IBM Australia Credit has chosen the reseller channel to deliver its new IT financing product aimed at small to medium businesses.
The Easylease product represents a step into unchartered waters for IBM's finance subsidiary, as it is designed to provide a leasing option for business IT purchases starting as low as $2000.
Resellers that become accredited Easylease agents will be able to offer the product to buyers on the spot. Transactions can be finalised online via a Lotus Notes application and a network facility provided by IBM Australia Credit.
Frank Coogans, general manager of IBM Australia Credit, said small to medium businesses have been under-serviced by leasing options in the past. He said these businesses have typically not had access to leasing at competitive rates for smaller transactions.
"It is an entry into a piece of market that we haven't been in before," said Coogans. "I think we will help people who haven't been helped very much in the past to acquire information technology that will benefit their businesses.
"Because of the lack of access to money to acquire these computers we think there is potentially a very big growth opportunity here."
Easylease interest rates will be based on bank lending rates for small business, which Coogans said is made possible because IBM Credit can take advantage of the tax benefits available in leasing by depreciating the assets.
IBM Credit expects the average transaction will be four or five thousand dollars, covering purchases of information technology and office equipment. Easylease is not exclusive to IBM products - it can even be used to buy mobile phones.
"This kind of easy availability to finance will make it easier for the reseller to make a sale," said Coogans. "And when the reseller is facilitating a financing arrangement with an organisation like IBM Credit you can be readily assured you have a plain English contract that has no hidden hooks in it to the detriment of the reseller or customer - what you see is what you get."
Coogans said because Easylease goes through IBM Credit, resellers will receive payment very quickly, minimising accounts receivable issues. "They can be assured of a very quick turnaround, which is very important to the typical reseller."
The entire application process for Easylease, including the preparation of quotes and contracts, is performed online by the reseller, said Coogans. Credit references are checked online against the Credit Reference Association's database, after which the lease is approved or denied online. Resellers are not required to have any financial training.
"The whole process will take less time for the financing to be arranged than typically we would expect for the customer to make up their mind on what kind of equipment they want to buy," Coogans said. "The whole thing takes less than a minute."
For a free demonstration CD-ROM disk contact the Easylease Hotline on 1300 360 334