Zopa – Social Lending

June 25, 2009

If you, like me, are sick and tired of hearing about your hard-earned cash going to fund someones pension who doesn’t deserve it, or how about paying for a dirty movie, or paying for a duck island, well try out Zopa.

zopa_logo

Zopa is a way of avoiding banks altogether, and is known as the “Human way to get a low cost loan.” You can stop putting your hard earned cash into the banks, and instead, directly help the economy by reaching out to people who need it the most.

I believe that this website has been out for a while, but I only recently came across it myself. It’s unique and different to see a financially based website be so outwardly “web 2.0” with bright colours, round bouncy writing – basically a website that you enjoy to look at. None of this corporate imagery, blues, greys, big words… instead a totally user friendly website. It is completely unique in the services it provides, with an idea that is so old and has been adapted to the internet.

Obviously they have to do a credit check, you can’t have CCJs, loads of defaults on credit history… standard things. But once you’re in the clear you can lend, or borrow, to your hearts content.

Last month I went into Barclays to apply for an overdraft of £100, not a lot when I have much more than that going into my account monthly. The assistant was wonderfully helpful, very nice, put all the details into her computer, waited 5 minutes, then informed me that the computer had, in fact, said no. Minus the cough. I was horrified. The overdraft was to see me through to the end of the month, preventing any payments that may bounce, and in turn, give me a bad credit history, and in turn, deny me from applying for overdrafts in future. So you see, circular issue, and not going to be fixed.

No longer do we have the chance to negotiate with bank managers on loans, rates… all those kind of things. Now we have the cold, corporate, unfriendliness, unnegotiable computer program to deal with, who doesn’t have emotions and therefore can’t care about my predicament.

Now, lets take a look at Zopa.

I can do a profile all about myself, why I need a loan, why I am a respectable human being… and that I will definitely pay it back.

Or, I could read people’s profiles, and decide based on the information before me whether I want to lend to their cause or not.

Zopa has re-humanised the process of lending and borrowing, I mentioned earlier that Zopa is a step forward… infact it is really a step backwards away from the computer-run worlds of banks today. Giving something a face makes it much easier to part with your cash.

It’s like being angry at a car who has cut in front of you on the motorway; when you drive by them and look in to see a mother driving her two young children to school, and they’re singing along to “Piano Man”, tell me you don’t calm just a little bit. All part of the humanisation process.

There are fees involved so Zopa can make their way, so read up, but the concept is terrific.

Note: Shout out to Dave for contribution of inspiration for this post.

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