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Selling a car long distance? Worried about money transfer? Advice from my bank......

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  • Selling a car long distance? Worried about money transfer? Advice from my bank......

    Selling a car long distance? Worried about money transfer?
    Given the high rate of fraudulent financial transactions going on, who wouldn't be.

    I am selling a car (thank goodness not an A) to a party in Michigan, and we are in Texas.
    I would always prefer a face-to-face cash-in-hand transaction, but in this case that is not possible. As the seller, I needed to protect myself.
    After a lengthy discussion with my banker, here is what we came up with. My bank is BOA but the methods she described would apply at any bank.

    1. Forget all about cashier's checks and money orders, any of that could be fraudulent.
    2. Forget about wire transfers. They ain't what you think. The wire can be stopped after it partially goes thru; or, worse yet, it can be reversed any time within the following 90 days. To me this is a banking industry weak point, but that is how it is.
    3. Here is what I was told to be foolproof:

    a. Buyer finds a branch of YOUR bank. He brings CASH to the counter and asks that it be deposited to YOUR account. Of course you have supplied your routing number and account number, which is info you freely give out each and every time you write a check, anyway.
    b. Have the buyer text you a copy of the deposit slip that was used that he gets back from the teller.
    c. The next day, you physically go to your bank, ask for a banker, not a teller, and have them check the deposit. They can tell from their end if the deposit was cash or check. If check, that is not acceptable, since that can later be determined to be fraudulent. The deposit HAD to be CASH. This type of transaction cannot be undone.

    You can text, or fax, or USPS a receipt, whatever the buyer wants.

    Now, with all this, YOU are protected, and some could argue that the Buyer is possibly out in the cold. That may be, but if the buyer chooses to not show up in person, and he wants the car, so be it.

    The Buyer and I have just concluded the $500 deposit part of the transaction, and he is trying to figure out what to do next. Having said that, he knows these are the only rules I will play by, and the ball is in his court.

    I turned down an offer from Australia because I would not have been able to follow this procedure.

    The bottom line is, get a good consult from your own banker if this ever applies to you.

  • #2
    Your advice seems sound, how about an electronic bank to bank transfer of funds? This can only be done if the money is available in the transferring account. This way the person does not have to walk around with say 20,000 dollars in their pocket to go to your bank
    3~ Tudor's & 1~ Coupe
    Henry Ford said,
    "It's all nuts and bolts"
    "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."

    Mitch's Auto Service ctr


    • tbirdtbird
      tbirdtbird commented
      Editing a comment
      Mitch, that only works if the buyer and the seller use the same bank. Otherwise what you are describing is a so-called wire-transfer, and that can be withdrawn any time within a 90 day period.

      The reason I started this thread is because to me there is a lot of mis-information out there, and right this minute I needed to protect myself.
      The bottom line , to me, is for anyone who is in this position, to go straight to their banker and inquire, and assume nothing.
      The revelation for me was that you could direct deposit money into someone else's account. I must have had 3 visits with this banker before I was able to fully understand what she was trying to tell me.

      Carrying the cash around is the buyer's problem, not mine. A problem incurred because he did not want to fly to my location and do business in person. He could have flown here, gone to his bank, withdrawn the cash, and then stopped at my place to make the car/cash transfer, but he does not want to fly here.

      Knowing what I know now, there is no other way I would do this; nothing else is fool-proof and fraudulent- proof.

      Question below is about bank checks, they have been counterfeited for years. Check with your own banker before proceeding. You will be glad you did
      Last edited by tbirdtbird; 08-18-2017, 03:18 PM.

  • #3
    Good post, how about a bank check, aren't those guaranteed?


    • tbirdtbird
      tbirdtbird commented
      Editing a comment
      nope, there are fraudulent ones out there

  • #4
    I've done a number of wire transfer deals into my brokerage account and have never heard that they can be reversed in 90 days. Perhaps that's a bank thing. When the funds have cleared (usually within 24 hours), I will transfer them into other accounts in different institutions.


    • #5
      How about those cash transfer services like Popmoney or Venmo? I have used both, but I really don't know the rules. I should read up on them rather than just throw this out there.


    • #6
      Thanks for your leg work Tbird !
      I watched an aircraft trans action when I was a teen, 40K in a briefcase
      I sure was impressed. Guess where that airplane went.......south Florida
      It was an ideal aircraft for hauling drugs :-( sad day for me because I had flown it with my adult friend.


      • #7
        Originally posted by Mitch View Post
        Your advice seems sound, how about an electronic bank to bank transfer of funds? This can only be done if the money is available in the transferring account. This way the person does not have to walk around with say 20,000 dollars in their pocket to go to your bank
        This is the way to go. I have done this several times. As the seller you are safe because the money is in your account. As a buyer always get a notarized 'letter of intent to sell' before making the transfer. Your bank may require that you get prior authorization before you can do this type of transfer.


        • tbirdtbird
          tbirdtbird commented
          Editing a comment
          this only works if the other party is honest. My antique car insurance co (Hagerty) had alerted me to electronic transfers being invalidated weeks after the initial transaction. That is when I decided to go right to the horses mouth, ie the bank, and what I posted is what they told me. If the buyer decides to undo the transaction within the 90 day period, you are screwed, plain and simple, no matter what shows in your account, you have no protection. This was the point of my post. Personally I feel the banking industry needs to clean this up but I needed to protect myself right now.

          I would still heartily suggest that anyone who finds themselves in the position I was in get a consult from their own bank and proceed accordingly. There are too many fraudsters out there. You will be glad you did, assume nothing if you value your money
          Last edited by tbirdtbird; 08-19-2017, 12:57 PM.

      • #8
        Dave, you always have valuable advice. What are you selling? A T-bird? :-)


        • tbirdtbird
          tbirdtbird commented
          Editing a comment
          RR. The Tbird got away from me long ago....

      • #9

        You know you may not always know the cash is good either.. sadly true. I recently sold one of my modern trucks and the guy had cash ready. I said give me a deposit and I took one of his large bills. I had to go home and get the title and while I did, I stopped by a gas station ( it was on a sunday) and had them swipe the bill with a checker pen to make sure it was good. You never know. Can there still be issues... sure but at least I felt better about it and it was OK.

        I've never heard of a 90 day reversal either against your will from your account. I don't think your bank can do that without your consent. I guess we all have to do our homework and check. The only way I sell a car is taking cash, at least from a local standpoint. I have bought out of state and done wire transfers... worst thing is the bank holding hostage your money which is frustrating.

        I've also met a buyer at his bank and they couldn't scrape up 13K in cash to pay me. they were down to $5 bills! Unbelievable!! Sadly we live in a society now where it's hard to trust anyone, and you have to watch your back on everything.


        • #10
          Larry, this was exactly my point, which I think some missed:
          "you have to watch your back on everything."

          not everything is as it seems.
          What I usually do regarding cash is meet at the bank and let them run the bills thru their machine.....that way I know the cash is real

          "I don't think your bank can do that without your consent." Check. You are gonna be shocked


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