Web Tools and Mobile Phones are Changing the Auto Finance Industry

Serving clients is very different today compared to 10 years ago, when desktop online financial services were becoming a dominant force in the economy. The online landscape of today changes so rapidly that financial service companies and the professionals working for them have to be nimble and adaptive enough to employ new strategies for doing business with customers.

Research from online auto finance website Lending Expert shows that over 80% of car finance arrangements are initially online.

Mobile Banking

Technology is changing the way consumers access information and transact business. According to Philip Ryan of Bankinnovation.net, 40 percent of mobile-banking app users don’t use a desktop or laptop to conduct their banking. Ryan points out that combined Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase have almost 25 million customers who use mobile apps to access their accounts on smart phones and tablets.

That means 60 percent rely on a desktop or laptop computer at least some of the time. Businesses continue to expand their presence on traditional websites. One is for their website, the other is mobile-friendly.

Auto Loans

Banks and other financing institutions have discovered just how transparent they must be when dealing with customers, and they’re realizing that the environment online is impacting the way they compete for business. Relationships with partners, such as dealerships are important, but they’re no longer enough. Shoppers are educated, well-connected and won’t always follow a dealer who tries to steer them toward a specific lender. Research online may lead shoppers to their own preferred lender.

Part of that research includes shopping for specific vehicles online. Prospective buyers don’t have to step onto a car lot until they’re ready to purchase, because there are so many opportunities to browse vehicles online.

TrueCar.com offers buyers the lowest price on pre-owned late model vehicles, and directs them to specific certified dealers in their zip code. Because consumers often can shave a thousand or more dollars off the cost of a vehicle there compared to a new car dealer, financial institutions have to be prepared to issue smaller loans.

When consumers get closer to actually purchasing a vehicle, they may turn to a site like LendingTree.com, which forces banks to compete for buyer business with competitive rates and terms. After indicating the type of vehicle they wish to purchase and specifics about their financial picture, consumers receive actual offers from multiple financial institutions.

Calculate the Difference

Bankrate.com offers consumers several different calculators to help them find the best options. The site compares such things as rebate vs. low interest, to help buyers determine what may be less expensive in the long run.

All of these sites are of course, accessible on a mobile device. Although many auto and auto loan comparison sites don’t yet have their own apps, it’s only a matter of time before they do. Comparison-shopping apps, such as RedLaser, Decide.com and Google Shopper, let consumers find the best price in their area for almost any product.

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