This story is branded content for Driva.
Applying for a car loan can be a stressful experience - having to lay bare your financial situation and then wait to be deemed worthy of approval.
Then there's often the nagging feeling about whether you've received the best deal or have fully understood the details of the loan.
Or the worry of being pressured into buying finance from pushy salespeople when you stepped into a dealership just to check out the car that you've got your eye on.
Imagine if applying for a loan could be done online with the process as simple and seamless as many of the other financial transactions you're already doing. All while feeling confident in the knowledge that the company you're dealing with is committed to making sure your experience is the best it can be.
This was the vision of the two Australian entrepreneurs behind the launch of Driva, an online car loan marketplace that set out to shake up the $37 billion auto financing industry.
Co-founders Will Brown and Scott Montarello - both with backgrounds in the financial industry - had identified that it was a neglected sector ripe for change.
Combining smart AI technology, a credit team of car finance experts and a commitment to providing the fastest and best customer experience possible, they launched the platform in February last year.
Driva allows customers to enter their personal profile and then receive pre-approved car loans with personalised rates from more than 30 Australian lenders in as little as 60 seconds. The benefit of personalised rates rather than generic ones is there's no threat of hidden fees or an interest rate change just before you sign the contract.
While customers can choose to go through the whole process as a fully self-serve operation, there's also a credit team ready to provide human interaction if needed.
At a time when there's been a massive shift to online commerce sparked by COVID-19, the model is proving popular. Since launch, Driva has seen more than 60,000 users retrieve loan options through the platform.
The Driva model is one that the founders are continuing to evolve to meet the different needs of each of its customers.
"Our focus at the start was about making everything as automated and self-serve as possible - so a hands-on customer support team was something we were actually trying to avoid initially," said Mr Brown. "
"After only a couple of months in the market it became clear having experts available for the trickier or more confusing moments that inevitably come with buying a car was essential for a top customer experience."
Driva's strategy to deliver personalised service when needed has focused on continuing to automate as many manual or repeatable tasks as possible, which then frees up the credit team to focus on "the moments that matter" with individual customers.
When customers apply for a car loan with Driva they are assigned a dedicated account manager who is available via text, phone or email.
"At the same time we still believe in customers moving at their own pace, so, for those who prefer, the process can be fully self-service, and doesn't need human intervention," Mr Brown said.
"You also won't get spammed with pushy sales calls at every turn."
The Driva experience is resonating with its customers - it has more than 500 five star reviews on the Trustpilot and Google consumer review websites. And the business has recorded 35 per cent quarter-on-quarter growth.
Customer Kathrynn Da Silva said Driva went "above and beyond" in helping her secure a loan for a family car for her and her daughter.
As a result of a bad loan choice ten years ago when she was 18, Ms Da Silva had a poor credit score and was doubtful that she would be able to secure a loan at a rate she could afford.
"I knew I would be either turned down or refused, or up for a higher interest rate," she said, "But Harry [from Driva] took it further and liaised with lenders and got my interest rate reduced."
Meanwhile, Paul Simpson used Driva to secure a loan after the financial institution he had been with for 45 years denied his application.
"Driva secured me a loan within one business week that was at a rate two per cent lower than my bank," he said.
Another customer was impressed by the speed of the process as well as the customer care she received with Driva.
From lodging her application to the funds being available in her car dealer's bank account took just over 48 hours. A member of the Driva team guided her through the next steps in the process online and over the phone.
"She even took the time to speak directly with the car dealer and was as excited as myself and my husband about our new vehicle. She showed she really cared about her customers," she said.
Driva takes the hard work out of the car loan application process from start to finish, ensuring that the entire process is 100% transparent and that there are no hidden surprises down the line. To find out more visit the Driva website here.
This is branded content for Driva.