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Auto Lenders Want You to Love Their Apps

A well-designed mobile app has become one of the most critical drivers of customer satisfaction…

  • December 7, 2018

A well-designed mobile app has become one of the most critical drivers of customer satisfaction with auto lenders.

According to J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Consumer Financing Satisfaction Study, a growing numbers of auto loan customers are interacting with their lenders via a mobile app, and when they do overall satisfaction surges.

Here are key findings of the 2018 study:

Mobile app is biggest driver of satisfaction when customers experience all five aspects of the auto loan process: Overall, 23% of auto loan customers indicate completing a loan application digitally (website or mobile app).

Among that group of customers, overall satisfaction scores are 55 points higher than among those who complete an application via traditional paper or verbal means (884 vs. 829, respectively).

When loan customers use a combination of website and mobile app for all facets of the loan application, onboarding and payment process, mobile app accounts for 32% of the overall satisfaction score, making it the single largest factor in the customer satisfaction equation.

Auto shoppers look online for financing options: Nearly half (47%) of auto loan customers shopped online for vehicle financing prior to visiting a dealership.

Within that group, 42% selected an indirect financing option offered by their dealer and 12% selected direct financing through a financial institution.

Overall satisfaction scores are highest among customers who secured direct financing outside the dealership (867) and among those who shopped ahead of time but selected the dealer-offered option (857). Satisfaction scores are lowest among passive shoppers who did not research a loan online prior to visiting the dealership (833).

High levels of satisfaction among auto loan mobile app users: Overall satisfaction is high among customers currently using auto-finance apps (874); however, customer use is generally limited to monthly transactions.

There is an opportunity to extend auto finance mobile app capabilities to features desired by customers, thus providing greater value.

Don’t Be a Sucker for a Great App

All of this makes sense. Apps make shopping for a loan convenient, and provide a great way to manage your relationship with a lender.

However, you should know that some of the best deals on loans come from smaller financial institutions – some of whom have very basic apps, or none at all.

Small credit unions, for instance, have some of the best deals on auto loans. Credit unions are not-for-profit. They are owned by their members. So, credit unions are careful with money, and pass the savings on to member/customers. That would be you.

Before you fall in love with an app, check with your local credit union to see what they have to offer.

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