Last month we traveled to Las Vegas to attend AFSA’s Vehicle Finance Conference & Expo 2018, where we heard from the industry’s top experts about the latest trends and innovations in auto finance. Every discussion we participated in and every session we attended underscored the industry’s commitment to tailoring solutions and products to meet our clients’ evolving needs.

After a few days of attending educational sessions and panels, we’ve put together three trends that stood out at the show:

#1: Driverless cars are closer than we think.

It might seem like something out of a Sci-Fi movie, but fully driverless cars are closer to reality than we think. Conditional automation, which includes steering and acceleration automation and the monitoring of the driving environment, is already present in today’s latest models, giving drivers an easier experience on the road. In the next few decades, we’ll see an increase in highly automated and even fully automated vehicles that don’t require a human driver.

#2: Connectivity is key.

Cars are also much more connected than they were in the past. Drivers can receive calls and news updates, request roadside assistance, access navigation tools and rely on cutting-edge safety features all from the inside of their vehicles, improving the overall driving experience. IoT technology will even make mobile payments at the gas pump a reality soon, giving consumers another convenient way to pay.

#3: Consumers still want to car-shop in person.

Even though consumers are increasingly embracing digital – nearly half would complete the entire vehicle purchase online – three-quarters still want to test-drive their car in-person before buying. In terms of financing the big purchase, leasing continues to be a popular option for consumers who are seeking more affordable alternatives to buying a new car. According to Chase Auto, most consumers (88%) are even familiar with where to get loan and lease financing online. Auto finance professionals should take note – easy-to-navigate mobile and online payment options are a must for today’s consumer.

When we weren’t learning from top industry experts, we were at our booth giving attendees an “experience that pays” – a chance to win a prize by playing our arcade racing game. Even these Vegas showgirls got in on the fun!

And in true Las Vegas spirit, after a busy day of attending sessions and networking, the Speedpay team took our clients to see the phenomenal “O” by Cirque Du Soleil show at the Bellagio.

For more information about how Speedpay can help your customers make their auto finance payments, visit our website.