PaySAFE® Escrow can transfer a vehicle title safely and securely between buyer and seller. Technology has made it easy to buy and sell titled vehicles online, regardless of your location. With this growing convenience and opportunity, however, risk also increases. Scams and financial fraud are real concerns when it comes to making any online purchase and the risk increases greatly for transactions that involve thousands of dollars.
As a neutral third party, PaySAFE® Escrow ensures that both parties can complete a sales transaction with confidence and ease. When a purchase agreement is established, buyers transfer the funds for the purchase and we hold the money securely until the buyer has been provided with the title or shipping confirmation . The seller knows that the funds will be available to them as soon as they provide the title and vehicle or shipping confirmation to the buyer.
Escrow Benefits for Buyers
As a buyer, one of the biggest risks is misrepresentation. You think you have found your dream car only to realize that, after the vehicle arrives, you have been taken for a ride – and not the kind of ride you hope to take in your new car. Escrow services mitigate that risk almost entirely. As a buyer, your money is held with a neutral third-party and are only released as specific checkpoints in your agreement (such as receiving the title) are reached. If the vehicle arrives and isn’t as advertised, you have the opportunity to return the vehicle to the seller and receive a refund of the full purchase price.
Escrow Benefits for Sellers
From the seller’s perspective, the greatest risk is that the buyer doesn’t pay the agreed amount or demands the title before money has been exchanged. Escrow services remove that issue from the equation by verifying the funds and documentation in full. You won’t have to worry about checks getting lost in the mail or notice of insufficient funds days or weeks after the vehicle has left your driveway.
Titles are issued individually by state, and are very similar for cars, boats and RVs. Every time a motorized vehicle or vessel exchanges owners, a new title must be created or updated. Ensure the title is filled out entirely, front to back, with all appropriate names and signatures of the buyer(s) and seller(s) — including a lienholder, if applicable. The exact requirements of title issuing varies by state so check with your local DMV.
If the original title is missing, a replacement title must be acquired. The DMV has a wonderful state-by-state guide to this process, which starts with filling out an application for a replacement title. In some states, you can complete this step entirely online, while in others it requires an in-person visit to the DMV or simply mailing in an application.
The title must include details about an outstanding loan on the vehicle, as the buyer won’t be able to fully register it until the loan has cleared. Likewise, if the seller is paying off a lien with the money from the sale, the buyer should contact the lienholder to receive proof in writing that the money will be used for its intended purpose. In some cases, it’s required that the loan be paid off before the sale. Check with the lienholder to acquire the appropriate paperwork in this scenario.
When the Title Changes Hands
- For most cars, vehicle plates should be returned to the previous owner
- In most cases, the buyer must complete an application for the title and registration within 30 days of the purchase
- Include the completed bill of sale with the completed title
- Buyer submits the completed application to the county treasurer and pays appropriate fees
If you want a layer of security in your title transfer, PaySAFE® Escrow is the perfect place to start.