The internet has changed everything. With a world of information at their fingertips, consumers have more power than ever. Consumers can do anything from finding love to buying a home online. Car shoppers have been propelled from in-person haggling at their local dealerships to thousands of online listings from hundreds of dealers with competitive up-front pricing in the click of a button from the privacy of their own living room. The internet, offering consumers access to inventory from dealers across the nation, has driven car dealers to list their most competitive price online or be lost in a sea of a thousand dealers offering a better price to anyone with internet access. Consumers have the power to find the best car at the best price before even setting foot into a dealership and most dealership activity has been pushed out of the showroom and onto the internet. You can find a car, get an appraisal of your trade, sell your car, make your car payment and apply for credit online. Online credit applications have allowed consumers to get loan approvals in minutes without having to leave the house, much less fill out mountains of paperwork hoping to get approved. Consumers can find a car and dealership, get an offer on their trade, and secure financing all from the couch. It’s a brave new connected world but people still have plenty of questions about how online credit applications work.
Is it Safe?
With stories of identity theft almost as common as Kim Kardashian selfies, consumers are smart to be concerned about protecting their personal information. In most situations, it is the website that you need to be worried about, not the submission. Scammers will send you official looking emails taking you to phony sites set up for the purpose of stealing your information. You will think that you are getting a great deal those Captain Kirk and Spock matching salt and pepper shakers that you thought you were purchasing from William Shatner’s fan site, but in reality the link in that email sent you a to a scammer’s page hosted in Liberia. For online car shoppers, the best way to avoid identity theft while shopping is to make sure you are submitting your application on a trusted site. Use Google local business listings to verify you are on the actual business’s web site. Its fine for consumers to research and shop on generic listing sites, but when it comes time to submit an application or inquiry, go directly to the dealership’s website. Submitting information to a website that has an actual brick and mortar location will significantly decrease your chances to become a victim to a scam. When you are submitting an application for credit, check the web address of the credit application. It should be HTTP secure. The web address should begin with “https://ssl” or “https://”. The https:// stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, meaning the dealership uses encryption to collect your information. HTTPS provides protection against outside hackers gaining access to your information. It also encrypts collected data to avoid tampering or eavesdropping. Again, the most fool-proof way to avoid identity theft online is to make sure you are on the correct site and to make sure that site is connected to an actual physical business location.
Will Applying For An Auto Loan Hurt My Credit?
Since we primarily work with sub-prime borrowers, our customers can be even more concerned about damaging their credit further than a consumer with excellent credit. Our internal credit application is just that…. internal. Your information is not automatically submitted to any credit bureau, and we won’t run your credit through any bureau without talking to you first. Even though during the application process we will run your credit, it is very unlikely to damage your credit anyway.
How Long Will It Take?
With companies fighting to make their product or service faster and faster, you can end up feeling like you’re stuck in Something About Mary’s “7 Minute Abs” argument. Just when you think someone has the fastest whatever, someone else comes out with something quicker. One only needs to study the “time to apply for car insurance” wars between Geico and Esurance. “It takes you 15 whole minutes to get car insurance?! We can do that in 7 ½ minutes!” While some things, like getting a car loan, shouldn’t be completed at a lighting pace, that doesn’t mean you should have to fill out one hundred required fields to apply for a car loan. Unless you have your employers HR department’s direct line number handy, you’re going to want to find a dealer that has a minimum required fields. At our dealership, we have slimmed down our online credit application to 8 required fields. You can enter as much information as you want but you won’t be forced to. Our only required information is First Name, Last Name, Home Phone, Address, Social, Birth date, Employment and Income. If you have these few pieces of information, we can get you a preliminary answer.
How Long Until I Get An Answer?
Some dealerships can take up to 48 hours to process your application…. and that is with excellent turn-around time. At our dealership, we use an advanced secure processing system that will use your information to give you a preliminary answer by email within 10 minutes, guaranteed. With that preliminary approval, one of our salesmen will call you. Our salesman will obtain any additional information needed to get you your car loan and will be able to provide you with options for down payment and terms.