What’s the Safest Way To Send Money To Buy a Car Out of State?

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Sometimes the best deal on a car or another major purchase isn’t anywhere near where you live.

That can present a conundrum. How do you send potentially tens of thousands of dollars to someone out of state? And is that safe?

That’s what a listener of the Clark Howard Podcast recently asked.

What’s the Best, Safest Way To Send Money To a Car Dealership in Another State?

How do I send money to a car dealership out of state in a way that’s safe? That’s what a Clark listener wanted to know on the Jan. 27 podcast episode.

Asked Frank in New York: “I am purchasing a new vehicle from a dealer in another state and want to know what is the best (safest) way to send money since I won’t be there in person when the vehicle is delivered. My son will pick it up. Friends have suggested wiring the money. I don’t know anything about that. How is that done? Are there any potential risks involved?”

Clark’s eyes got wide and he sounded nervous.

“You’re terrifying me so much. I actually want you to get on an airplane, Frank. Go to where your son is and be there for the purchase of that vehicle,” Clark says.

“The danger is that you wire the money and then your son goes to pick up the vehicle and they say, ‘Oh, no, that’s not the deal we’re agreeing to.’ And they already have that money of yours.”

Frank presumably is buying in another state because they’re offering him a much better deal. Driving or flying out of state will cost money, obviously, eating into his savings.

“But I would not do this as a remote transaction. There’s too much risk,” Clark says. “So think of the bonus. You also get to see your son.”

A Potentially Safe Option To Send Money: Via Cashier’s Check

Clark did backtrack slightly once the shock wore off.

Frank can send a cashier’s check if he can’t or won’t be there in person, Clark suggested.

“You would send that cashier’s check with a method like UPS or FedEx where you’ve got tracking and tracing. And it’s sent in one of those envelopes that are not terribly expensive,” Clark says.


One way to ship a cashier’s check relatively cheaply is through Pirate Ship, which Team Clark recently reviewed.

Final Thoughts

Buying a car out of state is a major tradeoff. It’s going to limit your negotiating power. You won’t be able to test drive the car (or take it to a mechanic if it’s used). And figuring out how to pay in cash or make a downpayment is tricky, if not risky.

It’s best if you’re able to travel and buy the car in person. But even that puts you in a weak spot in terms of negotiating.

However, if you have to send money to another state safely, doing it via cashier’s check is Clark’s preferred suggestion.