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Note: Stackd is no longer in operation. To see some other options that may work for you check out our Best Personal Loans page.
In its simplest form, a personal loan is a friend asking to borrow some money, you agree, shake hands and… what? Will your friend remember to repay you? If so, when? Will you collect interest? Will you collect anything at all?
For this reason, many folks prefer something more structured, such as a personal loan from a bank, an online lending company, or a peer-to-peer (P2P) website. These have the advantage of explicit terms, but if your credit rating is poor or scant you won’t have much luck drumming up a loan, and if you do, you’ll be likely be stuck with a high interest rate.
For a certain segment of borrowers, the solution is to find a way to borrow from folks that don’t care about your credit score (i.e., friends, family members, community affiliates) in a way that preserves everyone’s rights (and dignity). Enter Stakd, an application that gets cash to borrowers and repayments to lenders.
How Does Stakd Work?
Stakd is a mobile app that creates loan agreements. The company is not a marketplace lender, and neither originates nor brokers relationships between borrowers and lenders. The concept is simple: You and someone you know hammer out the details of a loan offline at a time and place of your convenience. You then enter the loan terms into the Stakd application, e-sign it, and exchange the money.
The Stakd app captures the important points of the transaction and memorializes it into a legal loan agreement that spells out the amount borrowed, the repayment period, the interest rate, and other important information.
Stakd can also communicate with borrowers’ and lenders’ bank accounts. You can check you balance and set up scheduled cash transfers for the original loan and the subsequent repayments.
That’s it – no cash, no checks, no paper, no muss, no fuss.
Benefits of Stakd for Borrowers
When you borrow from someone you know, it’s likely you’ll receive good terms, regardless of your credit score.
You’ll probably receive the best interest rate and terms when you borrow from someone you know, lower than what a bank will charge.
You’re in a better position to negotiate loan terms with someone you already know.
You can have your payments transferred directly from your bank account. No need to hand over cash or write a check. Automatic bank-account transfers also introduces discipline into your repayment process, helping to preserve your relationship with your lender and giving you notice to deposit sufficient funds to cover the transfer.
Benefits of Stakd for Lenders
The Federal Reserve estimates that less than half of the $89 billion of loans to friends and family are documented each year. Most of these loans are verbal, which means they are vague, unenforceable, and don’t necessarily address the payment of interest. All the power is with the borrower. Stakd creates a legal loan agreement, giving lenders recourse and facilitating the payment of principal and interest. Defaults are less likely.
Better Than Cash
If your friend asks for a quick $200, and you have only $38 in your wallet, you’ll have to go to a cash machine or find your checkbook. That might be a hassle. It’s easier to open the Stakd app, agree on the loan, and move the money to your buddy’s bank account.
By using account transfers you have a mechanism to get paid and an audit trail of activity. There will be no confusion about how much is still owed.
Preserve the Relationship
When the terms are digitized, there is no room for forgetting, which can cause hurt feelings and distrust.
Stakd vs Online Personal Loans
If you check current rates for online personal loans, you’ll see some offers as low as 2.49 percent. Depending on the terms you are able to strike with a friend, you might be able to beat that rate via Stakd. You might also prefer Stakd if you have a poor credit rating because your access to an online personal loan will be limited and/or expensive.
However, Stakd might not be appropriate under some circumstances:
Size of Loan
The more you need the harder it’s going to be to find a friend or family member willing or able to accommodate you. If you need a larger sum loan, you’ll probably have better luck with an online personal loan.
Let’s face it, it can be uncomfortable to ask someone you know for a loan, especially if you have trouble repaying on time. If you feel this way, you can avoid the issue by getting an online personal loan.
Stakd was founded in 2016 by University of Buffalo students Adam Zeiff and Shlomi Amar. The company is a member of Boston’s DCU Fintech Innovation Center and FinTech Sandbox, as well as New York’s Stevens Venture Center, all dedicated to helping FinTech entrepreneurs build great products.
Author: Jeff Gitlen