By Raghavendra Pratap Singh In Indian fintech space, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending has emerged as a force of reckoning in 2018. P2P lending is\u00a0being recognised as a credible financing option which is revolutionizing the way lending and\u00a0borrowing is done currently. After being regulated by the Reserve Bank of India and receiving the\u00a0status of NBFC (non-banking finance companies), the sector has witnessed a high paced growth\u00a0trajectory in the area of alternate financing in 2018. Below are the five major trends in the P2P industry that we saw in 2018: Extended help to micro and small-sized enterprises (MSE): MSEs have always faced hurdles in\u00a0getting credit from banks. Most of the MSEs need credit to efficiently manage their working capital\u00a0requirements. The Economic survey 2017-18 stated that the amount of loans disbursed by banks\u00a0amounted to Rs 26,041 billion, with only 5% going towards MSEs. P2P lending platform uses non-\u00a0traditional data points to evaluate these type of customers such as mobile data, GST etc., apart from banking and credit history. Hence, they are in a better position to provide credit to this sector as\u00a0traditional financial institutions have always been too stringent with their norms for lending. P2P lending NBFC not only received traction in 2018 from the credit-starved MSEs, but they were able to\u00a0provide loans to this sector at very competitive rates. Festive loans through P2P: With a surge in the demand for festival\/wedding loans enquiries, P2P\u00a0lending platforms witnessed increased traction during festival season last year, specifically in the\u00a0months from September to December.\u00a0There have been instances where the loans have been granted to individuals within 1 hour. This added with no penalties for repayment and discount of 50% on processing fees made P2P festive\u00a0loans very popular amongst masses. The technology-driven lending model helped people raise\u00a0urgent festive loans with ease. Growth of P2P lending players: 2018 has been a landmark year for P2P lending industry and\u00a0specifically for the 12 players who have grown significantly in 2018 after the NBFC certification. The\u00a0overall P2P lending sector was lending between the range of Rs 5-6 crores in the month of January\u00a0and Rs 20-25 crores by the end of December. After the certification in hand, P2P is here to stay and growth anywhere from 100-400% is foreseen for the top 5 major players. P2P lending making it easier for medical emergencies: Banks and NBFCs are not designed to offer\u00a0loans in a very short time span and borrowing from friends and family is always equipped with the\u00a0uncertainty of receiving money.\u00a0P2P platforms in 2018 have been able to provide instant and hassle-free medical loans, saving individuals from hassles of going to banks. The entire process is seamless and transparent which is\u00a0followed by an assessment and evaluation process of the loan. People availing medical loans through\u00a0P2P platforms have skipped high-interest rates, debt traps, and long, stressful waits that a loan\u00a0generally comes with. P2P platforms provide fixed medical loan up to Rs 10\u00a0lakh depending on the borrower\u2019s\u00a0eligibility with three months to three years of repayment periods and zero payment penalties and quick\u00a0loans which take only 1-2 days to credit the loan amount into the bank. The interest rates offered by\u00a0P2P lending platforms are very affordable too, it ranges from 12% \u2013 25%. Growing popularity amongst millennials: Millennials, unlike the previous generation are no longer\u00a0fascinated with the idea of investing or saving. They believe in investing for their present\u00a0circumstances, rather than planning a future. P2P witnessed more than 50% of 10,000 investors\u00a0under the age of 30. This along with their inclination towards digital technologies, P2P lending is\u00a0attracting greater attention of borrowers and lenders among the millennials. The P2P sector is expected to grow significantly in the next 5-10 years and will accommodate the financial\u00a0requirement of lakhs of firms and individuals. The sector is\u00a0poised to grow to $4-5 billion market by 2023.\u00a0With more of the Indian population turning digitally savvy and getting more comfortable with\u00a0cashless operations, P2P is eventually changing the monetary habits of individuals in the coming\u00a0years. While still a maturing industry, Peer to peer will bring\u00a0in a change in the traditional financial landscape in India in the years to come. (Raghavendra Pratap Singh is the co-founder at P2P lending firm i2ifunding. Views are the author's own).