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. Check out our blog post “Will Shopping Around For A Car Loan Damage My Credit?”
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.
How Will I Know I’m Approved
In order to qualify for our guaranteed answer within 10
minutes, you will need to enter your email address in your credit application.
Shortly after you receive your preliminary answer, you will receive a phone
call from one of our salesman. Once we have obtained your information, we can
determine your loan specifics like down payment, monthly payment and total loan
amount. If you don’t get a phone call within one business hour of submitting
your application, call us!
I Have Terrible Credit. Can I Get Approved?
Bad credit car loans are pretty much all we do. We have
great rates for prime credit customers too but most people who come to us
looking for a loan have already exhausted their first and second (maybe even
third!) chances. We are different because we partner with multiple sub-prime
lending companies, which gives our dealership plenty of options when dealing
with consumers who have bad credit, or no credit or have been through a
bankruptcy, divorce or even a repossession. Above and beyond our partnerships
with our lenders, we also offer in-house Buy Here Pay Here financing for those
especially difficult situations.
Sounds Great! Where Do I Go To Fill Out An Application?
Here! On our website you can fill out a credit application, get an instant appraisal of your trade-in, view
our inventory, and learn all about our car loan programs.