Mintos is one of the largest peer-to-peer lending platforms; they offer a huge volume of loans of all kinds and durations.
My opinion on Mintos
Mintos got a lot of bad press throughout 2020, and many investors plan to leave the platform after losing money when several loan originators defaulted. At the same time, several other investors report that their Mintos portfolio provides the best performance among their peer-to-peer loans portfolios.
I tend to agree with the latter group, and consider that Mintos success is well deserved. Indeed, my portfolio delivers an excellent and very regular performance. Moreover, the impressive loans volume means that basically any amount can be invested without fearing a cash drag. Finally, thanks to the availability of Mintos strategies, even beginner investors can easily invest through the platform – although, as we’ll see, I basically recommend against using them -.
Of course, there’s still a lot of room for improvement. This especially holds true when it comes to providing reliable information about the loan originators.
In one word, as long as investors are aware of potential risks, Mintos proves to be an excellent choice.
While interest rates can vary greatly depending on supply and demand, the overall performance of my Mintos portfolio is excellent.
Mintos‘s large number of originators ensures a huge loans volume.
Many statistics and charts are available. This allows investors to quickly get an overview of their portfolio’s content.
Transparency & reliability
As a platform, Mintos itself seems reliable and has become more transparent. It’s too bad that their due diligence process on loan originators seems flawed !
Overall, Mintos’ website is very user-friendly. The only exception is the auto-invest screen, which may intimidate beginner investors by its complexity.
Mintos's pros & cons
- A huge volume of loans available
- Opportunity to invest in many countries and even different currencies
- Overall ergonomics is excellent, although setting up auto-invest is difficult for beginners
- Opportunity to invest via "ready-made" strategies for easy investing
- The platform features many originators, allowing you to diversify your portfolio – but be aware of the risks ! –
- Several risky originators are present on the platform
- Auto-invest can be tricky to configure for beginners
- Interest rates fluctuate a lot throughout the year
Short-term : less than one month
Medium-term : one month to one year
Long-term : more than one year
Buyback guarantee available
EUR – Euro
PLN – Polish Zloty
Overview of Mintos's loans
Mintos offers an impressive array of loan kinds, in many countries and thus several different currencies. As usual, I’ll focus on Euro loans here.
Interest rates on the platform tend to vary a lot throughout the year. Indeed, after enjoying interest rates as high as 15% during most of Spring and Summer 2019, the highest interest rates in late August 2019 went down to 12.5%; this figure climbed to an insane 26% during the Covid-19 crisis.
However, as the highest rates are sometimes offered by dubious loan originators, they’re not a good indicator of the expected performance. Indeed, as we’ll soon see in detail, several lending companies on Mintos have defaulted. Investing through unreliable loan originators may thus result in a capital loss, which will in turn lead to a performance much lower than expected !
When it comes to reliable loan originators, interest rates are currently in low double-digits area – it’s actually quite usual to see interest rates drop in Spring -. For example, they currently stand around 11% for loans from reliable loan originators Wowwo or Iute.
In spite of the interest rates variation, the actual performance of my Mintos portfolio has been very stable throughout 2019 and 2020, roughly between 12.5% and 13.5%.
Around half of the available loans are personal loans, around one quarter are short-term loans and more than 15% are car loans. The remaining loans are spread between business loans, mortgage loans, agricultural loans and invoice financing.
With a very wide array of loans to invest in, it’s not surprising that durations vary greatly – from one month for payday loans to more than six years for car loans -.
As of April 2021, the cumulative volume of loans funded through Mintos was more than six billion euro. Needless to say that this amount is huge and liquidity isn’t a concern !
Most loans on Mintos are covered by a buyback guarantee. The delay necessary to trigger it is rather long (60 days). On the other hand, unlike other loan marketplaces such as Iuvo, all lending companies on Mintos use the same delay.
Once more, please realize that the buyback guarantee is provided by the loan originator, not the platform. As a result, it’s only meaningful if it comes from a reliable company. And as we’ll soon see, not all originators on Mintos offer the same level of financial stability ! In order to emphasize this fact, the guarantee actually got renamed “buyback obligation” by Mintos.
Platform’s transparency and reliability
Although Mintos is very successful, their track record in terms of reliability leaves much to be desired. The culprit isn’t the platform directly – although it lost money in 2019 -, but rather the way they select the loan originators. Indeed, as we’re about to see, the platform’s focus on growth has lead to the presence of unreliable credit companies on the platform. This has in turn caused losses for investors as the originators ran into financial or regulatory troubles.
Overall transparency is good, though. Many statistics are publicly available, including information on suspended or defaulted loan originators. Similarly, the communication has much improved during the Covid-19 epidemics.
Mintos’s background and team
Mintos was founded in 2014 and has offices in Riga, Latvia. It’s a large platform which employs more than 200 people. The top management is introduced on the platform’s website.
Financial reports are available for download. They’re audited by Ernst & Young, which is a guarantee of reliability. They show that Mintos lost close to one million euro in 2019 ! Financial reports for 2020 aren’t available yet.
In spite of this rather poor financial result, investors seem to trust Mintos. Indeed, the platform raised funds through a crowdfunding campaign in November 2020; it allowed the platform to collect more than seven million euros.
Little detail is provided about the borrowers, which isn’t a big deal. Indeed, for peer-to-peer loans, there’s little point in selecting loans manually.
Loan originators reliability
In early 2021, Mintos lists more than sixty active loan originators. Although this impressive number includes more than fifteen defaulted or suspended lending companies, it’s still a very large figure. This is both a strength and a weakness for Mintos.
Indeed, with so many originators available, it’s hard to avoid having sub-standard firms among them. In May 2018, EuroCent went bankrupt; it was the first one of a long list. Indeed, the Covid-19 crisis lead many poorly-run lending companies to go belly-up. As of February 2021, I count fifteen defaulted loan originators on the platform; four more got suspended for various reasons – most often because of delayed repayments -.
Continuing on the topic of lending companies, it’s also worth noting that the shareholders of Mintos and several originators (such as Mogo) overlap – I will once again refer to an insightful article by Kristaps Mors, which points out many possible conflict of interests -.
Kristaps Mors also wrote a very critical overview of Mintos loan originators. It’s a great wrap-up of the risks involved in investing blindly in high-yield loans; however, the listed amount considered as at risk (€118 million) needs to be put into perspective. Indeed, it’s only a small fraction of the overall invested funds on Mintos (more than six billion euros since its inception !). Since April 2021, Mintos provides figures for the amount considered at risk. They’re slightly lower than Kristaps’ estimates – around ninety million euros -.
I also strongly encourage prospective and current Mintos investors to read our article on Mintos loan originators; it will help reduce the risk of your Mintos portfolio.
Finally, like most competitors, Mintos uses a mechanism called “skin in the game”, which means that the originators have to keep a portion of the loans (usually 10%). This ensures that the originators provides quality loans, as they will be directly impacted if the borrower defaults. Mintos FAQ has a great explanation of the skin in the game, which I incite you to read.
Mintos risk score
Since August 2018, the platform started rating their originators, from A+ (safest companies) to D (defaulted originators). Long story short, there were many critics about the usefulness of these ratings. Indeed, many defaulted/suspended credit companies were still rated B by Mintos at the time of default or suspension.
In order to address most of these issues, Mintos unveiled their revamped risk rating (now called Mintos risk score) in October 2020. It’s computed in a more transparent way, based on four different criteria – including the efficiency of payments’ collection, or the ability to actually fulfill the buyback obligation -.
The risk score is updated regularly. The latest update took place in March 2021, and didn’t incur much change.
Many investors still aren’t convinced by the quality of Mintos evaluation. And unfortunately, facts seem to prove them right. Indeed, in early February 2021, negative news regarding originator Sun Finance in Denmark started to circulate on various Telegram channels. This lending company is accused of providing wrong information to borrowers. At this point, the risk score for Sun Finance Denmark was 7/10 ! A few days later, Mintos announced that they paused the placement of loans from this originator; this delay gave informed investors plenty of time to dump their loans on the secondary market.
In addition, an excellent source of independent ratings for Mintos loan originators is the ratings computed by Explore P2P. While they’re rather austere and following the changes is a painful task, I consider them a great guide to reduce the risk of my portfolio. For example, Sun Finance Denmark was rated only 48/100, which in my opinion reflects the risk much more accurately than Mintos risk score.
It’s possible to configure the auto-invest to use only selected risk scores. Mintos re-evaluates the scores every few months; investors are strongly advised to stay informed of these changes. The platform will also send notifications as new originators are added, giving investors the opportunity to include them in their auto-invest portfolio.
Mintos is probably the only platform where investors can get such a dramatically different performance depending on their allocation.
On a Mintos-related telegram channel, one investor mentioned that
“Mintos is the best story in my crowdfunding book”, while another confirmed that it was
“much more work than ViaInvest, Swaper or Lendermarket, but (his) returns are much higher”. On the other hand, the comments on Mintos blog are filled with stories of investors who lost money, such as this one.
The culprit is once again Mintos’ selection of loan originators – and of course, our own greed -.
Reporting & statistics availability
Mintos provides many statistics regarding the loan book. It also makes the whole loan book available for download, a rare feature.
Even statistics regarding defaulted/suspended lending companies are available.
Communication & support
Notifications are configurable. It’s possible to choose to receive a daily summary e-mail, as well as notifications for deposits, withdrawals and bonus payments. In addition, opting-in to Mintos’ informative weekly newsletter is highly recommended !
It’s possible to get in touch with Mintos support by e-mail, live chat or phone.
Competing platforms from past or current Mintos loan originators
In 2020, several loan originators created their own platform. The trend accelerated in late 2020 and early 2021, and there are now many platforms related to – or belonging to – former Mintos lending companies :
Most of them keep on listing loans on Mintos, although sometimes at reduced interest rates. For example, Estonian loans listed by CreditStar on Mintos yield 14% annually, versus 15.1% at Lendermarket.
One may wonder if it’s better to keep on investing through Mintos, or to use each loan originator’s platform instead. In most cases, interest rates and loans supply on Mintos are likely to be lower. On the other hand, the loan marketplace provides unified buyback guarantee terms. Also, unlike several platforms such as Lendermarket, it offers a secondary market.
Another aspect to consider is the relationship between the platform and the lending company. For example, Afranga belong to Creamfinance, but Moncera’s ties to Placet Group are looser – the platform was founded by two ex-employees -. Yet another example is Lendermarket, which isn’t actually related to CreditStar, but has the same ultimate beneficial owner.
In the long run, lending companies may very well decide to leave Mintos. It’s already the case for Creamfinance; indeed, they stopped listing loans on Mintos as soon as their own platform Esketit was available.
Impact of Covid-19 outbreak on Mintos
One very visible effect of the coronavirus crisis was panic selling on the secondary market. There was basically no demand for loans, while many investors tried to liquidate their portfolios. It lead to slowdowns and very large cashout times; fortunately, the situation quickly got back to normal. As previously noted, the platform also re-introduced a secondary market fee.
The crisis also forced Mintos to improve its communication. For example, as many loan originators defaulted or became suspended, they created dedicated pages in order to show the progress of funds recovery, as well as the amount of funds in transit.
Like most other platforms, there was a temporary increase of interest rates and a decrease of loans volume. Although interest rates are roughly back to their previous levels, the growth of the loans volume has clearly been reduced.
Early exit available
While I encourage investors to take advantage of the auto-invest feature to save time, starting by investing manually can be less intimidating for beginner investors. While there are many available filters, the screen layout for manual investing looks much simpler than the auto-invest screen pictures below.
The filters include :
- Interest rate
- loan duration
- Loan type
- Borrower’s country
- Originator and originator rating
- Presence of a buyback guarantee
- Amortization method
- Initial and current LTV (loan-to-value ratio)
The first thing to know is that auto-invest is now called “custom strategies” at Mintos, which can be a bit disconcerting.
The configuration screen can be rather intimidating, as it’s possible to configure it extensively for each originator. Unfortunately, as the number of originators grew, the screen became less and less user-friendly.
Even worse : this screen underwent a major redesign in April 2021, and Mintos managed to make it even more complex. Indeed, lending companies from the same group were previously grouped together – but still could selected individually -. Now, each lending company has its own entry.
As a result, the list is very large. Worse, there’s no way to easily find out which group they belong to. Sure, the lending companies names are often similar (for example, “IuteCredit Albania SHA”, “O.C.N IUTE CREDIT S.R.L.” and “FC IuteCredit Macedonia DOOEL Skopje” for Iute), but it’s not always the case.
I can understand the reasoning behind this change : indeed, all lending companies in a same group aren’t all equally reliable. For example, the risk rating for the different loan originators in Iute group have Mintos scores between 6 and 8. At the same time, most investors will usually focus on the group-level, which makes things easier.
In practical terms, the first step when configuring the auto-invest is to restrict the displayed originators by using the selectors at the top. These allow to choose :
- The risk score for the originator
- The loans types
- The borrower’s country
- The presence or absence of a buyback obligation
Even after filtering out the lowest ratings, the auto-invest screen is still rather intimidating.
Once the displayed originators are filtered, investors will be able to check the ones they actually want to use. For each of them, it’s also possible to select or deselect each loan type and buyback guarantee presence individually.
I discovered that it’s possible to go even further. Indeed, a dropdown allows to filter even more precisely, for example by LTV, issue date or investment structure. Needless to say I’m confident that very few investors actually use this feature !
At the bottom of the screen, two sliders allow to select the interest rates interval, as well as the loans duration. Finally, investors have to choose the portfolio size, whether to reinvest or not, and the minimal/maximal loan size.
A handy feature is the neat option to diversify the loans portfolio across the selected loans originators. This will help mitigate the risks in case things go wrong with one of them. I strongly encourage investors to use this option !
It’s important to note that the the diversification settings will be reset when making changes to auto-invest settings. By default, it will use the respective loans volume for each originator in order to determine the target allocation. Investors who want to switch to equal-weight distribution will have to specify it every time they change their auto-invest configuration !
The often overlooked “Show matching loans” button allows investors to see how many loans match the selected criteria, as well as their distribution by loan purpose, country and loan originator.
Similarly, the very discrete “Available loan report” button will download a PDF which sums up the overall Mintos loans distribution. For each currency, it shows the total volume of loan based on Mintos rating and interest rate.
Finally, one noteworthy point is that it’s possible to create custom strategies which operate only on the secondary market.
Our article on Mintos Strategies and Bondora Go & Grow provides a detailed overview of the way I actually create my Mintos custom strategies. To sum it up, I now use one custom strategy for each lending group – in my case, Wowwo, Iute Credit and DelfinGroup -.
There are several benefits to this approach :
- The auto-invest screen is much less cluttered, which reduces the risk of mistakes
- It also allows me to choose different durations for each originator
- There’s no more need to bother activating the diversification option
Mintos' former and current alternative investment methods
In addition to the classical manual investing and auto-invest options, Mintos has gradually refined other options.
Pre-defined strategies were launched first; they were basically pre-configured auto-invests. Unfortunately, indicative returns were rather low.
In Spring 2019, Mintos launched Invest & Access. Its main selling point was its simplicity; the only configuration needed was the portfolio size. It was greatly successful among new investors; however, more advanced users wanted more flexibility, without having to resort to using the painful auto-invest screen.
Thus, in August 2020, Mintos mixed these two products together; they evolved into what’s simply called Mintos strategies. Let’s see how they now work, and how they differ from their previous iteration.
Mintos' strategies (formerly "Invest & Access")
Mintos strategies are only available for euro loans; They blend these two concepts, while retaining the ease of use of Invest & Access and the flexibility of the previous pre-defined strategies.
There are now three strategies available :
- Diversified, which is similar to Invest & Access’ settings.
- Conservative, which will only invest in the most reliable loan originators. It will use different metrics, such as Mintos risk score, loan statuses for the originator, or volume of pending payments.
- High-yield, which will invest in loans with the highest interest rates.
Using the Conservative method will prevent investing in Mintos’ most poorly rated originators. Indeed, in only includes originators with a Mintos risk score between 7 and 10. Unfortunately, as we already pointed out, the previous risk scores really weren’t foolproof and several originators rated B-, B or even B+ ended up being defaulted.
In contrast, the Diversified and High Yield strategies will invest in all loan originators; it makes them riskier, especially for small portfolios, which may suffer of a poor diversification. Mintos actually advises investors to have a portfolio size larger than €1,000 in order to get a proper diversification and decrease the risk.
What hasn’t changed is the ease of use which made Invest & Access a success. Once a strategy is selected, the only configuration required is the size of the target portfolio. That’s all ! This amount will be automatically allocated based on the selected strategy.
This simplicity makes it very easy for beginner investors to use Mintos. In addition, liquidating all or part of your portfolio is as simple as clicking a button; however, it will only sell current loans. Indeed, late loans will have to be sold manually on the secondary market – although it’s probably better to wait for buyback -.
However, I urge anyone who’s tempted to invest through Mintos Strategies – or, even worse, their competitor Bondora’s Go & Grow – to check out this article pointing the dangers of these investing methods and hinting at alternatives.
The minimal amount for Invest & Access used to be €500, but Mintos has since decreased it to €10. However, as pointed out previously, a small portfolio size may lead to very bad returns in case one originator defaults.
There’s a secondary market available, should you ever want to resell your loans. It used to be free for a long time, but the platform resumed charging a fee in Spring 2020. It’s currently 0.85% of the amount.
Thanks to the large demand from Invest & Access investors, selling loans through the secondary market is usually rather fast – especially when applying a discount -. However, at the peak of the Covid-19 crisis, it basically took forever to sell any loan, even with a large discount. Indeed, there was nearly no demand for loans, while at the same time many concerned investors were trying to decrease their portfolio’s size.
Website’s ease of use
Available languages & translations quality
Mintos‘ website is available in many languages; the English translation is excellent.
Mintos's registration process
Account funding and funds withdrawal
It’s possible to fund your Mintos account either by SEPA transfer, Trustly or Wise.
Website’s design and ergonomics
Mintos‘ website is well designed and looks great. It’s easy to navigate and use most features; as I already mentioned, the only exception is probably the auto-invest screen.
On the other hand, the various screens or the navigation system are sometimes re-designed in order to accommodate new features. These changes may take some time to get used to. A striking example was at some point, several investors were desperately searching how to invest manually !
All standard reporting features are available at Mintos; both account statement and current investments can be exported as an Excel file.
In addition, I greatly appreciate being able to evaluate the diversification of my portfolio through a pie chart showing the originators; it’s also very easy to see the overall interest rates or durations. I only wish the fonts were slightly larger !
A long-standing complaint about Mintos reporting – which became more and more acute as new loan originators defaulted – was that the dashboard didn’t differentiate between funds in transit and funds in recovery. This has been fixed in summer 2020, and both figures are now properly displayed.
There’s a lot of documentation available ! If the How it works sections is too generic to my taste, the Getting started guide is informative, albeit slightly too concise. The FAQ is really complete and will answer most investors’ questions. In addition, the blog makes for a good read as it serves to announce noteworthy changes.
There’s an app for Mintos, available for both Android and iPhone. It offers a rather complete portfolio overview. Paradoxically, the charts are more readable on a smartphone than when viewing Mintos website on a laptop or desktop computer !
It’s also possible to create a new strategy, fund your account or withdraw money.
Actual performance of my Mintos portfolio
At the end of March 2021, the XIRR for my Mintos portfolio was 12,79%.
The performance for this portfolio is rather stable, in spite of the sometimes sudden changes of interest rates. I expect it to decrease slightly as I got rid of my loans from risky originators in order to focus only on reliable ones.
Don't hesitate to read my most recent crowdlending portfolio review for detailed platforms performance comparison as well as historical performance.
For a detailed comparison of the different p2p-lending marketplaces, check out this article.
Portfolio creation date
I created my Mintos portfolio in November 2016
Mintos's facts & figures
Number of investors
Loans amount financed
As of February 2021
Who can invest at Mintos
Both individuals and entities can invest through Mintos. Individual investors must be at least 18 years old, have a bank account in the European Union or third countries currently considered to have AML/CFT systems equivalent to the EU, and have their identity successfully verified by Mintos.
Family trusts, partnerships, limited liability companies and other organizations must have a bank account and be registered in the EU or third countries currently considered to have AML/CFT systems equivalent to the EU.
UK citizens, residents or taxpayers currently can’t invest on Mintos.
Many investors have expressed their frustration towards Mintos as many originators defaulted. I agree that Mintos' risk evaluation could be much improved - the methodology change associated with the switch to Mintos risk scores is a good step in the right direction, albeit not sufficient -.
However, in most cases, a well-managed Mintos portfolio can easily deliver double-digit returns with minimal risk. For intermediate/advanced investors, this platform is an absolute must. With the help of ExploreP2P's ratings for Mintos, they will achieve great returns with a minimal efforts. However, Mintos may not be a good platform for beginner investors; I especially recommend them to stay away from Mintos Strategies, and use our recommended alternatives instead.
More generally, I strongly advise investors to stick to the highest-rated originators, and spread their investments evenly among them. As already noted, investing in loans from Placet Group and CreditStar may be more interesting on Moncera and Lendermarket respectively, rather than using Mintos.
Please note that this review may contain affiliate links. It means that I will earn a commission if you decide to invest after clicking through the link – at no additional cost to you, of course -. Please understand that I have experienced all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the commissions I make if you decide to invest through my links.