Technology behemoth Google has expanded its fleet of financial services this week by offering homebuyers in California the opportunity to compare and contrast mortgages.
Its online comparison tool has now been expanded to provide information on housing loans after first announcing the idea in May.
“Buying a home is a major financial decision — so when it comes to getting a mortgage, people want an easy way to understand and compare their options online,” Google said in a blogpost on its news site Monday.
Google predicted that nearly one in two borrowers still don’t shop around for their mortgage and set up the tool to help people make “more informed financial decisions.” It said that it would be rolled out to more U.S. states after launching in California.
“Whether you’re a national lender or one local to California, people searching for mortgages on their smartphone or desktop computer can now find you, along with a real-time, apples-to-apples comparison of rate quotes from other lenders — all in as little as a minute,” it added.
The move follows on from a mortgage calculator tool that launched in February this year. The new services have actually been available in the U.K. for a number of years, where the property industry – and its regulation – is very different with a surfeit of similar tools all competing in the market.
The U.K. version of the general comparison tool – which includes car and travel insurance – states that 51 percent of users could save up to £205.26 ($310) with Google Compare and 80 percent of consumers could save up to £74.54, citing online independent research by analysis group Consumer Intelligence this year.
“Digital channels and digital strategies are of huge interest to the mortgage industry,” Sue Anderson, the head of member and external relations at the U.K.’s Council of Mortgage Lenders, told CNBC via email.
However, she added that the recent direction of travel in terms of regulation in U.K. – specifically, the provision of advice – has not tended to favor these digital strategies.
“Many lenders are seeking to establish how best to approach the needs of the tech-savvy generation who prefer online purchasing and account management,” she added.