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. For added protection, you can opt-in for SoLo’s Lender Protection Service for a small fee. If the borrower defaults, you’ll be credited the full loan principal that you can apply on another loan.
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, tips generally range from 3% to 10% of the loan, or $6 to $20 for the average $200 transaction.
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. You’ll need to pass SoLo Fund’s internal checks to increase your monthly investment contributions.
- 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. Loan terms average under 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.
How Solo Funds works for investors
While there’s no limit to how much you can invest each month, Solo Funds implements an internal tier system to mitigate risk. As Solo Funds becomes more comfortable with your risk profile, it’ll raise your monthly contributions.
Since borrowers set the terms, your return varies based on your lending strategy. “We do see that the average amount for a SoLo loan is around $200, for things such as utility bills, childcare, unplanned car troubles, rent or other expenses,” reports co-founder and CEO Travis Holoway. “Our average period for these loans is typically under 30 days as well.” So the more loans you fund that meet borrower criteria, the more you stand to make on borrower tips, which generally range from 3% to 10% of the loan.
And to make sure that you don’t receive negative returns, SoLo offers a Lender Protection Service for a small fee. If the borrower is delinquent and unable to fulfill the terms of the agreement, you’ll be credited the full principal of the loan, which you can then apply toward another SoLo loan.
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.
SoLo Funds is not yet accredited by the BBB, but it holds a 1.29- out of 5-star rating, as of February 2021. 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.
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
- US address
- 18 years old
- Bank issued debit card with debit and credit capabilities
- State-issued ID
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
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.
Not sure if it’s right for you? Compare your trading options to find the right fit.