The “remote eSign technology” allows dealers to send a contract package electronically to the borrower so they can sign all credit application and ancillary product documentation at home, according to a company press release. Alternatively, consumers can choose to review the documentation before coming into the dealership to sign, thus speeding up the in-store process.
RouteOne designed the technology with security in mind by requiring a two-step verification process and a unique pin number for consumers to enter the “virtual signing room,” according to the release.
“Consumer expectations are justifiably higher than ever,” said Pete Carey, group vice president of sales, marketing, and product development at Toyota Financial Services. “This exciting technology is an important step in allowing us to make financing even more convenient for customers while maintaining data security.”
When reached for comment, Toyota pointed out that this technology does not cut out the dealer from the financing process.
“It doesn’t change the fact that we are an indirect lender, tied closely to our dealer partners,” a Toyota Financial Services spokesman told Auto Finance News. “This is an evolution in customer convenience and isn’t designed for direct lending. We do have an online credit application, but it isn’t changed as a result of this.”
Many companies have started to offer e-contracting, but often those solutions require a signature in the dealership on a tablet. Other startups such as AutoGravity and AutoFi offer some online signage but still require consumers to come into the dealership to close out the deal and sign some paperwork. Other online dealership models such as Vroom that offer home delivery also provide some online e-contracting solutions.
“AutoFi has completed online, remote auto finance contracts for used cars in the past,” an AutoFi spokesperson told AFN. “Moving forward, we’re excited to leverage this technology for both new and used car sales through our integration with RouteOne. We feel this is an important step for the industry and glad that Route One is taking the lead.”
AutoGravity, RouteOne, and Vroom did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
It’s unclear at this time what the technology means for RouteOne’s partnership with Toyota Financial Services going forward. TFS told Auto Finance News last week that it plans to launch a consumer-facing online portal on its website in 2018 that will allow consumers to better manage their personal information and make payments online.