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The U.S. finance arm of luxury car brand Mercedes-Benz is taking mobile applications beyond smart phones and tablet computers with an app the company claims is the first to let car owners manage their auto-loan accounts from the car itself.

Payments consultant Todd Ablowitz, president of Centennial, Colo.-based Double Diamond Group, says that, while the in-car app is novel, “I don’t know that the killer app is going to be paying your bills in your car, only because I think it’s something you can do from your mobile phone quite easily.” But he adds that car manufacturers nowadays are putting more Internet connectivity into their vehicles, and payments functionality could be one part of what he calls a “hub and information center” on wheels.

“That seems like a hook to connect users into the ecosystem they want to build over time,” Ablowitz says.

Digital Transactions, May 22, 2013