Vouch is a new online lender based in San Francisco, California, that is using social networks to obtain character references and loan guarantees. The company was created in 2013, has 22 employees, an A- rating with the BBB, and has raised $3.6 million from venture capital firms. The CEO and co-founder is Yee Lee, a Silicon Valley veteran whose previous startups include Katango, PayPal, Slide, and TaskRabbit. Sue Korn, another co-founder and CFO of Vouch, used to be head of operations at Prosper.
Vouch provides low-interest loans to borrowers who have a network of people who will vouch for them. People vouch for borrowers by promising to pay a dollar amount, if they don't pay their loan. The minimum qualified vouch is $100 and must be provided by someone who is at least 18 years old and has a FICO score of 580 or greater. The more people are willing to vouch for you, the more you can borrow and the lower the rates you'll have to pay. To qualify for a loan, you must open an online account, meet their eligibility criteria and provide at least three people willing to vouch for you.
Vouch does not charge any application fees, annual fee or prepayment fees. It does have an origination fee of 1 to 5 percent, that is charged when borrowers receive their loans.
Interest rates range from 5% to 30% depending on borrowers' credit, the loan amount and the number of people willing to vouch for them. For example, if you qualify for a loan of at least $2000, you can decrease your interest rate by 1% for every qualified vouch you receive up to five qualified vouches.
Vouch offers loan amounts ranging from $500 to $7,500. The maximum loan amount is determined by credit history, income and the number of vouchers a borrower has. For instance, if you get a loan offer of $1500, you can increase the loan offer by $250 for every qualified vouch up to three qualified vouches.
Vouch operates in all 50 states.
You can complete the entire application online. To qualify borrowers must be at least 18 years old, legal residents of the United States, have a bank account and a FICO score of at least 600. They must also be current on all existing accounts and not be in foreclosure or bankruptcy proceedings.
Vouch has created a new way to assess borrowers' creditworthiness that makes fast, low-interest loans available to people with credit scores as low as 600, as long as they have enough people willing to pay $100 or more to guarantee their loans. Vouch loans can be an excellent way to repay high-interest loans, such as credit cards or payday loans. The application process is done entirely online and has an easy to comply with eligibility criteria.
This is an exciting new loan product that has put a new spin on the concept of co-signing or guaranteeing a loan. However, Vouch only came out of its testing phase in April 2015 and made its first loan in October of 2014, so the jury is still out on how reliable and sustainable Vouch's risk assessment model will prove to be.