- Accredited Investors
Accredited investors are individuals or entities that meet certain criteria set by regulatory agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States. These criteria are intended to ensure that accredited investors have the financial knowledge and resources to understand and bear the risks of investing in certain types of financial instruments.
In the United States, an individual must have a net worth of at least $1 million (excluding their primary residence) or an annual income of at least $200,000 ($300,000 for joint income) to be considered an accredited investor. Entities, such as banks, insurance companies, and certain types of trusts, may also qualify as accredited investors.
Accredited investors are often able to invest in higher-risk, higher-reward opportunities that may not be available to non-accredited investors. For example, they may be able to invest in private placements, hedge funds, and venture capital funds, which may not be registered with the SEC and may not be subject to the same level of regulatory oversight as publicly traded securities.
- Agricultural Loan
An agricultural loan is a financial product provided to farmers, ranchers, and other individuals or organizations involved in the agricultural industry. Agricultural loans may be used for a variety of purposes, such as purchasing land, equipment, and livestock, or financing agricultural projects and operations. These loans may be offered by banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions, as well as government agencies and non-profit organizations. The terms of an agricultural loan may vary depending on the borrower's specific needs and the lender's risk assessment. Agricultural loans can help farmers and ranchers to expand and improve their operations.
- Alternative Investments
Alternative investments are financial assets that differ from traditional investments such as stocks, bonds, and cash. These investments may include assets such as real estate, private equity, hedge funds, commodities, and collectibles. Alternative investments may offer the potential for higher returns, but they also typically involve a higher level of risk and may not be suitable for all investors. Alternative investments may be less liquid and may be more difficult to value than traditional investments, making them more suitable for long-term investment strategies. Investors should carefully consider their financial goals and risk tolerance before deciding whether to include alternative investments in their portfolio.
- Anti-Money Laundering (AML)
Anti-Money Laundering (AML) refers to laws, regulations, and procedures that are designed to prevent the use of the financial system to facilitate illegal activities, such as money laundering, terrorist financing, and fraud. AML regulations typically require financial institutions and other organizations to implement certain controls and procedures, such as customer due diligence and suspicious activity reporting, to detect and prevent the use of their services for illicit purposes. AML regulations may also require organizations to maintain records and make them available to regulatory authorities for review. The goal of AML regulations is to protect the integrity of the financial system and prevent it from being used to support illegal activities.
- Appropriateness Test
An appropriateness test is a process used by financial professionals to determine whether a financial product or investment is suitable for a particular client. The appropriateness test typically involves evaluating the client's financial situation, including their investment objectives, risk tolerance, financial resources, and other relevant factors. The financial professional will use this information to determine whether the product or investment is appropriate for the client, given their specific needs and circumstances. The appropriateness test is an important part of the financial advice process, as it helps to ensure that clients are provided with financial products and investments that are suitable for their specific needs and goals.
Auto-invest is a feature offered by some financial institutions that allows investors to automate their investment decisions. With auto-invest, investors can set up a system that automatically invests their money according to predetermined criteria, such as the asset class, risk level, and investment period. For example, an investor may set up an auto-invest system that automatically invests a certain amount of money in a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds each month. Auto-invest can be a useful tool for investors who want to simplify their investment process and save time, as it allows them to set up a long-term investment plan and automatically execute it without having to make individual investment decisions on a regular basis.
- Bad Debt
Bad debt refers to a debt that is unlikely to be collected. Bad debts may occur when a borrower is unable to pay their debts due to financial hardship, bankruptcy, or other circumstances. For lenders, bad debt represents a loss, as they are unlikely to recover the money they lent to the borrower. Lenders may write off bad debts as a loss on their financial statements. In some cases, lenders may attempt to collect on bad debts through legal action, such as by suing the borrower or garnishing their wages. However, the chances of successfully recovering the debt may be low in these situations.
- Balance Sheet Lending
Balance sheet lending refers to a type of lending in which a financial institution provides a loan using its own funds, rather than borrowing the money from another source. With balance sheet lending, the financial institution takes on the credit risk associated with the loan and is responsible for any losses that may result from the borrower's inability to make their required payments. Balance sheet lending can be a useful way for financial institutions to provide credit to borrowers, as it allows them to have more control over the terms of the loan and the risk associated with it. However, balance sheet lending also carries the risk of losses if the borrower defaults on the loan, which can impact the financial institution's financial performance. Learn more about balance sheet lending and how it differs from peer-to-peer lending in our explanatory guide to balance sheet lending.
Blockchain is a decentralized, digital database that uses cryptography to record and verify transactions. It is made up of a series of interconnected blocks that contain a record of multiple transactions. Each block is linked to the previous block, forming a chain of blocks. Blockchain technology is often used to create secure, transparent, and tamper-proof records of transactions, such as financial transactions or legal agreements. Because it is decentralized, it does not rely on a central authority to verify transactions, making it more secure and resistant to tampering. Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize various industries, including finance, supply chain management, and voting systems.
- Bridge Loan
A bridge loan is a short-term loan that is used to "bridge the gap" between two financial transactions. It is typically used when a borrower needs to purchase a new property before they have sold their current property, or when a borrower needs to secure temporary financing until they can secure a more permanent source of financing. Bridge loans are typically secured by the borrower's current property and may be used to pay off the mortgage on the current property or to fund the purchase of the new property. Bridge loans may have higher interest rates and fees than more permanent forms of financing, as they are intended to be a short-term solution.
- Bullet Loan
A bullet loan is a type of loan that requires the borrower to make a single, large payment at the end of the loan term to pay off the entire outstanding balance. Bullet loans may have a fixed or variable interest rate, and the borrower may be required to make interest-only payments during the loan term. Bullet loans may be used for a variety of purposes, such as financing the purchase of a large asset or refinancing existing debt. Bullet loans may be attractive to borrowers who expect to have a large influx of cash at the end of the loan term, such as through the sale of a business or the receipt of a large inheritance. However, the borrower must be prepared to make the large final payment in order to avoid defaulting on the loan.
- Business Investing
Business investing refers to the practice of investing in businesses, either by purchasing ownership stakes in the form of stocks or by providing capital in exchange for a share of the profits. Business investing can take many forms, including buying shares of publicly traded companies, investing in private companies, or starting a new business. Business investing carries a high level of risk, as the success or failure of the business can have a significant impact on the value of the investment. Business investing can also be time-consuming and requires a thorough understanding of the business and its financials. However, it can also offer the potential for high returns if the business is successful.
- Business Loan
A business loan is a financial product provided by a lender to a business for the purpose of financing the business's operations, expansion, or other needs. Business loans may be offered by banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions, as well as government agencies and non-profit organizations. The terms of a business loan may vary depending on the lender, the purpose of the loan, and the creditworthiness and financial situation of the business. Business loans may be secured or unsecured, and may require the business to provide collateral or meet certain credit and financial criteria. Business loans can help businesses to fund their operations and growth, but they also carry the risk of default if the business is unable to make the required payments.
Buy-to-let refers to the practice of purchasing a property with the intention of renting it out to tenants. Buy-to-let investments can be a source of passive income for the owner and may also offer the potential for capital appreciation if the value of the property increases over time. However, buy-to-let investments also carry risks, such as the possibility of vacancies and the need to maintain and repair the property. Buy-to-let investors may need to have a good credit score and financial resources in order to qualify for a mortgage and may also need to consider factors such as location, rental demand, and property management.
Buy-to-sell refers to the practice of purchasing a property with the intention of reselling it for a profit. Buy-to-sell investors may look for properties that are undervalued or in need of repair and then make improvements to increase the value of the property before reselling it. The goal of buy-to-sell investing is to make a profit by buying low and selling high. This can be a risky strategy, as the value of the property may not increase as expected, and the investor may need to hold the property for an extended period of time in order to realize a profit. Buy-to-sell investors may also need to consider factors such as location, market conditions, and the cost of repairs and improvements.
- Buyback Guarantee Read More
A buyback guarantee is a form of investor protection and will usually allow you to recover your capital in case of a borrower default. It is essentially a promise of the loan originator to repurchase your investment into a loan, should the repayment of the loan exceed a certain number of days overdue (usually 30, 60 or 90). A buyback guarantee can cover only the loan principal or the principal plus the accrued interest. Note that a buyback guarantee doesn’t eliminate risk; it simply moves it to the loan originator. It’s also usually just a promise and not a legal obligation. Even though loan originators tend to hold on to it under “normal market conditions”, they might cease to honour their promise if some crisis hits and the number of defaults increases beyond their capacity to repurchase them all.
- Car Loan
- A car loan (or an auto loan) is a type of consumer loan taken exclusively to purchase a vehicle (unlike a personal loan, which can be used for whatever purpose the borrower wishes – including buying a car). The car serves as collateral, meaning the lender has the right to seize it if the borrower fails to repay the loan.
- Cash Drag
- Cash drag is when a part of your capital is not invested and sits idle, not earning any interest. In P2P lending, it usually happens when the demand for investments exceeds the supply – there are too few investable loans on a platform. But it can also be the case that your auto-invest criteria are too strict, and the platform has no loans on offer that match those criteria.
- Collateral is an asset pledged by the borrower and accepted by the lender as security for loan repayment. In the case of default, the lender will have the right to seize and sell the asset to recover their losses. Collateral is usually linked to the loan purpose (underlying property for a real estate loan, a car for a car loan, etc.) but doesn’t have to be (e.g., a property-backed business loan). You can find out more about collateral types in our guide to understanding collateral in real estate crowdfunding.
- Combating The Financing Of Terrorism
- Combating the Financing of Terrorism, or Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT), is a set of government laws, regulations, and practices intended to restrict access to funding and financial services for those designated as terrorists. It is closely related to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) rules.
- Compound Interest
- Compound interest, or compounding interest, is basically “interest on interest” – the amount you will earn by reinvesting your capital gains. For example, if in the first year you make 10% on your €1,000 savings, in the second year you’ll earn 10% on €1,100. Compounding is essential for P2P investments – as you usually receive both interest and loan instalments monthly, the compounding rate is relatively high, which increases your profits.
- Consumer Investing
- Consumer investing is one of the main investment crowdfunding types, next to real estate, business and crypto. It covers a variety of individual loans (usually unsecured, short-term instalment loans), including car, student, and pawn loans.
- Credit Rating
- Credit rating (also credit score, risk rating or risk score) is a quantified evaluation of the credit risk of a prospective borrower. Credit rating conveys the information on the borrower’s predicted ability to pay back the loan and, conversely, the borrower’s likelihood of default. In P2P lending, platforms might rate individual borrowers. Still, the risk score is more often assigned to loan originators and/or individual loans (e.g., two loans for the same borrower might have different credit ratings depending on the risk/ feasibility of the exact endeavour). Credit ratings are usually quantified on a 5-star scale or denominated with letters (A or A+ being the least risky).
- Crowdfunding is the practice of raising small amounts of money from many people to finance a project or venture. Crowdfunding can be a charitable activity (donation-based crowdfunding), support for an idea or product with the expectation to receive a non-financial reward in return (reward-based crowdfunding), or an investment (debt- and equity-based crowdfunding). Read more about crowdfunding types and global stats in our article on crowdfunding statistics worldwide and explore its origins in crowdfunding history.
- Crypto Investing
- Crypto investing, in the crowdfunding context, refers to lending money with cryptocurrency as collateral (crypto loans) or investing in initial coin offerings (ICOs).
- Crypto Loan
- A crypto loan involves lending money with a cryptocurrency as collateral. Cryptocurrency-backed loans allow borrowers to access fiat currencies without selling their crypto assets. Due to the high volatility of crypto prices, loans are almost always overcollateralized – this means the collateral value is (much) higher than the loan amount to provide sufficient protection for the lender in case the price of crypto drops. Find out how to use crypto to lend or borrow in our crypto P2P lending guide.
- Crypto Marketplace Lending
Crypto marketplace lending involves the use of blockchain technology to facilitate debt investments in the crypto world. It can involve investing in loans in fiat currencies, secured by cryptocurrency collateral (centralised crypto lending - Ce-Fi) or pooling assets in an application governed by code (smart contracts), which generates loans and automates yield payments (decentralised crypto lending - De-Fi). Both models, in principle, serve the same purpose - to provide borrowers with liquidity without requiring them to sell off their underlying crypto assets. Read more about crypto lending models in our Ce-Fi vs De-Fi comparison.
- Currency Risk
- Currency risk, or exchange rate risk, refers to the exposure to unpredictable gains or losses due to changes in the value of one currency in relation to another. The profit or loss will depend on the exchange rate difference between the moment of investment and cash-out.
- Decentralised Finance (DeFi)
- Decentralised finance (DeFi) is a collective term for a variety of financial products and services based on public decentralised blockchain networks, and thus creating a parallel system to the traditional “centralised finance” (CeFi), supervised by central banks and managed mainly by middlemen like banks or brokerages. Read more about both systems’ features, pros, and cons in the P2P investment context in our CeFi vs DeFi comparison.
Default refers to the failure to meet the terms of a loan agreement, typically by not making required payments on time. When a borrower defaults on a loan, it can have serious consequences, including damaging their credit score, making it more difficult to obtain future loans, and potentially leading to legal action or the seizure of collateral used to secure the loan. Default can occur for a variety of reasons, such as financial hardship or a change in circumstances that makes it difficult for the borrower to afford their required payments. Lenders may use strategies such as requiring collateral and credit scoring to try to minimize the risk of default on a loan.
- Default Rate
A default rate is the percentage of borrowers who fail to make their required payments on a debt or loan. When a borrower defaults, it means they have not met the terms of their loan agreement, usually by not making their required payments on time. Default rates are used to assess the creditworthiness of a borrower and the risk associated with lending money to them. Factors that can contribute to a high default rate include a low credit score, a history of financial problems, and unfavorable loan terms such as high interest rates. Lenders can use strategies such as requiring collateral and using credit scoring systems to assess the risk of default.
- Development Loan
- A development loan is a type of real estate loan, which finances the purchase costs and build costs associated with a development project (be it a new build, conversion or refurbishment). They are usually short- to medium-term bullet loans.
- Direct Marketplace Lending
- Direct marketplace lending (also known as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending) is the “traditional” or “pure” type of marketplace lending, in which the platform serves as an online space where borrowers can apply for loans and investors can fund projects (direct lending structure). The platform usually performs credit checks on the borrowers, handles administrative issues (e.g., loan contracts), and processes payments.
- Direct Structure
- A direct structure, in P2P lending, refers to an investment structure involving three parties – a borrower, a lender and a platform. The lender buys a claim directly against the borrower. The platform serves only as a facilitator, providing virtual space for borrowers and lenders to “meet”, enter loan contracts and transfer money. It’s opposed to indirect lending, where a fourth party is involved – a loan originator, who “owns” the loans and re-sells them to investors via a platform. Explore more differences between the two lending structures and find out what it means for your investments in our indirect vs direct investment structure explainer.
- Distribution (can be monthly, quarterly, annual, or lump-sum) refers to the disbursement of payments according to the loan agreement and payment schedule. Most loans are repaid in monthly instalments, but some can be distributed quarterly or annually or paid in a lump sum at maturity (see a bullet loan).
- Diversification is a risk management strategy commonly associated with the phrase “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” The idea is to spread your capital across many different assets to limit your exposure to any single asset. In P2P lending, you can diversify your investments by channelling your money into various platforms, investment types (e.g., business, personal, real estate), risk profiles (low-risk, low-return vs high-risk, high-return), loan originators, markets, and currencies, and by investing small amounts in many loans rather than more considerable sums in a limited number of loans.
- Donation Crowdfunding
- Donation crowdfunding refers to donors providing funding to individuals, projects or companies based on philanthropic or civic motivations with no expectation of monetary or material reward.
- Due Diligence
Due diligence is an investigation into the financial records before entering into a transaction with a party. In P2P lending, platforms usually perform due diligence on loan originators upon accepting them on the site or during periodical reviews (in indirect lending structures) or on borrowers and/or their projects before making deals available to investors (direct lending). Read more about how the process is conducted in our guest post on due diligence in peer-to-peer lending.
- Education Loan
- An education loan, or a student loan, is a loan taken to help a student finance his/her post-secondary education and the associated expenses (such as tuition fees, books, supplies, and living expenses). A key distinctive feature is that the repayment schedule may often be deferred until the student graduates.
- Equity Crowdfunding
Equity crowdfunding relates to activities where individuals or institutions invest in an unlisted early-stage business (typically a start-up) or a business venture (such as a buy-to-let real estate project or a litigation process) in exchange for shares in that company or venture. Explore our complete equity crowdfunding guide to find out more.
- Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)
- Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is the UK’s protection scheme for customers of authorised financial services firms. Customers can receive monetary compensation to cover their losses if their financial provider is unable, or likely to be unable, to pay its claims (e.g., it went bust or proved to be a scam). FSCS covers a few crowdfunding platforms.
- Financial Technology
- Financial Technology (fintech or FinTech) is an umbrella term for technology used to augment, streamline, digitise or disrupt traditional financial services. Generally, it’s supposed to make financial services more efficient, convenient and accessible to the users. It can cover an endless array of financial and tech innovations from mobile banking to open and digital banks, investment apps, peer-to-peer lending, and cryptocurrency.
- First-rank Mortgage Read More
- First-rank mortgage (also first-rank, first-lien or senior debt) refers to the most secure available form of loan security. Senior debt takes priority over other more “junior” debt (such as mezzanine debt or equity). In practice, this means that lenders of the first-rank mortgage will be the first in line to reclaim money from the sale of collateral in case the borrower defaults, while junior debt owners will only receive their share if there’s enough capital left. Explore debt seniority and other real estate loan types in our review of investment types in real estate crowdfunding.
- Funding Volume
Funding volume is the amount of distributed investments during a given period. The funding volume covers investments made by investors and paid out to fundraisers & borrowers, which means only fully funded and paid out project volumes count. Funds committed by investors to projects still open or not paid out to the fundraisers are not included. At P2PMarketData, we track total funding volumes for the online alternative investment and fundraising industry. We track the volumes on individual platform level to provide volumes per investment type, funding model, currency, and many other metrics.
- Grace Period
- Grace period is the agreed time window after a borrower misses a payment that the lender/ loan originator will allow without classifying the loan as delayed and, often, accruing related penalties (e.g., a late fee). A grace period usually lasts a few days (with three being the most common in P2P lending). So, your loan will be only marked as delayed after three days have passed after the initial repayment date.
- Green Loan
- A green loan (or simply a green loan) is a loan extended to individuals or businesses for financing or refinancing a green project, such as improving the energy efficiency of a home or business premise or installing green energy sources (e.g., solar panels).
- Green Stock
- A green stock (also a green chip stock or simply a green stock) is a share of an environmentally friendly company, likely operating in areas such as alternative energy, pollution control, carbon abatement, or recycling.
- Group Guarantee
- A group guarantee is an additional investor protection measure, most often provided by larger loan providers (financial groups) that associate several loan originators on top of a buyback guarantee offered by the loan originator. It holds the promise that if the loan originator cannot honour its buyback guarantee, the parent company will step in and cover this obligation. It usually has much larger financial resources and can, for example, redirect profits from its other loan originators.
- Hands-off Investing
- Hands-off investing is an approach that involves investing money and letting it accumulate over time rather than actively managing it. A hands-off investor prefers to set an investment portfolio and make only minor changes for a long time rather than spending time monitoring and researching each asset in their portfolio. In traditional financial markets, index funds are a popular hands-off product (instead of actively trading individual stocks). In P2P lending, a hands-off investor would usually set up an auto-invest strategy and let the algorithms select suitable loans.
- Hands-on Investing
- Hands-on investing is an investment strategy where the investor actively assesses, selects and often trades each asset in their portfolio. Hands-on investors spend considerable time on research and due diligence to “beat the market”, i.e., achieve above-average returns. In P2P lending, this is usually associated with manual investing – selecting individual loans that seem to hold the best risk/return ratio.
- House Flipping
- House flipping – see buy-to-sell projects in real estate lending.
- ICO Token
- An ICO token is a product of an initial coin offering. It’s a cryptocurrency token issued by a company. The token can have some utility in using the company’s product or service, or it may just represent a stake in the company or a project.
- Indirect Structure
- An indirect structure refers to an investment structure where the investor purchases a pre-funded loan from a lending company – a loan originator. Unlike the direct lending model, where three parties are involved (borrower - platform - lender), indirect lending involves an additional middleman – a loan originator. The loan originator lends money to the borrower and then refinances the loan by selling it to the investor via a platform or marketplace (borrower - loan originator - platform - lender). Explore more differences between the two lending structures and find out what it means for your investments in our indirect vs direct investment structure explainer.
- Initial Coin Offering (ICO)
- An initial coin offering (ICO), or an initialcurrency offering, is a fundraising method based on blockchain technology used primarily by start-ups. It’s a cryptocurrency equivalent to an initial public offering (IPO) – a company’s entry into the stock market. ICOs can serve two purposes: they primarily provide a source of funding for the start-up, but, unlike stocks, they can also present some utility for the coin buyer – e.g., in P2P lending, the possibility to reinvest the bought “tokens”. Several P2P lending sites have raised funds this way. However, since ICOs are little regulated, caution is advised.
- Initial Public Offering (IPO)
- An initial public offering (IPO) is a private company’s first sale of stock on the stock market to the general public (thus sometimes referred to as “going public”). After the IPO, its shares are traded freely in the open market. Companies can choose to transit from a private to a public company to realise gains from the investment (an “exit” strategy) or access a larger pool of investors and raise more capital.
- Innovative Finance Individual Savings Account (IFISA)
- Innovative Finance Individual Savings Account (IFISA) is a tax-free lending account for UK residents, which focuses on alternative investment products such as peer-to-peer lending. This means that any interest earned up to a certain threshold won’t be taxed. In 2021/22, the allowance stood at £20,000, which you can either fully invest in IFISA or spread across the different types of ISA (e.g., cash or stock).
- Instalment Loan
- An instalment loan is a loan repaid through a set number of scheduled payments (instalments). Unlike bullet loans, which are returned in full at maturity, instalment loans provide investors with a steady inflow of money, usually every month. Most P2P loans, especially personal and business loans, are repaid in instalments.
- Institutional Investor
An institutional investor, or an institutional lender, is an entity that invests large amounts of pooled money on behalf of its clients, customers, members, or shareholders. Endowment funds, commercial banks, mutual funds, hedge funds, pension funds, and insurance companies are institutional investors. They tend to enjoy fewer protective regulations than retail investors (it is assumed they are more knowledgeable and better able to protect themselves) and, often, preferential treatment (e.g., lower transaction fees). They are the “big fish” of financial markets, and the large transactions they make can have a notable effect on the financial markets as a whole. An increasing number of P2P lending sites, especially those focused on business lending, are either dominated by institutional investors or entirely unavailable for retail investors.
- Interest Rate
- An interest rate is a percentage of the principal (the amount loaned) that a lender charges a borrower. It’s how much you can expect to make on your initial investment. Interest rates are usually calculated annually (sometimes referred to as the annual percentage rate – APR).
- Investment Fund
- An investment fund refers to the pooling of capital from numerous investors used to collectively purchase investment assets, usually managed by a professional company for a fee. In an investment fund, each investor retains ownership and control of their shares.
- An invoice can be an investment asset – a product of investing in invoice trading. Investors buy pending invoices from businesses at a discount, i.e., the difference between the selling price and the value of the outstanding invoice. Explore our guide to invoice trading to find out more.
- Invoice Trading
- Invoice trading is the practice of buying pending invoices from businesses (usually SMEs). It helps the company improve short-term liquidity and offset the often-long periods between invoice generation (delivery of service or good) and invoice payment by the customer. Investors’ profit is the discount – the difference between the selling price and the value of the outstanding invoice. Explore our guide to invoice trading to find out more.
- Know Your Customer (KYC)
- Know Your Customer (KYC), also Know Your Client, is a set of guidelines and regulations within the broader scope of a financial provider’s anti-money laundering (AML) policy. It stipulates that the company is responsible for the verification of its clients’ identities. It ensures you are who you claim to be and have no illegal intentions towards the relationship with the financial institution. In practice, it means that most P2P lending sites will ask you to verify your identity before you can start investing. They usually use an external verification app to upload a scan of your ID and take a selfie.
- Liquidity refers to the ease with which you can convert your investment assets into ready cash. Having a degree of liquidity helps handle unforeseen circumstances, a financial setback, or seizing an emerging investment opportunity. Cash is the most liquid asset, but you can also sell publicly traded stocks or gold pretty much on the spot. Equity and real estate are considered much less liquid. The liquidity of peer-to-peer loans varies a lot, from loans with 5+ years maturity with no early exit options (low liquidity), through short-term loans or loans sellable on a secondary market, to P2P-based investment products that offer instant withdrawals (high liquidity).
- Litigation Equity
- Litigation equity (also legal financing, a legal stock or a lawsuit stock) refers to the capital invested in a litigation crowdfunding project (a lawsuit). Investors provide capital to a plaintiff in litigation in exchange for a portion of the plaintiff’s settlement. Plaintiffs can use that money to pay attorney’s fees, expert witness fees, and court expenses. Litigation equity is a high-risk (if the claimant loses the case, investors might lose all of their invested capital) and illiquid investment (depending on the duration of the court case). Read more in our article dedicated to litigation crowdfunding.
- Loan Agreement
- A loan agreement, or a lending agreement, is a formal contract between a lender and a borrower, which regulates the mutual obligations of each party. An agreement usually spells out all the loan details, such as the principal amount, interest rate, term, fees, payment terms, or the lender’s rights to collect payment in case of a default. On most P2P lending sites, you automatically enter a loan agreement every time you invest in a loan.
- Loan Originator
- A loan originator, or a (loan) broker, in P2P lending refers to a lending company that issues loans to borrowers. It acts as a fourth party in the indirect lending structure (the other three being the lender, the borrower and the platform). The loan originator focuses on acquiring and managing borrowers, while the platform directs its efforts into attracting and serving lenders. Explore in detail how loan origination works in our what is a loan originator explainer.
- Loan-to-value (LTV)
- Loan-to-value (LTV) is the ratio of a loan amount to the value of an asset pledged as collateral. Generally, LTV is used to evaluate how much collateral coverage a loan will have – the lower the LTV ratio, the higher the coverage, and thus, the lower the risk. For example, a real estate loan for €750,000 on a €1m property would mean an LTV ratio of 75%. The discrepancy between the loan amount and the asset value provides a cushion in case of default. Even if the asset value depreciates, the original value proves an overestimate, or additional costs of chasing the borrower occur, the lender should be able to recover (most of) the capital. Most real estate lending sites offer LTVs between 50% and 80%.
- Manual Investing
- Manual investing is an investment strategy that involves the lender evaluating and choosing each loan in their portfolio. It’s the opposite of automatic investing, where your capital is allocated automatically based on your pre-defined criteria.
- Maritime Investing
- Maritime investing (or maritime crowdinvesting) involves investments in shipbuilding or shipping operations. It can be both equity (ship co-ownership) and debt-based (lending to a shipowner). In equity-based maritime investing, you receive dividends from the profits generated by the ship and participate in the possible increase (or decrease) in ship value when it is sold. Loan-based maritime investing works like any business loan, but often it comes with the ship as collateral.
- Marketplace Lending
Marketplace lending (also referred to as debt crowdfunding, crowdlending, or FinTech credit) is the practice of lending money to individuals or businesses through online services (marketplace lending platforms) that match lenders with borrowers. This form of lending allows individuals to borrow directly from other individuals, cutting out the financial institution as the middleman. The platform provides an online space where investors and borrowers meet, offers secure payment channels, and conducts some due diligence on borrowers, loans, and/or loan originators. It operates at much lower costs than a traditional bank (with its physical branches and assets, a large crowd of employees, and high reporting and regulatory burden). This cost-saving enables the lenders to earn higher returns, while borrowers can (in some cases) borrow money at lower interest rates than traditional bank offerings. The platform sustains its business operations and profits from small fees charged on borrowers and, less often, on lenders.
- Maturity is the agreed-upon date on which a borrower must repay a loan in full, including the principal and all the accrued interest. In other words, it’s when the investment ends.
- Mezzanine Loan
- A mezzanine loan, or mezzanine debt, is a form of junior debt sometimes used in real estate lending. A mezzanine loan can blend debt and equity. It’s ranked below senior debt but above equity in the debt recovery process. Investors in mezzanine debt will recover their money only after all senior debt owners have been repaid in full. This elevated risk comes with relatively high interest rates and, often, flexible repayment terms. Explore debt seniority and other real estate loan types in our review of investment types in real estate crowdfunding.
- A microloan is a small loan amount of money that an individual borrows from a microfinance institution. Microfinance usually reaches populations excluded from traditional banking and credit, and microloans tend to be issued in less developed countries, often, but not exclusively, to start small businesses.
- A municipalloan (also referred to as municipal or civic crowdfunding) is a loan to a local government (municipality) to fund local projects such as events, green spaces, buildings or maintenance of leisure facilities, etc.
- Pawn Loan
- A pawn loan (or a pawnbroking loan) is a type of consumer loan secured against a personal asset (e.g., jewellery, gold, electronics, etc.), which serves as loan collateral.
- Payday Loan
- A payday loan (also referred to as cash advance or check advance) is a small, short-term unsecured loan. Its repayment is usually linked to the borrower’s next paycheck, but the term can be used to describe any short-term personal loan. It typically helps individual borrowers with covering sudden unexpected expenses before they regain financial stability.
- Payment Guarantee
- A payment guarantee is an additional investor protection measure, usually used on top of a buyback guarantee. While a buyback guarantee holds a promise to repurchase bad debt after a certain delay period (e.g., 60 days), with a payment guarantee, the loan originator offers to cover the monthly loan repayments, even if the borrower is unable to pay back on time. This means you will have a secured and stable inflow of instalments and, effectively, no late loans in your portfolio. The payment guarantee is relatively rare compared to the quite common buyback option.
- Payment Schedule
- A payment schedule details the amounts to be paid on specific dates by the borrower to the lender. The end of the payment schedule marks the loan’s maturity.
- Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lending Read More
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending, also known as social lending, crowdlending, or debt-based crowdfunding involves lending money to individuals or businesses through online services (P2P lending platforms) that match lenders with borrowers. Understood broadly, it can involve any online platform mediating between lenders and borrowers online. At P2PMarketData, we follow a broad definition of the term peer-to-peer lending that includes all online lending investment platforms which allow investors to lend money to borrowers directly on loan level or fractionally in debt notes.
- Personal Guarantee
- A personal guarantee is a form of loan security, albeit much less solid than collateral. It is a borrower’s legal promise to repay the debt issued to a business they serve as an executive or partner. Should the company be unable to repay the debt from its resources, the debt obligation falls onto the individual and their assets. However, a personal guarantee is not considered “proper” security as it’s often impossible to force borrowers to give away their property, money, or other wealth, thus limiting the capacity to recover bad debt.
- Personal Loan
- A personal loan is a loan to an individual that can be used for a variety of purposes (to refinance, cover emergency expenses, pay for home renovations, buy a car, throw a wedding, or similar). They are usually unsecured, short-term instalment loans.
- Primary Market
- A primary market is a market where loans are first issued and purchased by investors. It’s different from a secondary market where investors can re-sell loans bought on the primary market to other investors.
- A principal is the original amount of money borrowed in a loan or put into an investment. Your earned interest, or return on investment, is calculated based on your invested principal and the set interest rate.
- Provision Fund
- A provision fund is a type of investor protection measure. It consists of money that a P2P lending platform sets aside to cover potential future losses and works as a buffer to smooth out investors’ earnings. A provision fund usually holds cash collected from borrowers or investors as a share of the project value. This way, the size of the fund grows proportionally to the growth of the overall portfolio. Once your loan defaults, you can count on the platform to cover a part of the loss from the provision fund. Read more about how provision funds protect your investments in our guide to provision funds in P2P lending.
- Real Estate Equity
- Real estate equity (or a real estate stock) is usually offered in buy-to-let projects and involves partial ownership of a property in exchange for participation in the proceeds from the rent collected from tenants as well as capital gains from the appreciation of the property value.
- Real Estate Investing
- Real estate investing (or property investing)is one of the main investment crowdfunding sectors, next to business, consumer, and crypto. It involves lending to property developers or acquiring equity in real estate projects.
- Real Estate Loan
- A real estate loan (or a property loan)is a loan to property developers for real estate investments. The exact loan purposes may vary and can include development loans (building or renovating property), buy-to-sell (also known as house-flipping), or business loans with real estate as collateral.
- Real Estate Token
A real estate token is like real estate equity in the way that it represents a share of the SPV or company owning the property, with a crucial difference that it’s encoded on a blockchain.
- Refinancing is the process of revising and replacing the existing credit agreement with another one that has more favourable terms. Refinancing can involve taking another loan (a refinancing loan) to pay back the original debt or renegotiating the existing loan terms and signing a new loan agreement with changes (favourable for the borrower) to the interest rate, payment schedule, and/or other terms. Borrowers often choose to refinance when the interest-rate environment changes, causing potential savings from a new agreement. But the lender might also agree to refinance if the borrower is under financial distress and is unlikely to repay the debt under existing conditions – easing the terms might decrease returns but increase the likelihood of a full repayment (this is often called debt restructuring).
- Resale Marketplace Lending
- Resale marketplace lending refers to platforms that operate the indirect lending structure, i.e., re-sell loans from loan originators to investors. It’s impossible to borrow directly via the platform – the loan originators are responsible for acquiring and managing borrowers, while the platform only serves lenders.
- Retail Investor
A retail investor is an individual investor who buys and sells securities for their own account, rather than for a financial institution or other professional organization. Retail investors may include individuals who invest on their own or through a brokerage account, mutual fund, or other investment vehicle. Retail investors typically have smaller investment portfolios and may not have the same level of expertise or resources as professional investors. Retail investors may be subject to different regulatory requirements and may face different risks than professional investors. Retail investors may also have different investment objectives and risk tolerances than professional investors.
- Return On Investment (ROI)
- Return on investment (ROI) is a metric used to evaluate the profitability of an investment. It’s calculated as a ratio between net income (or profit) and the costs of investment. It’s not synonymous with the interest rate. In P2P lending, your ROI will typically account for the received interest payments and other gains (such as bonuses, late fees, secondary market sale premiums, etc.) and losses (e.g., bad debt and platform fees). In short, ROI is a measure of what you get back compared to what you put in.
- Reward Crowdfunding
- Reward crowdfunding involves providing funding to individuals, projects or companies in exchange for non-monetary rewards or products. The reward can include early or otherwise “special” access to financed goods or services (e.g., pre-ordering a video game or a signed music album).
- A ring-fence (or ring-fencing) in P2P lending refers to the principle of segregating the investor funds from the platform’s assets. Its primary purpose is to ensure the investors’ full ownership over their funds so that, if the platform faces any financial issues or bankruptcy, investors’ assets won’t be seized or otherwise put at risk. Today, the UK and EU legislation requires all institutions that operate payment accounts to segregate non-used funds of their users. Find out more about how platforms secure your funds in our guide to ring-fence and protection of investor funds.
- Secondary Market
- A secondary market is a place where you can either sell your investments or buy loans from other registered users on the platform. You can use a secondary market to exit your investments early and achieve quick liquidity. This usually comes at a cost – small fees are often charged by platforms on sales, and you might have to sell at a discount (a price below the loan value) to attract buyers. Unlike the primary market where the loans are first issued, a secondary market is an “extra” platform feature, and not all P2P lending sites offer it. Learn how to navigate secondary markets in our what is a secondary market explainer.
- Secured Loan
- A secured loan is a loan backed by collateral (security). In case of borrower default, the creditor can seize the asset used as collateral and sell it to retrieve some or all of the amount initially loaned to the borrower. It’s the opposite of an unsecured loan.
- Skin-in-the-game refers to a situation in which the issuer of an investment vehicle has stakes in that investment. In peer-to-peer lending, it means that a loan originator will keep partial ownership of an issued loan re-sold to investors (usually between 5 and 15%). For lenders, it’s a reassurance that the loan originator vouches for the quality of the loan with their own money – if the loan defaults, the loan originator loses too. Read more in our quick guide to skin-in-the-game in P2P lending.
- Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)
- A special purpose vehicle (SPV), also called a special purpose entity (SPE), is a legal entity created within a parent company to isolate financial risk, including bankruptcy. If the SPV goes bankrupt, the parent company won’t be affected, and if the parent company goes bankrupt, the SPV will be protected. In P2P lending, SPVs are set up to house a loan, or multiple loans, on behalf of lenders, ring-fencing their funds from the platform’s assets.
- Start-up Equity
- Start-up equity (or a start-up stock) is a share issued by a start-up that isn’t listed on a stock exchange. Investing in start-up equity, just like with any other stock, you get to own a part of the business in exchange for participation in its future profits (or losses).
- Unsecured Loan
- An unsecured loan is a loan that, unlike a secured loan, isn’t backed by any collateral and relies only on the borrower’s creditworthiness. If the borrower defaults, there is no asset to seize and sell, and the only way to try to recoup (part of) the investment is through a lawsuit. Some P2P platforms sell defaulted unsecured loans to specialised debt recovery companies for a fraction of the outstanding value to recover a share of the capital in a relatively short time (legal proceedings may take years).
- Yield, in P2P lending, is the income earned on an investment before accounting for the costs incurred (see ROI). Yield is expressed as a percentage and can be calculated annually or as the lender’s expected total profit when the loan matures (yield-to-maturity). In most cases, the yield reflects the loan interest rate. Still, sometimes it’s used in other contexts – for example, in buy-to-let projects, the yield will equal the estimated income from rent plus the expected increase in the underlying property value.