Study: Financing Programs May Not Be Meeting Consumer Needs

Prospective users increasingly looking for omni-channel options, efficient application process

Nov 03, 2015, 06:00 ET from NewComLink

AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- While many consumers are interested in using merchant-offered financing, financing programs may not be providing the features and options consumers want and need, according to a new study from NewComLink.

The Merchant Financing: Consumer Perspectives Study found that 1 in 4 consumers today (25 percent) expect stores to offer financing products. Additionally, more than one-third (37 percent) of customers have used point-of-sale financing in the past year or plan to use it within the next 12 months.

However, the study suggests that many existing financing programs may not offer the features today's users want and need. For example, while many past users applied via a paper application in store (28 percent), 34 percent of prospective users say they would rather apply on the retailer's website before heading to the store.

Additionally, fully half of prospective users say they'd prefer to fill the application out on their own, compared to the 33 percent of past users who relied on a sales associate for application help. And 62 percent of consumers are more likely to consider multiple financing offers if they don't have to fill out another application.

"The study results were very clear: consumers prefer—and even expect—financing programs to offer omni-channel options that include online application. They want easier applications and more transparent products than they have seen in the past," said Douglas Filak, chief marketing officer with NewComLink. "As a result, we could see less modern programs—those that run on paper applications or that don't offer multiple lending options—decline in popularity."

According to the Retail Financing Survey, released by NewComLink earlier this year, 100 percent of retailers with financing programs say those programs enable their stores to generate more sales. The same study found that financing programs also typically lead to larger orders, positive word of mouth and greater customer loyalty: 28 percent of consumers said they used financing to purchase additional products.

"Financing programs can be hugely beneficial for merchants, but only if they're structured correctly," Filak said. "If merchants want to see maximum benefit from their programs, their financing solutions must be able to meet the needs of the modern consumer."

About NewComLink
Based in Austin, Texas, NewComLink (NCL) is a financial technology leader in consumer financing solutions. NCL helps merchants launch and implement innovative lending programs that provide more consumers with the financing options they want and need. NCL's simple solutions deliver increased sales and a better consumer financing experience while giving retailers and manufacturers greater control over their lending options.

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Ian Toner