When asked if they'd consider buying a car completely online in a recent survey, many Americans said yes. The COVID-19 pandemic has left many people wondering when it's going to be safe to return to life as normal, but until that happens, consumers are exploring the limits of what they can order online. Turns out there's not a lot that isn't available completely online these days, including auto loans.

Auto Sales Move Online

Would You Buy a Vehicle Completely Online?In a recent study conducted by Urban Science and The Harris Poll, 61% of consumers agreed that the future of car buying has likely changed forever due to the coronavirus pandemic. For months, while people were shut in their homes, many businesses embraced a shift to online retailing. This includes the auto industry, which for years has been slowly pushing toward a future in digital retailing.

It's long been possible to do at least part of the car buying process online, like researching vehicle specs, building your dream car, and putting a bug into a dealership's ear that you're shopping for an auto loan. But, that's about where the process stopped for many franchised and independent dealers. At that point, most people looking to finance a vehicle typically turned off their screens and stepped into a showroom.

What happens when that's no longer an option, though?

Faced with that very scenario, many dealerships and their lending partners quickly made the leap to a complete digital sales experience – from car choice right through finalizing signatures on the auto loan.

Consumers responded with an overwhelming sigh of relief, as 78% of respondents to the survey stated they see some benefit to completing the car buying process completely online. However, 93% of people polled also expressed some concern when it comes to doing a new vehicle deal totally online.

Considerations for Buying a Car Online

When you take to something new like doing a total car sale online, there are always additional risks involved. However, the risks involved in purchasing a vehicle online are relatively minimal. There are, of course, some things about the process that are very different than you may expect.

  • Negotiated prices – Some people like the thrill of a sale on a large purchase like a car, relishing the chance to haggle with a salesperson just to shave a few bucks off the purchase price. This may not be an option online, and many dealers that are moving to a completely online sales environment may only offer you no-haggle or bottom line pricing, which means the price you see listed for the vehicle is the purchase price, no buts about it!
  • State regulations – Not all states have the same rules and regulations when it comes to making large purchases, like auto loans, completely online. It's important to know what you're in for in your state if you try to make a purchase entirely online. Some states require a wet signature, which means at the very least, you may be asked to sign contracts in person when you take delivery of your car.
  • Scheduling test drives – The one thing that’s always highly recommended when purchasing a vehicle is a test drive. No matter if a car is new or used, it's important that a borrower knows how well it meets their needs. In the case of completing an online purchase from a dealership, test drives may have to be scheduled more carefully, if they can be at all. Some dealers are willing to bring the test drive experience to you, while others may still require you to come to the store.
  • Lender availability – Another aspect of purchasing a vehicle completely online is that you may not be made aware of the lending requirements up front in the process, which could lead to some false starts, or turndowns that you're not expecting. This can be especially true if you're a subprime borrower in need of a bad credit auto loan.

Even though these may be acceptable risks to some people, they may make a total online financing experience more difficult for others.

Ease Into the Online Car Buying Process

If you're still skeptical about financing a car completely online, that's OK. In this time, having an online option is a big convenience that could help in many cases, but no one solution always fits the bill for everyone. Whether you’re comfortable financing a vehicle completely online or not, finding a dealership that can work with your credit situation can be a hassle. But it doesn't have to be when you team up with Auto Credit Express.

Since credit is a deciding factor in many auto loan situations, it's important to know up front if the dealer has the lenders available to assist poor credit. This isn't always plain to see when you're relying on a completely digital financing experience. That's where we come in.

We work hard to match you with a local dealership that has financing options to help people with many types of unique credit situations, such as bad credit, no credit, and even bankruptcy. This means you're starting off on the right foot, right off the bat. So, begin your shopping process online with us by filling out our fast, free, and no-obligation car loan request form!