ZOPA is inviting around 200 retail investors to test out its new fixed-term savings product, as it edges closer to its full bank launch.
The peer-to-peer consumer lender said on Thursday that it is allowing existing customers early access to its fixed-term saver account, calling it a “natural step in making sure that Zopa rewards its loyal customer base”.
As it is a beta test the term is fixed for one month, offers four per cent interest and testers can deposit up to £100 into the beta account, Zopa said.
Its restricted banking licence allows it to accept up to £50,000 of deposits.
Zopa will be granted a full licence once it meets the conditions set out by the regulators. In its latest annual results, the firm said that a key priority this year is the completion of the capital raise required to enable the regulators to lift the remaining restrictions on its banking licence.
At full launch, the first-term saver account will be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which means consumers’ deposits are protected up to the value of £85,000.
“Inviting existing customers to test our Fixed Term Saver is a major milestone in our bank journey,” said Didier Baclin, chief product officer at Zopa.
“It is a great opportunity to ensure that the product meets their expectations before the full launch next year so that we deliver a great product that customers can trust.”
Zopa’s latest annual results showed that its P2P business saw its profits tick up last year, but group losses widened due to heavy investment in its new bank.
Zopa Group – which incorporates the P2P platform and upcoming digital bank – reported a pre-tax loss of £18.295m for the year ended 31 December 2018, compared to a pre-tax loss of £5.536m the previous year.
Zopa Group raised £60m last year, of which £39.2m was invested into developing the bank, the annual report said.
Meanwhile, group revenue fell year-on-year from £43.98m to £38.55m, which Zopa attributed to its decision to close the Safeguard fund on its P2P platform in 2017.
Zopa has lent out more than £4bn since launching in 2005.