What is the safest way to accept payment when selling a car in the UK?

    safe car payment

    Selling your car can be done in plenty of ways — and naturally, we think the Motorway way is the best. But you can only truly say you’ve sold your car when you can clearly see the funds in your account. Our dealers pay by secure bank transfer, but your non-Motorway buyer may want to pay you using a different method. Not all are advised, though!


    Maybe the idea of getting a thick wad of cash appeals to you, but logically, this isn’t the best idea — for one, you need to count it. And if it doesn’t add up, you could be in for a very tense situation. For another, there’s no proof of payment. Add to that general human error, and you might just misplace your cash in no time. It’s also illegal for companies (whether limited or not) to buy your car for cash in the UK, they must offer a bank transfer option of some kind. For private buyers, there are no rules for purchasing vehicles in cash.


    Cheques are somewhat out-dated as a payment method, but when it comes to handing over big sums of money, you may find your car buyer prefers it. And that is likely because a cheque very much swings in the buyer’s favour. They don’t have to get your bank details, they don’t have to prove you’ll even get the cash, and that means you are left in a vulnerable position. As responsible as your buyer may seem, you have no guarantee their cheque won’t bounce, and no paper trail to prove the cheque was exchanged, either. You’ll also have to wait a few days for the cheque to clear — provided you get it to the bank ASAP and don’t lose it in the meantime.

    Banker’s drafts offer a bit more security as they are guaranteed by a bank, but you still have to wait for them to clear. As with cheques, they can also be forged.

    what is the safest method of payment for selling my car

    Bank transfer

    This remains the most secure option, allowing the buyer to transfer you money right to your account. In many cases, this should appear in your account on the same day but it can take longer. This shouldn’t be something your buyer is worried about (if they are, it might be a red flag!).

    If you have access to a card reader or a payment app (maybe you own your own small business) then this is also a handy way to get quick, secure payment.

    Most companies will buy your car using a bank transfer of some kind, payment will usually arrive the same day the payment is made, or within 1-3 days.

    Should I accept a bank transfer when selling my car?

    Ideally, yes. This is the more secure method compared to cash or cheque. In many cases, the funds appear relatively fast so you could hypothetically request the transfer and not release the keys until you see the money in your account.

    What is the process of selling your car that is on a bank loan?

    Cars that have been purchased on finance cannot be sold unless this finance has been settled. Dealers may be happy to help you pay off your remaining balance based on the sale of your car, so make sure you have contacted your finance company to receive a settlement letter. It is illegal to sell a car on finance without letting the buyer know there is money owed on it.

    selling your car safe payment

    When selling a car what is the best form of payment?

    Bank transfer is one of the most secure. It eliminates the risk of being undercut due to poorly counted notes or losing the cash or a cheque. If you do decide on cash, consider doing the exchange at a bank, where you can have a bank clerk confirm the total. You should be extra vigilant when walking around with large sums of cash.

    Can I sell my car before repayment of the car loan is completed?

    Yes and no. You cannot sell a car on finance until you have paid for it. A vehicle on finance does not become your possession until you have completed payment. If you go to a dealer, they may be happy to settle this for you based on the sale of your car. It is illegal to sell your car without telling the seller it is on finance.

    Is it time to sell your car?

    Want to learn more about owning, maintaining, and selling your car? Check out more of our guides here, covering everything from finding buyers, to negotiating a good price, and completing payment safely.