I have a car which has outstanding finance. BMW have given me a settlement figure of £15,000.

A buyer is interested in buying the car for £13,000. The buyer would like to pay BMW directly using my agreement number. I will then settle the remaining £2000.

On the day of payment, BMW can issue a "Subject to Clearance" letter to both myself and the buyer. However, I would have to wait several days for BMW to confirm that the finance has been fully settled.

If I hand over the keys on the day of payment, I'm concerned that the buyer could reverse the payment and run off with my car without the finance being fully settled. With the documentation in their name, it would be difficult to get the car back.

Is there a safer way to complete the transaction between myself and the buyer?

  • How about keeping the logbook with you till payment gets cleared?
    – Ulkoma
    Jul 31, 2018 at 21:57
  • Good idea, but this isn't something the buyer is prepared to do.
    – Sam
    Aug 1, 2018 at 8:04
  • What method of payment would the buyer be using? Can they use something that can't be bounced/repudiated later, like a banker's draft? Aug 1, 2018 at 9:32
  • 1
    BACS is generally not reversible. Once the money has been paid, it's paid.
    – Simon B
    Aug 1, 2018 at 22:16
  • 1
    For future reference take payments via debit card if possible as that is guaranteed (ie irreversable) once the bank confirms the payment is in your account.
    – davidjwest
    Aug 15, 2018 at 13:54

1 Answer 1


I've since settled the finance and sold the car. This was the safest and easiest way to complete the sale.

As discussed in the comments, it's very difficult to reverse a BACS payment. You would need to ask your bank to reverse the transaction and they would then need to ask the recipient if a mistake had been made. As the payment from the buyer would be going directly to BMW, this would be extremely difficult to dispute. More information can be found here.

As I settled my finance with BMW with a debit card, they were able to send me a clearance letter via email within 10 minutes. This sped up the sale of my car significantly.

If you cannot settle the finance on your car, another option would be to take your car to a BMW dealership and ask them to hold onto the keys until both parties have cleared the finance. This wasn't something I explored, but it could be a solution.

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