Chicago has announced the availability of a secure credit application that dealers can use to more effectively work with Internet car buyers. The application allows shoppers to safely provide their financial and contact information to the dealer, signaling their interest in a particular vehicle, their interest in financing, and their intent to buy.

"Customers who submit a secure credit application on essentially give the dealer an invitation to sell them a car," said Dennis Galbraith, vice president of dealer products and training. "Dealers know everything necessary about the shopper to make the sale, from who the prospect is to how to make contact and what kind of car the buyer wants and can afford. By eliminating the usual preliminaries, they're able to quickly get down to business. They also have the flexibility to move ahead with the deal at hand or direct shoppers to a better fit based on their requirements and credit history."

Links to the secure credit application appear in several locations on, for example, within the dealer's listing on dealer locator search results, "more details" pages for individual vehicles and on the payment calculator.

The secure credit application also integrates with DealerSites,'s custom website product, extending dealers' online financing capabilities. Shoppers can submit the form in connection with a specific vehicle that interests them, orsubmit the form to their preferred dealer, allowing the dealer to suggest cars based on the buyer's income and credit history.

The secure credit application allows car buyers to complete the form in stages and submit their data as they go. Dealers can capture key information even if the consumer does not complete the entire process. This feature also allows dealers to receive a notification at each stage as the prospect's information is submitted, allowing them to immediately begin the sale process and reach out to shoppers while they're still online filling out the form.

"This advanced notice often gives dealers the competitive edge they need to win the sale," Galbraith said. "The sooner they can obtain the shopper's credit report and compile information about the shopper's needs, the sooner they can connect with the prospective buyer and start working the deal."