Used-car dealer taps fintech for one-stop ease

Singapore

A USED-CAR dealership has tapped fintech to offer a paperless and hassle-free one-stop service to buyers, who can make an electronic deposit for a preferred model and submit an online car loan application, complete with insurance cover.

Orchard Credit, best known for its four decades in the vehicle financing business, recently set up a dedicated used-car showroom to provide the full range of car services to its customers.

Its showroom at 1 Chang Charn Road offers a unique proposition - the ability to make an online deposit to reserve a car.

Orchard Credit director Renny Heng says that after viewing a car, prospective customers usually go back to discuss the purchase with family members.

"But when they return the next day, the car may have already been sold,'' adds Mr Heng. "Unlike a new car, where there is more than one unit in stock, it is not always possible to find another used model with the same set of specifications like colour or features.''

Orchard Credit also pioneered the car loan aggregator. It is the only dealer which offers online car loans from nine banks and financial institutions - DBS, Hitachi Capital, HL Bank, Maybank, OCBC, Standard Chartered, Sing Investments and Finance, Tokyo Century and UOB.

A customer loan application is submitted with an e-signature directly to one of these institutions.

In the event that it is not approved, it can be easily re-submitted to another institution.

"Everything is online for added convenience and customers do not have to go to different banks to check out each one individually.''

Mr Heng says the move to a digital platform was done "to reduce paperwork and increase productivity so as to cut the processing time for customers''.

Orchard Credit's pre-owned business stocks models which are usually in high demand, from as recent as just six-month-old cars. Each comes with a professional evaluation report from Vicom. The company previously dealt in second-hand vehicles on an ad hoc basis as an added service to its finance customers.

But it decided to set up a showroom in anticipation of shrinking certificate of entitlement (COE) quotas.

"We expect fewer COEs in the near future, which will lead to higher premiums,'' explains Mr Heng. "The new VES (Vehicle Emissions Scheme) from Jan 1 will also push up car prices, which have already been rising in recent years.''

All these factors impact affordability, yet there are some groups of motorists who still require a car despite the higher prices, for example property agents or families with young children or aged parents.

"These people need a car and may have to turn to the used market, so we intend to cater to this demand.''