My initial thoughts on Robocash
Robocash is a peer-to-peer lending platform based in Croatia that offers short-term consumer loans to its investors.
The loans currently available come with a 14% interest rate and all have a buyback guarantee. The buyback guarantee means if a loan is late by 30 days, Robo.cash buys back the loan from the investors and also pays the interest owed for the late period.
- Launched: 2017
- Headquarters: Croatia
- Loan types: Short-term consumer loans
- Loan terms: 1 to 12 months
- Loans funded: 138 million EUR
- Interest rates: 14%
- Fees: no fees
- Minimum investment: 10 EUR
- Currency: EUR
- Secondary market: no
- Auto-invest: yes (and no manual invest)
- Buyback guarantee: yes
- Accepts investors from: all European countries
- Bonus: loyalty program with additional interest paid when investing more than 1000 EUR
How does Robocash work
The Robo.cash lending platform is part of Robocash group. The group contains also loan originating companies that offer short term loans in Kazakhstan, Philipines, Russia, Spain and Vietnam.
The borrowers contact these lending companies and ask for a short-term loan (with the loan term under 1 month).
The lenders make use of automated technologies and credit scoring based on machine learning to streamline their processes and approve or reject loans.
The approved loans are published on the Robocash platform and offered for investment. Here, investors can invest in part of these loans and receive interest payments.
With the funds obtained from the investors, the lending companies free up capital and can issue more loans to more borrowers. Everybody wins.
The loans issued by Robocash lenders are either unsecured short-term loans from 1 to 30 days or secured loans from 1 to 12 months.
You can only invest funds into the available loans only through the auto-invest portfolio. You can select the loan originators you want to invest in, but you can’t manually pick and choose loans. All loans have a buyback guarantee that also covers the interest accrued. The buyback guarantee gets triggered if the loan is more than 30 days late.
The minimum investment is 10 EUR, and there’s also a cap at 10.000 EUR per year. Meaning you can’t add more than 10.000 EUR into your account.
In order to withdraw your funds, you’ll need to stop your auto-invest profile and wait for the loans to mature. Since the loans have a maximum period of 30 days, there’s no need for a secondary market.
A more in-depth look at Robocash
The website only launched in 2017, but the Robocash group started its lending operations in 2013.
The first lending company of the group was Zaymer.ru, and then in 2015, they entered the Kazakhstan market through Zaimer.kz. In 2016 they expanded in Spain with the lender Préstamer.es and 2017 in Philipines, with the lender Robocash.ph.
Their biggest expansion was in 2018, with new lenders in Indonesia (RelianceRoboPDS.co.id), Vietnam (Robocash.vn), 2 more lenders in Kazakhstan (TezCredit.kz and Z-Finance.kz ) and another lender in Russia (RoboCredit.ru).
In 2019 they expanded in India with a new lender, Robocash.in.
The group has been profitable since 2015, and they publish periodically their financials here. In 2018, they had a profit of 11.4 million USD and they expect more than 30 million USD profit in 2019.
You can find the Linkedin company profile here. The company profile says they have around 25 employees. The executive team is composed of:
- Sergey Sedov – CEO, also CEO and founder of the Robocash Group
- Artyom Prokopenko – Chief Operations Officer, working with the Robocash Group since 2015
- Dmitry Balakhnin – PR director at Robocash Group, with the group since 2014
- Santa Lemsa – Chief Risk Officer, working with the Robocash Group since 2017
- Janis Bogdasarovs – Chief Legal Officer since 2018
- Ilya Chubchenko – CTO of Robocash Group since 2018
Becoming a Robocash investor
If you want to register with Robo.cash, you need to be a resident of the EU or Switzerland in order to do so.
You need to pass the KYC (know your customer) process, by uploading a copy of your ID and a proof of address.
You can add funds to your account through bank transfer. I’ve used Revolut to fund my account, and it took around a day to get my account funded.
After you add funds to your account, you set up an auto-invest profile and let it invest your money.
Taxes and fees
Robocash investors don’t pay any fee on the platform. Also, Robocash doesn’t withhold taxes, so you’ll need to pay them by yourself in your home country.
As with many other p2p lending platforms, investing in Robocash loans comes with many risks. Before you start investing in Robocash, you should take these into account.
Although the Robocash platform might go bankrupt, your investments should not be affected. You invest in loans from the lending companies, and the Robocash platform only acts as an intermediary.
From a technology standpoint, Robocash is a relatively secure platform, using 2-factor authentication for login.
P2P lending is a fairly unregulated domain in most of Europe. Any changes could affect existing platforms. This means Robocash might find it hard to comply with the regulation changes and at the worst, they’ll have to suspend their activity.
In the case of an economic downturn, all loan originators will suffer and have lower performance. Robocash lets you invest in loans from lenders in the EU, Russia, Vietnam, Kazakhstan. Each of these markets goes through different economic cycles and have different risks.
All Robocash investments are covered by a buyback guarantee. This buyback guarantee is not covered by the Robocash platform but is covered by the lending company issuing the loan.
This means that while the Robocash Group and the platform might be doing just fine, each lender in part might have difficulties and even file for bankruptcy. In case of a loan originator default, it will take a while until you recover all or part of your invested funds.
Robocash has no secondary market, so you can’t sell your loans before the loan term. Given that these are only short-term loans of 30 days maximum, this risk is relatively low.
The interaction with the Robocash website is rather simple. I can only invest through the auto-invest tool in the loans available.
I set up my auto-invest profile, set expected interest rates between 11% and 15% (currently all rates are at 14%), and then whatever funds I add to my account are automatically invested.
There are 7 loan originators from Robocash group available for investment. You can also choose which lenders you want to include in your auto-invest profile.
So, no manual investments, no complicated options to choose from.
One interesting thing you can choose is different auto-invest strategies:
- reinvest principal and interest earned
- reinvest only the initial principal, but keep all the interest payments
- payout, automatically withdraw the interest to your bank account when your balance reaches 50 EUR
The payout strategy is rather interesting if you need a monthly income. You get steady monthly dividends and preserve your initial capital.
I’ve added 500 EUR to my account In April and so far, I’ve earned around 5 EUR every month. From a revenue point of view, Robo.cash should be one of my top performers, with its 12% interest rate loans.
I’ve noticed that sometimes more than half of the loans I’m invested in are late with their payments, but the buyback kicks in and all is fine.
I’m planning to keep my funds here for at least 6 months and check what the actual return from the platform is.
I like the minimalistic investment style offered by Robo.cash. It’s main idea is that the group’s lending companies need capital to expand its operations. So, they use Robo.cash to get that capital from retail investors. In return, they offer a 14% interest rate.
There’s no need to complicate this process by displaying individual loans.
The 14% interest rate currently offered is at par with what other similar European p2p lending platforms offer. Offering a buyback guarantee also makes it easier for me to invest my funds here.
What I’m conflicted about is that its loan originators are offering their clients mostly payday loans with high-interest rates. Most of the people that take these loans would be better without them. While I enjoy a profit, it might be I’m building it on the misery of others.