Frequently asked questions.


General

What is marketplace lending?

It's an exciting new way for people to borrow money from other people. The people providing the funding are investors who would like to loan money to creditworthy borrowers.

Borrowers get the recognition for their good credit behaviour by saving with better rates. For investors, it offers an opportunity to invest in a new, attractive fixed income asset class.

How are you different from 'payday' lenders?

'Payday' lenders are generally lenders of last resort. In return for access to short-term credit (about 30 days) and loans that are typically of small nominal value, payday borrowers pay extremely high fees and interest rates.

SocietyOne is not a payday lender. We look for creditworthy, quality borrowers who typically have established relationships with major banks. Our loans range up to 60 months, from $5,000 to $50,000, which does not fit with the definition of a payday loan. We think quality borrowers with good track records are not getting the best rate they deserve.

How is marketplace lending different from a bank loan?

SocietyOne is not a bank and will not become one. Marketplace lending provides a different and interesting alternative for creditworthy borrowers and fixed income investors to get a better deal. Part of the attraction is that it can provide better rates and returns without the infrastructure cost and complexity that comes from being a traditional bank or deposit-taking institution.

What’s the difference between variable and fixed rate loans?

SocietyOne offers fixed rate personal loans – which means the interest rate doesn’t change during the term of your loan so your repayments will remain the same. In addition we don’t charge early repayment fees if you want to pay off your loan earlier than you originally expected. Variable rate personal loan interest rates may go up and down during the loan term.

What’s the difference between a secured and an unsecured loan?

SocietyOne offers unsecured loans. That means that you don’t need to provide a deposit or security against the loan in case of default.

Secured loans require you to deposit something of value to the lending institution and this becomes the collateral or security until the loan has been repaid. Examples of collateral include your home, a car, investments or other assets that can be sold by the bank if the loan is unpaid. If the sale doesn't cover the full amount of the loan, you will have lost your asset and still owe money! Secured loans are often lower as they provide less risk to the lender.

At SocietyOne we can offer lower unsecured rates for customers with good credit as this also lowers risk for our investors.

Borrower

Who can apply for a SocietyOne personal loan?

You are eligible for a SocietyOne personal loan if you:

  • You are an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • You are at least 21 years old
  • Your employment income is more than $25,000 p.a.
  • You are able to afford the loan
  • You have at least 2 years of good credit history on the Credit Bureau
  • You are not in Hardship with any other financial provider
  • You do not have a pending, current or previous bankruptcy
  • The loan is for you, personally, not for anyone else or a business


What is the process? How do I apply and when I will receive my loan?

  1. Get your rate - 3 mins: Get a rate estimate based on your credit grade.
  2. Apply online - 10 mins: Complete our easy online application.
  3. Get your loan funded - Minimum 72 hrs: We will assess your application, fund your loan and get back to you with a loan offer.
  4. Get your money - Minimum 48 hrs: Once you accept your offer, we'll finalise the loan and transfer your money. 

Apply now and get started.


How much can I borrow, and for how long?

SocietyOne's unsecured personal loans range from $5,000 to $50,000 with flexible loan terms of 2, 3 or 5 years.

Are there any other fees and charges?

We charge a one-off establishment fee. This is included in your total loan amount. There are no monthly fees or early repayment fees. So you have the security of a fixed rate loan, with the flexibility to pay it off early.

For special offers and our fee table, check out our Rates and Fees page.

What happens if I forget my username and/or password?

Forgotten password

If you have forgotten your password, go to our login page , and click on forgotten password. You will then be emailed a temporary password and a link to proceed. However, to continue you will need to remember the answers to your security questions. If you do not remember the answers to your questions, contact customer service on 1300 144 221 and they will arrange for the I.T department to retrieve the answers for you.

Forgotten username

If you have forgotten your username please contact customer service on 1300 144 221 and they will be able to help you.

Can an investor view my personal information?

SocietyOne takes the privacy of its users and security of information very seriously. Investors can only view limited borrower information necessary for making an investment decision. There is no information available to investors to identify who you are. When you register with SocietyOne, you nominate a username, which provides anonymity to the investors who view your loan.

For more information read our Privacy Policy.

How do I make repayments?

Repayments can be made in either fortnightly or monthly installments, by direct debit.

If you wish to make extra payments, please contact our customer service team on 1300 144 221. There are no fees or penalties for making extra payments or paying off your loan early.

If you are experiencing financial hardship and are having difficulty repaying your loan please call customer service on 1300 144 221.

How are repayments calculated?

Repayments are calculated depending on your choice of 2,3 or 5 year loan terms, and whether you have chosen fortnightly or monthly repayments along with the interest rate you receive on approval of your loan.

Can I choose and/or change my repayment dates?

Your loan offer will set out your direct debit repayment schedule and if you require any changes to that schedule, please contact customer service on 1300 144 221 to discuss.

Can I repay my loan early? Can I make extra payments?

Yes, absolutely. SocietyOne encourages responsible borrowing and provides repayment flexibility. You can either pay out your loan early or make lump sum payments during the life of your loan with no extra fees or penalty. If you wish to pay off your loan completely then please gives us a call on 1300 144 221 so that we can give you an accurate settlement quote.

Are there any fees and charges that come with early exit?

At SocietyOne there are no fees or penalties for paying out your loan earlier than the scheduled period.

Can I change my bank account/direct debit details?

Yes. To do this please contact customer service on 1300 144 221.

Payment difficulties

It’s rare that our customers have issues because of our great low rates and our responsible lending policy, but sometimes there might be reasons that you can’t make repayments - ranging from short-term cash-flow issues to severe financial hardship.

What do I do if I can’t make a payment?

* If you are finding it difficult to make a payment, call us immediately. Whether you need short-term or medium-term assistance with your repayments, our customer service team can help. They can discuss options with you which may include flexibility with instalments due, an extension of time to pay or, if your circumstances warrant it, discussing hardship options.

Can I get free independent advice?

* If your debts are out of control or you are really struggling to make ends meet, it's important to act quickly. Here are some places you can go for free help and guidance. https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/...

Investing - Marketplace

Who can invest?

Currently only wholesale clients can invest through SocietyOne. Find out more about wholesale clients. Please note that wholesale clients includes individuals who meet the requirement. Over 95% of current investors on the SocietyOne platform are individuals.

We are working towards being able to accept investments from retail clients mid 2017.

Why can't retail clients invest now?

This is a new type of investment in the Australian market. SocietyOne has originated loans on our platform since August 2012 and have wanted to prove our systems, credit models and returns to investors and regulators before opening to retail clients.

Can a SMSF invest?

Yes if it meets the wholesale client test.

Can I invest as a trust or company?

Yes if it meets the wholesale client test.

What is the minimum investment amount?

Currently the minimum investment is $25,000.

Is there a maximum investment?

There is no maximum investment.

What will I be investing in?

SocietyOne currently facilitates two different types of loans - unsecured personal loans and secured livestock loans.

How do I apply to invest?

Register your interest in investing at our registration page. After a quick and painless identity check, we'll provide you with a login to the portal where you can view live loans. We'll ask you to tell us whether you want to invest in your own name or through a trust or company and we'll send you a copy of some documents:

  • Information Memorandum
  • Individual Investor Form
  • Investment Agreement
  • Wholesale Investor Certificate template

You'll need to complete, scan and upload these documents to us together with a wholesale investor certificate from your accountant and a copy of a statement for the bank account you'll link to your investment.

On receipt of the forms, we'll provide you with BPay details so you can fund your investment. The funds will be held in a trust account until you invest. You can check your balance through the online portal.

How many Investors are there per loan?

Currently there are on average 40 investors in each loan.

What if there is not enough investor demand for a loan?

Loans that don't receive enough bids will not be funded. 

Can I diversify my investment?

Investors only receive a fractional part of each loan, so your total investment amount is allocated to smaller fractional parts of a much larger loan portfolio. This diversifies your investment across credit grades, geographies, professions etc.

Further diversification can be achieved by investing in more than one class of loan. Currently SocietyOne offers two types of loans; unsecured personal loans and secured livestock loans.

How many loans will I have in my portfolio?

It depends on the instructions you provide to SocietyOne - which we call a mandate. Currently, most investors are invested in over 100 loans.

How long does it take for my investments to be deployed into loans?

Once you have funded your account and uploaded the completed Investment Agreement, your investment will be deployed into loans as they are listed on the platform. The time to deployment will depend on factors such as the demand for loans, the size of your investment and your investment choices.

What structure do I invest through?

Each class of loans (personal, livestock etc) is managed through a separate trust which is an unregistered managed investment scheme. You receive interests in the managed investment scheme - initially your investment is held in cash (which we call "cash interests"). Your interests change to "loan interests" when your funds are deployed into loans. As loans are repaid, the loan interests convert back to cash interests.

Do I invest directly in loans?

You receive an equitable interest in the loan which entitles you to receive the interest and capital repayments for the proportion of the loan you have funded.

Can I withdraw the funds in my cash account as loans are repaid?

Yes, you may withdraw cleared funds at call. You can't withdraw funds that have already been bid on a new loan or uncleared repayments.

Where is my cash held?

All cash is held in a Macquarie Bank trust account in the name of the trusts' custodians; Australian Executor Trustees Limited for the personal loans trust (SocietyOne P2P Lending Trust), and Perpetual Corporate Trust Limited for the livestock loans trust (SocietyOne Livestock Lending Trust).

What interest do I receive on the cash balance

SocietyOne receives the RBA Overnight Cash Rate less 0.50% from Macquarie Bank on the pooled trust account. This rate is paid to investors, i.e.SocietyOne does not charge an additional fee for managing your cash interests.

What happens if a borrower defaults?

SocietyOne adheres to strict credit control protocols and passes loans to a collection agency when a borrower is in default. If a borrower does not repay the loan, you will lose the outstanding principal on that loan at the time the borrower stops paying. Likewise expected future cash flows will not be received by the investor, unless funds are received in the recovery process.

Investing - Personal Loans

What are the loans used for?

Loans can be used for any personal purpose including: consolidation of debt, weddings, home improvement, motor vehicles etc.

How much are the loans for?

Loans may be between $5,000 and $50,000 plus the establishment fee. Our average loan size is currently around $18,000.

What are the loan terms?

Our loan terms are 2, 3 and 5 years.

Who are the borrowers?

Borrowers are creditworthy individuals that meet SocietyOne's stringent credit criteria. They must have a good credit record, be over 21 and satisfy a number of other behavioural and loan servicing criteria.

How are personal loans evaluated?

SocietyOne's credit team and loan origination system assesses borrowers' creditworthiness using best practice credit assessment techniques. Only borrowers who meet SocietyOne's stringent requirements are listed on the platform and made available to investors.

What percentage of applications are listed for funding?

Currently less than 15% of loan applications are listed for funding by investors.

What determines the interest rate?

Borrowers are assigned a credit grade (AA, A, B, C or D) based on a number of credit criteria, including their credit score. The credit grade determines the minimum and maximum interest rate range within which investors can bid. Interest rates change depending on market conditions. Find more info on investing in personal loans.

How do I invest?

As an investor, you choose the credit grade and term of loans in which you want to invest and the maximum amount you wish to invest in any one loan when completing the Investment Agreement. SocietyOne takes care of the rest. Our allocation engine bids for loans on your behalf in accordance with your choices.

Can I choose the loans I invest in?

Currently you can only choose the grades of loans in which you invest, but not individual loans. Our allocation engine is calibrated to bid on loans with diverse characteristics, e.g. terms, interest rates, geographies, professions, etc within your selected credit grades. The objective is that the loans in which you invest are broadly representative of all loans available in that credit grade.

What returns will I receive?

Investors currently receive between 5.50% and 25.02% as a gross return on each loan (after deduction of SocietyOne's Service Fee and depending on the borrower's credit grade). The weighted average gross return to investors across all credit grades is currently around 10.5% before defaults and impairments (8%-10% p.a. on average after defaults and impairments). Find more info on investing in personal loans.

Is the interest rate fixed or variable?

The interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan.

When is the capital repaid?

Personal loans repayments include both interest and capital. Repayments are made fortnightly or monthly. Borrowers can repay capital early without penalty.

What credit grades are most common?

Currently the distribution of loans amongst credit bands is as follows:

  • AA – 15%
  • A – 25%
  • B – 30%
  • C – 20%
  • D – 10%

How frequently are personal loan repayments made?

Fortnightly or monthly depending on the borrowers loan contract.

How soon are repayments available for withdrawal?

Repayments are made by direct debit. Once funds are cleared, which may take up to 5 business days, investors may withdraw up to the amount of their cash interests at call. Investors can also setup monthly automated withdrawals.

What happens when loans are repaid?

You may elect to leave your funds in cash, reinvest both capital and interest in further loans or reinvest the principal component only.

What interest do I receive on my cash balances?

SocietyOne receives the RBA Overnight Cash Rate less 0.50% from Macquarie Bank on the pooled trust account. The full amount is paid to investors.

What are SocietyOne's fees?

Borrowers pay an establishment fee of 3% to 6% (depending on their credit grade) if the loan application is successful and fully funded. This fee is capitalised onto the loan and funded by investors.

SocietyOne charges investors a Service Fee of up to 2.25% of the amount of the loan for originating and managing the loan through to repayment. The Service Fee is deducted from borrowers' repayments by the trustee and paid to SocietyOne before returns are paid to investors.

Is the investment liquid?

The loans are not a liquid investment as there is currently no secondary market to sell loans. Loan investments are held for the term of the loan unless the borrower repays early (which they may do without penalty). However, loans pay a regular fortnightly or monthly income stream, which provides a steady cash flow.

What are the risks?

The investor information memorandum outlines the full risks associated with personal loans. The marketplace model SocietyOne uses spreads risks across many borrowers by enabling investors to take fractional parts of loans.  Investors do take on the credit risk associated with each loan and any loan default may result in a partial or full loss of the investors capital investment in that loan.

What happens if a borrower defaults?

SocietyOne adheres to strict credit control protocols and passes loans to a collection agency when a borrower is in default. If a borrower does not repay the loan, investors will lose their investment in that loan.

Investing - SocietyOne AgriLending

What is a livestock loan?

Traditionally, livestock agents, who buy and sell cattle and other livestock on behalf of farmers, have provided working capital to their farmer clients from their own capital or overdraft facilities. SocietyOne AgriLending provides an alternative for agents to fund these transactions through offering lending facilities to livestock agents to help them fund farmers' livestock purchases.

What are the loans used for?

Livestock agents may only use the loan to fund the purchase of traded livestock (such as cattle and sheep) for fattening by their clients within the loan term.

Where are loans provided?

Currently NSW, WA, QLD, VIC, SA and ACT.

What are the loan terms?

The maximum term for cattle, sheep and lambs is 12 months. The loans are repaid, on average, within 9 months.

How are loans evaluated?

SocietyOne's credit team and loan origination system assesses borrowers' creditworthiness using best practice credit assessment techniques. Credit facilities are only given to livestock agents who meet SocietyOne's credit requirements. Once a credit limit is approved the livestock agent may draw down against this facility to purchase livestock for their farmer clients. Each draw down is an individual loan on our system. Investors may take a fractional part of each loan.

What returns will I receive?

Investors currently receive 8.75% p.a. as a gross return on each loan. Interest accrues and compounds monthly. The expected average annualised default rate is 0.0% - 1.0% p.a., which will provide a target return on the loan portfolio of 7.75% - 8.75% p.a.

How do I invest?

You choose the types of loans in which you wish to invest and the maximum amount you wish to invest in any one loan when completing your Investment Agreement, we call this an investment mandate. SocietyOne takes care of the rest. We bid for loans on your behalf in accordance with your choices.

Please register you interest in becoming an Investor in Livestock Loans online under the “invest” tab.

Can I choose the loans I invest in?

Currently you can choose the types of loans in which you invest, but not individual loans. SocietyOne AgriLending currently offers loans for beef cattle, sheep and lambs.

What is the security for the Livestock loan?

Four types of security are included as required by the credit assessment of each agent:

  • A Purchase Money Security Interest (PMSI) over the livestock. This is registered on the Personal Property Security Register
  • A General Security Agreement over the livestock agents' business & this is registered on the Personal Property Security Register
  • Guarantees from the directors of the livestock agents
  • Investors capital is paid in priority to the livestock agents 10% share of the loan.

How are the cattle tracked?

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags are placed in the cattle's ears. These use electromagnetic fields to wirelessly transfer identification and tracking data from the tags to the National Livestock Identification System database (NLIS) operated by Meat and Livestock Australia. The tags are scanned at the saleyard and linked to the farmer's property identification code (PIC). If cattle are moved from a farmer's property or sold, by law, the changes must be registered on the NLIS. 

How are the livestock loans settled?

SocietyOne AgriLending has engaged a settlement office to manage loan settlements when livestock is purchased.

The settlement office uses its technology and expertise to arrange for completion of all required documentation, advance funds on receipt of purchase invoices from the sales yards, maintain the required interface with the NLIS and provide executed documentation to SocietyOne AgriLending.

Is the interest rate fixed or variable?

The interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan. It accrues and compounds monthly.

How often do investors receive payments?

This investment does not provide a regular or consistent income stream. Interest and capital are repaid upon full or partial (pro rata repayment) sale of the funded livestock. On average loans are repaid in full within 9 months.

What happens when the loan is repaid?

You may elect to leave your funds in cash, reinvest both capital and interest in further loans or reinvest the principal component only.

What are SocietyOne AgriLending's fees?

Borrowers pay an establishment fee of 1% if the loan application is successful and fully funded. This fee is capitalised into the loan and funded by investors. SocietyOne AgriLending receives a Servicer Fee of up to 3.25% p.a. of the amount of the loan for originating and managing the loan through to repayment. The Servicer Fee is deducted from borrowers' repayments before returns are paid to investors.

Is the investment liquid?

Livestock loans are not a liquid investment as there is currently no secondary market to sell loans. Loan investments are held for the term of the loan unless the borrower repays early (which they may do without penalty). Each loan has a maximum term of 12 months; however, historically loans are repaid within 6 to 9 months.

What are the risks?

Major risks include a shortfall upon sale of the secured livestock due to lower market prices that are not adequately offset by the weight gain of the funded herd or loss of cattle through natural causes. Where there are any shortfalls there is recourse back to the livestock agent as the borrower on record and the investor is at this point exposed to the credit risk of the borrower. Investors are advised to read and understand the investment Information Memorandum in detail and in particular the section on risks.

What happens if a borrower defaults?

SocietyOne adheres to strict credit control protocols and passes loans to a collection agency when a borrower is in default. If a borrower does not repay the loan, you will lose your investment in that loan.

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