Unbolted is a new Financial Technology (Fintech) start-up that aims to shake up the short-term secured credit market. The service allows customers to access low cost loans of up to £1 million by using their high-value assets. It uses an online-only peer-to-peer lending platform, a system that has only seen limited use when pawnbrokering, but one which could completely revolutionise the industry.
Users are required to send a picture of whatever asset they will then send to Unbolted, so that one of the business’s valuation experts can work out what loan can be handed out. Once the goods are received by the company, cash could be in your account just 30 minutes later.
Co-founder Ashwin Parameswaran spoke of the stigma attached to the pawn industry and the business of lending, ‘There’s a certain stigma, probably quite rightly, attached to the pawnbroker industry, which is in real need of a shake-up. We’re aiming to remove this stigma and create a new financing option that benefits more people. We certainly hope people consider us when they come to review their borrowing options this winter. The reality is that in difficult times people sometimes do need extra cash and through Unbolted they now have a smarter, fairer and more sustainable way to do just that’. The founders of unbolted.com are definitely aware of the problems the industry continues to face, and seem determined to break the trend.
By offering interest rates between 1.5 and 3%, they are already boasting far cheaper rates than typical lenders and industry leaders that tend to charge between 5 and 10% interest. Unbolted’s website provides detailed information about interest rates and offers users an online system to manage their loan. Borrowers who use unbolted have their loans accrue interest of a daily basis, which allows borrowers to pay back their loan and reclaim assets at the same time. This differs from most other companies in the industry, whose loans gather interest on a monthly basis. The founders knew they had to do something differently with the controversy often surrounding their industry, and from what we’ve learnt so far they certainly appear to have succeeded.
Ashwin also spoke of the company’s decision to launch their service around Christmas, ‘We have launched the service now because we know Christmas is an expensive time of year and, come January, many people are looking to consolidate their debts or look around for short-term finance options. We want to help them do that in a cost-effective and convenient way’.
The company’s main aim is to make pawn a mainstream financing alternative in the UK. They hope to do this by focusing their efforts on low costs, fairness, and transparency in the way they practice business. The most important aspect, however, is that the entire thing is done online. Initial interest in the service is very high as people are attracted to the peer to peer format, there’s also an undeniable trend of people sourcing alternative financing after the plethora of negative flak that has dogged the online loan industry of late. Anybody over 18 with an asset to borrow against is legally allowed to use the service, but make sure you seek the advice of friends and family before proceeding.