Zopa: Unsecured borrowing overpriced

15 February 2007
UK banking customers who take on unsecured loans are being "ripped off by their banks, credit card and personal loan companies", social lending site Zopa has claimed.

Chief executive James Alexander argues that UK consumers could save themselves £9.3 billion if they borrowed through Zopa, a social lending forum on a peer-to-peer basis.

Every adult is paying £201 too much on their £4,611 of unsecured debt on credit cards, store cards, personal loans and overdrafts, he said.

Although many financial analyses suggest that what is good for borrowers is bad for lenders and vice versa, Mr Alexander stressed that the interests of borrowers and lenders could be cognate.

With the Zopa system, he said, "everybody wins – except the Bankers".

But the appeal of the Zopa lending philosophy may be weakened by a new study from Alliance & Leicester which has showed that unsecured borrowing itself is becoming less popular, with homeowners with mortgages reducing their unsecured borrowings by £197 on average.

In 2006, unsecured borrowing across the UK population grew at its slowest rate since 1994, the bank found, in what it construed as positive signs for personal debt management.

To learn more about unsecured loans, click here.

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