The Truth About Fundingcircle: An Unbiased Evaluation

The Truth About Fundingcircle: An Unbiased Evaluation

As an entrepreneur seeking capital to grow your business, you want objective facts about alternative lending companies, not marketing hype or misleading claims. Fundingcircle is a peer-to-peer lending marketplace that provides business loans and lines of credit in the US. With more than $12 billion lent to businesses worldwide, Fundingcircle is an established leader in alternative lending. However, like any financial product, you need to go in with eyes open to the pros and cons to determine if their loans are right for your needs. This comprehensive, unbiased evaluation of Fundingcircle provides the transparent details about their rates, fees, underwriting, and loan products so you can make an informed decision on whether to borrow from them to fund your business dreams.


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What Is Fundingcircle?

What Is Fundingcircle?

Fundingcircle is a peer-to-peer lending platform that allows investors to lend money directly to small and medium-sized businesses. Investors can earn interest by lending their money to creditworthy businesses that have been vetted by Fundingcircle.

For business owners, Fundingcircle provides access to fast, flexible financing. Business owners go through an application process where Fundingcircle evaluates the credit risk and sets an interest rate. Once approved, the loan request is listed on the Fundingcircle website where investors can view details about the business and expected return. Investors then choose loans they want to fund.

This innovative lending model benefits both investors and business owners. Investors have the potential to earn higher returns than traditional fixed-income investments. Business owners gain access to affordable financing that may not be available from banks. Fundingcircle handles all payments, collections, and customer service on behalf of investors.

Fundingcircle operates in several countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands. Over $10 billion has been lent to businesses through Fundingcircle since 2010.

If you’re looking for an alternative investment with potentially higher returns, or if you need funding for your small business, Fundingcircle may be an option worth exploring. Of course, peer-to-peer lending does come with risks like the possibility of borrower default, so make sure you fully understand how Fundingcircle works before signing up as an investor or borrower. With ample due diligence, Fundingcircle could be a rewarding experience for both investors and business owners seeking capital.

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How Does Fundingcircle Work?

To understand how Fundingcircle works, it’s important to first understand their business model. Fundingcircle is a peer-to-peer lending marketplace that connects small businesses seeking loans with individual investors and institutional funding partners.

How Loans Get Funded

Once a small business applies for a loan on Fundingcircle’s website, an automated risk evaluation process assesses their eligibility. If approved, the loan request is listed on Fundingcircle’s marketplace for investors to view the details and invest in the whole loan or portions of it.

Investors can choose loans that match their risk preferences. Loans that Fundingcircle deems lower risk, based on the borrower’s credit and financials, may offer lower interest rates. Higher-risk loans typically offer higher rates to offset the additional risk investors take on.

Repayment and Fees

Borrowers make fixed monthly payments that include principal and interest over the 3-5 year loan term. Fundingcircle charges borrowers an origination fee of 2-6% of the loan amount to cover the costs of underwriting and funding the loan.

Investors earn monthly interest payments for the duration of the loan. Fundingcircle deducts a 1% annual servicing fee from investors’ returns. Once a loan is fully repaid, investors earn back their initial principal investment.

In summary, Fundingcircle provides small businesses access to funding while offering investors an opportunity to earn interest by financing those loans. By using technology to efficiently connect borrowers and investors, Fundingcircle aims to facilitate a win-win for all parties involved. Overall, Fundingcircle appears to be a legitimate peer-to-peer lending model for those open to taking on a degree of risk for potentially solid returns.


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Fundingcircle Loan Types and Rates

Fundingcircle offers several types of business loans with competitive interest rates. The specific loan and rate you may qualify for depends on your business and financial profile.

Term Loans

Term loans are Fundingcircle’s most popular product. These installment loans are repaid over 6 months to 5 years. Loan amounts range from $25,000 to $500,000. Interest rates start at around 6% for the most creditworthy borrowers. Term loans can be used for a variety of business purposes, such as expansion, equipment purchases, working capital, or refinancing high-interest debt.

Lines of Credit

For flexible access to capital, Fundingcircle offers revolving lines of credit up to $250,000. Interest rates are also competitive, starting at 7% for prime borrowers. Lines of credit allow you to borrow as needed and repay over 6 months to 2 years. You only pay interest on the amount borrowed, and as you repay, funds become available to borrow again. Lines of credit are good for managing cash flow fluctuations or taking advantage of opportunities.

SBA Loans

In partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Fundingcircle offers SBA 7(a) and 504 loans. These government-guaranteed loans provide financing for major assets like real estate or heavy equipment. Loan amounts range from $150,000 to $5 million with long repayment terms of 10-25 years. Interest rates are slightly higher than conventional loans but still competitive. The SBA guarantee reduces risk for the lender, allowing more flexibility.

In summary, Fundingcircle aims to provide financing solutions for businesses in all life stages and financial situations. By offering multiple loan types at reasonable interest rates, many companies are finding the funding they need to start, sustain, or scale their operations. The specific loan and terms you may be approved for depends on the strength and stability of your business, credit, collateral, and capacity to repay the obligation.


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Fundingcircle Borrower Requirements

To qualify as a borrower on Fundingcircle, you must meet several requirements. ###Credit Score

Fundingcircle requires a minimum credit score of 620 to be approved for a loan. Higher scores, preferably above 660, will increase your chances of loan approval and may result in lower interest rates. Fundingcircle uses your credit score to help determine your creditworthiness and risk as a borrower.

Time in Business

If you are applying for a business loan, Fundingcircle requires that your company has been operating for at least 2 years. They want to see that you have an established business with a proven track record of success and stability.

Annual Revenue

For business loans, Fundingcircle requires a minimum of $50,000 in annual revenue. The specific revenue requirement depends on the loan amount, but in general, the higher your revenues, the larger the loan amount you may be eligible for. Revenue is an indicator of your ability to repay the loan.

Debt-to-Income Ratio

Your debt-to-income ratio compares your monthly debt payments to your monthly income. Fundingcircle prefers a ratio below 50%, meaning your debt payments are half or less of your income. The lower your ratio, the less risk you pose as a borrower. You may need to pay off existing debt to improve your ratio.


Depending on the loan amount, Fundingcircle may require collateral, like business equipment, real estate, or investments, to secure the loan. Collateral reduces the risk of default since Fundingcircle can repossess the assets if you fail to repay the loan. The collateral value must be higher than the loan amount.

To summarize, by maintaining a solid credit score, having several years of successful business operations, generating adequate revenue, keeping debt levels modest, and offering collateral for larger loans, you can meet Fundingcircle’s borrower requirements and have the best chance of loan approval. Following these guidelines and presenting a compelling case for how the funds will benefit your business may open up attractive financing opportunities through Fundingcircle.


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Pros of Investing With Fundingcircle

Investing with Fundingcircle offers several advantages for investors looking to diversify their portfolios.


Fundingcircle provides investors the opportunity to invest in small business loans, allowing for portfolio diversification beyond traditional stocks and bonds. Investing in small businesses may provide higher returns over time due to the higher interest rates charged to borrowers. However, with potentially higher returns comes more risk. Investing in Fundingcircle loans, even with higher interest rates, still carries the chance of default and loss of principal.

Automated investing

Fundingcircle makes investing simple through their automated investing tool. Investors can set their investment criteria, including risk preferences, loan terms, business types, and interest rates, and Fundingcircle’s algorithm will automatically invest in loans that match the criteria. This allows for easy portfolio management without having to manually select each loan.

Potential for solid returns

While returns are not guaranteed, Fundingcircle’s historical returns have been solid. According to Fundingcircle, the average annual return for investors since 2010 has been 7.2%. Top investors have achieved returns of up to 10% per year. Returns will depend on the performance of the loans in your portfolio, so invest for the long term to allow for loans to be repaid and to reduce risk.

Supporting small businesses

By investing in Fundingcircle, investors are directly supporting small businesses in their community. Fundingcircle specializes in providing loans to established small businesses looking to expand. By providing capital to these businesses, investors are fueling economic growth and job creation in their local community.

In summary, while Fundingcircle does come with risks like any investment, it also provides investors with the potential for solid returns through diversification and supporting small businesses. For investors looking to invest for the long term in an alternative asset class, Fundingcircle may be an attractive option. However, investors should go in with a full understanding of the risks before investing.


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Cons of Investing With Fundingcircle

While Fundingcircle offers attractive features for investors, there are some potential downsides to consider before investing your money.

Limited Secondary Market

Once you invest in a loan, your money is locked in until the borrower repays the loan. Fundingcircle does not currently offer a secondary market to buy and sell loans. If you need to withdraw money early, you typically cannot do so without incurring fees. Unless Fundingcircle develops a secondary market, you must be prepared to keep money invested for the full term of the loans.

Default Risk

Although Fundingcircle thoroughly vets borrowers and has a good track record, there is always a chance that some borrowers may default on their loans. If a borrower defaults, investors may lose part or all of their investment in that loan. While default rates have historically been low, around 1-2% annually, the risk is present. To minimize risk, invest in a diverse range of loans rather than concentrating money in a few large loans.


Like most investment platforms, Fundingcircle charges fees for their services. Investors pay an annual servicing fee of 1% of the outstanding principal on loans. Fundingcircle also retains a portion of the interest paid by borrowers, typically around 1-2% per annum. While fees are comparable to other peer-to-peer lending sites, they do reduce overall returns.

Interest Rate Risk

Interest rates on Fundingcircle loans are fixed for the term of the loan. If market interest rates rise substantially, the interest rates on your existing Fundingcircle loans will not change. Your returns may lag the market, and it may be difficult to reinvest money at higher rates. Of course, the reverse is also true – if rates decline, your Fundingcircle loans will pay higher rates. Interest rate risk is inherent when investing with a fixed-rate product.

In summary, while Fundingcircle offers an appealing way to generate solid returns, you must go in with realistic expectations about the risks and limitations involved, including limited liquidity, default risk, fees, and interest rate risk. If you understand and accept these potential downsides, Fundingcircle can be an attractive part of a diversified investment portfolio.


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Fundingcircle Returns – What Investors Can Expect

Investors in Fundingcircle can expect returns that generally outperform savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs). According to Fundingcircle, the average annual return for investors since 2010 has been 7.3%. However, returns are not guaranteed and depend on the types of small businesses you choose to lend to and the overall economic environment.

Interest Rates

Interest rates for Fundingcircle loans typically range from 6-14% annually. Higher-risk borrowers are charged higher rates, while more stable, established businesses receive lower rates. As an investor, you can build your own portfolio by choosing loans across the risk spectrum. Focusing on higher-rated businesses with a proven track record of repaying debts may generate lower but more stable returns. In contrast, lending to startups or younger companies could potentially yield higher returns if they succeed, but also comes with a greater chance of default and losing your capital.


Fundingcircle charges investors an annual servicing fee of 1% of the outstanding principal on loans. There are no other hidden fees or commissions. The 1% fee is deducted from interest payments before they are distributed to your account. While the fee reduces your net returns, it is still generally lower than fees charged by other peer-to-peer lending platforms.

Default Risk

No investment is without risk, and lending to small businesses is no exception. Borrower default is a possibility, and some portion of loans will end in losses for investors. According to Fundingcircle, the average annual loss rate for investors since 2010 has been 2.5%. Default risk can be mitigated by diversifying your portfolio across many businesses and only investing money that you can afford to lose. Fundingcircle also employs a rigorous underwriting process to evaluate borrowers and determine appropriate interest rates based on their risk profiles.

By understanding the factors that determine your returns, fees, and risks, you can make informed choices as an investor on Fundingcircle and achieve solid returns while minimizing the chance of losses. With prudent investment and diversification, many investors have found success generating annual returns of 6-8% or more. However, as with any investment, there is always a possibility of losing money, so you should never invest more than you can afford to lose.


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Tips for Investing Successfully on Fundingcircle

To invest successfully on Fundingcircle, follow these tips:

Do your research

Before investing in any business loan on Fundingcircle, thoroughly research the lending company and understand their business model. Fundingcircle is a peer-to-peer lending marketplace, meaning individual and institutional investors provide funding for small business loans. Study Fundingcircle’s eligibility criteria for businesses and their risk assessment methodology. Check third-party reviews from reputable sources to determine if their practices and interest rates are fair and sustainable.

Start small

As with any investment, begin with a small amount of capital to get familiar with how Fundingcircle works. Their minimum investment amount is just $25. Start with that or a bit more to buy parts of a few business loans. See how the payments and returns work before putting in more money. This allows you to learn the ropes without a lot of risk.

Diversify your investments

Do not put all of your money into one business loan. Spread it out over many businesses in different industries to minimize risk. If one business struggles to repay, your other investments can help compensate. Fundingcircle makes it easy to invest in small chunks of many loans. A good rule of thumb is to invest no more than 10% of your total investment funds into any single loan.

Consider hiring a portfolio manager

If you don’t have the time or experience to properly research and manage many business loan investments, consider using Fundingcircle’s Autobid tool or hiring one of their portfolio managers. They can build and manage a diversified portfolio based on your investment goals. They have more data and expertise to evaluate loans and manage risk on investors’ behalf. Fees for the Autobid tool or portfolio managers may apply.

Monitor your account and loans regularly

Check your Fundingcircle account and the businesses you invest in frequently, at a minimum once a month. Make sure payments are being made on time and that businesses do not show any signs of struggle. The sooner you detect a problem, the faster you can withdraw funds from underperforming loans before losing money. Monitoring your investments closely is key to success.

With some prudent management and by following these useful tips, investing in business loans on Fundingcircle can generate solid returns. But go in with realistic expectations about the inherent risks of this P2P lending model. With high rewards often come high risks. If done right though, Fundingcircle offers an appealing middle ground.


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Fundingcircle FAQs: Your Top Questions Answered

As an investor looking to diversify your portfolio, you likely have some questions about Fundingcircle and how peer-to-peer lending works. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

What is Fundingcircle?

Fundingcircle is a peer-to-peer lending marketplace that allows investors to lend money directly to small and medium-sized businesses. Borrowers apply for loans on Fundingcircle’s website and investors can browse loan listings and invest in loans that match their risk preferences. Fundingcircle handles the servicing of the loans and collection of repayments on the investors’ behalf.

How does peer-to-peer lending work?

Peer-to-peer lending cuts out the traditional bank “middleman”. Borrowers apply for loans through Fundingcircle instead of a bank. Their loan listings are then made available to investors, who can evaluate listings and invest small amounts in multiple loans. Fundingcircle aggregates all the investments to fund the full loan amount. The borrower makes repayments on the loan, which are distributed to investors. Investors earn interest, the borrower gets a loan, and Fundingcircle makes a profit by charging fees.

What are the risks?

Like any investment, peer-to-peer lending does come with risks. Some key risks to be aware of:

•Credit risk: There is a chance that some borrowers will default on their loans, resulting in a loss of capital for investors. Fundingcircle’s underwriting process aims to minimize default rates but defaults can still occur.

•Liquidity risk: Investments in peer-to-peer loans are illiquid, meaning funds are tied up for the life of the loan (1-5 years). Investors cannot access funds until loans mature and repayments are made.

•Interest rate risk: Interest rates could rise substantially over the life of a loan, meaning investors are locked in at a lower rate. Borrowers could refinance at a lower rate, reducing future repayments.

•Regulatory risk: Changes to regulations could impact Fundingcircle’s business model and future returns. Tighter regulations may reduce returns or increase fees.

What returns can I expect?

Historically, Fundingcircle investors have earned between 4-8% annually after fees and defaults. Returns will depend on the types of loans you choose to invest in based on risk levels. Investing in higher risk loans could generate 8%+ returns but also comes with a higher chance of defaults and loss of capital. Conservative investors targeting 4-6% returns should stick to lower risk loan listings.


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As you’ve seen, Fundingcircle offers attractive returns for your investment portfolio as a peer-to-peer lending platform. However, these higher returns come with additional risks that you must fully understand. By diversifying your investment across many small business loans and conducting thorough due diligence, you can mitigate risks while still earning strong returns. For investors seeking an alternative fixed-income opportunity, Fundingcircle deserves consideration. But go in with realistic expectations – while returns have been solid so far, past performance is no guarantee of future results. By understanding the pros and cons, you can make an informed choice about whether Fundingcircle is the right fit for your investment needs and risk tolerance. The truth is, Fundingcircle could be an lucrative part of your portfolio if you invest knowledgeably and responsibly.