5 ways consumer portals are shaping online finance
by Arina Smith Finance 19 February 2018
The term “consumer portal” refers to websites that specialize themselves within the promotion of specific products and services. One example the financial sector where they’ve become essential tools among those who wish to calculate costs and learn more about offers.
Here we take a closer look at some of the key benefits that follow these platforms, and how to use them as efficiently as possible.
1. Through information access :
A well-informed consumer will easily identify the cheapest offers and thus save money. A consumer portal will also inform you about “terms of service” and other important stipulations. Some lenders sign on to agreements without studying the terms well enough beforehand.
There can also be external factors that need to be considered, such as the 2017 tax reform and how it impacts the cost of your mortgage.
2. They allow you to calculate costs beforehand :
Some portals contain integrated loan calculators that allow you to estimate costs beforehand. Typically they will ask the visitor to type in the years of down payment along with the amount they wish to borrow. The calculator will then adjust the monthly principal according to the information being typed in.
A popular solution consists of so-called “levers”, that allow users to adjust the loan sum, downpayment time and other settings by merely swiping their fingers. User friendliness has become a key emphasis, and some companies are further ahead than others.
3. Finding an answer to frequently asked questions :
The average individual does not possess a deep knowledge of financial services. Consumer portals are actively attempting to fill these information gaps, through the use of faq-sections. Take the Norwegian financial portal forbrukslån.no as an example, and their dedication to breaking down information silos.
One example can be questions related to consumer rights, and what fees banks are allowed to charge. In many jurisdictions (e.g. Norway and the rest of Scandinavia), banks are only allowed to charge certain fees related to the creation of notes payable. Consumer portals are in turn tasked with educating consumers about such restrictions and how it applies to their loans.
4. As marketing tools :
Some may question why these sites even exist. After all, why would anyone hand out free information on the internet?
The answer is rather simple. When financial consumer portals promote specific credit cards, loans, and other financial products, they get a cut of the fees. In other words, they earn money if people visit their site and sign up for their products.
This, in turn, raises some ethical questions and whether the information is truly unbiased and neutral. The majority of portals will adhere to basic ethical guidelines, and not seek to spread disinformation. Sadly, there are some companies that do not respect these guidelines, but they belong to the minority.
Regardless, these consumer portals have morphed into crucial marketing tools for the financial industry. They’re also projected to gain even more ground in the market as competition keeps increasing.
5. They promote healthy competition :
The financial industry is complex and consists of a vast amount of different services and products. From credit cards and mortgages to car loans and various cell phone plans. These products take on multiple different shapes and forms.
Consumer portals seek to analyze and break down the basic components of each financial product. Take the web portal kredittkortinfo.no as another example, and how it compares various credit card offers. Visitors are served with easy to read bullet points that explain the details of each offer in great detail. This leads to better competition among the companies, who can no longer hide behind opaque benefits tied to cashback and other “card perks”.
Comparison portals will continue to serve as an important part of the financial ecosystem. They present crucial information in an easy-to-understand format. That in turn, allows consumers to compare different offers and save money.
Through innovations such as loan calculators, they will continue to attract large online crowds, while serving as marketing channels for the financial companies.
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