Borrowing money today doesn’t mean you have to rely on your bank. The internet opened up many more possibilities, many of which have more flexible guidelines, such as peer-to-peer lending.

On peer-to-peer lending sites, you borrow from individuals rather than institutions. The peer-to-peer sites evaluate your creditworthiness and assign you a rating. Investors choose investments based on these ratings. Investors may fund an entire loan or divvy up their funds among multiple loans.

We’ve listed the top 5 peer-to-peer lenders below to help you get started.

Upstart

A great option for those with less than perfect credit, Upstart focuses on academic and employment histories rather than credit. Upstart will consider borrowers with no credit history if they have an extensive and successful academic and/or employment history. Upstart offers competitive APRs and terms, making it a great option for anyone that qualifies.

Pros:

  • Great for first-time borrowers with little to no credit
  • Ability to secure low APRs even with less than perfect credit
  • Fast funding, typically as quickly as the next business day
  • Offers higher loan amounts that most peer-to-peer lending sites
  • No pre-payment penalty

Cons:

  • High origination fees
  • Some borrowers pay excessively high APRs (especially those with bad credit)

Prosper

Prosper was one of the first peer-to-peer sites launched in the U.S. and is great for borrowers that need a small loan amount as they start loan amounts at just $2,000. Unlike most of its competitors, Prosper allows joint applicants, which may help borrowers with less than perfect credit.

Pros:

  • Borrow between $2,000 – $40,000
  • Lower origination fees than many other P2P sites
  • Flexible payment date options
  • NO prepayment penalty

Cons:

  • Charges high interest rates, sometimes as high as 35.99%
  • You need a minimum of 3 credit lines open

Lending Club

LendingClub offers borrowers with less than perfect credit a chance. You can borrow as little as $1,000 or as much as $40,000 depending on your qualifications. Borrowers can take out a loan for any purpose including debt consolidation, to refinance credit cards, pay for a vacation, or home improvement among many other uses.

Pros:

  • Get pre-qualified with no damage to your credit score
  • Borrowers with low credit scores may still qualify (up to $25,000)
  • Joint applicants may apply
  • Fast turnaround
  • Simple application process

Cons:

  • High origination fees
  • High APRs, especially for borrowers with low credit scores

Funding Circle

If you have a small business in need of funds, Funding Circle may help. You must be in business for at least 2 years and have a 660 credit score. Funding Circle has more than 100,000 investors willing to work with small businesses just like yours.

Pros:

  • Borrow as much as $500,000 (if you qualify)
  • Get funded in as little as three days
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Choose from terms of 6 months to five years
  • Low credit score requirements for large loans

Cons:

  • New businesses won’t qualify
  • Late payment fees are as much as 5% of the payment

Peerform

Borrowers with great credit benefit from Peerform. A relative newcomer to the industry, Peerform offers low APRs and has minimal qualifying requirements. They fund within three business days of applying, but you can’t use funds for educational purposes.

Pros:

  • Great APRs especially if you have great credit
  • Minimum credit score as low as 600
  • You only need one revolving account on your credit report
  • Choose from a three or five-year repayment option
  • Save money with online/automatic payments

Cons:

  • Low maximum loan amount ($25,000)
  • You pay an extra fee if you pay by check

If you don’t qualify for a traditional bank loan or just can’t wait, peer-to-peer lending offers a competitive, affordable, and fast loan option.

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