When Should You Borrow Using P2P Lending?

Peer to peer (P2P) lending has been gaining in popularity — especially since the recession began. Part of the reason for this is due to the difficulty associated with getting loans from banks.  Another issue is that traditional banks, in some cases, charge higher interest rates.  If you are looking for a way to get a loan, in some circumstances it might make sense to turn to P2P lending.

Consolidate Debt

Prosper Debt Consolidation LoansHigh interest credit card debt can be draining to your finances.  Additionally, consolidating that debt without some sort of secured loan can be difficult.  You might not be able to consolidate all of your debt using a balance transfer credit card, you may have bad credit card discipline, or you may have to pay higher interest rates for a bank debt consolidation loan.  P2P lending through a site like Lending Club or Prosper can help with this.  Often, you end up with a reasonably low interest rate (based on your credit), and you can consolidate up to $25,000 of debt, and then pay it off in three years or five years.

Start a Business

Small businesses have been finding it difficult to get financing for their businesses in the current economic climate.  You can get money to start a business, or to expand your current business with help from P2P lending.  Business microfinance company Kiva has come to the U.S., making it possible for small businesses in America to get help similar to what has been seen in developing countries.  It helps to have good credit, and a business plan, in order to get funding for your business.

Get a Personal Loan

lending club loan
Even for those with good credit, it can be difficult to get a good interest rate on an unsecured personal loan from the bank.  If you are looking for a personal loan, in some cases it can make sense to go the P2P lending route to save money on interest.  Before you apply, though, double check with your bank and compare rates.  Rate comparison shopping is always important if you want to get the best deal.

College Funding Gap

When it comes to paying for college, it is best to get free money, if you can.  You should also consider using a college investment account (529 or Coverdell) to help you build up money for college.  After that, your best bet is government loans, since you can get low interest — some of which might be subsidized if you qualify.  However, if you still can’t pay for your college education, you can use P2P lending to help you close that gap.  There are special sites, like TuitionU, that are specifically designed for student loans.

Bottom Line

Nearly anyone can benefit from P2P lending.  For those who are especially interested in getting a competitive interest rate, P2P lending can be a money-saver.  Those with good credit are likely to benefit the most from P2P lending, since rates can be quite low.  Additionally, those who offer more details about how they will use the money are more likely to be fully funded.

Have you ever borrowed through peer to peer lending? What was your experience?

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Published or updated May 8, 2013.


  1. I should have done this during college! Oh well, somehow I managed to get through school unscathed haha. Seems like a great opportunity to lessen the burden without going to the big banks and getting screwed.

    • It can make for a nice way to secure funds when other college loans can’t cover all of your costs. Just remember the time frame to pay back the loan.

  2. Track Your Bucks says:

    Along with the many benefits listed above, peer-to-peer lending offers very nice rates of return for those looking to invest in the notes. I have been using Lending Club for a little over seven months now – and have been receiving over 10% in interest on my tiny amount of savings. While I realize this short amount of time might not be the best yardstick to measure P2P investing success, I’m convinced enough to divert a few bucks each week to my Lending Club account. Taking business away from big banks only sweetens the deal for me.

    • I, too, began investing with Lending Club recently. This article pretty much sums up the categories I exclusively look to invest in. By far, I most commonly invest in debt consolidation, which shows me that the borrower is making a smart financial decision. On the other hand, if the borrower has poor credit, can’t get a loan anywhere else, but still feels they “need” a new motorcycle even at 20% interest, I move right along without giving it a second glance. If borrowers simply show that they’re being smart and helping themselves, that’s when I’ll help them.

      • Great points on the investing side!

      • i couldnt get them too let me through the website my credit has been so badly damaged by my own mistakes that they wont lend to me i just need tthe money to pay off my debt and get a monthly payment im in the military and its guranteed they will get their money back through allotments i just need to get rid of my debt and fast

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