Peer-to-peer lending (P2P)

Page written by AI. Reviewed internally on April 12, 2024.


Peer-to-peer lending is a decentralised form of lending that enables individuals or businesses to borrow money directly from other individuals or investors through online platforms, bypassing traditional financial institutions like banks.

What is peer-to-peer lending?

Peer-to-peer lending creates a marketplace where borrowers are connected with lenders.

Key elements of peer-to-peer lending:

  1. Online platforms: P2P lending operates through online platforms that serve as intermediaries, connecting borrowers with potential lenders.
  2. Diverse borrowers: Borrowers can range from individuals seeking personal loans to small businesses in need of funding for various purposes.
  3. Lender pool: Lenders in P2P lending can be individuals, institutions, or a combination of both. They provide funds to borrowers in exchange for interest payments.
  4. Risk assessment and credit scoring: P2P platforms typically assess the creditworthiness of borrowers through various means.

The P2P platform assesses the credit risk of the borrower and assigns an interest rate based on their creditworthiness. Borrowers with higher creditworthiness may receive lower interest rates. Once the loan is fully funded, the funds are transferred to the borrower. The borrower repays the loan, typically on a monthly basis, including both principal and interest.

Lending to individuals or businesses carries the risk of default. Even with credit assessments, there is a chance that borrowers may fail to repay the loan. Unlike bank deposits, funds in P2P lending platforms are not typically insured by government agencies, so there is no guarantee against loss.

Example of peer-to-peer lending

Imagine a small business owner, John, needs a loan to purchase new equipment for his bakery. Instead of approaching a traditional bank for financing, John decides to explore peer-to-peer lending platforms.

John visits a peer-to-peer lending website where individual investors offer loans to borrowers like him. He submits an application detailing the amount he needs and the purpose of the loan.

Investors on the platform review John’s loan request and, if interested, contribute small amounts of money to fund the loan. Once the loan is fully funded, John receives the funds directly deposited into his bank account.

Over time, John repays the loan with interest through monthly installments. The peer-to-peer lending platform handles the collection of payments from John and distributes them to the individual investors who funded the loan.

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