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Would you buy a car without seeing it? This start-up lets you finance a car entirely online

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Anthony Simon, founder Approval Buddy

Would you buy a car without seeing it? Approval Buddy is an online car finance platform changing the way people are financing pre-owned cars with a process that be carried out completely with a smart phone or PC.

Approval Buddy Director Anthony Simon has 17 years experience in the car industry and said that the company is changing the way cars are financed and allowing customers to buy a car without stepping foot in a dealership.

“I saw two major issues with the car sales industry, firstly the process of buying a car was fraught with anxiety points for those who aren’t familiar with the industry. After real estate, a car is the most expensive purchase many people make and it concerned me that there was so much distrust and perceived (and often real) dodginess involved,” said Mr Simon.

“Additionally, there’s a new wave of people buying cars who grew up searching for and booking everything from movie tickets to holidays online and they weren’t being catered to. Our service really appeals to these groups, a large portion of our customers fall into the millennial bracket and around 70% are female.”

How exactly does Approval Buddy work?

Buying a car with Approval Buddy can be done from a smart phone or PC – cutting out having to deal with sales teams and finance departments.

Customers fill out an application form, attach an ad of a car they’re interested in from a dealer or private seller. They’ll be matched with a repayment option that fits their budget and situation including whether they’re trading in an old car, and following approval, the car will be picked up and delivered free of charge to their home or office complete with a bow and transferred registration papers.

A vital part of the business model is that each car has a 144-point pre-purchase inspection completed by a qualified and licensed mechanic providing a more thorough overview than someone with limited knowledge of cars could when doing a test drive.

The inspiration for Approval Buddy came when Anthony had moved away from the car industry. After starting an unrelated business he begun buying and selling cars as a side hobby but saw a flaw in the business model stemming from the distrust many people feel towards car sellers and the disjointed service that came from handing over repayment schemes to companies that didn’t know his customers or business. Anthony was encouraged to secure a credit license allowing him to organise finance in house.

“The sweet spot for Approval Buddy is that it streamlines the car buying process so that it can be completed entirely online, and that we can maintain incredibly high service levels as we don’t have to outsource any of the process to other businesses,” he said.

Based on the Gold Coast, Approval Buddy currently services South East Queensland and has national growth plans.

Three million used cars are sold in Australia each year, with annual growth expected to be 5.2% per annum from 2016 to 2019. The average price range is between $16,457 and $18,989 with a market review by Deloitte (2011) finding that 80% of vehicle purchases in Australia are financed in some form.

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