Car Shipping Payment Methods | American Auto Blog

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Breaking Down Car Shipping Payment Methods

Paying for Auto Transport Services

Shipping a car is an involved process. It’s not complicated, usually, but there are a lot of moving parts. This is why car shipping payment methods are the way they are.

When you ship a car, you book your order with an auto transport broker. They are the company that handles all the minutiae of your vehicle’s transportation. Mostly, their job is to work for you to find a carrier at a reasonable rate. It’s also their job to ensure that the carriers they find are fully licensed and insured as well.

That’s what we do here. If you book your shipment with us, we work to find a reputable carrier to haul your vehicle in a timely manner.

When you ship with us, you will make two payments: one to us, and one to your carrier. This article is going to talk more about available car shipping payment methods, what’s common and what’s not, and how you can make your shipment easier when it comes to paying for it.

Car shipping payment methods explained

As mentioned, there are typically two payments you make when you ship a car. One payment will go to your broker (us), and the other will go to your carrier. Brokers will usually take payment either at booking or at dispatch. Carriers will usually take payment at delivery. This is typically known as “cash on delivery,” or “COD.”

This is by far the most common method of paying for your shipment. It allows the broker to get paid for their services, and the carrier to get paid for theirs, without any middlemen. You pay both entities when they need it and that’s it.

There are, however, a few other ways to pay. A relatively common one is still paying your broker and carrier separately, but paying your carrier at pickup instead of delivery. Known as “cash on pickup,” or “COP,” this method is a fairly common alternative. If you cannot be there at delivery, or no one will be there to make payment at delivery, cash on pickup is a good option.

Another, less common method, is the prepay option. This is where you pay the full amount – broker and carrier payments – to the broker. The broker will then pay the carrier on your behalf, so you only have to deal with one payment.

However, drivers have a lot of expenses, notably fuel. Getting paid at pickup or delivery puts cash in their pocket immediately. Waiting for payment is not as easy on them, financially.

However, many carriers understand that prepays happen. Customers can’t always be there for pickup or delivery, or they won’t have cash to pay with. So these are some options.

Now let’s talk about what you can expect when it comes time to actually ship.

How to pay your broker

Typically, when you book through a broker, they will charge you a fee, or deposit, or down payment. Really, the name doesn’t matter because it’s all the same. A small portion of your total price, usually around $200 (though it varies), will be owed to your broker.

Different companies will have different stipulations on when and how you can pay, but most will take payment at booking via credit card. This is the industry standard and most every company that is worth their weight will be able to take a credit card payment. Be wary of companies that ask you to pay via cash or telecheck and don’t offer credit card payment options.

That isn’t to say that those companies are bad, mind you. It’s just a potential warning sign. Regardless, brokers will often offer different methods of payment. In addition to checks they can usually do Zelle, Cash App or Venmo payments, ACH, and even telechecks. These will, of course, vary from company to company. So you’ll want to talk to a representative to see what types of payment they accept.

Brokers are important in the industry because they keep prices more competitive. By acting as middlemen, brokers force carriers (more often than not, anyway), to compete for loads. This keeps prices down and dispatches up. Booking directly with a carrier can result in higher prices as carriers want to make as much as possible. Brokers help mitigate those issues and help you save money on your shipment.

Cash on delivery – the standard

Of all the different types of car shipping payment methods, cash on delivery is easily the industry standard.

Cash on delivery includes two payments: the broker payment, and the carrier payment at delivery. While your broker takes payment via credit card usually, carriers need something a bit more…concrete. Enter cash and certified funds.

Every carrier wants cash at delivery. That’s the best of the car transport payment methods for them. They want to be able to get cold, hard cash in their hands because it spends, and spends immediately.

As we mentioned above, carriers have a lot of expenses. From fuel and food and lodging costs to wasted time waiting for loads, time is money for a carrier. They need to be able to keep their trucks fueled and on the road and their bellies full, after all.

Carriers don’t take any form of payment that is not certified. Many will take cashier’s checks and money orders, but some will not. If you are unable to make payment via certified funds, payment in full to your broker may be an option.

Carriers don’t like non-certified funds because…well, they aren’t certified. Checks can bounce. Cashier’s checks can be faked. Credit card payments can be stopped. But cash? Cash always spends.

This is why, of all the different types of car transport payment methods out there, COD is the easiest. Just pay your broker, get your cash, and then pay the driver at delivery. Everyone is happy, no one gets screwed, and the shipment is a success.

Alternative car transport payment methods

As we mentioned, there are some alternative payment methods. The most common is to prepay for your auto transport services, which we’ve discussed a bit about already but we’ll dive into more.

Carriers don’t like prepays because it forces them to rely on the broker for payment. If you’ve ever had to invoice someone and wait for them to pay you, you know this can be frustrating. Books are harder to reconcile if you’ve yet to receive payment for something, for instance. And no carrier wants any broker to be in debt to them. The more debt a broker racks up with a carrier, the more likely they are to never see that money.

This is why COD shipments almost always ship first. They dispatch more quickly because those are the loads that carriers want to move. They’re easy, they know when they’re getting paid, and there’s no issues. Prepays are still dispatched, of course, it just takes a bit more work to do it and ensure that everything is taken care of. It also puts more work on your broker, but that’s okay.

There aren’t a lot of other alternative payment methods available to you. The broker has to get paid, the carrier has to get paid, and while there are alternatives, there isn’t anything easier than what we already have. COD is just easier for everyone involved.

Brokers don’t have to handle excess funds for you, they don’t have to worry about carriers getting on them about missing payments. Carriers don’t have to worry about getting shafted at delivery. It’s just a good thing for everyone all around.

Ship your vehicle today with American Auto Shipping!

If you’re interested in shipping your vehicle with a reputable shipper, choose us! We are a fully licensed and insured auto transport brokerage. That means we work for you to find the right carrier at the right price. We work with only top-rated carriers as well and ensure they are fully licensed and bonded before dispatch. We make sure to have a copy of their insurance on file as well.

Take a minute to fill out our online auto transport quote request form to get started. It’s free, easy, only takes a minute, and will let you see your price to ship immediately. No hassles, no hidden fees, just a quote to ship your vehicle. We take into account hundreds of different factors when pricing your shipment as well. This means that we get your vehicle moved when you need it moved.

You can also contact one of our representatives any time at 800-930-7417. They can answer your questions, give you a quote, book your shipment, and much more. Need to talk to someone about potential alternative car transport payment methods? We offer a variety of different options for our customers to pay for their shipment.

So no matter what you’re looking to ship, how you’re wanting to pay, or when you’re moving, we can help. Just call us any time or fill out our online quote form to get started.

Dave Armstrong
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