Fayetteville-based startup ObiiGo recently added a feature to its app that allows users to buy now, pay later for automotive service and repairs.
The Klarna payment option was built into the app so users can set up payment plans for the work. In early 2021, ObiiGo launched the first app allowing users to receive bids for work from independent automotive shops.
John Harmon, founder and CEO of ObiiGo, said it’s the first app of its kind to use the Klarna platform. He expects this to be a “game changer” for the app, and it’s already having an impact. In the second week since Klarna was added, he said ObiiGo did the same amount of business it was doing in two months.
He said Klarna doesn’t charge interest, and users don’t need credit to qualify. However, those who don’t make payments on time will be charged late fees. Still, he said users can opt for payment extensions.
ObiiGo has participating automotive shops in Northwest Arkansas, Houston and Phoenix and recently expanded to include shops in Austin, Texas, and Michigan.
Kent Atkins, owner of The Grease Pig Lube & Tune, said the app has better connected the business to students and younger customers. The app also allows mechanics at its two Fayetteville locations to fill time slots if they have free time. And, he said the buy now, pay later feature addresses an affordability issue that independent shops have faced for years.
Atkins said he became intrigued when he learned Harmon was working on an OBD II (on-board diagnostic) device that the service center advisory council for Bumper to Bumper and Auto Value looked to develop several years ago when Atkins served on it.
Harmon said ObiiGo has been working with the University of Arkansas on a device, but the chip shortage has affected its release. He expects it to become available in early 2023. His goal is to have the device in every U.S. vehicle.
ObiiGo has a team of 12 people.