Look closely at credit intermediaries



Leipzig – Unpaid bills and a covered account – in such a situation, many consumers rely on a new loan. However, they should be picky, advises Andrea Heyer of the consumer center Saxony in Leipzig. “The first contact should be the classic bank.” If you are rejected there, you should check what it is. Mostly the reason is that you are heavily in debt. “Then you should not take any further credit anyway, but go to a recognized debt counseling.”


Picture: Money 

But again and again, so-called credit intermediaries use this plight. They attract loan seekers with cheap offers. However, these only exist at first glance. “There are only rarely lending commitments, and most of the time, the providers only want to earn money from the credit seekers,” warns Heyer. Therefore, she advises caution among commercial credit intermediaries in general.

“In principle, a credit intermediary is dubious when I have to pay in advance with services,” explains Heyer. Many ask for a processing fee or send useless documents by cash on delivery. “It is also problematic if I am to conclude other contracts at the same time.” For some credit intermediaries must first conclude a home savings or insurance before they get a loan.

Lure: no credit check

Credit intermediaries often promise their customers that they will get money without their credit rating being checked. “This is a lure that is often dubious and also not true,” says Heyer. No reputable provider will lend money to a loan seeker without first obtaining a Schufa statement. “The offer is usually also dubious when supposedly only foreign banks are willing to finance and thus incur additional costs.”

If you still land at a credit intermediary, you should pay close attention to the contract. “A credit intermediary must give the consumer the amount of their compensation before concluding the loan agreement, and if he fails to do so, the contract is void,” the consumer advocate said. The loan agreement itself must then include the net loan amount, the total amount, the borrowing rate, the APR, the contract term, the installment amount, the amount and the maturity of each installment.

Smava & Co: Credit platforms on the Internet

In addition to banks and commercial intermediaries, more and more private individuals are lending money to other private individuals via loan platforms on the Internet. Interposed but is also a bank, so usually a bank. “There are offers that you can consider, and you should at least turn to these platforms rather than commercial credit intermediaries,” Heyer recommends.

In Germany, two reputable credit platforms are known: Smava and Auxmoney. Loan seekers have to describe themselves and their project, for which they need money. Lenders then decide if they are convinced of the project and lend money. But even there a Schufa information is obtained. “Nevertheless, it can be interesting for consumers with negative Schufa as an option to repay expensive loans from banks,” says Niels Nauhauser of the consumer center Baden-Württemberg.

At Smava, for example, the credit seekers are divided into different classes depending on their credit rating: A is particularly good, H much worse. Investors who lend money to people of the same credit rating are pooled. As soon as enough investors have been found for a project, the money will be transferred to the loan seeker.

This simple model is becoming more and more popular. According to a study by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), borrowers on platforms differ only slightly from those of the traditional credit market. Accordingly, Internet borrowers are only marginally younger than traditional borrowers. On average, the credit applicants in the years 2007 to 2011 were 44 years old. The traditional borrowers were 46 years old.

Lending as a form of investment

For investors, lending on the internet can be worthwhile. The return may be greater than the return on deposit-backed products. However, they should evaluate the investment form according to usual criteria, recommends Niels Nauhauser, financial expert of the consumer center Baden-Wuerttemberg. To limit risk, they should pay attention to two things: First, they should only select credit portals where the risk of default is shared across multiple investors. Second, the loan amount should be limited to a small part of the assets.