Mobile Applications

USAA Debuts AR-Enabled, Car-Buying App

USAA has announced a new augmented reality (AR) mobile application that aims to make car buying easier for its members. The app utilizes Blippar’s car recognition and AR technology so members can simply point their mobile device at any vehicle (year 2000 or newer) and instantly see the car’s information, including purchase price, cost of insurance and any similar vehicles for sale in the area.

In addition, the app allows a member to quickly access USAA’s Car Buying Service to find local dealers and loan rates, as well as provide cost and availability information.

“Since 1922, USAA’s goal has been to provide great service through exceptional experiences,” said Chris Cox, chief digital officer at USAA, in a press release. “We welcome the opportunity to explore a variety of augmented reality use cases that are ultimately meant to make our members’ lives easier and facilitate their financial security.”

Members can login to the USAA website, sign up to test the app and provide feedback. The company will then incorporate those responses into the next phase of the app.

“Trends show that consumers are increasingly using digital channels to complete the entire car-buying process,” said Heather Pollard, vice president of USAA Auto Experience. “By testing this new augmented reality capability, we hope to transform and enhance our members’ experience by making it as easy as possible for them to access the information they want, when they want it.”

USAA isn’t the first company to come up with this type of app. According to American Banker, Capital One announced in March that it was working on an AR app for car buying, but there is no word on when or if it will be released. USAA also launched a car-buying app in 2010 called Auto Circle, though that one didn’t deploy AR.

“If you were going to shop for a car on any car-shopping website (CarMax, Autotrader), you would have to physically input all the information about the car yourself: new, used, what year, what make and model, what features,” said Patrick Kelly, assistant vice president of digital product development at USAA. “This takes all that data entry out of the picture. All you have to do is point it toward the car you like, we’ll take care of the lookup, and we will grab information about that car.”

The software’s accuracy rate at identifying a make, model and year range is close to 100 percent, he added.

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