How do I get a car out of my name that I sold

Q: I was told by a representative at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles that when I sell my car, I just have to sign the title with the odometer reading and get my signature notarized an

How do I get a car out of my name that I sold

Q: I was told by a representative at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles that when I sell my car, I just have to sign the title with the odometer reading and get my signature notarized and hand the title over to the buyer. Are there any safeguards I can take to make sure the new owner is taking responsibility for owning and insuring the car and that the car is no longer in my name?

M.K., Cleveland

A: Of course when you sell a car, you should remove your license plates before the buyer drives away. One would presume that the new owner would want to get new plates right away and, to get plates, you need to have a title in your name. But if someone had an old set of plates, theres nothing to stop him from slapping them on his new car temporarily. Or longer. You actually have 30 days to transfer title.

What if a buyer chose to ignore that deadline and something happened involving the car thats still in your name? It could get messy.

My advice would be that its always best for both parties  the buyer and the seller  to do a title transfer at a title bureau. That way, the seller knows its done. And the buyer would know there hasnt been a duplicate title issued that would make the title the buyer is holding invalid. (This can happen. A seller could have the original title and then get a duplicate title for a few bucks, if say, the title was lost. But what if it wasnt lost? A seller could sell the vehicle and provide the buyer with the original title, which would actually be invalid once the duplicate title was issued.)

BMV spokeswoman Lindsey Bohrer confirmed a joint trip to a title office is the best way to protect both a seller and a buyer. The sellers signature gets notarized there. The buyer confirms the title is valid and the seller confirms the title is no longer in her name. (Title offices are different from BMV offices, by the way.)

If youre selling and you choose not to do the transaction at a title office, you should at least make a copy of your signed and notarized title, take a photo of the buyers drivers license and make a copy of the cashiers check used for payment (or the deposit slip if the buyer paid you cash and you deposited it). This is the minimum amount of documentation youd need to start untangling a mess if your buyer wrecked the car, committed a crime with it, etc.

And if youre buying, you should at least check whether the title youre holding in your hand is a valid title before you hand over payment. Go to:

When you type in the title number, it will tell you whether its valid. If you type in the VIN, it will provide the number of the valid title and whose name its in.

Q: We purchased a new TV and intended to cancel Dish and use YouTube TV service. After setting up the TV, we got online to set up the service and learned they were pushing Google Pay for the monthly payment. Also mentioned was debit card payment, or credit card (with keeping the card on file, plus a 2.9% fee?). Online bill pay was not an option.

We dont have, or even know about, Google Pay, and we dont care to leave our credit card info on file so that leaves a debit card.

Would it make sense to get a debit card for the sole purpose of using it to pay this one bill? Our only experience with a debit card was when we opened an account for our son when he went to OSU, and we deposited here so he could withdraw there.

Would it be better to open a separate checking account with a debit card, and only deposit into it when the YouTube TV bill is to be deducted?

D.P., Macedonia

A: Youre right that a debit card tied to a primary account is not a smart idea. A secondary account is the way to go.

If you choose to get a new account with a debit card, you could use it for more than just this bill. I promise you that youll find other cases where this would come in handy  times when you need to make a payment and dont want the recipient to have any access to your primary checking account or your credit card.

You can get a FREE checking account and debit card with no minimum balance or direct deposit requirements at at least 10 of our local banks. Note that a couple of these dont allow you to write paper checks; everything is electronic:

  • Citizens, One Deposit account
  • Dollar Bank, Free Checking account
  • Fifth Third, Express Banking account (no checks)
  • First Federal Lakewood, Simply Free Checking account
  • First National Bank of Pennsylvania, Freestyle Checking
  • Huntington, Asterisk-Free Checking
  • KeyCorp, Hassle-Free account (no checks)
  • Northwest, My Northwest Checking
  • Ohio Savings, My Community Free Checking account
  • Westfield, WB Free Checking

If you wanted to get just a debit card with no fees, Id recommend MOVO or American Express Bluebird. But honestly, one of the accounts listed above would be easier to manage for most people because deposits can be made in person at the branch, through Zelle or other no-hassle means.

To reach Teresa Murray, email  or call or text 216-316-7064. She cannot respond to all queries or comments. Previous columns online: On Facebook: MurrayMoneyMatters. On Twitter: @teresamurray.

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