In this post, I am going to share what got me interested in the two platforms in the first place, my experience so far, how I set up my AutoInvest and what I think both could improve.
Why I added SWAPER and Viainvest to my P2P Portfolio
After doing some research and talking to my good friend Bernhard Hummel, who has way more experience than me in the peer to peer lending market and a much larger portfolio, I ended up choosing SWAPER and Viainvest.
Luckily, both platforms have a reliable Auto Invest, which means I can just let them run passively and don’t need to spend any time on my investments there after setting them up in the beginning.
Swaper was launched in October 2016 and offers short-term consumer loans in Central and Eastern Europe, mainly from Poland, Denmark and Spain.
All loans come from the Wandoo Finance Group, who is also the holding company behind the Swaper P2P platform.
As of right now, 3.014 investors funded over 88 million Euros worth of loans on the platform.
Up to 14% Interest with a Buyback Guarantee
All loans on Swaper come with 12% interest per year, which is something that hasn’t changed ever since they launched in late 2016.
What is more, investors with an account balance of over 5.000€ receive an additional +2% interest loyalty bonus on all of their investments, which translates to 14% interest per year. That is a very good interest rate that is hard to find on a consistent basis as far as personal loans with buyback are concerned.
The Secondary Market on SWAPER
Interview with the Wandoo Finance Group CEO: Iveta Bruvele
My friend Bernhard Hummel interviewed Iveta Bruvele, the Wandoo Finance Group CEO, in the end of September in Spain. I think he asked some interesting questions. You can watch the full interview here if you’re interested:
To save you some time, here are my own takeaways from the interview:
External loan originators
All loans come from the Wandoo Finance Group, they feel safer that way as they’re better able to manage the risks.
Swaper moved to Estonia because of the regulatory changes in Latvia, but the Wandoo Finance Group office will stay in Riga.
They don’t mind to be regulated, they are thinking about getting a banking license as they’d like to offer more tools to investors like bank accounts and credit cards.
Is Swaper profitable?
The platform is making profit this year (2019), but it’s the first year where it has been profitable since they launched in October 2016.
- 2017, their first full year of operations was still challenging
- 2018 was better
- And this year, 2019, Swaper & the Wandoo Finance Group are making a profit
The financial statements are not public yet, they started the 2018 audit already which should be finished by the end of October. They don’t have an exact timeframe for when they’ll publish the 2018 financials, but they’re planning on publishing them soon – as a lot of investors are asking for them.
Will the interest rates remain at the same level?
Swaper has had the same interest rates since day one and is not planning to change them. The interest rates offered are sustainable for them and they don’t want to move them up and down seasonally like other platforms, so that investors instead know what they can expect when investing on the platform.
A lot of the loans are from Poland – what about the new regulation and what are the default rates?
For Swaper the Polish market is currently the best & most profitable, in terms of risk and default levels they don’t see any problems there. They will adapt their loans to whatever new regulation is released and they’re not planning to leave the Polish market as it is too good to miss out on.
Loans from other countries
They’re planning to add other markets, also to diversify their own risk in case something happens in one country.
But they won’t offer loans from day one from new countries, as they want to make sure they’re managing risks well there first and don’t want to get unreliable/bad customers as soon as they open up shop there
Expansion in Spain
Things are going very well in Spain, so they’re expanding lending volumes for that country
How does the debt collection process work in case of late payments or defaults?
They take care of most of the collection process themselves, as they came to the conclusion that they do a better job at that than when they simply hand it over to their external partners.
During the first 60 days – they work with the customer themselves, then the case is given to an external agency and then to court.
What happens in case of bankruptcy?
If Swaper were to go bankrupt, what does it mean for the investor?
The investor still owns the claim rights for the loans, the bankruptcy administrator would manage the outstanding loan repayment process with all the information Swaper has gathered on the borrowers. Iveta is sure that’s not going to happen though.
Is SWAPER able to sustain the increase in loan volume to satisfy increasing investor demand?
Yes, she’s not worried about that.
What would happen in case of an economic crisis?
Usually a crisis doesn’t influence lenders themselves in a bad way and can actually result in a positive outcome, as more people need money.
My SWAPER Experience so far
I made my first deposit of 1.000€ on the 2nd of October and deposited an additional 500€ nine days later. The AutoInvest managed to invest everything within a couple of days and I rarely see more than 50-60€ uninvested on my account, so cash drag definitely hasn’t been an issue for me.
Either way, I’m happy to let the Swaper Auto Invest do its job and obsessing over a couple of Euros waiting to be invested is definitely not worth the time.
So far, I received 11,24€ in interest on Swaper. Some loans were just successfully paid back as I’m writing this article (Nov. 3rd), which is also why you’re currently seeing a higher available amount waiting to be reinvested.
- Make sure you follow my monthly P2P income reports to see my experience with each platform going forward.
My SWAPER AutoInvest Settings
- The portfolio size should be larger than your current account balance if you want to automatically reinvest into new loans
- The higher you set the max investment in one loan, the faster you’ll likely be fully invested when new loans are released, but you’re also less diversified as a result. I’m currently experimenting with 50€-100€ there.
- The remaining principal amount is from a borrowers perspective. By entering a large amount there (in my case from 0€ to 100.000€), I’m investing into every available loan on the platform.
Setting up one AutoInvest is enough, having more than one won’t make a difference. I learned this after talking to several other investors and after hearing it directly from the Swaper CEO.
Also, don’t be surprised if you never see available loans when clicking on Invest Manually, as all of them are distributed among investors Auto Invests right after they’re published.
What I like about SWAPER so far
- Consistently high interest rate of 12-14% per year
- Buyback guarantee after 30 days
- Interest is also paid for the duration of the delay or until buyback
- Reliable Auto Invest
- Short-term consumer loans from Poland, Denmark, Spain and Russia
- Being able to sell loans via the Secondary Market and cashing out some money earlier
- The platform seems to be making a profit this year
- Wandoo Finance Group CEO Iveta Bruvele left a good impression on me
- Useful Android and iOS app
What I dislike about SWAPER so far
- Financial statements haven’t been published yet, which would be good for transparency
- Most loans are from Poland (not necessarily bad), a much smaller number from Spain and Denmark
- A bit less diversification because of the necessity to invest more per loan (50-100€) to be fully invested sooner
- It can take a couple of days to be fully invested
Like Swaper, Viainvest also launched its P2P lending platform in the end of 2016. However, its holding company, the VIA SMS Group, has been active in the lending sector since all the way back in 2008.
All loans on Viainvest come from the VIA SMS Group, which currently operates in 7 countries and has grown to one of the leading consumer lenders in Europe.
11% Interest for Swedish loans with a Buyback Guarantee
Viainvest offers investments into personal (consumer) loans from Latvia, Sweden, Spain, the Czech Republic and Poland. All the loans on the platform come with 11% interest per year and a 30-day buyback guarantee.
Swedish loans in particular are very hard to find on other platforms, even among larger ones like Mintos. Especially at a relatively high interest rate of 11%, which is why I’m giving them preferential treatment in my AutoInvest. But more on that later.
Any loan payment that is 30 days late is bought back by Viainvest, thanks to the buyback guarantee. Investors also receive interest on all delayed payments.
Viainvest’s Financial Statements and Transparency
One of the main reasons why I started investing on Viainvest is the company’s transparency and financial track record.
The VIA SMS Group has been profitable for many years in a row now and publishes its financial statements on a regular basis.
As a result, I have more peace of mind for my investments on Viainvest and their ability to buy them back from me in case of a borrower’s delay or default. Because of that, I’m also willing to ‘accept’ a slightly lower interest rate of 11%.
Here is the latest audited financial report from 2018:
Going a step further, VIA SMS already published its unaudited consolidated report for the first half of 2019.
Apart from that, if you want to invest manually, you can find plenty of details about each borrower on Viainvest, including a creditworthiness score between 0 and 10.
I don’t think there is much more they could do as far as transparency is concerned. I hope other platforms (like Swaper) follow their lead.
Different loan types on Viainvest and selling loans early
Viainvest has a couple of different loan types on its platform:
- Short-term loans up to 30 days
- Instalment loans from 3 to 12 months
- Credit lines: This is a combination of short-term and instalment loans. The initial loan amount is issued to a borrower for 30 days. After 30 days, the borrower can then choose to either repay the full loan amount or extend the loan, as long as he is making regular monthly (interest) payments on it.
While Viainvest doesn’t currently have a secondary market, you can sell every loan back to them after 120 days, via the Initialize Buyback button.
When you do, your entire invested principal and earned interest for that loan is added back to your account.
My Viainvest Experience so far
I deposited 1.500€ on the 15th of October. Within a few hours after setting up the AutoInvest, I was fully invested.
As of November 3rd, I received 3,09€ in interest and some loans were already fully paid back.
I love that I’m able to see accumulated interest (interest that hasn’t been paid out yet) in addition to paid interest on Viainvest. I wish all platforms had that feature!
My Viainvest Auto Invest Settings
- Make sure the portfolio size is larger than your account balance if you want to reinvest your returns
- Max. investment in one loan: Has to be at least 10€
- Interest rate: All loans come with 11%
- Loan type: I chose all 3
- Loan originator: If you want to avoid the withholding tax on Spanish and Czech loans, only choose viaconto.se (Sweden), viasms.lv (Latvia) and viasms.pl (Poland). That’s what I’m doing as well.
- Loan status: Current
Since I want more Swedish loans in my portfolio, I also added a second AutoInvest with a portfolio size of 500€ that only buys loans from Sweden.
My AutoInvests have been reliably reinvesting my funds so far, as plenty of new loans are added several times per day.
What I like about Viainvest so far
- Consistent 11% interest rate + loans from Sweden
- Buyback guarantee after 30 days
- Interest is also paid for delay or buyback period
- Very reliable Auto Invest, zero cash drag
- Accumulated interest feature in the dashboard
- Financial stability, transparency and experience of the VIA SMS Group in the lending sector
- Ability to exit any investment after 120 days
- Useful Android and iOS app
What I dislike about Viainvest so far
- 11% interest might not satisfy everyone
- Withholding tax on Spanish and Czech loans – simply exclude these like I’m doing or upload required tax documents
- No Secondary Market
I hope I was able to give you some insights into both platforms and to explain the reasoning for why I added them to my P2P portfolio last month.
If you’re curious about my experience with both peer to peer platforms going forward, stay tuned for my monthly P2P income reports!