Safe Ways to Accept Payment When Selling Your Car

safe payment when selling your car

Selling your used car on your own is challenging enough, but when it comes to accepting payment at the time of sale, you have to keep yourself safe from scammers.


Unfortunately, some buyers have negative intentions which may leave you a victim of a scam. Because of this, you’ll want to be certain you are accepting a method of payment that keeps both you and your wallet safe even after you say good-bye to your car. The following are a few tips to protect yourself from scammers when privately selling your used car:

Cash Payments

When it comes to selling your car in San Diego, the phrase “Cash is king!” has never been truer.
In general, accepting cash for your car is by far the safest way to make sure you get the full, exact payment. But remember, if you accept cash from a buyer you’ll end up with hundred or even thousands of dollars in your wallet and you’ll need to get to the bank ASAP. It can be dangerous to walk around with all that money in your pocket! To be extra safe, you may want to meet the buyer at the bank so you can immediately put the cash into your account.

your car for sale

Personal and Cashier’s Checks

Like we mentioned, it’s pretty dangerous to walk around with your pockets full of large bills, and for that reason the buyer may choose to pay you in a personal or cashier’s check. Besides cash, a certified cashier’s check is the most secure way to accept payment during a private sale. Unfortunately, potential for fraud still exists. There is no guarantee that the buyer actually has the money in the account to cover the check, and you may find yourself in a situation with a bounced check. There’s a chance that a bank will not detect a fake cashier’s check until days or weeks after depositing it. By then, the buyer is long gone and you’re left with a huge financial problem. A bounced check from a buyer can leave you with multiple transaction fees. Just imagine, if you think you have thousands of dollars in your account after you cash the check and you start paying bills, then you, too, will have transaction errors and bounced checks. Of course, an even bigger kicker, you’ll have no money for your vehicle and no vehicle!

To be certain you don’t have to learn the hard way, you can schedule the transaction to occur at the buyer’s bank. That way, you’ll be right there as the check is prepared and you can be certain you aren’t getting scammed.

Escrow Payments

Another way to accept payment, yet less used, is buy having the buyer pay through an escrow account. However, if you choose to go this route be sure to select the service form a legitimate bank or attorney. Do not agree to an escrow service suggested by the buyer. Use the attorney or bank of your choice and have the buyer agree to your terms and conditions.

Just Say No to Payment Plans

If your buyer asks for a payment plan, just say no! You should never agree to a payment plan. This is an automatic red flag. Although you want to sell your car quickly, there are plenty of other buyers out there and will do so honestly without scamming you.

your car for sale

Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away

After all that advertising, meeting with strangers, and multiple test drives, there’s no doubt you want to sell your car as soon as possible. Yet, don’t be afraid to walk away if your gut tells you something isn’t right. If you think you’re dealing with a scammer, you probably are. As a private seller, you should always be in control. If you’ve given the buyer numerous options and they still balk at all of them, then feel free to walk away. Void the agreement completely and move on to the next buyer. Trust your gut. If your buyer appears to have shady behavior, they probably are shady and untrustworthy.

Selling your car yourself is difficult so keep in mind all the factors before you even begin. The last thing you want to deal with are the shady buyers and scammers out there. Remember, you don’t have to sell your car to just anyone. There are plenty of people willing to buy your car, so do not settle for the first person – especially if they seem difficult or balk at your payment rules. Keep these tips in mind as you meet with buyers to be sure everything is legal and legitimate. Be sure you do your research and planning to keep everything safe and valid as there are many more nightmare scenarios that exist.

Payment represents on of the biggest risks when selling your car privately. However, there are other risks too. Check out our post Know the Risks When You Sell Your Car Privately to learn more tips for a safe transaction.

And, if you would rather bypass potentially shady buyers and doing all the legwork yourself, sell your used car to Driveo instead! We will take care of the sale with an easy and fast transaction. We are the best possible alternative to selling your car yourself because we offer more than trade in values and provide the same security and convenience as trading your car in. Forget the hassle and get more money and a secure payment the easy way. Learn more about how Driveo works.

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