My Experiences With New Customer Sign-Up Bonuses
First written 8th September 2016, last updated 27th December 2016.
Traditional banks like HSBC, Cooperative Bank and First Direct have been running signup bonuses of up to £150 for years to attract new customers. Many of the latest Fintech startups and peer-to-peer lenders have followed suit with bonuses generally from about £25 to £100. For a lending platform trying to attract new investors in what is now such a crowded market it’s worthwhile. For investors, it provides a buffer for potential bad debt on individual loans and more than offsets the time lag in queuing for your funds to get invested. On some platforms like RateSetter who offer £100 on a £1000 investment it can increase your first year return to over 16%.
However, many newcomers to peer-to-peer investing have never heard of the majority of these platforms. How can you trust the platform itself? How do you know they won’t resort to citing some missed term and condition in a year’s time, like those mobile contract cashback offers many of us got caught out by a number of years ago?
In this post I want to share my experience with new customer cashback offers and refer a friend bonuses. I started doing these offers in mid July 2016 and now keep watching for more to come up. I’ve listed my experiences below in the order of how quickly they paid me.
Fastest Cashback Paying Platforms
- Landbay, £50 for £1000 investment via a referral (latest links here*). It took about 10 days to get the cashback. This was available for investment in the platform but terms state it cannot be withdrawn as cash for 12 months.
- Zopa, £50 for £2000 investment via this link*. For this, your funds need to get invested. It took me 14 days to get all my funds successfully invested in the Access product then the cashback was available the next day. If you invested in the Zopa Access product then you can sell and withdraw all £2050 straight away without a fee. If you have complications selling your funds from the Access product don’t fret, I’ve explained why at the bottom of my Zopa review.
- Property Partner, £50 on £1000 investment via refer a friend (request form here)*. They pay out on the 10th of the month after you have successfully invested the whole £1000. The bonus is available in cash for withdrawal if you wish. I invested £1000 by mid August but did not get the bonus until the 13th September as the 10th was a Saturday.
- Property Moose have 2 different offers: £10 just to register via refer a friend, or 4% of first investment via a cashback website (e.g. TopCashback*). I did the cashback offer via the popular cashback website Quidco. It took 39 days between making the investment on Property Moose and being able to withdraw the money from Quidco. I’ve used these cashback websites a lot, 90% of the time it works but sometimes it takes months to get the bonus and occasionally it fails to track at all.
- Funding Secure, £25 for £1000 investment via a refer a friend email (I can send one to you via this form*). Bonuses are paid out on the 1st/2nd of the month after you successfully invest all £1000. In my case, I had invested all £1000 by the 2nd August, and it was paid out on the 2nd September. For me it took 43 days from first depositing the money as I spent 14 days carefully selecting new loans and buying on the secondary market and only finished at the beginning of a new month. In most other cases it would be much quicker.
- Funding Circle, £50 for £1000 investment via a refer a friend email (I can send one to you via this form*). It took me 45 days in total to get the bonus. This was paid into my account and available to withdraw straight away. As far as I understand Funding Circle do their bonuses in one month promotional periods, which you find in the terms and conditions when you register. They say you need to invest all your money by the end of the month and then it takes up to 40 days after that for them to pay you. In my case I had invested by the end of July and they paid on the 8th September: on the 39th day of the 40 day limit.
- Lending Works, £50 for £1000 investment via this link*. The bonus is paid straight after your investment is matched out on loans. This took me 48 days in total to have my deposit invested and the bonus paid into my account. My investment queue was in a context of platform rate cuts across the board after Brexit (when Lending Works were slower to cut rates) and so was probably much longer than usual. Their expectation of investment queue is 7-14 days. I was free to withdraw the £50 straight away but there are terms on what you can do with your initial £1000 investment depending on the investment product.
Slower Cashback Paying Platforms
- RateSetter, £100 on £1000 investment via refer a friend email (request form)*. You need to invest for 365 days. There’s a countdown timer in your profile that tells you how long until the bonus is payable. In my opinion its definitely worth waiting as this bonus is one of the highest!
- Growth Street, £100 on £1000 investment via this referral link*. You need to keep £1000 invested for 12 months. Last time I checked (mid-December) the offer was running until January 1st 2017. Hopefully they will extend it as it is a great offer!
New Customer Bonuses Not Currently Available
These are new customer cashback offers I’ve had which are not running at the moment. It’s only of use for future reference if they start running a new promotion, at least you can check how organised they were in the past.
- Orchard Lending Club, £20 sign-up bonus. I registered without any investment and the bonus was paid the next day. Bonus was available to invest in a 1 year fixed term product.
- Assetz Capital, £150 bonus on £2000 investment. Bonus paid only after 1 year, and only valid if you invest in the automated products (not the manual investment). They run different offers from time to time and they are always very attractive.
- The House Crowd, £50 bonus on £1,000 investment. The House Crowd’s investments range from 6 months to 3 years, so I chose the shortest possible term to maximise the % bonus return (6 months). Each investment on THC is for a minimum of £1,000 so I waited about 6 weeks until a secure looking opportunity with low LTV came up. This offer ran between October and November 2016 with little publication and was available to new members and existing lenders alike. When I write up my investor review of THC I will contact them to see if they plan to run something similar again.
I do my best to keep on top of the latest offers on peer-to-peer lending websites. Sometimes offers run for a short promotional period as new platforms open up or run promotions with large media websites. Taking as an example the last Orchard Lending Club offer (August 2016). This was basically a free £20 for no investment but just lasted a week or so before they removed it. I’ve recently added a mailing list on the left hand toolbar (very bottom of the page on mobile phones) to send out an email when I find such offers.
*Please note: anything marked with a star is my referral link where I also get a bonus.