VIAINVEST Review 2020 - 11% Fixed Annual Returns When Investing In Business & Consumer Loans
What Is VIAINVEST And What Are The Returns?
VIAINVEST is a peer-to-peer lending platform in Europe. It is part of the larger VIA SMS Group offering all kinds of financial services to consumers and having its headquarters in Riga, Latvia. VIAINVEST is a platform specifically for investors who can invest in consumer and business loans.
This works as follows: for instance, borrowers who want a loan apply for one at the VIA SMS Group subsidiaries. Once approved, the loan is automatically placed on the VIAINVEST platform where investors can fund borrowers’ loans. When investing via this marketplace you can get as much as 8% on a business loan up to 11% on a consumer loan on an annual basis. This way, VIAINVEST gets additional funds to further expand its business and investors on their turn get decent profits from their investments.
Since its inception in december 2016 over 15.000 investors have found their way to the platform. The majority of them come from Germany, Spain and Latvia, investing an average of around EUR 4.000.
Is VIAINVEST Safe?
As a prevailing rule: with investing comes risk. Be aware that past performance is no guarantee for future results. With this knowledge, VIAINVEST is a safe and solid P2P lending platform backed by the VIA SMS Group. In other words, the Group guarantees that you will get your money back if the borrower cannot repay the loan. Can they make that happen? Well, the group has been profitable for the last 3.5 years (2016-2019), has issued around EUR 92 million in loans, 7.10% of which is qualified as non-perfoming (2019). Overall, these are strong results when one wants to invest in a peer-to-peer platform. Briefly put, the Group has a solid financial trackrecord and is very well capable of upholding its financial obligations.
|Results VIA SMS Group||2016||2017||2018||2019 1H*||Net profit (EUR)||420.282||1.284.561||2.768.915||1.264.770|
|Net turnover (EUR)||16.545.403||20.039.219||25.387.460||13.698.298|
Signing up at VIAINVEST is pretty straightforward:
- Go to www.viainvest.com and hit the orange “Register” button;
- Fill out the first form as shown below;
- Continue to the second form and fill this form out as well;
- You have to get your identity verified before you can start investing;
- As a last step, you can start investing now – but if you don’t want to be taxed you first have to make sure you hand in a Tax Certificate.
Registering at VIAINVEST:
Loans Available With VIAINVEST
Once registered you have access to all the loans VIAINVEST is offering. The idea is pretty simple. A borrower applies for a loan with one of the subsidiaries of the VIA SMS Group, either a business or a consumer loan. Once an applicant is accepted, the loan is published on the VIAINVEST peer-to-peer platform where investors can select from multiple countries and loans. The countries you can invest in are the Czech Republic, Spain, Poland, Latvia, Romania, or Sweden. Loans to choose from are business loans, short term loans, credit lines and installment loans. There are some differences between them:
Short term loans: A fixed-term consumer loan with a maturity that ranges from 7 to 30 days. The borrower either has to repay the full amount within the term agreed upon or has to extend the loan term. If the borrower is late for more than 30 days, the buyback guarantee of VIAINVEST will come into force on the 31st delayed day. You’ll also receive interest for the whole period, regardless of whether the delay results from an extension of the loan or a delay in payments by the borrower.
Installment loans: A consumer loan with a maturity that ranges from 3 to 12 months. The borrower has to make constant monthly payments in order to pay back the loan within the agreed period. In case of a delay of more than 30 days, the buyback guarantee is activated on the 31st delayed day. Again, you’ll receive interest over the whole period your funds are invested once a loan of this type is delayed.
Credit line: This is a consumer loan with an open-ended agreement and a few more options for the borrower. In this case the borrower can either repay the amount in full after 30 days or on a monthly basis until the full loan is repaid. As an investor you’ll either get your money back after 30 days, but if the borrower makes monthly payments, the investor receives invested principal and earned interest every month. The borrower can raise the loan during the period as well. The buyback guarantee applies here as well, and kicks in on the 31st delayed day.
Business loan: A business loan is issued to a legal entity for the development of a business project. These loans offer higher risk investment opportunities and are only secured by collateral and not with a buyback guarantee. Business loans have a longer maturity rate as well, depending on the project at hand. At this moment there is a business loan available in Barcelona, Spain and the details can be found here. The beneficial owner of borrower BCN investment Ltd. with 80% of shares is Mr Georgijs Krasovickis, who is also a Member of the Board at VIA SMS Group.
We prefer the short terms loans because as an investor it gives you the possibility to opt out early, also because there is no secondary market available yet. This way, your money isn’t locked in for long periods of time.
Investment Opportunities With VIAINVEST
The aforementioned countries and loan types are available on the VIAINVEST platform most of the time. What you actually see is a selection of loans, the majority of them being short-term loans or credit lines. The fixed annual rate is 11% for all loans, with the exception of business loans on which you get 8% on an annual basis. In the example shown below, you can see for yourself the details of a short-team loan. There is one thing we want to highlight here before we turn to the actual investing: the buyback guarantee.
There is always the possibility that a borrower cannot repay the loan – and this is where the buyback guarantee comes in. It is an investment security which guarantees that VIAINVEST will repurchase the loan delayed for more than 30 days, including accrued interest. The buyback guarantee applies to short-term loans, installment loans or credit lines, but not to business loans. Additionally, the VIA SMS Group ultimately ensures the obligations of the buyback guarantee are fulfilled in case one of its subsidiaries is unable to do so.
Subsequently, one wants to know whether the VIA SMS Group can uphold the buyback guarantee. Essentially, the buyback guarantee is as strong as the company behind it – otherwise it could not provide the buyback for the investor. Shortly, based on the latest financial figures the Group has been very profitable in the last few years, so it is very well capable of upholding the guarantee.
Now that you know you the risks are properly mitigated, let’s take a look at the manual and auto invest tool.
Characteristics of a short-term loan at VIAINVEST:
Characteristics of an auto invest portfolio of VIAINVEST:
Manual Or Auto Investment
Once you have decided on your best investment strategy, investing can be done in two separate ways. Either by manual investment, where you select the available loans yourself, or by using the auto investment feature which automatically picks up loans based on the parameters you’ve set. There are three important differences between the two:
- Firstly, when using the auto investment tool, once you’ve set the parameters right there is no hassle logging in, picking the most suitable loans yourself and making sure your money is well invested. This saves a lot of time.
- Secondly, the parameters of the auto invest feature are pretty basic (as shown below). Besides the type of loan, as well the term of the loan and the country you’d like to invest in, VIAINVEST provides all kinds of information about the borrower, like a credit rating, employment and whether the loan is still current. Unfortunately, the none of these last three criteria can be used in the auto invest tool. If you want to thouroughly assess your borrowers, the only thing to do is to invest manually. On the other hand, all loans (except for the business loans) are guaranteed by a buyback so actually there is no need to.
- Lastly, if you want to manually invest and there are no loans available you might lose an oppurtunity to invest, whereas with the auto invest tool this is usually not a problem.
Summarizing, we prefer the auto invest tool because it saves a lot of time once your parameters are set the way you want. There is no need to wait for the right loan and the tool selects loans automatically. In addition, we didn’t have to wait long for it to start investing, but sometimes the volume of loans can be low. In that case, as said above, it is useful to take advantage of the auto investment feature.
Risk Analysis: The COVID-19 situation
The COVID-19 pandemy is affecting all of us. An investor will certainly wonder what VIAINVEST will do to make sure its investments are safeguarded. As a possible result of COVID-19 the amount of loans which might delay can rise either due to the fact borrowers have difficulties paying or loan originators are offering reasonable flexibility to their customers. We asked VIAINVEST (and we have putten a summary together, outlined below) what they do at the moment to mitigate the risk the best way possible:
- Interest rates for borrowers are not increased as this would worsen the situation for the borrowers;
- Decrease in risk appetite which results in a lowerance of issued loans.
- Helping borrowers where needed in overcoming financial difficulties.
A number of countries has introduced legislative measures for borrowers affected by COVID-19. If they can prove they are affected financially, they are eligible for a credit repayment holiday. This means they can delay payment without financial consequences. Until this moment VIAINVEST didn’t receive a lot of those requests, but depending on the length of economic standstill, such practices may be initialized across other loan orginators. This may increase extended loan volumes, although it is too early to predict volumes of such requests. However, a legally justified grace period is a better outcome than simply delayed loans, as credit holidays are usually limited and foresee for an expenses compensation model after the grace period ends.
Although there are still uncertainties about the development of the COVID-19 situation and the pace of the economic recovery, it is a comforting thought that VIAINVEST remains to keep a conservative approach to its business model, nor that it is taking advantage of its customers by increasing the interest rates.
Use Of The Platform
Depositing & withdrawing money and fees
If you want to use the platform and you’re ready to deposit money, a few terms apply. If you are an EU citizen, there is not much to worry about. If not, you can check the terms here. Basically, all you need to do is transfer money from your personal IBAN so that you can be identified. Adding funds to your account can only be done by transferring money to one of the two bank accounts available, which will usually take up to two working days. Other transfer methods are unfortunately not available.
When opening an account the only currency you can use is the euro. This is the currency you use when investing; you can, however, deposit in other currencies. Payments received in other currencies will be converted to the euro according to the Swedbank currency exchange rates. The minimum investment per loan is 10 EUR, there is no maximum on depositing.
Withdrawing money is free of charge and we got our money back within 24 hours after putting in a withdrawal request. Pulling back funds is only possible in euro, not in other currencies, but there is no minimum withdrawal amount. You don’t pay any fees for both adding or withdrawing funds to or from the platform and also using this peer-to-peer platform is completely free of charge, which we definitely like.
VIAINVEST is one of the few P2P platforms that taxes income generated on its platform. Depending on your country of residence you have two options:
- You let VIAINVEST take care of taxes. If you don’t provide the required documents and you agree that the income you generate from your investments will be taxed through VIAINVEST (see under 2.), VIAINVEST will do so according to the legislation of the loan origin country.
- If you want to take care of it yourself, you have to provide VIAINVEST with a Tax Certificate by uploading it to the platform. If you don’t do this right away and you start investing, VIAINVEST will still withold taxes in accordance with the Double Tax Treaty. To obtain one, please get in touch with your local Tax Authority. More specifics can be found on the FAQ section of VIAINVEST. Once your Tax Certificate is accepted, which in our case was rather quickly, no taxes will be deducted.
2020 Outlook For VIAINVEST
One of the main goals for VIAINVEST in 2020 is to acquire the investment brokerage company (IBS) license and to become a regulated member of the finance market supervised by the Financial and Capital Market Commission (FKTK). Obtaining such a license is in the final stages and once it is finalized, VIAINVEST will become a subject to the requirements of the Investor Protection Law of the Republic of Latvia.
This means when VIAINVEST is incapable of fulfilling their contractual obligations, investors have the right to receive compensation, up to 90% of the irrevocably lost value with a maximum of EUR 20.000.
Once this license is acquired, this would be an additional assurance for the investors which we definitely see as a major advantage, both in terms of even further professionalization of the company as well as regulation of the P2P investment sector as a whole.
Lastly, VIAINVEST is expanding to other countries as well. In cooperation with an other well known P2P platform Twino, it started in december 2019 a joint venture in Vietnam, VAMO. The strategy of both the companies is to open at least 2 new markets in Asia-Pacific by the end of 2020 which in return could lead to even more investment opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions
When you have registered and once you are logged in, information about the borrower and the loan is available.
No, VIAINVEST doesn't have a secondary market at the moment.
Yes, VIAINVEST has a referral bonus. If you use this link, you'll automatically qualify.
Yes, VIAINVEST has an app available. You can download it via Google Play or in the App Store.
Overall Conclusion On VIAINVEST
VIAINVEST is one of the oldest and most reliable P2P platforms, therefore we rate VIAINVEST 4.2/5:
- The returns are decent and give you a stable cashflow once you’ve started to invest;
- The platform is very easy to use, especially for investors who are new to peer-to-peer investing:
- Once you’ve set the parameters right, the auto invest tool will do the work for you which doesn’t take up much of your time;
- The buyback guarantee ensures you get your investment back, and is it a comforting thought you’re are covered by the VIA SMS Group with a very solid financial track record.
If you want to start investing, VIAINVEST is a welcome addition to your investment portfolio and is definitely a platform to consider as you diversify your investments. You can do so using the button below and you will get a 10 EUR bonus if you invest at least 50 EUR.
Summary & Overall Rating
Below you’ll find the most important features of VIAINVEST:
- Solid performance and track record
- Very easy to use website
- Buyback guarantee on all consumer loans
- Collateral on all business loans
- Backed by parent company, VIA SMS Group
- Favorable annual interest rates, up to 12%
- No secondary market available
- Withholding taxes potentially cuts returns
- Limited deposit options available