So far my P2P investing has been limited to Estonian portals since I just didn’t need to expand into that many sites (you want to reach reasonable diversification before adding in other portals). However, since my portfolio is growing and there is only so much money I want to invest into Bondora and only so much I can invest into Omaraha (and the tiny amount that Moneyzen can provide), expanding became rather necessary. So, off to Latvia we go – Twino and Mintos.
Setting up the accounts
Honestly, the setup process for both was rather identical, just the document verification was in different order. I could make the accounts and start investing within the same day already. I created business accounts so I was happy that there wasn’t much hassle with the additional documentation. The bank transfers arrived the same day as well, so good for being very smooth. While I’m testing them I’m investing equal amounts into both, started off with 250€ each, and planning to increase at a similar rate.
Now, this is where I’m planning to act a bit differently from my Estonian portfolios. I would rather not keep the loan terms super long, which means that for both of the portals I set the autobidders to bid for 1-3 month loans with only buyback guarantees. This means that in case of problems arising it’s reasonably easy to make an exit (hope I don’t have to regret saying this!)
Also, while I do have some concerns overall about buyback guarantees then if you look into the overall math of it, it’s somewhat reasonable on loans that are essentially payday loans. To benchmark – an Estonian payday loan company releases bonds every year for about 12% to collect investors’ money. What P2P investors are doing is essentially the same – with the process actually being cheaper for them due to less legal expenses. Of course there is always the risk of economic downturns and all other P2P related risks, but those can never be fully eliminated.
First thoughts of Mintos
Overall I’d say, firstly, that the process of registration was easy enough and most of the site is rather intuitive to use. With the notable exception of the portfolio manager that I think could use some work since firstly when activating it, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, but apparently the LTV value is causing some issues? Also, hiding away the additional terms of things such as buyback seems rather counter intuitive and a waste of time to make people actually look for it. However, I’m looking forward to the first loans starting to make their rounds. While the buyback guarantee is good, then it activates rather slowly so it still causes cash drag, and the buybacks don’t all function as Twino’s – you don’t get to keep the interest (I’ll have to look into that a bit more, picking between the different loan originators seems like an intriguing task since they’re all foreign companies.) At this point however, Mintos has a longer history than Twino and people have had rather positive experiences with them. (The fact that they’re doing well is evidenced by the dropping interest rates as well.)
*Correction: seems like the buyback works with interest as well:
First thoughts of Twino
With Twino first impressions of usability are also rather good. I like the simple and logical design, the portfolio manager was very intuitive to use. However, at this point they are still very new, and despite the loan volumes they are showing it’s a typical reliability issue that new portals suffer from. Also, as with Mintos some of the countries they service might be of somewhat questionable value and economic sense, which is something that only time will probably tell. However, they are part of a large corporation (FinaBay), which would imply that if things started to go wrong, they would have to go very wrong for the mother company as well. In addition to this some people might find Twino morally objectionable due to the fact that you’re investing into payday loans, so that might be problematic for some. Overall, looking forward to how things get moving.