Straw Buyer


DEFINITION of 'Straw Buyer'

A person who makes a purchase on behalf of another person. A straw buyer is used when the real buyer cannot complete the transaction for some reason. It is not necessarily illegal to use a straw buyer, except where the transaction involves fraud or purchasing goods for someone who is legally barred from making the purchase themselves.


Straw buying is sometimes used in large purchases, such as buying homes and automobiles, where the real buyer has poor credit and is unable to obtain financing. The real buyer promises to make all the payments and may compensate the straw buyer for the use of his or her credit. Banks dislike the use of straw buyers because the arrangement increases the risk of default on the loan without the bank's prior knowledge of that risk. The activity is also risky for straw buyers, who may be held legally responsible for the debt they incurred on behalf of others.

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