There is a significant time delay built into the usual credit application cycle of sending a prospective customer a credit application, waiting for them to complete and send it back, and forwarding it to an analyst for review. A considerably cleaner alternative is to create an online credit application form, which is immediately routed to an analyst as soon as it is completed by the customer.
There are surprisingly few websites with online credit applications, since most companies opt for the simpler approach of posting a PDF credit application on their websites, which does little to streamline the credit application process. The websites of General Motors, Ford, John Deere, and Continental Resources all contain on-line credit applications.
The General Motors and Ford examples are clustered together, since they have similar designs to meet the needs of consumer purchasers of cars. The John Deere form varies depending on the applicant's legal entity, for which it lists eight variations. An excellent and comprehensive application is shown on the Continental Resources site, which offers applicants a number of alternatives for submitting their financial information (cut and paste, web-link, fax, or attachment).
An online form may not be fully integrated into a company's internal credit review processes. Instead, it is simpler to design an application form that is sent to a designated person as a text e-mail, with each response listed on a different line. The recipient may use this information to immediately conduct a credit review, or re-enter it into the company database for further analysis or routing. This is a sufficient level of automation if there is only one credit analyst. However, if there are many analysts to whom the form might be routed, then a more complete (and expensive) integration with the in-house credit review process will be necessary.