Ratesetter customers waiting months to access their cash
Some investors with peer-to-peer lender Ratesetter are still waiting for their cash over seven months after trying to withdraw their investments, with 1,000s in virtual queues to access their money.
Ratesetter says it is currently working on withdrawal requests made on 14 March for its Access, Plus and Max accounts - meaning investors will have been waiting for over seven months since they originally tried to take their money out. It is working on release requests from 17 September for its 5 year product and from 24 September for its 1 year product.
And MoneySavers we've heard from who have investments with Ratesetter say they're being told that there are between 10,000 and 18,500 requests in the queue ahead of theirs, leaving them wondering when they will be able to get their cash.
Ratesetter says it's dealing with all withdrawal requests in chronological order, and expects to keep gaining momentum in the speed it can deliver requests. It says it delivered £5.2 million of release requests last week.
See our Peer-to-Peer Lending guide for more information.
What is peer-to-peer lending?
Peer-to-peer lending websites such as Ratesetter act as financial matchmakers, meaning investors can put in cash to be lent out to individuals and businesses.
Investors can get higher returns than they would if they'd put the money in savings accounts, but also have to take a risk with their cash - we've always warned that peer-to-peer investing doesn't offer safety guarantees as savings do.
And crucially the peer-to-peer model is a newish sector with many lenders who weren't around in the 2008 recession, so the sector as a whole hasn't previously been tested by a financial crisis.
'It can't be right for people to wait so long for refunds'
Keith Whittaker, 50, from Somerset, told us he'd invested with Ratesetter last year and tried to withdraw his cash on 9 April. There are still almost 10,000 requests ahead of his in the queue.
He said: "Ratesetter kindly give us an update each week but they were processing claims from 13 March for several weeks. Added to this is the fact that my original rate has been reduced from 4.5% to 4% and could go down again.
"Surely it can't be right that people have to wait so long for refunds. At this rate it will be next year before I get my money back."
Another MoneySaver, who asked not to be named, said he had tried to release £3,000 from his Ratesetter account to pay his bills during the pandemic. When he made his original request in early July he was told there were are around 18,000 requests in the queue ahead of him - over three months on, this has reduced to around 17,200.
Unfortunately there's no obvious quick fix to skip the queue. Some investors with certain types of account, such as Ratesetter's five-year product, are able to withdraw money gradually by setting their monthly repayments to be paid into a 'holding account' - but this won't speed up your original release request, and won't help if you want to withdraw a chunk of your money. Let us know if you've had success speeding the process up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
What does Ratesetter say?
A Ratesetter spokesperson said: "We are very sorry it is taking longer than usual to deliver investment release requests.
"In common with other investments, we saw a significant increase in release requests during March when the coronavirus hit the UK, although it subsequently fell back to normal levels. Unlike other investments which stopped access, we have delivered requests every day and have kept our investors updated regularly.
"We are making progress – since the start of the pandemic, we have delivered more than £100m and we expect to keep building momentum.
"We continue to deliver as many release requests as possible every day across the different products. Invested money continues to earn interest while awaiting a release."