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Safe ways to get paid when selling your car privately

Safe ways to get paid when selling your car privately

Whenever a market heats up or there is increased demand for something, the scammers crawl out of the woodwork to take advantage. Increased demand in the used car market is just one example.

If you’re selling a car privately, payment anxiety is one of the most challenging feelings to overcome. That’s what we’ll tackle today.

We’re going to outline the safe methods to accept payment for a used car when you sell it privately.

Or, you could avoid payment anxiety altogether and sell your car to a dealership. Your call.

Safe payment methods for car sales

If you’re selling anything privately, you want to be paid fairly for your goods. That’s especially true when you’re dealing with a big ticket item like a car.

Cash is king

Cash is still the primary way people pay for used goods not bought on the internet.

Trouble is, you need to check the cash is legit before you give over the keys and title and you don’t want to be walking around with thousands of dollars in cash. Canada is relatively safe, but still!

If you’re accepting cash, go to the bank with the buyer to deposit the cash. The teller will check the cash is real and you won’t be walking around with a large amount of money.

Bank transfer

Sending money from one bank account to another is also a safe payment method. We’re talking direct transfer here, not wire transfer. It may take an hour or so for the money to show up, depending on the bank, but it’s safe.

Banks will only transfer cleared funds and once deposited, it isn’t easy for the sender to get it back. Not impossible by any means, but difficult.

If you’re dealing with larger amounts of money, perhaps a bank transfer might work.

Cashier’s cheque

Cashier’s cheques or banker’s cheques are an okay payment method as long as you’re in the bank with the buyer watching the cheque being cut. The buyer will likely want to be with you when you deposit the cheque to make sure it clears.

We recommend both those scenarios. It shouldn’t take long and once cleared, you can hand over the keys relatively confident you didn’t get ripped off.

Payment methods to avoid when selling a car

There are some common payment methods we don’t recommend using when selling big ticket items like cars.

They include:

Escrow – While fine in theory and there are legit escrow services out there, there are also lots of fakes. Fake escrow services are very common and are definitely worth avoiding.

Personal cheques – Personal cheques or anything other than a cashier’s cheque is definitely to be avoided. They are too easy to fake and you have no comeback once the buyer has driven off.

Payment plans – As unlikely as it might seem, asking to pay in instalments is actually quite common. It becomes more common during hard times, but don’t do it. It rarely ends well when it’s people dealing with people.

The vast majority of private car sales go perfectly well. But, enough don’t to make anxiety real and that’s what we hope to have tackled today.

Remember, you can avoid any anxiety whatsoever by selling your car to a dealership.

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