Prosper was founded in 2005 as the first peer-to-peer lending marketplace in the United States. Since then, Prosper has facilitated more than $18 billion in loans to more than 1,080,000 people. Through Prosper, people can invest in each other in a way that is financially and socially rewarding. Individuals and institutions can invest in loans and earn attractive returns. Prosper handles all loan servicing on behalf of the matched borrowers and investors.
How you make money
You are lending money to borrowers and therefore earn monthly interest on your invested (or loaned) principal. Historical Returns on Prosper average 5.1%
How Prosper makes money
They take a 1% on the total outstanding principal so their fees reduce as the principal balance is reduced. This means that Prosper is not taking a portion of any interest payments, only the principal. An early loan payoff is actually good news at Prosper because service fees will have not had much time to accumulate.
Is it safe?
Borrower defaults: The annual default rate across all grades at Prosper is 3-4%. Poor loan diversification: New investors should take advantage of the $25 minimum investment. Investing in 20 loans at $250 has a much higher risk than investing in 200 loans at $25. Prosper bankruptcy Interest rate risk – the loan terms are three or five years so during this time interest rates could increase substantially. Liquidity risk – While there is a secondary market on Prosper an investment here should not be considered liquid.