Neo Finance p2p lending platform review
Neo Finance is a peer to peer lending platform from Lithuania. It has more than 5000 active investors and the average return rate is about 14%. You can see more statistics about NEO Finance here.
Neo Finance is a true p2p lending platform. People apply for loans on the platform, NEO Finance does a credit risk assessment and sets an interest rate for the loan, and then investors need to fund the loan.
If the loan is not funded, it’s removed from the website.
What sets Neo Finance apart from other peer-to-peer platform operators is that it holds an unlimited e-money institution license. Every user account has its own personal IBAN account. So, you don’t transfer money to Neo Finance, but to a Lithuanian bank account under your name. This provides an additional safety net for your capital. You can also choose to use that IBAN account for payment transactions as with a classical bank account, instead of using it for p2p investment.
- Launched: 2015
- Headquarters: Lithuania
- Loan types: Consumer Loans
- Loan terms: up to 5 years
- Loans funded: 49 million EUR
- Loans from: Lithuania
- Investors: 10000
- Interest rates: 6-27%
- Fees: 0.29 EUR on withdrawing funds
- Minimum investment: 10 EUR
- Currency: EUR
- Secondary market: yes
- Auto-invest: yes
- Buyback guarantee: yes, for 50% to 80% value on the defaulted loans, based on credit rating
- Other securities: provision fund to cover missed or late payments
- Accepts investors from: EEA countries
- Bonus: 25 EUR on registration (using the link below)
- Last update: April 2019
- Started Investing: November 28th, 2018
- Current value: 878.96 EUR
- Profit: -83.85 EUR
- Expected annual return: 11.68%
I kept adding small amounts to my portfolio until I reached something near 1000 EUR. The main reason was that I want to reinvest my profits back into the platform. Since the minimum investment is 10 EUR, I don’t want to wait too much until I accumulate 10 EUR in my account from interest payments.
The value of my portfolio is currently lower than my initial investment because I paid a fee for all my investments to use the provision fund. I want to keep this account as low maintenance as possible, so I don’t want to worry about loan defaults and selling my investments back to NEO Finance.
I’m playing it safe, even though I would get better returns without the provision fund and instead spread my risk on as many loans as possible.
I’ll stop adding funds to Neo Finance for a while so I can see a positive balance and give time for the interest payments to cover for the provision fund fees I paid.
Since I’m using the provision fund, all interest payments came on time so far (I gained 16.23 EUR in interest so far).
Creating an account
You can open an account if you are a resident of the EEA (European Economic Area) countries. You’ll need to provide proof of identity (ID card or passport) in order to get an IBAN account. There are 2 options for KYC. One involves using a camera and the other just lets you upload a passport copy. If you don’t use the camera you’ll get a restricted investor account (limited to 1000 EUR?).
Adding funds to your account
Adding money to your account is surprisingly fast. The Neo Finance platform offers you a personal IBAN number to add your money into. It takes less than 30 minutes to transfer money to my account (transferring money from Revolut).
If your daily account is not a EUR and you want to save up some currency conversion fees, you could use Revolut or Transferwise. If you don’t have a Transferwise account, you can create one here.
You’ll need to think twice before withdrawing small amounts from Neo Finance. Every transaction has a 0.29 EUR fee.
Investing in Neo Finance
The manual investment option is very minimal. It lets you see the loan rating, interest rate, loan term and how much is still available for investment. Besides this, you don’t have an option to filter the loans based on any of these features. Some of the columns have a sorting option, but the Interest rate column doesn’t have it. You’ll need to scroll down the list of available loans and pick the ones you’re interested in. I’d usually open them in a different tab and check out their details from there.
You can see more details about a specific loan on the loan page. The borrower details include age, income, work experience and sector, other loans and debt history. On the loan details section, you can see the estimated return based on the amount you plan to invest.
There’s also this nice check to enable/ disable the Provision fund service. If the provision fund service is enabled, you’ll expect a lower return from the credit, but in case the borrower is late with their payments, NEO Finance will cover the payments. Neofinance will use the money accumulated in the provision fund to cover the payments the investors would otherwise miss.
NEO Finance offers also a buyback guarantee policy. If you don’t choose to enable the provision fund service and the loan you invested in defaults, you can sell it to Neofinance for 50-80% of the loan value, depending on the loan risk rating.
You can view the status of your investments on the My Investments page.
Manual investment in the secondary market
You can buy loans from other investors on the secondary market. Surprisingly the secondary market page has all sorts of options for filtering the loans that the primary market page is missing.
I’m using the secondary market lately to buy loans that have the provision fund enabled so I don’t pay for it. It’s such a good idea I don’t know why I didn’t think about it earlier.
The auto-invest feature lets you create different profiles for the primary and secondary market. It lets you choose the amount you want to invest into a single loan, the loan rating, interest rates and loan term. You can also choose to enable the provision fund service. You’ll get a lower interest rate but you’ll never miss a payment.
For a more granular control of the auto-invest portfolio, you can choose the type of loans you want to invest in, the loan amount range and many details about the borrower: education, age, gender, available assets (car, flat, house), marital status, work experience, even if this is their first loan or not.
Investing without a provision fund
When investing in loans using the provision fund, you pay the provision fund fees in advance. On the long run, you get a steady income and you don’t worry about late payments. On the short term, your profit will be negative for a few months until the interest payments cover the fees you paid when you invested in the loan.
If you don’t like paying in advance for possible rainy days, you can invest without the fund too.
Neo Finance offers to buy back overdue loans from investors at a rate of 50% to 80% of the invested principal if the investors don’t want to wait for the debt recovery procedures to finalize. (A reason you might not want to wait is that it takes a long time and your funds are locked. After 24 months, 75% of the loans are recovered. After 27 months, 88%.).
You’ll need to take into account that some of the loans you invest in will be late and you’ll sell them back to Neo Finance.
Currently, 2.83% of the A-rated loans are overdue by more than 90 days, 9.13% of the B-rated loans and 16.45% of the C-rated loans. With careful planning and portfolio diversification, the returns should be higher than my current 11.7%.
Opening a new account
You can open multiple accounts under the same user on Neo Finance and test different investment strategies.
On one account you could use the provision fund on all the loans you invest in, while on the second account you could ignore the provision fund and invest in all loans available. Then compare which strategy has better returns in the long run.
The only drawback to this is that it costs 0.79 EUR per month to open an additional account.
Conclusions on NEO Finance
Your money is safe
I like the e-money license institution approach Neo Finance is using. You have your own IBAN account in a Lithuanian bank. In case something happens with Neo Finance, your money is safe in your bank account.
Good interest rates
The interest rates offered to vary from 6% to 27%. These are above the rates offered by other platforms, for example, Mintos.
The level of granularity the auto-invest feature offers is fantastic. You can also set up an auto-invest strategy on secondary market loans.
The buyback guarantee feature is a bit different than the one offered by other platforms. NEO Finance will buy bad loans from you at 50-80% of the loan value. You won’t lose all your money, but you’ll still lose a part of it.
The Provision Fund service is a nice touch and it looks like a sustainable model. It’s something similar to loan insurance. You pay a monthly small fee that accumulates into a fund and defaulted loans or late payments are covered from this fund. So far I’ve been using the provision fund on all of my investments.
The website is a bit slow and the user interface could use some more features, like filtering the primary market loans. Overall, the platform still offers a good experience though.
Risk and returns summary
- Transparency: 5/5
- Loan security: 5/5
- Liquidity: 4/5
- Account security: 5/5
- Track record: 5/5
- Returns: 2/5
Final score: 4.3
While the returns are lower than on other European crowdlending platforms, Neo Finance possibly offers the safest option on the market to invest in p2p loans.
If you want to register on the platform, you’ll get 25 EUR free cash just for signing up if you use my referral link. (I get 5 EUR and some percentage of the new sums you might invest in the next I don’t know how many days.)