Alexa is useful for finding bus times and answering quick questions. But should it really be the first step in finding a mortgage?
I buy too much stuff on Amazon.
Just this week, I - or rather my family and I - have ordered flip flops, a folder in which to keep Pokémon cards, some hooks and a wireless phone charger. Oh, and as we are Amazon Prime members, we stream TV and films from the site as well.
The sheer convenience of knowing you’ll always be able to find what you need on there and get it delivered swiftly, is the big selling point.
But buying a phone charger is one thing - would you really want to sort out your mortgage on Amazon too?
If you happen to have Alexa, Amazon’s voice-controlled virtual assistant, you can now do just that by saying "Alexa, open UK Mortgages".
Answer a few questions and the gadget will search through 10,000 deals to give you details of the products that meet your specifications.
You can then get the details sent over to the corresponding app on your phone.
But is finding a mortgage with the help of Amazon really a good idea?
What is UK Mortgages?
UK Mortgages is an app which has been available on mobile phones since 2012.
It’s the brainchild of a firm called Mortgage Brain, which has been very influential in the mortgage market for a long time, developing one of the most popular sourcing systems that brokers use in order to find which deals are going to be best for their clients.
UK Mortgages is really a basic customer-facing version of that technology – you answer a few questions on things like the price of the property you’re borrowing against, the size of the loan, your current income and how long you want to borrow for.
It then brings up a big list of products that might be available to you for you to have a look through.
As the initial stage of a mortgage search, when you’re first trying to get an idea of the sorts of rates on the market, it’s pretty decent to be honest, certainly when used on a mobile phone as you can at least look into the results in a bit of detail.
Is this a good way to research mortgages?
A gadget like Alexa is great if you want to find out what time the local takeaway opens or when the next bus into town is - it’s perfect for finding out a small piece of information quickly.
Getting a quick idea of mortgage rates falls into that category too. But actually searching for the right product to apply for HAS to be more involved than that.
Indeed, we know that there is - in its recent report on how the mortgage market is currently operating, the FCA acknowledged that currently, 30% of borrowers have failed to find the cheapest product for their circumstances.
There are a number of reasons for that, but the inability to search for a mortgage on Amazon until now isn’t one of them.
That said, the fact that this tool may open these borrowers’ eyes to the fact that there are a LOT of lenders active in the market, and not just the banks you see on the high street, is a good thing.
You can find a broker too
There is an awful lot that goes into finding the right deal for your circumstances. It’s not as simple as merely finding the lowest rate and then applying for that deal.
Thankfully the app also lets you find a mortgage broker who is local to you, whether you do it on your mobile or via Alexa. That strikes me as a far more useful step towards finding the best mortgage for your circumstances.
Brokers are well placed to get an idea of the right sort of deal to match your attitude towards changing interest rates, but also which lenders are going to be most receptive to an application from you.
On top of that, there are some lenders who only offer deals through brokers.
Quick and easy is fine for flip flops, but not for mortgages
You can’t actually apply for a mortgage through the UK Mortgages app thankfully. But it’s only going to be a matter of time before you can get a home loan through Amazon - reports in the United States suggest that the retailer is on the hunt for someone to run its newly formed mortgage lending division.
And that makes me a little uneasy. A mortgage is an enormous, long-term commitment. It’s something that needs to be considered carefully, and that rather goes against the quick and easy, one click and it’s on its way ethos of Amazon.
Amazon has its place, as I know only too well. But I’m not sure it’s really needed in mortgages.
Be the first to comment
Do you want to comment on this article? You need to be signed in for this feature