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How Digital Tools and BNPL Are Paving New Roads to Affordable Car Repairs

Most people can relate: Your car breaks down unexpectedly, and the repair bill throws your budget off track. 

However, thanks to digital advancements, the car repair experience is getting simpler and more affordable. Not only are digital tools and platforms streamlining the process, but they’re also making hefty bills, particularly unplanned ones, more manageable for drivers who just want to get from point A to point B without breaking the bank. 

Some of the companies at the forefront of this trend include YourMechanic, which provides on-demand mobile mechanic services connecting certified mechanics with customers in need of car repairs or maintenance. 

Their service eliminates the need for customers to visit a traditional auto repair shop, offering convenience and transparency through their mobile model and cloud-based platform.

“Our mission is to leverage technology to service any vehicle, any place, any time. We’ve built the mobility platform of the future, enabling us to service vehicles at the point of need, increase asset yield, and lower total cost,” the company said in a statement on LinkedIn.

RepairPal, on the other hand, provides an online platform and mobile app which assist drivers in selecting certified auto repair shops and dealerships within their vicinity. The platform provides estimates for common repairs tailored to location and vehicle make/model, helping customers to avoid overpriced service costs.

Minnesota-based startup Raise a Hood, founded by former Ford executive Michael Petersen, is also leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to empower people to tackle their own car repairs.

Users input their car’s make, model and symptoms into the website, after which an AI tool diagnoses the issue and guides them through the repair process. For those not keen on do-it-yourself solutions, the platform also facilitates virtual consultations with professional mechanics, similar to a telehealth appointment with a doctor.

Meanwhile, Fixd is providing drivers with real-time insights into their vehicle’s health and potential issues through a smart diagnostic device. 

Once connected to a vehicle’s OBD-II port and the accompanying mobile app is installed, Fixd translates diagnostic codes into clear, understandable explanations and then provides recommendations for necessary repairs or maintenance. This proactive method enables drivers to promptly tackle issues, thereby reducing the risk of breakdowns and expensive repairs.

BNPL for Car Repairs

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) has emerged as a lifeline for individuals facing financial constraints, allowing them to handle substantial bills through more manageable installment payments. The service isn’t just for general expenses; those faced with expensive car repair bills can count on tailored services to ease the financial strain on their budgets.

Last month, James Jackson, CEO of FinTech firm Bumper, told PYMNTS that this solution is particularly beneficial in countries like the U.K., where about 1 in 5 drivers admit to driving unsafe vehicles because they’re unable to afford the repair costs.

Read: BNPL Helps UK Consumers Manage Expensive Vehicle Repair Costs

Bumper’s BNPL platform is working to address that challenge and offers flexible payments for car repairs that can be spread over as many as six interest-free installments.

Basically, users input their car details and location with just a few clicks to connect with repair partners, and then apply for credit limits up to £5,000 (about $6,315). Underwriting decisions are based on vehicle-specific data, including age and the extent of necessary repairs. 

The loan approval process is conducted online, generating a unique code for users to book appointments at one of the platform’s 5,000 partner service locations. 

“It’s a completely digital process,” Jackson said of the platform interactions, “and you do not need to talk to anyone.”