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Other than the marketplace led by Prosper.com, there are 3 other major players in the microlending marketplace which are providing competition. The other players at the moment are Kiva.org, Zopa, and MicroPlace.

This article is intended to differentiate the different competitors and so that a potential investor or borrower can select the correct site for their needs.

Prosper.com is a marketplace for lenders and borrowers to meet. Lenders make small loans to a borrower who, when enough 'microloans' are made, have their loan granted and the lender is paid back at the interest rate of the loan for a period of 3 years. All loans are reported to credit bureaus and collection agencies are used for loans that fall behind. A borrower of any credit score can request a loan and a lender can loan as little as $50. Once you join as a lender, your bank account is verified and once you transfer funds, you get a $25 start up bonus.

Kiva is intended for investors to loan money to small businesses in the developing world. On Kiva you "sponsor a business" targeted at the worlds working poor. A typical loan on Kiva usually runs 6-12 months and you get email journal updates from the business you've sponsored. Kiva chooses the qualified borrowers and Kiva partners upload the borrower profiles on the site so investors can select to invest with them.

Zopa is available to any U.S. resident 18 or older with a credit score above 640, a reasonable income level, and an established credit history. Like Prosper, the loan sizes are a minimum of $1,000 up to $25,000. Loan terms are for 5 years, longer than Prosper's 3 year term. Zopa is a much smaller community than Prosper and does not provide services for hi-risk borrowing.

Microplace is Ebay's foray into the microcredit world. Investing starts when you purchase investments on MicroPlace from security issuers, who are responsible for making interest and principal payments to you. Much like Kiva, the funds are passed onto lending organizations who provide loans to borrowers. As loans are repaid, security issuers are able to provide you with a financial return. MicroPlace charges a fee to the organizations that offer investments through the MicroPlace website.

2 comments:

At December 15, 2007 at 12:12 PM Tom said...

Good analysis.

Lending Club and GlobeFunder are two other options.

Tom
http://prosperlending.blogspot.com

 
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