Thursday, March 9, 2006 Once More

I really hate to be negative about I really want it to succeed. I want to be able to report good things about it. It's getting hard.

Let me preface what I am saying by noting is still relatively new and should be expected to have some bugs to work out.

On to my complaints.

1. My transfer of funds from my checking account into Prosper was supposed to be completed today. Funds were removed from my checking account on the 7th. Today, the 9th, they are still not showing up in my Prosper account. This may be the fault of ACH and not Prosper, however, so I suppose I have to cut them some slack. Nevertheless, one of the more common complaints on Prosper's discussion boards is the length of time it takes to get funds into Prosper. Additionally, I find it strange that funds going the other way are very quick. For example, to verify an account, Prosper makes two small deposits into your checking account. I've linked two accounts and both times, the deposits have shown up in 1 business day. Why does it take 5 times longer for funds to move the other direction? Even if this is the fault of ACH, Prosper is taking a big publicity hit on this. I did see on the discussion boards that they are looking into speeding this up. As I mentioned before, why do they have to use the ACH network? Why can't they use Cirrus or some other ATM network?

2. Are Lenders allowed to be in Groups? I spent some time going over the rewards program that Prosper has for group members and leaders. Besides being overly complicated, I can't find any benefits to a lender for belonging to a group. I emailed Prosper's Customer Support about this and this is the response I got:

At this time, lenders cannot be members of groups. However, if you wish to associate yourself with a particular group, you can check a checkbox on the bidding page that will add your screen name to the "Lenders who support us" list on the group home page.
This is outright wrong. I belong to the WealthBuilders Group, a group for people borrowing to create wealth in the spirit of Rich Dad, Poor Dad. My role in Prosper is defined as a Lender. There is obviously some sort of disconnect here. When I look at my Profile screen, it says I do not support any groups. When I go to the Group tab of the My Account page, under the title "My Group", it shows the WealthBuilders group. Under that, in a different section, it says "You currently do not have any active group requests and are not a member of a group." Yet if I look at the members of the WealthBuilders group, I am listed as a member.

3. There seems to be no benefit at all to a lender to belong to a group. This may be because lenders are not supposed to be allowed in groups and I was only allowed in through some glitch. I would like to see lenders be allowed in groups. That way, lenders and borrowers with common interests can be matched up easier. I would like to lend money to members of my group, especially if there is some sort of benefit to me besides the interest I get from the loan. I also think allowing lenders in a group would help foster a closer community within that group. (Of course, I want to be able to lend outside my group as well.)

I don't know. I continue to have great hopes for Prosper and I am anxious to start lending through it, but there still seems to be some kinks that are very annoying.

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