Accepting Cash for a Used Car
If you’re selling a car, there are lot of things to think about. One that’s really important is how people are going to pay you. You want to be careful about how this is done so that you don’t lose your car or lose money on a deal.
Only Accept Cash for a Car
Your safest bet is accepting cash for a used car. If they somehow can’t do it, then maybe they are not the right buyer and instead need to go to a used car dealer.
I did actually accept a bank check on a car I sold last year. The check looked good and I trusted them but I was a bit nervous about it. I did have a copy of their driver’s license and their address, so that made me feel better. What you can probably do in this instance if you want to be sure is to call the bank (if they’re open) and ask them to verify that a check is good. They’ll ask for the routing number and the account number and the amount of the check. They should be able to verify this for you. Just tell them you have a buyer for your car and you got a bank check (I’m not talking about a personal check here – never accept a personal check… how do you know that the account is still open, etc.?).
Taking a Deposit
I don’t mind taking a deposit on a car. When I do this, we set a time that their check or cash will hold the car for. Maybe it’s for 24-48 hours or something like that. Don’t make it too long.
At this point, I’ll still take a check because I still have the car. When it comes time to buy the car, I tell them that I’ll want the full amount in cash and they can have their check back at that point.
Credit Card or PayPal
Unless you have your own merchant account where you can take credit cards, you can’t even take a credit card. Most places that deal with transactions over a thousand dollars or more might not even take a credit card because the fees start adding up on their end.
With PayPal, I might take a deposit but that’s it. It’s just a little too messy and there are a bunch of PayPal scams out there – maybe something that’s new and not many people have heard of… which means it might look legit and might not be. I wouldn’t take a PayPal payment for a car.
Get to Know Your Buyer a Little
No, it’s not like you’re going to become friends with whomever buys your car but don’t be afraid to ask for identification. Take a picture of their driver’s license with your cell phone. Look at the picture and them to make sure it’s them. Hold the driver’s license yourself and make sure it seems real. Look for holograms and special markings, etc. If they won’t do this, then you really have no right to trust them.
Deposit Your Money
Once I get the money for a car sale, I like to get it into the bank as soon as I can… maybe that’s just me though. I figure if the bank accepts the money, then I’m golden and the deal is done. I also don’t like having a lot of cash around the house… what if there’s a fire or a robbery or something? You might not get that money back.
Again, maybe this is just me that feels this way but I thought I’d pass this tip on so that people can feel better when selling a car – that’s what this whole website is about anyway.
Again, just be smart and only accept cash. Don’t compromise on that and you should be fine. Even someone scamming you on a deposit check means that much money less that you’re making. Scammers can put on a good show, so don’t be fooled. Of course, don’t take this to the extreme and scare off your buyers but just asking for identification or a driver’s license for someone buying a car is really reasonable and they can’t really blame you for asking for that. Good luck!
If you think I missed some good tips in this article, please just put them in the comments area below so that everyone can enjoy your ideas. Please share this article with your friends, too!