How to Get Paid on Autotrader

When you sell on Autotrader, you obviously want to get paid for your vehicle. That’s not as easy as it sounds—or is it? Before PrivateAuto Pay, there weren’t any safe and convenient ways for private sellers to get paid, on Autotrader or anywhere else.
While Autotrader gets your car seen by many potential buyers, it doesn’t do much to help you get the deal done.

PrivateAuto Pay gets you paid quickly, safely, and conveniently. Before we get into how awesome it is, let’s look at the problems inherent in other payment methods available on Autotrader.

What are Autotrader's Payment Options?

Autotrader is great for getting a lot of eyes on your listing, but it doesn’t have any transactional infrastructure.

Listings sites, such as Autotrader, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace, function as “meetingplaces” to connect a buyer to a seller—and then leave them in the lurch to negotiate issues such as payments, document signing, and the rest.

Autotrader allows buyers to pay you via the following clunky methods:

Bank transfer: cumbersome, exposes your banking info to strangers
Checks: slow, inconvenient
Debit and credit card: 3.39% processing fee, $25K limit

Let’s get into what makes each of these problematic.
Image highlighting Buying/Selling Car Privately by PrivateAuto

Are Bank Transfers Good?

Bank wire transfers are a frustrating and cumbersome way to get paid.

1. Inconvenient. You and the buyer need to have multiple back-and-forth exchanges to orchestrate the transaction. You’ve got better things to do with your time and attention.
2. Slow. Transfers can take days to fully process due to low account limits. If you’re smart, you won’t hand over the title until you’ve received the funds into your account. This forces the buyer to pay you, then wait—an act of faith on their part. It also turns what could be a quick transaction into a drawn-out affair.
3. Potentially risky. Exposing your 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. You get escrow-like safeguards in the palm of your hand, and the PrivateAuto deal flow keeps both you and the buyer protected.

What About Checks?

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?

While cashier’s checks are more trustworthy, even they can be forged. The only way for you to be 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.

Are Credit Cards a Good Form of Payment?

With debit and credit card transactions, Autotrader charges a processing fee of 3.39% of the total amount. For a $45K F-150, that’s $1,525. Except you couldn’t buy that sweet F-150 by credit card through Autotrader, because they have a $25,000 limit for credit and debit card transactions.

Also, with credit cards, there’s always a risk of chargebacks if the buyer regrets their decision later.

For a fee-free, no-limits instant payment method that is irreversible, go with PrivateAuto Pay.
Image highlighting Buying Car Privately by PrivateAuto

DealNow Is Your Autotrader Payment Solution

We’ve mentioned how PrivateAuto Pay is the answer to your prayers for getting paid on Autotrader. Now for the good part: how to use PrivateAuto Pay to get paid for your Autotrader-listed car.

Let’s zoom out for just a second for a high-level view: PrivateAuto is an end-to-end transaction solution that allows you to list your vehicle for sale, do the deal, and get paid. PrivateAuto Pay is our integrated banking gateway that facilitates instant, fee-free fund transfers of any amount.

PrivateAuto Pay is great if you’re listing your car on PrivateAuto, but what about if you're selling your car on Autotrader? We want you to have a safe and secure payment method there, as well.

That’s why we created DealNow. DealNow is a bridge solution that allows you to start a transaction on Autotrader (or anywhere) and finish it on PrivateAuto with all the advantages of PrivateAuto Pay. Here’s how it works:

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 via PrivateAuto Pay, and they feel comfortable releasing funds because you’ve just signed a legally-binding document.
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 Autotrader to Craigslist to the friend of a friend—DealNow will help you get the deal done and get paid, right now.

Payments FAQ


What is Autotrader?

Autotrader is a leading online “meetingplace” for buying and selling new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles. It was founded in 1997 and has grown into one of the largest digital automotive websites in the United States. Autotrader is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and is a subsidiary of Cox Automotive.

As a non-transactional marketplace, Autotrader does a terrific job of connecting prospective buyers to vehicle sellers, but it doesn’t provide much value beyond that to get the deal done.

Do I need to use an escrow service when selling a car on Autotrader?


What is a good price for a used car?


Can you use peer-to-peer payment apps to get paid on Autotrader?


Is Autotrader trusted?


Are Carvana and Autotrader the same company?


Does Autotrader accept physical cash payments?


Does Autotrader charge any seller fees?


What is PrivateAuto Pay?