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You can make Benz payments on your iPhone

Rafay Ansar

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For our young readers, this may seem like nothing. But for the more mature set, here's a new function for your iPhone or iPod Touch--you can make the payment on your Benz.

Mercedes-Benz Financial has launched its iPhone app, just three months after launching the pay-from-your-smart-phone project. The free application is available at www.itunes.com/appstore.

For customers who have a loan or a lease with Mercedes-Benz Financial, the app lets them view their account status, make a payment and get a payoff quote on their vehicles. To use the app, customers first have to register at www.mercedes-benzfinancial.com.

The first Mercedes-Benz customer to use the app to make a payment had missed the scheduled payment date by 10 days, notes Michael Kanzleiter, senior marketing manager for Mercedes-Benz Financial. So convenience may pay off for the company.

But even if you don't drive a Mercedes, you can still use the app to check out the latest info on the German automaker's vehicles, find the nearest dealer and get driving directions.

Nearly three-quarters of Mercedes owners use a smart phone, notes Kanzleiter.

The finance company chose to develop its iPhone app first because about one-third of the smart-phone-packing Benz owners use the Apple device. Another third use Blackberrys, and an application for those PDAs should be ready within six months, Kanzleiter says.

The app is for U.S. customers now but is poised to expand to Canada and Mexico. But Mercedes is unlikely to use the app in Europe, Kanzleiter says, because most buyers arrange for monthly car payments to be automatically debited from their bank accounts.

There also is another app, Silver Star, which gives information about the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart and information on the European delivery program.

For now, Mercedes-Benz Financial says it's the first auto-finance company to launch an iPhone app. But we bet it won't be alone for long.

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