You might profit from granting small personal loans, but the risks are high.
Inspired by the realization that payday lenders typically charge up to 400% interest, SoLo aims to provide affordable loans to those in need. Lenders can issue loans on both iOS and Android, but there’s no guarantee that borrowers will be able to make payments and your profits depend solely on tips.
Peter Carleton is a writer that covers banking and investing, breaking down what you need to know about where you put your money. When Peter's not thinking about cutting-edge banking apps and robo-advisors, he runs a creative agency and spends his spare time cooking or reading.
Who is SoLo best for?
SoLo is designed to help borrowers overcome short term financial issues while creating a unique opportunity for investors. While it’s not intended for making big profits, SoLo is best for:
Beginner investors. SoLo makes it easy to start investing with quick signup, low minimums and transparency so you can see where your money goes. Plus, it doesn’t require research and strategies like equity trading might.
Risk-seeking investors. This platform has the potential for solid returns, but since there’s no security that loans will be repaid, it’s better for people who are willing to take on more risk.
What are the benefits of SoLo?
SoLo offers a suite of benefits that can help investors grow their portfolio:
Transparency. You lend money directly, allowing you to see exactly where your money goes.
Helps others. Aside from the potential to earn money, your loan could help others who need it.
No minimums. There’s no minimum loan amount so you can start investing with as little as you’d like.
No fees. There are no fees for lenders to use this app or issue loans.
Potential for returns. According to SoLo, most transactions are tipped at an average of 2% of the loan, or $14 per transaction.
What to watch out for
Despite its intention to help those who need small-dollar loans, this platform is not good for long-term investments and large returns. Watch out for these other negatives:
No guaranteed returns. Optional tips are the only way to earn money.
Maximum investment. If you’re looking to lend more than $8,000 a month, you’ll need to find another platform.
Borrower defaults. While you can verify a borrower’s ability to repay a loan, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get your money back.
Short-term investing. Loans only last up to 30 days, so you’ll need multiple loans to generate recurring earnings.
Earnings are taxable as income. Unlike many other investments, the money you earn is considered income and will be taxed at your marginal tax rate.
Poor customer service. A number of users have reported issues contacting or getting help from customer service.
Compare SoLo to other interest-earning investments
Is SoLo lending safe?
Becoming a SoLo lender could help you earn a bit of extra money, but there’s no guarantee you’ll get your money back. Borrowers have SoLo scores that reflect their ability to repay loans, but if they stop making payments, the most you can do is send the loan to collections. SoLo claims to have a default rate of only 3%, but customer reviews may indicate that default is much more common.
What do other investors say about SoLo?
SoLo Funds is not yet accredited by the BBB, but it holds a B- rating and a 1- out of 5-star rating. On other rating websites, you’ll find a handful of positive reviews sprinkled in with the many negative.
Many lenders have had issues getting their money back when borrowers default on loans and mention that SoLo customer service didn’t do much to help. Users also complain about the mobile app, citing problems with repeated requests for information they already provided.
How do I get started?
SoLo operates entirely online. Visit the website or app store to download the mobile app and get started:
Tap Continue with Facebook or Sign in with Google.
Sign in with either account, then confirm your full name and email.
Enter your phone number, then confirm the verification code.
Scan photos of the back and front of your government-issued ID.
Enter your address and birthday.
Enter your Social Security number and all other details.
Agree to all terms and submit your application.
After downloading the app, you’ll need to meet a few eligibility requirements in order to open an account:
Social Security number
18 years old
Bank issued debit card with debit and credit capabilities
During your application, you’ll be asked for the following information:
First and last name
Date of birth
Social Security number
Facebook or Google account details
How do I contact SoLo customer service?
There’s no phone number to call SoLo customer service, but you can contact the company online. Visit the SoLo website to start a live chat or submit a support ticket.
SoLo is a peer-to-peer lending app that connects lenders with borrowers who need extra money. It’s free to sign up and use, but returns are entirely tip-based and there’s no guarantee your loan will be repaid.
A SoLo score is a user’s Social Credit Score, which takes into account their online presence, financial information and ability to repay a loan. Higher scores represent more credit-worthy borrowers.
Yes. However, you can only lend up to $3,000 per day and $8,000 per month.
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