Either a lender or a borrower be: Zopa

Zopa looks interesting: a marketplace for lenders and borrowers. It stands for Zone Of Price Agreemnt, or a negotiation between me and you that ends up with a loan at an interest figure we both are happy with. I can say I'm happy to lend up to say £500, at anything up to 7.3% for up to 36 months, with no more than £10 going to any one borrower in case they default - or I can lend at lower rates to people who are more likely to pay back faster. There's a 0.5% arrangement fee on both ends, so Zopa always makes money; the rest is up risk analysis.

The operating team is people from Egg, Abbey and Tesco. But the VC backers are the ones who funded eBay and Skype. And the idea is a combination of Web 2.0, eBay and microfinance - or as the blog puts it, what if you could buy and sell money on eBay? They're working on an API to supplement the initial XML feeds of loan averages, high and low rates and other interesting data about Zopa; I like the idea of a pop-up telling me now is a good time to offer another chunk of money because the rates are high, the market is slow and the interest rate at my bank has jsut dropped again.

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