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. 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
  • Earn more than $30,000 p.a. from employment (Centerlink may be used as supplementary income)
  • You are able to afford the loan
  • Have at least 18 months credit history (ideally)
  • You are not in Hardship with any other financial provider
  • Have never been bankrupt
  • Be using the loan mainly for personal use

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

  1. Get a Quote – 3 minutes: Get a personalised rate estimate based on your credit history – which won’t impact your credit score!
  2. Apply – 5 minutes: Complete our easy online application.
  3. Decision – within 48 hours: We’ll assess your application and let you know the outcome.
  4. Matching – within 24 hours: We’ll match you with the right investors to fund your loan and get back to you with an offer.
  5. If approved accept and get your money by the next business day

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 90% of current investors on the SocietyOne platform are individuals/SMSFs.


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 $100,000.

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 the following documents:

  • Information Memorandum
  • Application Form (attached to the Information Memorandum)
  • 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 16 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 may be reinvested or distributed back to your nominated bank account.

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 pays 1.00% p.a. on the cash balances to investors.

What happens if a borrower defaults?

SocietyOne adheres to strict credit control protocols and attempts to recover the losses either through our own internal collections processes or by passing loans to a collection agency when a borrower is in default beyond a certain period. If a borrower cannot repay the loan, investors will lose the outstanding principal on that loan at the time the borrower stops paying. Likewise, interest on the loan principal will not be received by the investor, unless sufficient 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 $20,000.

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 history, be over 21 and satisfy several other behavioural and loan servicing criteria.

How are personal loans evaluated?

SocietyOne 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 17% of loan applications are listed for funding by investors.

What determines the interest rate?

Borrowers are assigned a credit grade (Tier 1, 2, 3,or 4) based on several credit criteria. The credit grade determines the interest rate that will be applied to that loan. 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 then applies your funds to loans on your behalf in accordance with your choices.

Can I choose the loans I invest in?

Currently you can only choose the grade and term of loans in which you invest, but not individual loans. Our allocation engine is calibrated to apply funds to 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 5.25% and 17.74% as a gross return on each loan depending on the borrower's credit grade (after deduction of SocietyOne's Servicer Fee and prior to losses, recoveries and taxes). The expected weighted average "Effective Annual Return" (defined in more detail below) to investors across all credit grades is currently 7% - 8% p.a. on average after fees but before taxes and losses. 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. Investors receive distributions in the first couple of business days each month.

What credit grades are most common?

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

  • Tier 1 – 17%
  • Tier 2 – 23%
  • Tier 3 – 34%
  • Tier 4 – 22%

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?

Where funds are in cash awaiting investment into loans or distribution to the investor, interest is paid at a rate of 1.00% p.a. to the investor.

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?

Our Information Memorandum outlines the risks associated with investing in 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 attempts to recover the losses either through our own internal collections processes or by passing loans to a collection agency when a borrower is in default beyond a certain period. If a borrower cannot repay the loan, investors will lose the outstanding principal on that loan at the time the borrower stops paying. Likewise, interest on the loan principal will not be received by the investor, unless sufficient funds are received in the recovery process.

What is the return calculation?

SocietyOne calculates returns based on an Effective Annual Return (“EAR”) calculation. This is also known as the effective annual interest rate method and is used as a consistent measure of comparing different interest rates.

The EAR formula is composed of aggregate interest received (net of fees) for all periods minus net write-offs (net of recoveries) in the numerator. The denominator is the accumulation of the outstanding principal amount of the loan for all relevant periods. This fraction is then annualised and expressed as a percentage.

This measure, or variations of this measure, are commonly used by other lending companies in several different countries.

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 by 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 (cattle, sheep and lambs) for fattening within the loan term.

Where are loans provided?

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

What are the loan terms?

The maximum term is 12 months. There are no prescribed weight targets that have to be met and no sell by dates.

How are loans evaluated?

SocietyOne's credit team and loan origination system assesses the creditworthiness of livestock agents 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. Each draw down is an individual loan on our system.

What returns will I receive?

The target pre-tax return for the loan portfolio is 6.5%-7.5% p.a. (on a blended basis, taking into account lower earnings on investor's cash interests that are awaiting deployment or distribution) based on an investor rate on loans of 7.75% p.a. after fees but before taxes and losses.

How do I invest?

Please register your interest in becoming an investor in livestock loans online under the "Invest" tab.

Can I choose the loans I invest in?

No. Investors are allocated interest in livestock loans on a fractionalised basis. You are unable to choose which specific livestock loans (e.g. cattle or sheep) you invest in.

What is the security for the Livestock loans?

For all livestock loans, SocietyOne requires the following security:

  • A Purchase Money Security Interest (PMSI)is taken over the livestock. This is registered on the Personal Property Security Register.
  • The first 10% of each loan is funded by the borrowing livestock agent, which is the first portion of the loan to be applied to any losses. There is a a "super priority" security that cover the livestock and/or the proceeds of the sale of the livestock.

In some circumstances, after undertaking a credit assessment of the livestock agent, SocietyOne may require additional security, including:

  • A General Security Agreement over the livestock agent's business, which is also registered on the Personal Property Security Register.
  • Personal guarantees from the director of the livestock agent's business.

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?

All livestock buying and selling transactions as well as all monitoring and administrations functions are managed through a centralised settlement office. This also includes all invoice payments when livestock are purchased and loan settlements when livestock are sold.

The settlement office uses its expertise to arrange for completion of documentation, advances funds on receipt of purchase invoices from the sales yards, maintains the required interface with the NLIS and provide signed documentation to SocietyOne.

Is the interest rate fixed or variable?

The interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan. It calculates daily and accrues during the life of the loan.

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. Individual loans have a term of 12 months but may be repaid earlier without penalty.

What happens when the loan is repaid?

Your principal will be returned, and interest earnings credited to you upon repayment (in part or in full) of the loan. You may elect to reinvest the principal component in further loans.

What are SocietyOne AgriLending's fees?

From 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.

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.

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. On average 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, which are not adequately offset by the weight gain of the funded herd or loss of livestock through natural causes. Where there are any shortfalls there is recourse back to the livestock agent as 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 Memorandum in detail and in particular the section on risks.

What happens if a borrower defaults?

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

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