Unbolted founders Rito Haldar and Ashwin Parameswaran believe the UK’s Pawn and Secure Lending Industry is ‘out-dated’, which lead to the launch of their new peer-to-peer online lending platform. Potential borrowers can apply for secured loans at market-leading rates, against any reasonably pricey item in your possession. Customers first send a photo of the item to the website, before an in-house ‘valuation expert’ offers a loan within 3 hours of receiving the photo. Money is deposited into the customer’s bank account within half an hour of the goods arriving.
Rito said the following about his company:
“We set up Unbolted because we want to challenge the way people can access credit through the out-dated pawn industry and other secured lenders. We’ll do that by being transparent, offering fairer terms, cheaper rates and a convenient, easy-to-use online service that puts consumers firmly in control of their borrowing”.
With this attitude there’s little reason to bet against Unbolted.com becoming an industry leader themselves in the near future. The peer-to-peer online model used at Unbolted removes many costs and high rates charges that would be expected at most larger loan companies or pawnbrokers. For the founders it was about making short-term borrowing affordable and less risky than what the public are used to hearing. In modern society there are plenty of asset-rich but cash-poor individuals, and Unbolted was founded as a way to help people in that situation.
Co-founder Ashwin spoke of the stigma that is unfortunately attached to the pawnbroker industry;
“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.”
“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 financial technology start-up, also known as a ‘Fintech’, has already received a wave of interest in the last few months. So much so, in fact, that it has been able to offer market-leading rates of 1.5-3%, compared with most lenders that charge 5-10% every month.
It would seem that Rito and Ashwin have come up with an interesting and potentially revolutionary idea. Launched around Christmas time, a point in the year that Ashwin stated people are looking to consolidate their debts and/or look for short-term finance solutions, Unbolted wanted to act as an alternative to pricey pawnbrokers and payday lenders that charge shockingly high interest rates. Using personal assets may seem out of the ordinary, but it’s for this reason that their interest rates are so low.
The rules say that anybody over the age of 18 with an asset to borrow against can use the service provided by Unbolted. However, do make sure to ask friends and family about all your financial options before deciding whether a loan is your best option.