The ACT on choosing a finance provider and avoiding the pitfalls #3

Following an increase of incoming calls querying finance providers in the cycles market, the ACT has put together a mini-series of articles to answer frequently asked questions from cycle dealers, republished here on Cycling Industry News…

“This is the last in the series which takes a look at the perils of low rates, the importance of checking the finer details of your agreement and why you should identify who actually lends the money when selecting your provider.

Read part one and part two here.

Low rates = lost sales?

“As with many things in business, the cheapest is very rarely the best. You may be tempted by providers that offer low rates but there is a lot more to retail finance than rates alone – a cheap bike isn’t the best, so why would cheap rates be?

As a general rule of thumb, a lower subsidy rate equals a lower acceptance rate. Put simply, the less money a finance provider makes from each sale, the less risk they can take when lending. This means a customer who would be accepted by one finance provider might not be accepted by the cheaper one; putting the sale and any future business with that customer at risk.

Beware the small print

“Providers offering lower rates often have Average Order Value clauses included in the small print e.g. if you don’t do enough volume at a high enough value the rates will automatically increase.

This is especially true when a business has an account with a broker, not with the actual finance provider. Some brokers are known to offer very attractive initial subsidy rates but as they are paid on volume, they bury a rate review deep in the small print of your agreement.

Many brokers also include a minimum contract length that leaves you trapped in an expensive and restrictive solution.

The devil is indeed in the detail!

Finding the right partner

“The cycle industry has already witnessed multiple providers withdraw from the market or get absorbed into other businesses, leaving their retailers without access to a finance facility. Having to change providers is time-consuming, costly and can result in lost customers and lost sales.

Many of these providers have to borrow money to lend money. When borrowing costs rise, your rates rise. When they start to run out of money to lend, your acceptance rate will drop.

With margins already squeezed many of these providers cut costs wherever possible and often it’s the customer service department that suffers as a consequence – for both you and your customers. Poor customer service is not only a terrible experience it’s also a bad reflection on your business.

Lower rates are not sustainable and they can end up costing you more. Make sure you identify exactly who you are dealing with (broker or bank), where they get their funding from and what their levels of customer service are like. If you’re happy with all of this then you’ve found your perfect partner!

If you have any queries about the Ride it away scheme you can find out more here or call the ACT on 01273 427 700.”

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay