Fine wines, vintage cars, jewellery, antiques, grand pianos and valuable paintings are just some of the luxury goods that can be accepted as security on a loan by new peer to peer lending company unbolted.com.
Founded by Ashwin Parameswaran and Rito Haldar the service is a contemporary take on the traditional pawnbrokers and high interest secured lenders. Essentially if you are asset rich and cash poor and you need to unlock some capital for an unexpected expense or a financial shortfall then this service could be for you. Unlike other lenders who charge a monthly interest rate of 5%-10% Unbolted offers a much lower rate of 1.5%-3%.
So how does the service work?
For people with valuable assets who find themselves needing to raise extra capital then Unbolted can offer cash loans of a maximum of 70% loan to value with a minimum loan amount of £500. Lenders can borrow up to £1,000,000 (!) The process is simple and easy to use and the company states that they offer complete privacy. The borrower simply takes a photo of the particular asset that they want to borrow against which they then upload to the site. Once the borrower’s application is received a member of the experienced team of valuers at Unbolted will assess the asset and usually within 3 hours the borrower will receive a decision. If the item requires further valuation or a second opinion the decision could take a day or two. Once the item is received the money will be paid into their account within approximately 30 minutes.
Unlike the more traditional pawnbrokers if the borrower defaults on an Unbolted loan the asset will be sold at auction and any surplus funds will be returned to the borrower via bank transfer. If however the borrower wants to pay back the loan early they can do so without penalty and their item/s will be returned to them.
Are there restrictions to this service?
Whilst fine wines, vintage cars, antiques, paintings and gold are amongst those items that can be used as security against an Unbolted loan there are a number of items that can’t. These include property, stocks and shares, art by unknown artists and electronics. The borrower has to be 18 or over to use this service.
So what does the future hold?
In this new digital age where more and more transactions are carried out online it seems that even the traditional pawnbroker could be migrating online. This has to be preferable to the stigma attached to visiting a pawn shop? Will this method of being able to conduct personal business discreetly and in privacy from the comfort of your own home become the new trend in pawning items? With these market leading lower interest rates and the seemingly unique selling points of the Unbolted business model it seems that they could have hit a lucrative niche.