"The whole world is going mobile. We have tried to get in front of that trend," CEO Pete MacInnis said in a phone interview.
The company joins others with mobile options for credit applications. For example, auto lender Santander Consumer USA's online channel RoadLoans.com enables a consumer to apply for a direct auto loan via a mobile device. And Dealertrack Technologies has an app that enables a consumer using a mobile device to submit a credit application to a lender via a dealership Web site. Consumers can also submit an application directly to a lender, but ultimately the loan is closed at the dealership.
DealerCentric's credit-application platform is branded "Get Pre-Approved in Seconds." MacInnis said the application is a two-step process -- a pre-qualification based on name, address, phone number, e-mail address, date of birth, Social Security number and customer credit score, plus other pre-set criteria. If a customer pre-qualifies, the customer is asked for details such as income and residence information, he said.
The DealerCentric credit application is unusual, MacInnis said, because it is tied to a specific vehicle in a specific dealer's inventory. Also, the application is for an indirect loan, in which the dealership can make a share of the interest income, a practice known as dealer reserve.
Some other online credit applications are for an amount rather than a specific vehicle and for a direct-to-consumer loan, leaving the dealership with no opportunity to earn dealer reserve.
DealerCentric, of Mission Viejo, Calif., does business with more than 3,000 U.S. dealerships across the country. MacInnis said about 80 percent are franchised, new-car dealerships, and about 20 percent are independent, used-car stores.