The independent worker sector has been one of the fastest growing over the past decade. There are between three and five million independent workers in France today.
But access to bank loans and financial services remains difficult for these workers who do not have the security of long-term job contracts.
Occasionally, it can lead to difficulties managing their budgets, especially in unforeseen circumstances.
It is these “unforeseen circumstances” that some new online loan companies seek to help with. One, FinFrog, operates with peer-to-peer loans.
Its founder Riadh Alimi said: “The world of work is changing, which is why we are open to lending to workers on permanent contracts and to freelancers, students and retired people.”
He set up the company in 2016, after 10 years offering financial advice to large companies and start-ups for the consulting firm McKinsey.
“Our loans are open to a wide number of people, regardless of professional status,” he said.
Inspired by the American small-loans intermediary Avant, FinFrog offers short-term interpersonal microloans of between €200 and €600 that can be repaid in one, two or three instalments over periods of up to three months.
“We have adapted the concept to French regulatory requirements, which are more stringent than the US.”
Typical repayment conditions are 1%-3% and there is a calculator on the website. It shows a €300 loan repaid over three months to cover, for example, an unexpected car repair would cost €309 in total.
“The application is entirely online, without any documents.
“You get an answer within 24 hours and payment within 48 hours,” Mr Alimi added.
Case studies include a self-employed photographer who needed money for a car repair to keep working and a student who needed a new laptop.
Another firm to offer loans by quick online application is younited-credit.com.