking integration that enables instant, secure, and fee-free funds transfers up to $1M. It’s a dream come true for car sellers.

Your PrivateAuto Pay account is actually a bank account that you own, accessed via your PrivateAuto profile.
Easily move money between your PrivateAuto Pay account and your external bank account via a balance transfer.
Receive up to $1 million instantly from the seller into your PrivateAuto Pay account.
Instant payments arrive any time of day, every day of the year.
No exchange of contact information or banking info.
Encrypted info protects your data from hackers.
Conclude the entire transaction when you meet the buyer for a test drive.
Sell a car to a remote buyer and forgo costly and inconvenient escrow services.

OK, so PrivateAuto Pay is great and all, but it’s a service for users of PrivateAuto’s transactional marketplace.

We’ve now made PrivateAuto Pay available for sellers on other platforms such as Craigslist and eBay Motors. You can fast-track a transaction using our DealNow feature.

What is DealNow?

DealNow is a way to fast-track your transaction without the need to list your vehicle on PrivateAuto.

PrivateAuto is an end-to-end solution that allows you to list your vehicle for sale, do the deal, and get paid. But we understand that you may be listing your car for sale on other sites.

If you’ve found a buyer elsewhere—whether on Facebook Marketplace or from a friend of a friend—DealNow gives you our transactional workflow and payment infrastructure to get the deal done fast.

1. Invite the buyer to DealNow via a custom link.
2. Enjoy identity verification, in-app messaging, and a test drive scheduling feature (none of which require you to exchange contact info).
3. Meet the buyer and let the buyer drive your car.
4. You and the buyer go together through a step-by-step transaction process in which you each confirm relevant details right in the PrivateAuto mobile app. From mileage to the VIN to the condition of the vehicle, we help you both prevent any errors.
5. You and the buyer each electronically sign an official bill of sale. This is stored in your PrivateAuto account as a legal record you can refer to down the road.
6. The buyer is prompted to initiate payment.
7. You get a notification of funds received and confirm receipt of payment.
8. You sign over the car title and hand over the keys.

DealNow is so smooth, so safe, and so fast that you’ll never want to sell a car without it. No matter where you find your buyer—from eBay motors to Autotrader to your neighbor next door—DealNow will help you get the deal done and get paid, fast.

How to Avoid Fraud when Selling a Car

When selling your car, you need to be alert against scams, whether they are fake checks, fraudulent accounts, contested payments after the deal, or even outright vehicle theft.

PrivateAuto verifies buyer identities and offers binding legal paperwork and instant payments that cannot be canceled. You’ll never have to reveal your sensitive information, and you’ll always be protected.

Avoid fraud by using PrivateAuto to sell your car and by being vigilant.

How to Transfer the Title to the Buyer

Wait to transfer the vehicle title until you’ve confirmed payment. The last thing you want is to have a scammer drive away with your vehicle, title, and cash.

PrivateAuto gets your money to you instantly, so you’re safe to transfer the title and hand over the keys.

You’ll simply sign the title over to the buyer after verifying that all details are correct and that you’ve received funds into your PrivateAuto Pay account. That’s it. The buyer will then finish the title transfer at the DMV.
Complete the sales process easily and legally with the help of PrivateAuto. Our technology-driven platform helps you find verified buyers, sign documents online, and receive state-specific steps to complete the sale. PrivateAuto Pay gets you paid fast.

Sell your car on PrivateAuto today.
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Interested in buying a used car? Browse used cars for sale by owner to find the ride of your dreams.

FAQ on Selling a Car


Do I need an escrow service when selling my car privately?

If you have a valuable used vehicle and are selling it yourself, a legitimate escrow service can help the transaction go smoothly.

PrivateAuto Pay gives you all the advantages of an escrow service. Where escrow services charge significant fees, PrivateAuto Pay is free.

Read how PrivateAuto Pay enables remote vehicle transactions to learn more about how it renders escrow obsolete.

How does PrivateAuto help me manage offers when I sell my car?


What is the best way to accept a payment on Craigslist?


How does PrivateAuto vet sellers?


Does PrivateAuto provide the necessary paperwork for a successful transfer of ownership?


How secure is PrivateAuto Pay?


Does PrivateAuto offer payment plans?