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My boss at my company has agreed to lend me money to buy a car to use for work, where I would pay him monthly for a couple of months until it is paid off.

Upon giving me the money, he asked me to give him a "title" once I bought the car. I wasn't sure what he meant and tried to clarify whether he wanted ownership of the car or he's using some financial term I'm not familiar with.

He told me "no, I don't need ownership you can put it under your name, but give me the title once you buy it".

Anyone have a clue as to what he wants exactly?

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In the US, "title" is the document that shows ownership of the car. It is a nicely printed document you get from the DMV, that includes the information about the car and about you.

You "sign off the title" when you sell the car - part of the title is a form on which the owner of the title can assign it to someone else. With your signature on the title, the new owner goes to the DMV which exchanges it to a new title in the new owner's name. Never sign on the title unless you got the payment for the car from the buyer.

Usually, when the car is bought with a loan, the lender holds the title. Since you need to sign off the title to pass the ownership if you sell the car - lender holding on to it will prevent you from selling the car until the lender gives you the title back (when you pay off the loan).

Your boss, acting as a lender, wants the title to hold on to it to prevent you from selling the car that secures your debt to him. He wants that (usually pink) piece of paper. Here's an article explaining about the title and showing a sample.

Lenders holding the title will usually also add an endorsement at the DMV, so that you can't go and claim that you lost it.

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    that's pretty much as clear as can be. thanks a ton! – douk Jun 26 '15 at 8:18
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    Great answer. I'd like to point out that the title is not "usually pink". Each state's title looks different. If anything, most of them look blue. google.com/… – MiniRagnarok Jun 26 '15 at 13:33
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    "Pink slip" is an idiom for "car title" even though they aren't necessarily pink. – Jeanne Pindar Jun 26 '15 at 16:47
  • I assume you can still sell the car without the title? What happens if you lose it? The first car I purchased in Canada, the seller didn't have the form so he signed the sale on a post-it note; I went to the licence issuer with my post-it note and got the new plates and title right away. – Martin Argerami Jun 27 '15 at 0:42
  • @MartinArgerami I don't think you can get a new title right away with just post-it note in the US. If you lose it - you can apply for replacement, but as I said, the lenders will put an endorsement to prevent you getting a new one while they hold the original. You will not be able to transfer the endorsed title until the endorsement is removed. – littleadv Jun 27 '15 at 2:01

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