My Mintos review after 2 years of using it
Mintos is the most popular European p2p lending platform to invest in right now. Launched in 2015, it funded loans worth more than 4 billion EUR.
With Mintos, you can start investing in loans from more than 30 countries and based in multiple currencies with only 10 EUR.
- Launched: 2015
- Headquarters: Latvia
- Loan types: Personal Loans, Mortgage Loans, Business Loans, Car Loans, Invoice Financing, Short-term Loans, Pawnbroking Loans, Agricultural Loans
- Loan terms: up to 20 years
- Loans funded: 5.1 billion EUR
- Investors: 283000
- Interest rates: 7-20%
- Fees: no fees
- Minimum investment: 10 EUR
- Currency: EUR, GBP, USD, RUB, SEK, DKK, etc.
- Secondary market: yes
- Auto-invest: yes
- Buyback guarantee: yes
- Accepted investor countries: all countries (except the US and UK)
- Bonus: 0.5% of your invested funds in the first 90 days
How Mintos works
Mintos is a marketplace where other loan originators (lending companies) offer their current loans for investment. You invest in small parts of these loans, in order to spread your risk as much as possible.
The loan originators free up capital in order to issue more loans to their borrowers, investors receive interest on their funds and Mintos receives a commission from all loans published on its marketplace. Everybody wins.
Each lender has different types of loans (consumer, short-term, business, invoice financing, etc.), from different countries.
Mintos rates these lenders from A to D (around 10 levels) based on company health, financial status, quality of loans.
The loans offered are pre-funded, so you receive interest from the first day you invest in them.
Some of the loan originators offer a buyback guarantee. If a loan is late with the interest payments by more than 60 days, the loan originator is required to buy back the loan from the investors.
Some of the loan originators also pay a fee on late payments. If a loan payment is late, when investors finally receive their interest payment, they also receive a fee for the delay.
Becoming a Mintos investor
Mintos accepts investors from all over the world, except for residents from the UK and US.
You’ll also need an EU bank account, or from a country that has a similar AML process as the EU (EEA and Australia, Brazil, Republic of South Africa, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Mexico, Singapore and Switzerland). If you don’t have a EUR account and you want to save on some currency conversion fees, a Revolut or Transferwise account would do just fine, and they accept users from most of the world.
Manual investment or using the auto-invest tool? Playing around on the secondary market buying low and selling high? It’s your call.
There are usually hundreds of thousands of loans available on the primary market. Each loan has additional details about the borrower, payment schedule, collateral (if any).
The number of filters offered on the page could satisfy even the biggest control freaks in the world. There’s interest rates range, loan term range, currency, loan originator, country, loan-to-value ratio (if the loan has collateral), type of loan, buyback guaranteed or not, whether you invested already in it or not, and so on.
If you have some preferred filters you do every time you search for loans, you can save them and reuse them.
You can use the secondary market from time to time to find loans that have better interest rates than the ones offered at the moment on the primary market. The interest rates offered on the loans from the primary market vary from time to time. Some days you can find good deals with a 14% interest rate, other days you’ll only find deals at 10.5% interest rate. These low-interest-rate days are a good reason to check if the secondary market doesn’t have better deals at a 12% – 14% interest rate.
You don’t have enough time or will to check in daily on Mintos and invest your funds in new loans? No problem. Mintos has an auto-invest tool that you can set up and let it do the investment for you. You can turn your Mintos investment profile into a passive income tool.
If you don’t know what settings to add to your auto-invest profile, Mintos already has 3 predefined setups to choose from:
- short-term strategy (from 7%)
- diversified strategy (from 8.5%)
- secured loan strategy (from 7%)
I wouldn’t touch these 3 investment strategies with a barge pole. The advertised return on investments is a lot lower then you could do with a minimal setup of your custom auto-invest strategy.
Even more, Mintos just added the “Invest & Access” option, which looks like a direct competitor of these 3 options.
For my auto-invest settings, I’ve used the following criteria:
- only invest in loan originators with A and B ratings
- loan originators should pay late fees when the loan is late with their payment (you can see these details on the loan originators page)
- the grace period should be less than a week (some loan originators use the grace period as a way to not pay any interest for 15 days)
- loan term higher than 2 months (I’m not too fond of payday loans)
- interest rates higher than 13%
- invest between 10 and 20 EUR in each loan
- every loan should have a buyback guarantee
Invest & Access
Invest & Access is the latest auto-invest profile Mintos added on their platform. You just set the desired portfolio size (starting from 500 EUR) and Mintos will automatically look for loans available on the primary market and invest in them for you.
If you want to cash out, you just hit the “Cash Out” button and you’ll be able to withdraw your funds. At least, that’s the theory. In practice, the loans are listed on the secondary market and other investors would need to be interested in buying them.
The more funds you add to it, the more diversified your portfolio gets and the potential returns are higher.
I’ve set the minimum limit of 500 EUR to the portfolio, so it shouldn’t do much damage to my returns.
The portfolio got filled up in less than a week, and currently, it has an average interest rate of 11.92%, a bit lower than my 13.51% average interest rate for my entire portfolio.
Only around 4% of my portfolio is invested in C-rated loan originators (that I would have never chosen) and the interest rates range from 6% to 16%.
It seems to me Invest & Access is just a way Mintos uses to fund all the available loans on the platform.
I kept it running for a few weeks, but due to its disappointing performance and poor loans and loan originators selection, I’ve closed my investments in it.
As with any other p2p lending platform, investing in Mintos loans comes with some risks. Before investing, you should think about them and see if they fit your risk profile.
Mintos is a large platform, with almost 200.000 investors registered and more than 3 billion EUR worth of loans funded. They were profitable in the last few years and they publish their financial statements each year.
However, if they go bankrupt, investors funds should be relatively safe. The investors have lending contracts only with the loan originators, so a bankruptcy administrator would take over Mintos operations and make sure payments come as expected. This is just in theory. In practice, administrators also take a fee, so investors returns should be lower.
Loan originator risks
If a loan originator goes bankrupt, the risk is a lot higher for the investors. As there are many loan originators on the platform, it’s hard to keep track of all of them and know how financially healthy they are. Mintos does periodic risk assessments on them and assigns them with a rating from A to D. An A-rated loan originator means it’s low risk, while a D-rated originator means it’s either on the brink of or it already defaulted. You can read more about Mintos ratings here.
I’m only investing in loan originators rated A or B, and I also keep track of them, as their ratings change periodically.
Depending on the loan originator, you can invest in loans through a direct or indirect structure. With the direct investment, you are tied directly to the borrower. If the loan originator defaults, Mintos will transfer the loan to another loan originator of their choosing and you’ll continue to receive the payments on the loan. With the indirect investment structure, your claim is against the loan originator, so you’ll need to wait for the loan originator to liquidate their assets before you receive your funds.
There has only been one loan originator default on Mintos. Eurocent defaulted in 2017, and investors are still waiting to recover their funds. You can check out how Mintos handled the situation on their blog.
You should check out each loan originator page, look at their financials (or at least at their rating) before deciding to invest in their loans.
Mintos lets you invest in an insane amount of currencies: EUR, DKK, GEL, RON, SEK, MXN, USD, GBP, PLN, RUB etc.
Some of the loans have higher interest but it’s also possible to lose a lot more due to inflation. Or because the currency you invested in lost a lot of value compared to your home currency.
The loan terms offered on the platform range from 30 days to 20 years. If you wish to free up your funds before the loans mature, you can always make use of the secondary market and sell your loans there to other investors. If they’re not attractive enough, you can offer a small discount, thus making them more attractive.
Borrower default risks
You can invest in loans with or without a buyback guarantee. If you choose to invest in loans without a buyback guarantee, you should also realize that some of them might default and you might lose your invested funds. They might have higher interest rates, but they also have higher risks.
Your returns might be lower than you expected. The causes are multiple:
- some loans defaulted and they didn’t have a buyback guarantee
- the loans have a buyback guarantee, but they are constantly late with their payments and they don’t pay interest on their late period
- even if they pay a fee on the late period, the loan originator has a “grace period” of 15-30 days when they’re not required to pay interest (you can check these details on the loan originators page)
- you bought loans with high-interest rates on the secondary market, and you paid extra for them, and then the loan originator bought them back before you got a chance to get any payments
- you invested in loans in an exotic currency because of the 18% interest rate advertised, and that currency dropped a lot
- and many others
Advanced tips for Mintos investing
Whether you choose to invest manually or with an auto-invest profile, the same basic rules apply.
Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket
It should be obvious but don’t invest all your funds in a single loan or in loans from a single loan originator. Think about what’s the worst thing that can happen and have a contingency plan for it.
If the loan defaults, and it didn’t have a buyback guarantee, it will take a long time until you recover your funds if you recover them.
Even if the loan has a buyback guarantee, the loan originator might go bankrupt, and it will take a while until you recover your funds, if you ever recover them.
Invest small amounts in multiple loans, and diversify across multiple loan originators. Even if this means you’ll get slightly lower returns. There’s a fine limit between calculated risk and madness.
Use the buyback guarantee
Unless you know what you’re doing, don’t invest in unsecured consumer loans with no buyback guarantee.
(Unsecured consumer loans are usually high-interest loans rates that have no collateral like a mortgage, car, etc.)
If you know that under normal market conditions the expected default rate is around 10-20% and you’re prepared to take that hit, feel free to invest in unsecured loans. But keep in mind that normal market conditions may change rapidly during an economic downturn and the default rates will increase.
Invest in loans with buyback guarantee or at least in loans secured by a mortgage.
Filter out bad loan originators
Mintos rates its loan originators from A to D, based on their financial stability, track record, debt collection procedures, management and many other criteria.
If a loan originator offers 15% interest rates but its rating is C or D, think twice before investing in their loans. At the first economic hickup, they might have problems paying back the invested sums.
Take care of those late loans
It happens from time to time that borrowers are a few days late with their payments. That’s not an issue. If they’re late more than a few days (60), the buyback policy kicks in and the bad loan is purchased back by the loan originator.
Some of the loan originators don’t pay you interest on those delays. If you invest in 30 days loans and the borrower is late by another 30 days, your investment return will be a lot lower than expected (half).
Before investing in loans from a specific loan originator, check if they pay interest on late loans or not. You can find these details on the Mintos website.
While you’re there, you might also be interested in how long is the “grace period”. The “grace period” is the time period before a loan is considered late. It should cover payment delays caused by banks, national holidays and weekends, but some of the loan originators do abuse of the definition by setting it to 15 days.
Think twice before investing in non-EUR loans
The loans issued in EUR currency don’t have the highest interest rate on the platform. Loans issued in Kazakhstani tenge or Russian rubles or Georgian Lari (to name a few) have a higher interest rate.
And that is because these currencies are a lot more volatile than EUR. What today might sound like a good 18% return, when you account for an 8% inflation you won’t get what you expected.
If you’re familiar with that specific economy and you know the risks involved, you might be fine. Otherwise, do your research before investing in loans issued in other currencies.
Join a Mintos investor online community
If you use Facebook, you should definitely join the Mintos Fellows group. It has more than 2000 members from all over the world that post daily updates, concerns, ask and answer questions. Is a good group for learning more about Mintos and stay in touch with what’s new on the platform.
(Disclosure: it’s not my group, but I’m a member of it and I find it really useful).
While you’re on Facebook, you should also like/follow my page. I post there articles and bits and pieces related to p2p lending that I find interesting.
- Last update: September 2019
- Started Investing: June 25th, 2018
- Current value: 3986 EUR
- Profit: 492 EUR
- Net annual return: 11.58% (current average interest rate 13.75%)
I’m mainly investing through the auto-invest tool, so my Mintos portfolio has been running by itself for the most part.
6 months ago I did an update on my auto-invest profile, removing some bad loan originators and also increasing the loan terms from a maximum of 14 months to 24 months. Since then, I get a bit better returns and fewer late loans.
In April, I’ve updated my auto-invest settings again. I’m getting more confident in Mintos, so I’ve removed the upper limit for the loan terms (I also get better interest rates). I only invest now in loan originators that pay interest on late loans and have a decent grace period (<7 days).
All the loans I’ve been investing in have a buyback guarantee. This means I get a bit lower returns (the maximum interest rates I found were at 14%) but my portfolio feels safer.
I’ve also moved 500 EUR in the Invest & Access fund Mintos added in June, to see how it performs. After a few weeks, I cancelled my Invest & Access investment due to its disappointing performance and poor loan originator selection.
Conclusions on Mintos
Mintos is the safest p2p lending platform I’m currently investing in. It has a few great points that make it a great investment option:
- great transparency on its operations
- a huge number of loans to choose from (usually more than 200k)
- a very active secondary market, due to its large number of investors
- a diversified selection of loan originators and loan types
- a buyback guarantee on most of its loans
- an amazing auto-invest tool
Risk and returns summary
- Transparency: 4/5
- Loan security: 4/5
- Liquidity: 5/5
- Account security: 5/5
- Track record: 5/5
- Returns: 4/5
Final score: 4.6
Mintos is the best European p2p lending platform to invest in. It offers great flexibility, medium returns and a high level of safety on investments.