If you have savings, you’ll be painfully aware that interest rates are depressingly low. In fact it’s difficult to get much more than a 1% return in a bank or building society deposit account. I was in exactly the same position myself, which is why I started investigating peer-to peer lending a few months ago. It was something of a revelation.
Peer to peer lending cuts out the middle man by lending cash direct to the people that need it, rather than filtering it (and all the profit) through a bank. It sounds risky, but in my view, the power of numbers ensure that it really isn’t. What the reputable peer to peer lending companies do, is take your cash and divide it up amongst hundreds of loans, so you never have your cash exposed to a small number of borrowers. In any event, the peer to peer lenders apply the same stringent lending criteria as banks, so default rates tend to be very low and are freely available to view.
The end result is that you’re able to secure a return that is many times that offered via traditional routes, but without any significant risk. Most of my cash is now lent out at between 6% and 7% so I’m getting over six times the return I was getting in the bank. Put another way, if you have £10,000 to invest, you can get the same return as someone who has £70,000.
I’ve experimented with accounts with a number of companies, and all have been excellent. Which would I recommend if you’d like to dip your toe? Well Zopa is probably the biggest and longest established and very easy to deal with. You get started with just a few pounds, although I’m really writing this for people who have a significant sum sitting in a deposit account earning peanuts.
I’ve posted a link at the end of this article. If you decide to give Zopa a try, use this link and when you deposit £2,000 or more you’ll get a £50 bonus added to your account. For transparency, I’ll get the same added to mine. I should add that if you’re on the other side of the fence and looking for a loan, the company have an excellent reputation for both rates and customer service on that side as well. You can use the same link for that, and receive a bonus payment.
If you have any questions about Zopa or peer to peer lending in general, just ask. I’m by no means an expert, but I have a fair amount invested with several companies now and might be able to help.