Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Business Lending provides business loans from individuals, businesses and institutions, generally through online platforms. They’re an alternative to bank loans and can offer a different funding product with significantly shorter decision lead times.

In 2017, more than £1.78bn was lent to UK businesses through Peer-to-Peer Business Loan platforms

British Business Bank Small Business Finance Markets report 2017/18

Key requirement

You typically need a trading history, track record or security

Key benefit

Loan decisions are usually made quickly, sometimes instantly

Key consideration

Interest rates on Peer-to-Peer Loans are comparable to other business loans

What is Peer-to-Peer Lending?

Peer-to-Peer Lending is a fast-growing finance type in the UK where borrowers are matched with lenders via online platforms or through brokers offline.

Businesses complete an online form and answer questions about how the loan will be used, the size of the loan and how long you need it for, along with company information.

On certain P2P platforms decisions can be made almost instantly and the loan provided in as little as a couple of days.

The loan is repaid with interest through regular payments for the duration of the loan agreement and you may also have to pay an arrangement fee to the Peer-to-Peer platform if you receive a loan.

“Some of our quickest platforms can make decisions almost instantly but you are certainly looking at a decision within a matter of days or weeks.”

Robert Pettigrew Director at Peer To Peer Finance Association

What are Peer-to-Peer Lending platforms?

There are several Peer-to-Peer Lending platforms in the UK and they operate in a similar way.

Businesses complete an online form, answer questions about their business and the loan they need before the platform matches them with suitable lenders. When you submit a formal application, Peer-to-Peer platforms will conduct credit checks.

Loans can vary in size between platforms and, depending on the size of the loan required and the business’ profile, lending can be unsecured driven by the business’ cashflow generation, or lending could be secured against assets.

Each Peer-to-Peer lender has its own appetite to risk, so if you do get rejected by one, you may still be approved by another.

“For general enquiries, i.e. pre-application enquiries about P2P, any credit search will be a soft one, which can be relevant and useful to businesses because they can explore options without risking it impacting on their credit scoring.”

Robert Pettigrew Director at Peer To Peer Finance Association

Peer-To-Peer Lending regulations

The Peer-To-Peer Lending industry is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

As an FCA regulated industry, Peer-To-Peer Lending platforms need to meet certain requirements. They must be clear and transparent, and not misleading.

For most, that means publishing lots of information about the risks and rewards involved in P2P Lending, including performance information and how this compares to expectations.

Benefits of Peer-to-Peer Lending

Wide range of platforms

Small to large loans catered for

Secured and unsecured loans

Simple, straightforward process

Decisions made quickly

Retain full control of your business

Access finance quickly

Risks of Peer-to-Peer Lending

Interest rates

Interest rates for Peer-to-Peer loans may be higher than Business Loans.

Your credit report

Your credit report may be affected when you apply for a Peer-to-Peer loan, depending on the platform. Late or defaulted payments may also impact your credit report.

Charges and fees

Charges and fees may apply for arranging the loan. Charges and fees may also apply if you miss payments or repay your loan early.


If you default on a Peer-to-Peer loan, the provider may pass the loan on to a debt collection agency or it may go to court. Your credit report may also be affected.

Need to know / Checklist

  • What’s the interest rate on the loan?
  • What’s the capital repayment profile?
  • What fees are involved?
  • How long is your loan?
  • Are there charges for early repayment?
  • Are there charges for missed payments?

Key considerations for Peer-to-Peer Lending

  • Do you know how much money you want to borrow?
  • Are you clear in how you will use the loan?
  • Do you know how long you want the loan for?
  • Can you afford the loan repayments, interest and platform fees?

About your business

Business stageEstablished with a trading history
Annual turnoverAny

What's your next step?

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