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Bank of America Debuts Digital Car Buying/Financing Tools

online car sales

Bank of America has debuted tools to help customers complete and finance online car purchases.

Clients can now become prequalified for auto financing to find out how much they may be able to borrow and estimate their terms, with no impact to their credit scores, the lending giant said in a news release Wednesday (Nov. 15).

In addition, the bank has enhanced its digital car shopping tool to include things like improved search functionality, electric vehicle inventory filtering, loan application integration and in-platform CARFAX reviews.

“Purchasing a car is a big decision, and our goal is to make it as convenient as possible and help our clients to align it with their overall financial picture,” said Fabien Thierry, head of consumer vehicle products for Bank of America.

“By enhancing our digital car shopping capabilities and introducing auto prequalification, we are adding to our existing, industry-leading digital application process to help consumers make informed buying decisions and to make the best use of their time and credit.”

The release points to research from Cox Automotive showing that the average car buyer last year spent more than 14 hours researching, shopping and purchasing their vehicle.

“With the addition of these new features, Bank of America aims to help consumers save time and gain more control over their car buying experience,” the bank said.

The launch comes as digital automotive platforms are adding features and reducing costs to cope with a challenging economic environment, as PYMNTS wrote last week.

For example, executives at CarGurus said recently they’ve introduced a feature that allows dealers to present two types of offers to consumers who are considering selling their car beyond the dealer picking up the vehicle at the seller’s home.

“Consumers are now getting a second offer, which is a choice: ‘Would you like to drop that off at your local dealership and get a higher price point there?’ While there isn’t the same convenience factor, you get a higher price point,” CarGurus Chief Operating Officer Sam Zales said during an earnings call.

For these platforms, PYMNTS noted in a separate report earlier this week, “profitability has been volatile, sometimes elusive.”

“Inventory’s been lumpy, aging and — in the age of (still) high interest rates — tough to afford for many consumers, as the spate of recent earnings reports from the online platforms show,” the report said.

Among the companies reporting earnings recently was Carvana, which saw a decline in revenue as it chases what it says is an $840 billion market for used cars.