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Breakthrough Claimed in Remote Electronic Contract Signing

December 15, 2017 0 Comments

RouteOne, a dealership technology provider working with Toyota Financial Services, claims it has successfully processed the first “remotely captured, electronic customer signature on a finance contract arranged through a dealership,” according to Automotive News.

The contract in question was booked in November at a Toyota dealership through Toyota Financial Services, RouteOne said on Thursday. The financial service provider is piloting RouteOne’s new tech, Remote eSign.
If the initiative spreads, it would be a big step forward in the automotive finance industry’s pursuit of vehicle purchases conducted entirely online, making the financing process simpler and faster.

Previously, customers could be pre-approved for credit online, but the availability of remote e-signatures are an industry first, according to RouteOne.

RouteOne also is in talks with another captive finance company, said CEO Justin Oesterle to Automotive News, and expects a deal by the end of the year.

RouteOne, which was formed by Ally Financial (formerly GMAC), Ford Motor Credit, TD Auto Finance, and Toyota Financial Services back in 2002, provides technology to connect dealerships and lenders. The tech RouteOne provides supports indirect financing, allowing customers to arrange financing through dealerships instead of directly with banks or other financial institutions.


How Does Remote eSign Work?

Remote eSign allows dealers to give customers access to an electronically-signable finance package, including the “retail installment contract or lease agreement and finance and insurance product forms,” RouteOne said in its statement.

The initiative is an extension of RouteOne’s Remote Document Delivery product, launched in January of this year. The document delivery program allows customers access finance and insurance documents before actually going through them at the dealership. Remote eSign takes this a step further by allowing customers to ign the forms electronically before the transaction is finalized at the dealership.

Once the customer completes the package, a notification is sent to the dealership, which then sends the package to the customer’s lender.

There are still some forms that require an ink signature, however, and those must be finalized at delivery.

It’s up to the dealerships as to how and when the customers can access the remote financing package, giving dealerships the opportunity to present the customers with F&I products before they review the finance package remotely, said Oesterle.

“This is dealer-configurable and dealer-controlled in terms of process,” Oesterle said. “The only time a consumer is going to have a package available for review is when a dealership staff person believes that the deal is sufficiently mature enough for that to happen. So all of this is in the hands of the dealer in terms of time and place of the presentation and even process choice.”

Pete Carey, group vice president of sales, marketing, and product development at Toyota Financial Services, said that Remote eSign will help the company better meet consumer standards.

It’s hard to know how many customers will choose the online vehicle transaction, “but we believe there are going to be people who are going to want to transact in that fashion,” Carey said to Automotive News this year.

RouteOne designed the Remote eSign with security in mind. Once enabled, dealerships must pass a two-step authentication process to generate a secure URL leading to a virtual signing room, according to the company’s statement. Each time the signing room is accessed, a PIN is required, and customers much sign each document to verify that they saw it.

RouteOne has been working on the eSign capability for over a year, Oesterle said.

“The technology effort was much smaller than defining the compliance and legal aspects of the solution,” he said. “The solution had to be carefully crafted and reviewed to ensure RouteOne is delivering a compliant solution and addressing our customers’ needs.”

Remote eSign will give dealerships a “more efficient” way to execute finance contract packages, Oesterle added.

Additionally, Remote eSign “allows a response to consumer expectations. In every industry, including ours, consumer behavior and expectations has been creating some innovation and improvement in experience.” For the industry as a whole, he said, “we believe that this is a very helpful and really necessary building block.”

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