Well, it has been 9 months since I started investing in Mintos. I decided to review and share my portfolio with everyone. I started out with 100 EUR, then gradually deposited more as I saw opportunities come by and the platform seemed stable. They were adding loan originators on a regular basis and there were no general signs of cash drag. If you are convinced to register and invest at Mintos, click one of the Mintos links to start investing with a 1% bonus.
My EUR portfolio has always been stable. It is consistently giving returns about 0.85% to 1.0% per month depending on the loans you choose if you want to put it on auto pilot. I also have to admit finding myself guilty of making a few stupid moves.
In November 2017, I decided to invest half my portfolio in loans of less than 30 days. Some of them were in Botswana. It is the loan originator GetBucks that is primarily active there. Back in February 15, I wrote that they had a lot of late loans. Later I was contacted by Mintos that there was an error with the payments and that it was corrected. So at the end of February, I analyzed the loan book again, and I found that more than 80% of their loans were current. They have currently also a cashback campaign going on to probably make up for the lack of investments recently.
Their loans sat in my portfolio over 60 days with no payment, eventually they were bought back as promised by the buyback guarantee. GetBucks did end up being excluded from my auto investment profile. But as you can already tell, it is quite hard to judge which loan originator to choose, and you never know if they can be trusted. Sure you can look up their financials. But for some they haven’t been updated in a while. GetBucks’ has been out of date since 31 December 2016. Others update it nearly every month or every quarter. But when a finance report is negative, it could already be too late. So that is why I decided to start with my Mintos Detailed Statistics series, to help people choose their auto investment profiles. These posts will also help investors detect issues in time. You can check the latest Mintos Detailed Statistics here.
All that being said, I may give GetBucks another chance, hopefully with a positive outcome.
Now some people may start panicking when they see that only 80% or 90% of the loans is being paid on time, but it does not necessarily mean the other 10-20% will default. Generally, 70%+ of the loans being paid on time is acceptable. I set the bar a little bit higher for myself, and put it at 80%, assuming only 1-5% might actually default. Most loans recover in the end, and you end up getting a late payment fee, which is great.
But as time went by, I had an entire portfolio of 13-14% loans with an averaging return of 11-13% according to my spreadsheet, which you can find below. Then Mintos started to introduce cashback campaigns, which first started for Lendo and Mogo. These are two very big loan originators. Now the question whether you want to invest in a cashback campaign is up to you. In my opinion, interest accumulates. What you get right now, they cannot take back from you. So what I did was, I sold my entire 2300 EUR portfolio of 14% loans, and I went to participate in the cashback campaign.
In total I invested 2010 EUR in the cashback campaign in February alone, which is crazy. My entire portfolio is now filled with Lendo and Mogo loans. But as you can see in the screenshot of my portfolio above, my cashback rewards I received are 3 times more than the interest I had earned over 9 months so far. Was it worth it? Definitely. Before doing this, I checked with my local tax office in Belgium, to see if cash backs or secondary market discounts are taxed. I pointed out to the accountant, that this is a discount, and discounts cannot be taxed. Unlike in the U.S., where students have to pay taxed on the discounts they get for education.
Now I’ve reaped a lot of cashback rewards so far. But these also come with a risk. The advantage of investing on Mintos is, that there is almost no chance of ending up losing your entire portfolio as you can invest and diversify your portfolio in as many different loan originators as possible. If you were to invest in 20 loan originators, and one goes bankrupt, you only may end up losing 5% of your portfolio. This is not so bad is it? That’s only 5 months lost. But there is always still getting a chance of your money back. This is where investment structures come into play. Someone suggested in the comments that Mintos told him that the indirect structure might be advantageous, because apparently there may be some sort of a security deposit for each loan originator.
You also have the advantage that you can geographically diversify. Now Mintos has started to partner with loan originators in Africa and South America. This could help with an economic crisis. However, 2008 was bad for everyone…
Well my GEL portfolio is something entirely different. This portfolio has always consistently given good returns. Also, it’s worth pointing out that about 30% of the loans are being bought back every month. At least, that is the case for my portfolio, actual numbers may differ. It appears that the active loan originators with that currency are speculating with the currency, and most likely transferring it back and forth between currencies. I don’t know what is exactly going on, but it does appear that way.
This has the disadvantage that it is extremely risky for these loan originators to speculate on currencies. Specially if you know that the GEL currency depreciated from 2.2 EUR/GEL to 3.2 EUR/GEL in only to years. However, if you start investing now right between 2.75 EUR/GEL and 3.2 EUR/GEL, you might actually have a good shot at the GEL currency recovering. But since I started investing here at 2.85, I lost a little bit of money on the exchange rate now. However, I was smart enough to keep it in the GEL currency. So I plan on holding it and selling it later if there do happen to be no more loans one day.
One particular loan originator here based on my analysis I would avoid is CreamFinance, they have a lot of late loans, but not necessarily defaulting. Their finances are good last time I checked. From ID Finance, you may want to ignore Spanish loans as they tend to perform a little bit worse. However, ID Finance’s activities in Georgia are stellar/average.
Small tip here for the GEL currency is that you should try to look on the secondary market for discounted loans, as they tend to be bought back really fast unexpected.
Last but not least, my average returns for my EUR portfolio appears to be 25,34% based on my 9 month activities, and for my GEL portfolio 18,05%. However, actual performance might differ.
Taxes are never fun. Let’s be real. But you can actually optimize your Mintos strategy according to your country’s tax system. Using myself as an example, I managed to earn 154.27 EUR tax free from a total of 235.12 EUR net earnings. I achieved this through participating in cashback campaigns and buying loans with a discount on secondary markets.
Only 12.84% of my total earnings were taxed due to the use of secondary market discounts and cashbacks. To earn 154,27 EUR net with just interest rates, I would have needed gross earnings of 220,38 EUR. So you can see now why I am so interested in cashback and secondary market discounts.
Summarized, don’t blind yourself by the interest rates or YTM of the loan. Look at the whole picture.
But this may not be the same for you. I suggest you check with your accountant to come up with an appropriate Mintos strategy.