What are similar sites like Prosper?
There are quite a few peer-to-peer lending sites out on the Internet these days. If you have read my other articles you will know that I am a big fan of Prosper Marketplace which to me is the king of P2P lending sites. I'm sure that there are people out there though that may want to know what some of the alternative to Prosper are for whatever reason. What if you do not want to get a P2P loan from Prosper? What if you do not qualify for a loan on Prosper and want to give another P2P site a chance? What if you are not in the United States? Whatever your reason is, here is my list of alternative sites to Prosper and a bit about them.
List of alternatives to Prosper
Zopa is one of the major players in peer-to-peer lending and was actually the first peer-to-peer lending company back in 2005. They operate in the United Kingdom and Italy. Japan will also have their own Zopa in the future as it is in the works. Zopa did operate in the United States for about a year during 2007 and 2008 but closed Zopa USA due to the financial crisis in the United States during those years. The bad debt rates were just to high during that time and these bad debt rates were beyond an acceptable amount.
The Lending Club
The Lending Club is certainly worth checking out. For residence of the United States it is certainly the first alternative to Prosper. Residence of most states can borrow money with The Lending Club but there are quite a few states that can not. The states that can not borrow using The Lending Club are Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Tennessee. To be eligible for a Lending Club loan you must be a U.S. citizen or resident and be 18 years of age. The minimum credit score that is needed is higher than the Prosper criteria as one must have at least a 660 FICO score. Applicants must also have a valid social security number and a bank account.
In my personal experience The Lending Club seems a bit harder to get a loan. I applied for a loan on the Lending Club for 15k and everything seemed to be going good. I was in to the 5th day of my loan listing and was 70% funded and then they sent me an email stating that my listing has been removed because of the credit report that they obtained on me. I was disappointed and did not make a fuss about it and just promised myself that I would never apply for a loan with them again. My credit is great but even if it was not I do not see why they waste everyone's time by letting me make a listing and have it run 5 days before informing me that my listing has been removed. I know if I was an investor I would be real disappointed to loan money out only to have the listing removed. What a waste of everyone's time! Shouldn't they have run the credit check before letting someone create the listing? I have read good things about the Lending Club elsewhere but in my personal experience I would never try to give them my business again.
Loanio was about to be the third P2P site in the United States but they had to shut down almost before they got started. They launched Loanio in 2008 and a couple of weeks after their launch, Prosper went in to their quiet period where they had to take care of some legal issues. About a month later Prosper learned from a cease and desist letter that SEC registration was mandatory for all peer-to-peer lenders. Loanio then went in to a quiet period and took care of the SEC registration with out a problem. The problem was that once you had the SEC registration filed you had to go back in to operation immediately and lack of immediate funding stopped Loanio from operating. If you go to the website right now you will just see a page that says that a new peer to peer site is coming soon. I have heard that this is not going to happen though and that they are just waiting to sell the site to someone who could make some use of it. Only time will tell the future of Loanio but it does not look good.
For those in the United Kingdom, Ratesetter is a great peer-to-peer lending site. Rateseller is based in Southwork, London and has been in business since 2010. You need to be 24 years of age, have a regular income, and have a good credit history to get a loan with them. Ratesetter is one of the big three peer-to-peer lending sites in the UK along with Zopa and Funding Circle.
Funding Circle is another UK based peer-to-peer lending site. The concept there though is to lend money to businesses. Businesses are many times in need of a loan to expand their business or to do other business ventures and will always appreciate a low APR loan. I really like this business concept that Funding Circle has and hope that one day we will have a similar site here in the U.S.
P2P Capital Markets
P2P Capital Markets is a Canadian based peer-to-peer lending company that (like Funding Circle ) centers its peer-to-peer loans around the business industry. Businesses can apply for loans anywhere from 25K to over 100M. This is great for business start-up cost, business expansion, project financing, or any other business needs. As I mentioned earlier, I really think these business centered P2P loan sites are great for businesses and investors and if and when we get one here in the United States please inform me. Of course we still need the regular ones such as Prosper, Zopa, and so on.
These are the only P2P type loan sites that I know about that are similar to Prosper. If you know of any others please feel free to comment and let everyone know about it. Please note that there are other sites like ZimpleMoney that are sort of similar as the loans come from various sources and are still classified as P2P loan sites. The concept of money from person to person exist there but I just wanted to list those which are very similar to Prosper and could possibly be an alternative for some people.
Though there is not a huge list of Prosper alternatives I think in the near future we will have some new peer-to-peer loan sites popping up. Those of you in the UK have three major players and are leading the way. For those of us in the USA the only real alternative is the Lending Club. Hopefully Zopa will come back soon and give the United States another chance.