60% of Consumers Initiate Car Buying Online, TransUnion Says | Auto Finance News – Auto Finance News

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TransUnion is making efforts to support the “paradigm shift” in auto finance that has consumers looking at financing as the first step to the car buying process instead of the last, Brian Landau, senior vice president and automotive business leader, told Auto Finance News.

The credit bureau launched an online tool, Auto Payment Shopper, that prequalifies consumers for loan offers before entering the dealership, the company announced this week.

“About 20 years ago, auto websites were more about the vehicle and not about the financing,” Landau said. “Now you’re starting to see that change, and that’s great for lenders because now lenders become top of mind in the buying decision.”

With more than 60% of consumers initiating the car buying process online and 75% considering completion of the buying process online, lenders are embracing the digital disruption and many are trying to capitalize on that, Landau said. “Digital tools help support the lender initiative,” he added.

The tool works by prequalifying consumers and filtering inventory from their preferred dealers. In addition to seeing affordable inventory, consumers can use shopping tools that let them select and compare vehicles prior to applying for a loan.

“Lenders can build on their brand presence with consumers and offer a differentiated experience that reduces the amount of time spent at the dealership,” according to TransUnion. “Dealers benefit from higher quality leads and significantly reducing the administrative burdens of the car buying process that may have traditionally caused consumers to abandon the purchase. As a result, lenders are empowered to strengthen their relationships with dealers, which can lead to more booked loans.”

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