Thursday, March 09, 2006 Once More

I really hate to be negative about I really want it to succeed. I want to be able to report good things about it. It's getting hard.

Let me preface what I am saying by noting is still relatively new and should be expected to have some bugs to work out.

On to my complaints.

1. My transfer of funds from my checking account into Prosper was supposed to be completed today. Funds were removed from my checking account on the 7th. Today, the 9th, they are still not showing up in my Prosper account. This may be the fault of ACH and not Prosper, however, so I suppose I have to cut them some slack. Nevertheless, one of the more common complaints on Prosper's discussion boards is the length of time it takes to get funds into Prosper. Additionally, I find it strange that funds going the other way are very quick. For example, to verify an account, Prosper makes two small deposits into your checking account. I've linked two accounts and both times, the deposits have shown up in 1 business day. Why does it take 5 times longer for funds to move the other direction? Even if this is the fault of ACH, Prosper is taking a big publicity hit on this. I did see on the discussion boards that they are looking into speeding this up. As I mentioned before, why do they have to use the ACH network? Why can't they use Cirrus or some other ATM network?

2. Are Lenders allowed to be in Groups? I spent some time going over the rewards program that Prosper has for group members and leaders. Besides being overly complicated, I can't find any benefits to a lender for belonging to a group. I emailed Prosper's Customer Support about this and this is the response I got:

At this time, lenders cannot be members of groups. However, if you wish to associate yourself with a particular group, you can check a checkbox on the bidding page that will add your screen name to the "Lenders who support us" list on the group home page.
This is outright wrong. I belong to the WealthBuilders Group, a group for people borrowing to create wealth in the spirit of Rich Dad, Poor Dad. My role in Prosper is defined as a Lender. There is obviously some sort of disconnect here. When I look at my Profile screen, it says I do not support any groups. When I go to the Group tab of the My Account page, under the title "My Group", it shows the WealthBuilders group. Under that, in a different section, it says "You currently do not have any active group requests and are not a member of a group." Yet if I look at the members of the WealthBuilders group, I am listed as a member.

3. There seems to be no benefit at all to a lender to belong to a group. This may be because lenders are not supposed to be allowed in groups and I was only allowed in through some glitch. I would like to see lenders be allowed in groups. That way, lenders and borrowers with common interests can be matched up easier. I would like to lend money to members of my group, especially if there is some sort of benefit to me besides the interest I get from the loan. I also think allowing lenders in a group would help foster a closer community within that group. (Of course, I want to be able to lend outside my group as well.)

I don't know. I continue to have great hopes for Prosper and I am anxious to start lending through it, but there still seems to be some kinks that are very annoying.


J Russell said...

Hey Shaun,

I'm an engineer at Prosper and wanted to speak to your first grumbling.

Personally, I've been underwhelmed by the majority of funds transfer options available for integration with applications like ours. They can take a very long time. And I'm not sure everyone is on board with what 'automated' is supposed to mean.

Take ACH, for instance (which is how we currently transfer someone's money):

While you are right that the money might hit an account in only 1 day, there is no notification of an ACH success. Only of its failure. And the failure response can take up to 4 business days to be delivered.

Also, while the money might already be sitting in your bank account, it might take a phone call on your part to find out asap. It just depends how quickly your account statements are updated by your bank.

Now flip that around to our side. It can get a bit tricky when you are trying to match 20 $1,000 deposit requests against the $10,000 total deposit that just cleared.

As an engineer, I'm pretty sure ACH has room for improvement. Of course, just because its possible doesn't mean there aren't other obstacles to overcome.

With regards to the transfer to your Prosper account that is supposed to have cleared today... There is some confusion caused by our site. The transfer should have become available today at 5pm Pacific. Unfortunately, while we show you an ETA (eg 3/9/06 5pm) when you initiate the transfer, subsequently you only see the expected date (eg 3/9). If you check now, I think you'll be happy(er).

Hope that helps.

You are not alone in wanting money to move faster. You should know that our initial foray into "quantum entanglement" has shown some promise and we hope to have the teleporter working soon. But seriously, we're aware of the issue and are looking into speeding things up.


Shaun said...


Thanks for the feedback. I too am an engineer and I know there are always issues that the end user doesn't know about. Thanks for explaining things. I received an email notification at 2 AM today (3/10) that my transfer was complete. I had a feeling the transfer might have been posted after the close of business yesterday (5PM), but then I got too busy to check.

The lack of a success message from ACH is amazing. You'd think with programs that deal with moving money, there'd be positive handshaking every step of the way. It doesn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy about our financial system.

Anyway, I know the delays are due to ACH and not Prosper and I am glad you guys are looking into ways to speed things up. The good news is my transfer has finally been completed and I can start using Prosper now.

Also, I would like to again say thanks to the Prosper employees who have responded to my comments here. I appreciate the dialog. Everyone should keep in mind that you'll never please everyone and there will always be grumblings from some (including myself, I'm sure). I don't write about my issues just to complain. I write about them in the hopes that the right people will see them and they can be used to make Prosper a better business. From what I've seen, Prosper has been doing a good job in getting correct information out there and not letting misconceptions flourish.

Anonymous said...

uh oh, same anon above here who was confused by the loan scenario.

are you sure these guys are a solid loan company?

Why would you use them instead of a regular bank?

I know I know, I'm probably missing sthg here.

Shaun said...

Anon - see my response to your comments on the post two entries later.

Justin H said...

Another thing to make note of about as well as, is there are state restrictions to be lenders. This isn't the fault of either of the sites though, I'm sure it's some legal restrictions put in place by the state. Unfourtunately, Ohio (where I live) is one of those states :(


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