While researching different p2p (peer to peer) lending platforms, I learned that the two most popular and mainstream options are Lending Club and Prosper. They have similar set-ups and goals, but they certainly differ in their requirements to be a lender. They’re both great, it just depends on how much money that you have to start off with. Lending Club requires a starting amount of $1,000.00. That also means that you could start to make a decent monthly return (don’t forget that return includes BOTH principal payment and interest together, not just interest). My financial situation does not allow for me to have a free $1,000.00 hanging around…yet. I’ll get there eventually. Patience is key in the financial improvement world when you have little to start with. In comes Prosper. Honestly, I know more about Prosper than Lending Club simply because I am able to invest with them. Prosper only requires a first deposit of $25 and the minimum to invest in a loan is $25.
So yay! You’ve ready to invest your first $25 into a loan! Where do you start? What’s your game-plan going to be? Don’t know yet? Neither did I, and I’m still learning and growing. Bear in mind this one awesome detail: you don’t have to fun an entire loan by yourself (and in my opinion you probably shouldn’t). You can put in as little as $25 per loan. These loans are funded by a large group of investors, not just one, so it’s less risky if you invest in many loans with smaller amounts, than one loan with a larger amount. How do you choose which ones to invest in? It’s tempting when you get on the list of available loans and you see that D grade loan with a 23% interest rate that looks so attractive…soooooo attractive. Then you see the A grade loan next to it that looks…not quite as attractive. You think to yourself: really? 7%? Ugh. But there’s something important about the difference between these two loans and it’s a huge deal when you can’t afford to lose any money. As attractive as that high interest loan might seem…it may not be the best option for you…or it could the be that the A grade loan isn’t right. I’ll tell you why.
When Prosper vets’ borrowers they have a multi-step process. Borrowers enter information about their finances including their income, what the loan is for, etc. Prosper also tells the individuals funding the loan valuable information that could sway an investor one way or another. Prosper rates each loan based on historical statistics of loans of its kind. The ratings go from 1-11, with 11 being the more secure loan to invest in, and 1 being the riskiest (according to Prospers algorithm). Personally, I know that people make mistakes just like I have, so I give a little wiggle room when it comes to the grade and I generally accept 7 or higher. I think about it like this: on paper I did not look that great in the past, but I’d not default on paying a private loan to anyone, as I know that people work very hard for their money just like me. Therefore, I know that Prospers number grade may not encompass the entirety of that borrower. Even with their advanced systems they can’t avoid a borrower who may default on their loan who may have a great numbered grade. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. Then I look further because I need more info to decide, but Prospers grade is a good starting point. I’ll let that info sink in for now.
I know it’s a whole world of financial possibility that I’ve introduced you to, and we’ll talk about the next steps in my consequent posts. Remember, you can always message me questions and I’ll get back to you asap!
P.S. Also, please remember to consult a certified financial advisor when it comes to the big decisions that you need help with. Although I have knowledge in this area, I would not pretend to be an expert. Happy financial improving! 😊