Online Vehicle Financing: A Convenient Yet Legally Binding Commitment, Says WesBank

  • The Global Automotive Consumer Study by Deloitte reveals a growing trend towards virtual platforms for vehicle purchases, despite a majority still preferring in-person experiences. The shift is driven by factors such as ease of use, convenience, and speed.
  • WesBank, a leader in the digitisation of vehicle and asset finance, offers a secure online platform for signing finance contracts. Once the finance deal is finalised and verified, customers can sign their contracts digitally via WesBank's iContract.
  • Despite the convenience of online contracts, WesBank emphasizes that they are as legally binding as traditional hardcopy contracts. Customers are urged to fully understand their obligations before signing, and to ensure their information is kept safe.
Vehicle Financing

In an era where digital transactions are becoming the norm, the car buying process is also undergoing a significant shift. Despite the majority of consumers still preferring an in-person experience, there is a growing trend towards the use of virtual platforms for vehicle purchases, according to WesBank, a leading provider of vehicle and asset finance.

The latest Global Automotive Consumer Study conducted by Deloitte, which surveyed over 26,000 consumers across 25 countries, including South Africa, found that more than 70% of respondents in advanced economies still prefer to buy their next vehicle in person. However, the study also revealed a marked shift towards virtual platforms, driven by the hybrid working culture that has become prevalent in most sectors.

Lebogang Gaoaketse, Head of Marketing and Communication at WesBank, notes that the main reasons buyers are motivated to opt for the virtual buying process over the in-person alternative are ease of use, convenience, and speed. However, he also warns that the convenience of online contracts comes with significant responsibility.

“WesBank, as an industry leader and pioneer in the digitisation of the vehicle and asset finance sector, provides a secure online platform for the finance contract signing process, which safeguards both the lender and the customer,” says Gaoaketse.

Once the finance deal is finalised and the customer’s documents and Offer to Purchase have been verified, the vehicle finance contract can be signed online through WesBank’s iContract. The customer is sent an email with their vehicle finance account number and iContract PIN, which, along with their ID number, are required to log in to their individual iContract. The customer can then read through all the contract information and sign their vehicle finance contract digitally.

Gaoaketse emphasises that this paperless process is as legally binding as a traditional hardcopy contract. “Data messages or electronic signatures are now recognised in South African law as a proper basis upon which a written contract can be concluded. The terms and conditions are binding for both the lender and the customer,” he explains.

He urges customers to take the time to fully understand the contents of a contract, whether it’s electronic or hardcopy. While it is the lender’s responsibility to provide a secure platform for the conclusion of the finance deal, customers also need to ensure that their information is kept safe and that they abide by the terms and conditions as stipulated in the contract.

As the digital revolution continues to reshape the vehicle purchase process, it’s clear that the convenience of online contracts is accompanied by a significant responsibility. Buyers are encouraged to approach these contracts with the same caution they would a traditional in-person transaction, ensuring they fully understand their obligations before signing on the digital dotted line.

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