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‘ is currently getting a lot of bad press, and several investors plan to leave the platform after losing money when several loan originators defaulted. At the same time, many 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. However, this 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.
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.
Mintos’s pros & cons
- A huge volume of loans available
- Opportunity to invest in many countries and even different currencies
- Overall ergonomics is excellent
- 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
Overview of Mintos’s loans
Mintos offers an impressive array of loan kinds, in many countries and thus many 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. In early August 2020, they’re back at a more normal level – currently 15.1% for loans from Russian originator Dozarplati -.
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 loan originators 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 the interest rates !
In spite of the interest rates variation, the actual performance of my Mintos portfolio has been very stable throughout 2019 and 2020.
Around half of the available loans are personal loans, around one quarter are short-term loans and 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 to more than six years -.
Mintos’ cashback campaigns
Mintos used to regularly run campaigns. For example, they may give 1% cashback if you invest in loans from a given originator, or in long-term loans. A great way to boost your returns is to sign up for Mintos’ campaigns, and direct your investments accordingly. Campaigns change often, so it’s something to keep an eye on !
Unlike most other platforms, it’s necessary to explicitly sign-up for a campaign in order to enjoy the bonus.
As of August 2020, the cumulative volume of loans funded through Mintos was more than five billion euro. It doubled in less than one year, as this figure was € 250,000,000 in July 2019.
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); it’s the same for all originators.
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 !
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 !
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 August 2020, Mintos lists around 70 loan originators. Although this impressive number includes 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. In summer 2020, there are 8 defaulted loan originators; 12 more got suspended for various reasons – most often because of delayed repayments -.
Since August 2018, the platform started rating their originators, from A+ (safest companies) to D (defaulted originators). It’s possible to configure the auto-invest to use only selected ratings.
Unfortunately, the usefulness of these ratings are limited. Indeed, many defaulted/suspended credit companies were still rated B by Mintos. Moreover, the shareholders of Mintos and several originators (such as Mogo) overlap. This raises the possibility of a conflict of interests. As a result, the ratings’ objectivity are subject to caution.
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.
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 €5 billion since its inception !).
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.
The platform will send notifications as new originators are added, giving investors the opportunity to include them in their auto-invest portfolio.
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.
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.
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 -.
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.
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.
Manual investing at Mintos
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)
Mintos‘ auto-invest 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.
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 ratings for the originator
- The loans types
- The borrower’s country
- The presence or absence of a buyback guarantee
Even after filtering out many countries and ratings, the auto-invest screen is still rather intimidating.
As a side note, you may notice in spite of their reliability, loan originators Placet Group and CreditStar are de-selected in my configuration. Indeed, I use Moncera and Lendermarket instead to gain access to these loans.
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 rating, loan type, country 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 ! As I focus only on top-rated originators, I decided to spread my portfolio evenly between them.
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.
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 blends these two concepts, while reatining 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 rating, 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 Mintos ratings between A+ and B-. Unfortunately, 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 change 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 -.
As of August 2020, expected returns are slightly below 10% for the Conservative strategy, a bit more than 12% for Diversified and below 13% for High Yield. For the former one, these returns are typically lower than when using auto-invest – it’s the price to pay for a passive investment style -.
Another concern (shared by other investment methods) is the potentially long time needed to sell loans. Mintos claims that cashouts complete in 5:44 hours in average; however, it greatly depends on market conditions. During the coronavirus crisis, the delay was much, much longer.
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 a fee was reinstantiated 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
Mintos’s registration process
Registering as an investor at Mintos is quick and easy. When it comes to the KYC KYC (Know Your Customer) checks are procedures used by financial businesses
in order to verify the identity of their clients. Most Crowdlending platforms will require
a copy of an identification document (identity card, passport, driving licence); an utility bill
or bank statement may be necessary as well. procedure, Mintos has chosen Veriff. It allows for a quick and smooth identify verification check.
Account funding and funds withdrawal
It’s possible to fund your Mintos account either by SEPA transfer, Trustly or TransferWise.
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 !
Available languages & translations quality
Mintos‘ website is available in many languages; the English translation is excellent.
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 very readable 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 December 2020, the XIRR for my Mintos portfolio was 12,82%.
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.
Portfolio creation date
I created my Mintos portfolio in November 2016.
Mintos's main competitors
For a detailed comparison of the different p2p-lending marketplaces, check out this article.
Mintos's facts & figures
Number of investors
Loans amount financed
As of August 2020
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.
Many investors have expressed their frustration towards Mintos as many originators defaulted. I agree that Mintos' risk evaluation could be much improved - current ratings update seem neither realistic nor objective -. Moreover, Mintos may not be a good platform for beginner investors with a small portfolio.
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 effort.
I strongly recommend sticking to the highest-rated originators, and spread your 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.
Again, beginners should realize that Mintos strategies carry a risk, even the so-called "conservative" one. It's especially true for small portfolios. In this case, platforms offering loans from a single originator is probably a better choice. Already mentioned Lendermarket and Moncera are excellent choices in this regard, thanks to their excellent ergonomics.
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.