The idea sounds as simple as tempting: on platforms on the Internet lenders and buyers come together – similar to the buyers and sellers on eBay and no appointment with the bank. However, this is also the catch: The conclusion of a loan agreement is not comparable to the purchase of a book or board game – advice makes sense. And consumer advocates warn that not all offers collateral.
Several credit platforms are now online in Germany. “There are different qualities there,” says Peter Lischke, a money expert at the Verbraucherzentrale Berlin. It would be different, above all, whether and how thoroughly the portals examine the mediation between the lender and the lender and whether they offer collateral for both sides. Similar to other offers of the Web 2.0 – the video platform Youtube or the contact exchange MySpace – the credit marketplaces should be social networks of the users. “Social Lending” – has become naturalized as a generic term.
If you are looking for a loan, introduce yourself online, specify the desired loan amount, term and interest rate. If you want to invest money, look at the offers and select who you want to spend money on which terms. In this free market lower interest rates are to be possible than at the bank, advertise the operator – because costs of administration and mediation, the banks are included in the interest rate, do not apply. In turn, lenders can make lending dependent on whether they consider the borrower’s intentions to be meaningful and worthy of funding.
“What does he want the money for and what collateral is there?” – These questions are Peter Lischke credit providers on the way. The expert sees difficulties with the portals, especially for the provider side: “Of course, the borrower is obliged to repay the money – but does that happen?” That was usually unclear for providers and difficult to check online. Borrowers, on the other hand, need to know that sometimes fees are incurred – in some cases consumer protection also criticizes a lack of transparency of offers.
“eLolly” based in Brunnen, Switzerland, for example, expanded its website in September and promotes consumer safety. In addition to consumer loans, there are now also real estate offers and start-up financing. Stefanie Laag from the consumer center North Rhine-Westphalia in Dusseldorf is skeptical: “The offer has the appearance of more transparency, but it is still so that you have to register before you get more detailed information about the offers.”
The fee for the registration was even increased. Now € 19.50 is due – before it was € 9.50 – to set an offer. This applies to both lenders and borrowers – regardless of whether it actually comes to a credit agreement. A one-time registration fee of 9.50 euros – but only for borrowers – is due at “auxmoney.com” from Hilden near Düsseldorf. Further costs are incurred when customers request “certifications”: this allows borrowers to have their ability to pay verified by the portal operators, increasing their chances of obtaining a loan.
On the website, the operators advertise that consumers can get a loan even without Schufa information. Stefanie Laag, however, warns against accepting a loan at all if one has received a cancellation from banks for lack of creditworthiness. At “smava.de” from Berlin, the operators are following a different concept: Here, a bank is interposed. And the user only pays a commission when it actually comes to a credit agreement, explains Alexander Artopé, one of the founders. It also examines the creditworthiness by the credit seekers are divided into risk classes – depending on their rating at the Schufa.
Within this risk group, a compensation payment then takes place when a member makes his payment
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