Still, that doesn't mean consumers disregard security completely.
In the latest J.D. Power U.S. Consumer Financing Satisfaction Study, security ranked highest in terms of importance — slightly edging out features such as speed of completing desired activities, ease of navigation and usefulness of information.
Last year marked the first time J.D. Power asked about customers' experiences with lenders' mobile apps in its annual study, yet an easy-to-use mobile app was cited among the main drivers of customer satisfaction with auto lenders.
Jim Houston, senior director of automotive finance at J.D. Power, told Automotive News that while many auto finance customers can access account information for auto loans and leases on their phones, not all of those experiences are inside a mobile app.
"Every automotive lender has a Web application that's mobile-optimized. What we find is, many consumers don't know the difference" between that and an app for mobile devices, Houston said.
Indeed, few automaker captives have true mobile apps; they have an online banking experience enabled for mobile use. Most larger banks with auto portfolios, such as Chase Auto and Ally Financial, integrate auto loans into their general mobile app.
More lenders are moving toward building out their digital experience in an app that customers will download onto their phones, but auto lender apps remain few and far between, Houston said. Most major auto lenders integrate directly with automaker apps, while large banks have apps that allow all banking transactions to occur in the same place.