People who need money have a lot more options than they think. If you don’t know where to start accessing cash, don’t make the payday loan service in your local city or town the first place you look.

Maybe you don’t want a credit check or you suspect you could never get a loan through the local bank or credit union. Maybe you’ve got perfectly good credit, but you don’t want to be in debt to the local bankers in your community. Maybe you just don’t trust traditional financial institutions anymore after their poor showing in the economic meltdown. Whatever your reasons, anyone with a legitimate need for a cash influx should consider peer to peer loan websites.

Social Lending Websites around the WorldIf you need to know where to find peer to peer loan sites to borrow money, but haven’t the slightest clue where to look, you’re in luck. I’ve put together a list of 15 different microlending communities you can use to get the cash you need. These loan websites have countless business models and lending frameworks. They also have more names than most people want to keep up with. Here’s just a few of the name you’ll hear them referred to as.

Social Lending Terms

  • Peer to Peer Microlending
  • Person to Person Loans
  • P2P Loans
  • Social Loans
  • Social Finance
  • Microloans
  • Micro Finance

The idea is simple. Traditional banks stopped offering money to average people, so the average people started finding ways to keep the economy going while financiers hoarded their money. Websites existed for a while which let one private citizen lend money to another private citizen. When money stopped flowing from the bankers, these websites stepped in to provide small business owners a way to keep their dream alive. With the success of the existing social lending communities, a flood of these microloan brokering websites began to appear. Most developed countries now have their own sites with a social lending presence.

Prosper Peer to Peer Loans

Prosper is the biggest online personal loan site in North America. Prosper has nearly 1.3 million members and has helped foster loans in excess of $320 million. The slogan of Prosper is “Invest, Borrow, Prosper”. Getting a microloan or investing in small businesses have never been so easy. When you go on the site, you’ll see big buttons that let you borrow money or invest money with a few simple clicks. When you go online, you can go through the many levels of borrowers and see what APR you receive and what kind of interest you can charge as an investor.

Prosper classifies a person according to a credit background check, but everyone gets a borrowers “grade”, ranging from A to G. The grade you get determines how much interest you’ll need to pay on your debts. At the same time, creditors (“investors”) are given the opportunity to choose which grade level they want to offer money to borrowers.

Lending Club Social Finance and Quality Borrowers

Lending Club is quite similar to Prosper and it’s probably the biggest competition Prosper has at the moment. Investors can offer loans to people with good credit and get roughly a 6% interest rate on your investment, or you can give microloans to people with the worst credit and get credit in the 19% to 20% range. Those borrowing can’t expect quite the same interest rate, since Prosper gets a certain fee for brokering the deal.

One thing the site does to distinguish itself is find “quality borrowers”. The average a FICO score for a borrower at Lending Club is 715, while these people have fifteen years of credit history and, without a mortgage figured in, a 13.4% debt-to-income ratio. This average person’s personal income is $69,570, while the average loan this person takes out is $11,418.

Kiva Socially Conscious Lending

Kiva is the most successful website for lenders with a social conscience. If you’ve always wanted to help people in foreign countries, but was afraid corrupt officials in less developed countries and foreign aid organizations would simply take the money you donated, Kiva offers a totally different way to assist the working poor in developing nations.

Spanning five continents, Kiva lets people give loans that chance lives. Kiva has over 750,000 social lenders who have given out nearly $320,000,000 in loans throughout its history (for an average of under $500 per lender). Their repayment rate is just under 99%, which is remarkable, considering the company is active in over 60 countries. The idea is simple: westernized money travels farther in less developed countries.

You might not be rich by USA standards, but a loan as little as $25 can help borrowers around the globe get started with their own businesses through microfinance. You make a small profit from the money you loan, while you have the satisfaction of helping others develop their own countries. Kiva is a non-profit organization to help alleviate poverty. With Kiva’s help, you can help alleviate poverty worldwide.

Weemba Social Network for Creditors and Debtors

Weemba is a Miami-based social network which helps borrowers and lenders find one another. Weemba helps people get make a connection and charges a nominal finders fee. Where Weemba differs from Prosper and Lending Club is their role after this connection is made. Lending Club and Prosper loans are made through the site and their debt collectors help a creditor regain their money–or at least report the foul activity back to the three credit reporting agencies: Transfax, Equiunion, and Experian. At Weemba, the social lending is done off the site. Once a creditor and credit borrower get together, they make arrangements off the website. Weemba’s founders are quick to point out this distinction.

More P2P Websites in America

  • Zidisha Microfinance – Zidisha is a small microloans and social networking site founded in 2009 by a Virginia woman who wanted to connect American lenders with borrowers in developing nations, specifically for the task of giving startup cash for small businesses. So far, over 300 global business have been started thanks to Zidisha loans.
  • Grameen Microloans for Low-Income Americans – The people at the Grameen America Bank in Manhattan had the same idea for low-income American business owners. If you live in poor urban areas and always wanted to start your own local business, look into borrowing from the Grameen American P2P Banking Group. This is bankrolled by the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, of all things.
  • Social Finance for College P2P Borrowing – American college attendees who don’t want to take out a student loan can go to “SoFi” or “Social Finance”, which allows you to borrow socially from alumni at the university or postsecondary school you’ll be attending. Over 30 US universities have alumni participating, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Cal Berkeley, Duke University, North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Notre Dame, BYU, and many others.

Microloan Websites in the UK

  • Zopa Social Lending – Zopa is the most successful of the UK P2P sites. You could compare it to Prosper in the United Kingdom.
  • Funding Circle P2P Investments – Funding Circle is a consortium of investors who decided to open their own online borrowing site to challenge High Street’s traditional hegemony in Britain’s small business loan industry (92%). Funding Circle has given about £25,000,000 to about 600 different small business opportunities and start-up companies in the UK.
  • Ratesetter Person to Person Microloans – Ratesetter has lent nearly £20,000,000 to small business owners and other borrowers in England and its sister countries.
  • Virgin Money and Greystone Solutions – Virgin Money once had a large enough peer-to-peer lending service that it challenged Prosper for US dominance, but the 2008 economic downturn forced Richard Branson’s banking interests to pull out the American market. Nowadays, what’s left of the Virgin Money social lending apparatus is handled by Greystone Solutions.

International P2P Social Lending

  • Smava – Smava is the largest P2P lending community online in Germany.
  • Smartika or Zopa Italia – Smartika is the new name for what was once called Zopa Italia. The rebranding was forced by newer, tougher laws by the Italian government on social loans.
  • Lending Hub Australia – Lending Hub Australia is a large peer to peer loan community based out of Sydney.
  • iGrin Microloans Site – iGrin is another Australian social network social lending community in the Land Down Under, built for anyone over 18 to borrow or loan money.
  • iLend Indian – The largest social lender/borrower broker online in Hindustan at the moment is iLend. Indians can help Indians start a new life or build a new business by socially lending money over the Internet now.

Financing Your Life Online

People have access to so many revenue streams online that they should never be at a loss to get a loan. Whether you’re going with an online lending marketplace like Lending Tree or one of the micro-lending websites I discussed above, you should be able to match up with some creditor willing to take a chance on you. Just remember: when you borrow money from one of these online creditors, use this as an opportunity to dig out of your personal financial crisis.

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