Visions of a paper-free auto finance world

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News.

What will auto finance look like in 2020? Chase Auto Finance exec Bill Jensen did some speculating last week at the Auto Finance Summit in Las Vegas.

One idea he proffered was that by 2020, auto loans would be “completely paperless” -- something the auto finance industry has tried but failed to do for a couple of decades.

Not only will loans be paperless, Jensen said, customers will be able to make partial payments whenever they have extra money. For example, he said, instead of pocketing change at Starbucks, customers could use their smartphones to put that money toward their car payment.

The 2020 look-ahead was clever, and Jensen’s musings, presented on stage with Vogelheim Ventures’ Charlie Vogelheim, were fun.

But I would bet today that in 2020, plenty of dealership F&I departments will still float on a sea of paper.

No doubt there will be more paperless transactions than there are today. But in 2020, the completely paperless industry will be like George Jetson-style flying cars -- something we’d thought should have arrived by now but hasn’t.

You can reach Jim Henry at autonews@autonews.com