The online person-to-person lending company Prosper Marketplace Inc. is now an option for vehicle financing.
Prosper, of San Francisco, said Thursday that its service is being offered through the online electric motorcycle vendor Zero Motorcycles Inc. of Scotts Valley, Calif.
This arrangement chips away at an advantage credit cards have long had over Prosper loans, Chris Larsen, Prosper's chief executive, said. Credit cards have been the preferred financing option because they can provide funds during the transaction, he said. "The idea of getting into the payment stream itself is very attractive," Larsen said, and the Zero deal accomplished this.
He compared this arrangement eBay Inc.'s Bill Me Later instant credit system, which is typically integrated into the checkout process at many large retailers' Web sites.
Shoppers who need financing for a motorcycle can create a listing on Prosper's platform as they check out. The loan follows Prosper's typical online auction-style process. Even though the loans are meant for a motorcycle purchase, they would be, like other Prosper loans, unsecured.
Zero's Web site plays up the advantages of this setup. "Unlike a typical motorcycle loan, you can include the cost of accessories, upgrades and even apparel," its Web site said. "This enables you to get the full set of items you're interested in purchasing with one loan all at the same time."
In April, Prosper announced that it would allow third parties to participate on its platform in a different manner: by reselling loans originated elsewhere.
Though this system attracted some interest among nonbank lenders, it was shut down pending regulatory approval.