If you’re considering taking out a personal loan your first thought is usually ‘which of the big banks are the best fit for me?’
However, the growing popularity of a new type of lender has been paving the road for alternative ways to take out a personal loan.
An increasing number of borrowers are turning to P2P lenders for a personal loan.
P2P lenders are bypassing traditional banks and facilitating a growing number of personal loans.
Figures released by Veda (Australia and New Zealand’s leading provider of consumer and commercial data and insights) in their Quarterly Consumer Credit Demand Index (December 2016 Quarter) have shown an increase of 12.4 percent in personal loan applications compared to their December 2015 Quarter.
“Growth in personal loan applications is predominantly coming from products offered by new entrants in the personal lending space, beyond traditional credit card and auto finance markets,” says Angus Luffman, Veda’s general manager of consumer risk.
“These divergent movements suggest that consumers are being circumspect about taking on additional credit. Instead, they are taking advantage of the increased product options on offer to meet their needs.”
What are peer-to-peer lenders?
Peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders are online based platforms in which individuals or businesses can apply (and often bid) for a personal loan. They provide a direct link between applicants and investors, cutting out banks from the process.
“[But] there is no clear definition of what a peer-to-peer lender is, but what is common to all is that they are digital players,” Luffman says.
How does it work?
These P2P lenders work similarly to banks in that you can apply for a personal loan, however your rates are completely personalised based on your unique credit history. There is no fixed interest rate for all applicants.
Unlike traditional banks, investors also have the ability tell peer-to-peer lenders how much money the wish to invest, how long they want to lend the money, and the interest rate they would like. P2P lenders connect you to an investor and facilitate scheduled principal and interest repayments on your loan.
“They are also very focused on giving the customer the best experience. They tend to use “risk-based pricing”, where borrowers with better credit scores pay lower rates of interest than borrowers with lower credit scores. They tend to offer only personal loans.
“We are seeing a lot of the growth coming from these players,” Luffman advises.
What are the risks involved?
P2P lenders prioritise their borrowers and investors security, ensuring the processing of payments are secure and on time. To minimise the likelihood of late payments for their investors they vet all applicants and examine your credit history to determine if you are a reliable borrower.
P2P lenders also typically charge a higher interest rate than you may get from a typical personal loan. It is therefore critical before you apply, you calculate how much you will be expected to pay back.
So which type of personal loan should I choose?
As with traditional banks, it is important to compare your options and examine what is the best rate for you.
Investors with peer-to-peer lenders are not covered by the government’s guarantee on the first $250,000 on deposit with a bank or credit union. This can mean a higher interest rates set by lenders to compensate. P2P lenders also offer lower loan amounts than banks, usually up to $35,000 for a personal loan, so if you’re looking for a larger sum you may be better off with a bank.
However, traditional banks tend to give you one fixed rate. This means that if you have great credit history you will be charged the same interest rate as someone who does not, which in itself could be a positive or negative based on your personal credit history. This can be an affordable alternative compared to taking a personal loan from a bank.
Also, as it is an online marketplace platform the process of taking out a personal loan can be a lot faster and more convenient than the traditional method.
- Personalised rate based on your credit history
- Affordable alternative – bypasses traditional bank fees and charges.
- Faster and more convenient.
- Potential higher interest rates set by lenders.
- Loan amount of $35,000 or less.
RateCity provides a comprehensive personal loan calculator that we help will guide your decision. Whatever you choose it is clear that P2P lenders are an interesting and dynamic alternative to consider for your personal loan.