As important as it is to advertise your Finance capabilities, that is not the role of an online Credit Application. I have consistently been a strong advocate for very explicit website messaging that makes it clear that customers can obtain highly competitive financing through your store. That messaging needs to be home page and above the fold.
That messaging should not include an invitation to complete a Credit Application.
There are some terrific short form “pre-approval” products available. These products allow the customer visiting your website to provide just their name, address, phone number and email address to see if they can be pre-approved for financing. These take less than a minute to complete, provide you with a credit score and enough information to understand the full credit profile and generate a lead that you can follow up on. If the customer meets your criteria, you can offer them pre-approval that is only good at your store. This does not have any impact on the customer’s credit score.
That is great advertisement for your finance capabilities.
Your customer should never see a credit application (online or otherwise) until they are ready to actually apply for a loan.
If you have a Credit Application generally available on your site, it is probably creating more issues than it is solving. The only good news is that most people think that the full application is too much trouble to complete. The bad news is that, generally, people who know that they have good credit will wait till they are with you to fill out an application, which means that the people who do complete your online application are actually just checking to see if they can qualify for a loan…and in most cases there will not be an unequivocally positive response.
Moreover, once you receive a Credit Application, you are legally obligated to handle in in full compliance will all CFRA and CFPB rules and regulations. Your regulatory burdens start for a customer who may never even show up at your store.
So, make the link to your online Credit Application private so that you only give it out when a customer is ready to actually apply. Do not have the Credit Application as part of your finance capability marketing message.
Get a Pre-Approval capability. Get your finance message front and center on your website. Do it without a Credit Application…your success will go up and your burdens will go down!