Can You Buy A "Gift Certificate" for a House or Car?

I was just thinking about large ticket items. Like if I wanted to buy someone a couch or a refridgerator, it’d be a simple matter of going into an appliance store or department/furniture store and getting a gift certificate.

That way I could allow the person I was giving the gift to pick out what they wanted.

And I got to wondering, about houses and cars. Suppose I wanted to give a car as a gift but let’s just say for the sake of argument, I didn’t want the receiver of the gift to know who I was.

You can’t just walk into an auto dealership and buy a gift card for a new car, or can you?

What if I wanted to get someone a house but remain anonymous?

Obviously with smaller items it’s a simple matter to purchase a gift certificate and mail it to the person anonymously. But could you do something like this with a car or a house?

Not that I have enough money to do this, but I was wondering.

I’d guess that there would be some way of doing this, perhaps through a intermediary, but house and cars have titles or deeds that need to be dealt with. As far as I know, the person you were giving the house to would have to get involved at some point in the deal.

I don’t know if I would accept such a large gift from an anonymous person.

I once tried to purchase a new car with a credit card (Holiday evening and I need the car immediately.). The available credit on the card exceeded the price of the car by some few thousand but the dealer would not hear to it.

VISA sells gift cards so you could probably buy one for a large enough amount for a car.

My boss bought a new car with his fancy business Visa card once, so he wouldn’t need to put collision insurance on it like he would have with an auto loan.

I imagine the dealer just thinks that if you’re going to shill out a bunch of money on interest he’d just as soon you give it to him.

Certainly not. Credit card companies charge the seller a percentage of the sale. So the dealer would be taking a loss of 5-7% right off the top of that sale. No way!

Amex sells gift cards in bigger values than Visa. Visa, IIRC, goes up to 999 and Amex has a $3k gift card. But still, the question would be if a realtor would accept a stack of gift cards for payment.

What if you said to the dealer, look I want to buy a car for John Smith, but I don’t want him to know I’m the giver. Here’s a cashier’s check or certified check for $30,000 he can buy any car up to that amount and you can just return me the difference.

Assuming that the dealer wouldn’t take advantage of you, or if they did you wouldn’t care, I wonder if they’d go for it.

I thought of this, 'cause I always thought if I ever won the “Mega Millions,” I’d like to buy some people I lost touch with ages ago something, without them knowing. It must be possible somehow, but I can’t figure out exactly how.

I read one novel where there was a kid and someone left him a trust where they paid for his education to a boarding school and college but under the condition that the “Benefactor remanins anonymous” and the poor schmuck spent the book trying to find out who it was

It’s 3-4%, but this is the right answer. My old dealership (which I do contract work for occasionally now) is dealing with the smallest of profit margins in years. They are taking deals that have only $100-200 profit in order to keep the cash flow going. There is just no way that they can accept a credit card as a method of payment right now.

Also in some states using a credit card for a car sale may be illegal due to lien laws. I learned that in my training several years ago.

As to the question at hand. If someone came in with a certified check drawn on a local bank or a personal check that clears the telecheck, they could tell us that it’s for someone else to purchase a vehicle. We’d make it work. The person who the car is for would have to sign all the paperwork, but I’d be happy to make out a gift certificate for the giver to give the giftee.

ETA: The reason I didn’t say cash is that the dealer has to report to the IRS any cash recieved over $10,000 and find out it’s origins. Checks have a paper trail and don’t have to be reported.

Well? Did it turn out to be the escaped fugitive he helped when he was a kid, or was it the loony old spinster who wears a wedding dress every day?

Sounds like Claude in Maggie-Now, and he never found out.

I would. Email me at I will personally guarantee your anonymity.

The question isn’t if the realtor would accept a stack of gift cards, but would the home seller? If someone walked up to me and offered to buy my house, I’d have to verify that there was some way to convert the cards back into cash, as I’m not a licensed Visa vendor. The bank that holds my current mortgage would also have to get involved, as they would be getting a large percentage of the stack of cards. A cashier’s check would be much easier to do.

Why not just up the price by the difference? They do it at gas stations all the time around here. It costs $0.02 more per gallon.

It seems it would be worth it not to lose the customer altogether.