Top crowdlending platforms in Europe 2022
Crowdlending is one of the most mature and fastest-growing sectors of crowdfunding, that’s why the interest of investors in crowdlending is growing rapidly.
How much money can an investor make on crowdlending? And how to select the best crowdlending platform? Let’s learn more about crowdlending, its benefits and drawbacks, and find out whether it’s a viable way to earn.
What is crowdlending?
With crowdlending or P2P lending, you are lending money to borrowers via a crowdlending platform in return for interest. A crowdlending platform is a marketplace that connects investors and borrowers by cutting financial institutions and banks as intermediaries.
Here’s how it works:
- A borrower applies for a loan.
- The platform assesses risks and sets the interest rate, establishes the repayment terms, penalties for delays, etc., and sends the data to lenders.
- Lenders, or investors, enter into an agreement with the platform that includes a contract for the benefit of the third party.
In most cases, there is no direct contact between lenders and borrowers and they stay completely anonymous to each other. Sometimes, lenders can choose borrowers from the pool provided by the platform based on specific characteristics, loan size, scoring, etc.
All processes on a crowdlending platform are automated, so investors do not need to go into detail about every loan. However, they may set some criteria for the platform to find the most suitable deals:
- loan amount,
- risk level,
- loan duration,
- minimum return, and others.
While some crowdlending platforms leave all the financial risks to lenders, others offer a buyback guarantee or even a MoneyBack guarantee.
Is crowdlending legal?
Crowdlending is a legal activity even though regulators face numerous challenges when it comes to the procedures common for traditional lending.
For example, how to perform a creditworthiness assessment if the crowdlending platforms focus on the anonymity of borrowers? To assess the prospective customer’s creditworthiness, the platform takes into account details like bank accounts, credit cards, loan accounts, and similar. These factors are different in different countries, but in most cases, this information is not available to lenders or available to some extent only.
Data collection and data processing is regulated differently from country to country, too. In European countries, when lenders enquire about a borrower’s personal data, they shall take into account the General Data Protection Regulation and make sure they have informed the borrower and requested permission to access the borrower’s personal data.
Even though regulatory compliance is a challenge, the crowdlending sector evolves quickly. In Europe, P2P lending is one of the major crowdfunding business models:
- The UK represents the largest P2P lending market segment with a share of above 72%.
- France follows with a market share of approx. 20%. France has been traditionally the largest player in the market for alternative finance in Continental Europe.
- The third place is taken by Germany with a market share of above 17%.
How to select the best crowdlending platform: checklist
We have already mentioned the risks: most crowdlending platforms leave the financial risks to lenders. That’s why it is important for an investor to know how to select the best crowdlending platform. We have arranged the most crucial details in a list.
What to check before investing
- Registration data. A crowdlending platform must be registered a business and have a valid address. Make sure the registration place is not a so-called “tax haven” where registration requirements are quite basic.
- Team behind the platform. Check whether they have Linkedin profiles or presence at other professional networks, have a look at their experience and professional background. If the team members are not indicated or their profiles are fake, it is a massive red flag.
- Platform transparency. Are all investment conditions clear to you? Check whether the platform hides anything about lending conditions, risks involved, guarantees, security measures, and similar. Read the fine print!
- Online reviews. Does the platform have any real reviews? There are review platforms like TrustPilot where you can check the reviews provided by real customers and see how the platform tackles complaints.
- Communication. P2P platforms need to have well-established communication channels with investors. Write them an email, fill in an online form if any, call them — use any available communication method provided on the platform to check whether they reply and how they answer your questions.
- Experience. A platform with a long track record and positive reviews is more trustworthy than a platform launched yesterday.
- Exit opportunities. An investor shall have an opportunity to leave the platform if circumstances change, sell their loan or get repaid by a loan originator according to a buy-back guarantee.
It is not an exhaustive list but it will help investors to shortlist the best crowdlending platforms.
Top crowdlending platforms in Europe in 2022
To facilitate the task, we made a list of the best crowdlending platforms in Europe that have highest ratings and reputations among the investors who share their feedback online. We are not affiliated with any of the platforms.
How much can you make with P2P lending?
The potential income on peer to peer investment depends on the platform you choose. Based on the comparison of the leading P2P lending sites in Europe, you can count on average on 13% of ROI but it really depends on the platform.
While P2P loans come with higher interest rates than loans offered by banks, they are also much riskier. That’s why it is important to choose a crowdlending platform from the list of top P2P lenders Europe can offer.
We’ve covered the basics of how to start a crowdlending business, but there’s much more information we suggest you explore.
Remember that investing is risky and you can lose all your money. Never invest more than you can afford losing and try to diversify your investment portfolio — we’ll cover that in our future articles.
Do your own research carefully, rely on independent information sources, and carry out due digilence for a platform you decided to invest with.