With interest rates at 0.5% and most highstreet ISAs giving a similar return I've been struggling to find somewhere to save my money.
Zopa's philosophy remains unchanged, you move money into your online Zopa account, set the rates you wish to lend at and Zopa lends your money to people that need it.
When setting your rates Zopa gives you guidelines as to the market rates, these change frequently and I tend to set mine on the high end of the recommended rates. This means my money is lent our slowly however the return rates are higher.
I lend out a maximum of £10 per person hence my maximum exposure per loan is limited. Zopa has a number of markets and you can choose the rates you lend to each one (if at all) A* being the best market and B being the riskier, obviously the rates for the riskier markets are higher.
Through your loan book you can see the usernames of who you lend money to and the reasons, most are for DIY, cars or to consolidate existing debts however you do get some more entertaining ones.
If you need access to your money quickly Zopa has a rapid return facility however you lose a percentage of your earnings by using this.
My difficulty with Zopa came in trying to calculate the percent rate of return over a period of time. Therefore just over a year ago I took the decision not to add anything further into my account.
Over a year long period I could then calculate the years earning as a percent to then compare with other investments.
As a result in this time I had one unpaid load (ie bad debt), once taking this into account and the 1% Zopa fee my return was 5.56%.
Compared to high street ISA's and similar this is a good return.