I am thankful every single day for the internet and the opportunities it has opened up for entrepreneurs and small business owners. It’s a marvel to see the innovation that takes place. There are no boundaries for business ideas. What’s your next business idea? Will it work on the internet?
Here’s an intriguing idea. Set up an auction type site where people request loans and other people bid to loan the money and make a few bucks in the process. Sound good? Well, someone already thought of it.
Yep, hop on over to Prosper.com to see what it’s all about. In the meantime, read this short overview of the company.
Prosper, America’s first people-to-people lending marketplace, was created to make consumer lending more financially and socially rewarding for everyone. The way Prosper works is intuitive to people who have used eBay. Instead of listing and bidding on items, people list and bid on loans using Prosper’s online auction platform.
People who want to lend set the minimum interest rate they are willing to earn and bid in increments of $50 to $25,000 on loan listings they select. People who lend can easily diversify using “standing orders”, which automatically make many small loans to different borrowers.
In addition to criteria commonly used by institutional lenders, such as credit scores, people who lend can consider borrowers’ group affiliations. Groups on Prosper are critical to bringing people together for the common goal of borrowing at better rates. Groups earn reputations according to their members’ repayment records. Groups with successful repayment histories should attract more lenders offering lower rates.
Borrowers create loan listings for up to $25,000 and set the maximum rate they are willing to pay a lender. Then the auction begins as people who lend bid down the interest rate. Once the auction ends, Prosper takes the bids with the lowest rates and combines them into one simple loan. Prosper handles all on-going loan administration tasks including loan repayment and collections on behalf of the matched borrower and lenders.
You may want to venture over to the New York Times (registration required) and see what they thought too.
Hey! Who needs banks when you have this type of option? Tell me what you think of this business concept by leaving a comment.