Lending Works Review – My Unbiased Peer To Peer Lender Review

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Lending Works Review

Lending Works Review

** Lending Works review updated August 7th, 2018 **

Lending Works is one of the safer peer to peer lending companies offer lending via accounts that are protected by insurance to cover missed loan repayments due to borrower job loss, accidents, sickness, death, fraud or cybercrime. Lending Works is extremely simple to use. Deposit your money, select a three or five-year term, decide between reinvestment or two different withdrawal options, and set-and-forget. Read more below for my unbiased exclusive Lending Works review.

My July 2018 Investment: Unchanged
My rate of return: 5.9% (Net return before tax)
Est. Annual Returns:Up to 6%
Recent Return Rate Trend:
My Risk Rating *:
Launched:January 2014
Early Exit:
Autoinvest:
Provision Fund:
ISA Available:
Loan Types:Consumer loans
Loan Security:Loans are unsecured
Lender Fees:Exit fee is 0.6% or £20 (whichever greater)
Min Investment:Regular account: £10, ISA: £5,000
Avg. Lender Portfolio Size:£13,000
Time to Become Invested:Varies based upon demand but can be about 10 days.
Time Needed Managing:
Low
Lending Agreements With:Borrowers
FCA Regulation:Full
Cashback Offer:
New lenders: £50 bonus when you invest £1,000+ investment in regular or ISA account
Sign UpSign Up Now

* This opinion risk rating factors in types of loans offered, interest rates, platform history, default numbers and my own investing experience. My risk rating explained.

How Do I Sign Up?

Financial Thing readers who want to open a new regular or ISA account can receive £50 cashback on a £1,000 deposit:

Sign up here

(Lending Works pays me a small referral fee when you open an account through one of my links. This fee comes at no expense to you and when you sign up for an account through my website, it allows me to continue to operate this website.)

Lending Works Review: What You Need To Know

Pros
  • Very easy to use and relatively hands-off
  • Competitive lender return rates
  • Auto reinvest
  • Safety measures include provision fund and insurance
  • High-quality borrower screening and underwriting team
  • Fully FCA authorised / offers ISA
  • Low default rates
  • Exit options (based on demand)
Cons
  • Lender return rates can vary week to week
  • Loan matching times vary due to demand and supply fluctuations
  • Early loan repayments can lead to cash drag due to matching times
  • 0.6% early exit fee
  • Reinvestment funds prioritized over new investments
  • Some information tricky to find

Lending Works offers lenders peer to peer loans to creditworthy borrowers and is very picky choosing borrowers. Lending Works is unique in that not only does it have a provision fund which is paid for by loan borrowers, it also carries insurance to protect against defaults due to borrower job loss, accidents, sickness, death, fraud, and cybercrime.

Equivalent Competitors

Ratesetter, Zopa, Growth Street

Lending Works Review: My experiences so far….

I’ve been using Lending Works since mid-2015. Setup was very simple and I opted for the five-year term with automatic reinvestment. It’s such an easy set-and-forget website. The biggest downside is it can take some time before your investment is deployed depending on how much lending money is ahead of yours in the queue; the queue time can always be viewed. Reinvestment money is always placed before new deposits. New investment time frames have ranged from 2 to 20 days but reinvestments are prioritized over new investments so they can be a little quicker.

Interest rates have recently been increasing with five-year lender rates topping 6%.

When Did Lending Works Launch?

Founded in 2012 and started offering peer to peer lending in January 2014

Are They Regulated? 

Yes, by the UK Government’s Financial Conduct Authority under full permissions. Lending Works was one of the first peer to peer companies to receive full permission from the FCA and now offers an IFISA.

FCA regulation is nothing like the FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme) which covers consumers from bank failures. The FCA does have the ability to pursue criminal action against companies it finds are in violation of its standards, but it’s not a government entity and its funded by the very companies it regulates.

Who Can Open An Account?

Any UK resident or nonresident with a UK bank account.

What’s The Signup Process Like?

Relatively simple including the usual identification checks to make sure you aren’t a safe cracker.

How Are Deposits Made?

Via bank transfer

What’s The Minimum Investment?

£10 on regular or ISA accounts

Does Lending Works Offer An Innovative Finance ISA?

Yes. It launched in January 2017 and has a minimum £5,000 investment. You can sign up here.

How Much Interest Does Lending Works Pay Lenders?

Rates vary week to week but usually range from 4.5% (3-year term) up to 6% (5-year term). Remember that idle money does affect your returns negatively (I estimate up to 0.2% per year) so your returns may be less than advertised.

When Is Interest Paid?

Interest payments are made to you when the borrower makes payments so therefore payments are staggered throughout the month.

What Are the Lending Works Loan Default Rates? 

Lending Works’s lifetime default bad debt rates have been low:

2014: 1%
2015: 2.7%
2016: 3.3%
2017: 1.1%
Total: 1.5%

You can read more about their default rates here.

What Are The Fees? 

0.6% or £20 minimum for early exit of your investment. There may be additional fees if there is a difference between the loan rates you are selling and the current rates.

How Long Are The Investment Terms?

3 years or 5 years

How Are Loans Paid Back?

Principal and interest are paid monthly.

What Security Does Lending Works Use?

Currently, all loans are unsecured.

Is There A Secondary Market?

Lending Works will try to sell your loan pieces to other investors. The fee for this is 0.6% or £20 of your investment amount, whichever is greater.

What Are The Main Risks?

Borrower default: Since all loans are unsecured, defaults are a concern. Lending Works attempts to lower the risk by strict borrowing requirements and default insurance.

Company failure: If Lending Works were to fail, they have a 3rd party in place to facilitate continued borrower to lender loan payments.

Economic downturn: Unsecured borrowers tend to be extremely vulnerable during economic downturns. When borrowers lose jobs, unsecured loans fall to the bottom of the must-pay list.

Is There A Provision Fund?

Yes. Borrowers pay a risk-assessed fee that is added to the fund and is designed to cover their payments should they fall behind or default.

Am I Lending To Lending Works The Platform Or To Borrowers?

All loan agreements are directly between lenders and borrowers.

What Really Happens If Lending Works Goes Out Of Business?

Lending Works states is has a 3rd party in place to facilitate continued borrower to lender loan payments if their business were to fail. In reality, as with every peer to peer lending company, no one can predict recovery amounts as there are many unknowns here, so only invest what you can afford to lose.

THUMBS UP FOR LENDING WORKS:

Ease of Use / Hands Off

Unlike some other peer to peer lending companies, Lending Works is very hands off which means less time glued to a computer screen.

Interest Rates

Rates adjust weekly but recently they have been more favourable at 6% on the five-year lending product.

Auto Reinvest

Lending Works is a dream come true for those who want to be hands-off investors. Just choose from two simple reinvestment options and set and forget.

Safety

I consider Lending Works to be one of the safer peer to peer lending options. Their quality of underwriting is high, the borrowers are well vetted and lower risk, a provision fund is funded by borrowers and well-funded, and insurance is in place to cover loan payments in the event of borrower job loss, accidents, sickness, death, fraud, and cybercrime. As long as these high standards remain in place, Lending Works will probably remain one of the safest peer to peer lending companies.

High Quality Borrower Screening And Experienced Underwriting Team

It’s in Lending Works’s best interest to keep its defaults to a minimum and its experienced underwriting team accomplishes this by implementing high-quality borrower screening.

Fully FCA Authorised / Offers ISA

Lending Works has passed its compliance checks and is one of the first peer to peer companies to offer lenders an ISA.

Low Default Rates

Since Lending Works screens their borrowers effectively and chooses lower risk customers, default rates have been historically low which is good news for lenders.

Possible Easy Exit

Providing there are funds from other investors to purchase your loans, Lending Works will facilitate a sale for a fee of 0.6% or £20, whichever is higher.

Withdrawals & Payments

Capital and interest payments are credited promptly. Withdrawals are prompt, usually showing in your bank account in a day or two.

The Website

It’s very easy to use and understand. Here is the Portfolio dashboard:

lending works review

Click Lender Settings on the right side and you will be taken to the page where you select your reinvestment options:

Lending Works Review

Here is the loans matching queue along with estimated times:

Lending Works Review

THUMBS DOWN FOR LENDING WORKS:
Sometimes A Delay in Deploying Money

Depending on changes in demand and supply, it can take some time for your new investments to be invested into loans. I’ve seen investment times range from two weeks to two minutes. Queued reinvestments always take priority over new investments.

Early Loan Repayments Can Lead To Cash Drag Due To Matching Times

When investing larger sums of money, it is wise to consider drip feeding the money into loans over a period of time. For example, if you wanted to invest £5,000, Lending Works uses their Protection Shield to diversify and equally cover lenders versus a company such as Funding Circle that allows lenders to set their maximum allocation amounts to any single loan.

In our example above, you could find a large portion of your money being lent to a single loan. If that loan is repaid early, you could have a large portion of funds returned to the matching queue. It is theoretically better to have 100 £50 loans than two £2,500 loans because the chances of your two loans being repaid early are much higher than the chances of 100 loans being repaid early. In order to receive 100 £50 loans, you would have to manually drip-feed £50 per day into your account which is a pain. Lending Works offers no way to set your maximum allocation into a single loan.

Exit Fee

Lending Works’s 0.6% exit fee is costly so if you plan on needing access to your money, calculate this fee into losses against your returns.

Reinvestment Funds In Queue Prioritised Over New Investments

This con is for those depositing new funds or switching their received capital and interest from withdrawing to reinvest. Reinvestment money is always at the front of the lending queue. Not a big negative but if you move funds to your wallet to withdraw and later decid you want to reinvest, the funds will be moved to the back of the lending queue.

Some Information Is Tricky To Find

One feature that really bugs me about Lending Works is the transaction history is difficult to find. No matter how many times I log in, I always forget where this information is located so I thought I would share to save you the headache.

Log into your lender dashboard and look at the bottom of the page:

Lending Works Review

Once you click the more button, you can scroll down the next page to the transaction details.


My Strategy

I began by investing a small amount in the five-year term and invested more as time passed. I use the five-year rate auto reinvestment and set and forget, so like Landbay, no real strategy here. I do keep an eye on rates and if they fall below 5%, I look elsewhere.

The Lending Works Review Conclusion

I have continued high hopes for Lending Works and have been happy to see their lending return rates increasing and remaining at a competitive level. Their high-quality borrowers, quality underwriting, low default rates, well-funded Provision Fund, and default insurances convinced me to invest with Lending Works. Interest rates are currently attractive when considering the safety. If you are looking for a true set and forget investment that requires only a watchful eye and is relatively safe, lending Works might be for you. Once you start investing in peer to peer lending, you will see how time-consuming it can be so Lending Works is a breath of fresh air.


Financial Thing readers who want to open a new regular or ISA account can receive £50 cashback on a £1,000 deposit:

Sign up here

(Lending Works pays me a small referral fee when you open an account through one of my links. This fee comes at no expense to you and when you sign up for an account through my website, it allows me to continue to operate this website.)

I update this review as changes occur. If you notice any errors or omissions, I invite you to contact me and let me know.

If you enjoyed my Lending Works review and want to learn more about peer to peer lending, click here and receive my complimentary Top 5 Peer to Peer Lending Sites Report.

Disclaimers: I’m not paid to write this Lending Works review nor am I employed by any of the companies I write about. In most cases, I have invested or continue to invest my own money in these companies. The sign-up links on this website are referral links. When you sign up for an account through my website, I receive a referral fee directly from the companies, at no cost to you. Your support enables me to continue to operate the Financial Thing website. You can read more about my referral links here.

This unbiased Lending Works review is for information purposes only and should not be considered investment advice. Opinions expressed in this Lending Works review are based upon my investing experiences. All information was deemed to be correct at the time of writing. Peer to peer lending contains risks so never invest more than you can afford to lose.