Why I use neither Bondora’s Go & Grow nor Mintos Strategies

A very quick overview of Bondora’s Go & Grow and Mintos Strategies

Both Bondora Go & Grow and Mintos Strategies are designed to make investing easier.

By itself, it’s a very laudable goal. I mean, which investor in his right mind enjoys configuring Mintos’ auto-invest ?

Several Mintos loan originators are displayed, along with the loans kinds offered as well as extra parameters
The actual screen lists ten time as many originators. No wonder investors look for something easier !

There’s no denying that using a Mintos strategy is much, much easier.

Mintos Strategy creation, with a single input for the invested amount (between €50 and €500000)
Setting up a Mintos strategy is trivial, but risk for one's portfolio

Creating a Go & Grow portfolio takes slightly longer, but is equally trivial. This simplicity makes these two products extremely appealing, especially for beginner investors. Unfortunately, there’s large risk of capital loss when using either of them.

Here are the reasons why I recommend peer-to-peer investors to stay away from these two offers – along with the alternatives I recommend -.

Bondora Go & Grow

Bondora Go & Grow is a very simple product, which offers an expected annual return of 6.75%.

My first reservation about Bondora Go & Grow is that it’s a blackbox. Investors don’t know which loans they invest in.

In addition, although the platform seems to be profitable at first glance, many hinted at the fact that it’s mostly due to Bondora’s “creative” accounting. Indeed, overdue loans aren’t actually taken into account. This casts serious doubts about the long-term platform’s profitability.

My last critics towards Bondora Go & Grow is that the expected return is actually really low compared to the actual performance provided by loans from reliable originators :

  • As of July 2022, interest rates at Robocash range from 10% to 13%. My actual returns after many years on the platform hover between 12.5% and 13% annually.
  • Interest rates from Esketit, which offers loans from reliable lending group Cream Finance currently stand at 12%.
  • Moncera is one of the most reliable P2P platforms, as it belongs to the very strong lending group Placet Group. Their only downside is that the interest rates are lower than for most competitors. They indeed commonly hover around 9% – although right now, many 11% loans are available -. Basically, Moncera’s lowest interest rate is higher than Bondora Go & Grow’s returns, although the reliability of the loan originator is much better than Bondora’s ! After a bit more than two years on the platform, the performance of my Moncera is 10.45%. Take that, Go & Grow !

All these loan originators are greatly profitable entities, with high-quality loans portfolios. If you’re tempted to give Bondora’s Go & Grow a try thanks to its ease of use, please ask yourself if the lower returns and much decreased safety are really worth it.

As a final word regarding Bondora, this platform was of my first peer-to-peer portfolios, along with Mintos, ViaInvest, Omaraha and Mintos. I still have portfolios in all of them… apart from Bondora. I clearly made many mistakes when investing – falling for scams such as Envestio and Grupeer was clearly one of them -, but I don’t regret leaving Bondora.

Mintos Strategies

Compared to Bondora Go & Grow, Mintos Strategies are a more transparent product. They’re actually ready-made auto-invest configurations, which means that the investor will see the individual loans in her/his portfolio.

In consequence, unlike Bondora’s Go & Grow, Mintos strategies don’t have a fixed expected performance. Indeed, it will fluctuate depending on the current loans supply.

In July 2022, the average interest rates for loans matching the criteria for Diversified strategy stands slightly below 12%. This value is around 11% for the Conservative strategy, and 15% for High-yield.

The three strategies available at Mintos: Diversified, Conservative and High-Yield
Actual returns will unfortunately often be much smaller then the displayed average interest rate

These figures seem much more promising than the expected returns for Go & Grow. However, it’s essential to realize the actual performance is likely be different – and, to be clear, much lower -.

Indeed, because of the low quality of many loan originators and the lack of reliability of Mintos risk score, these strategies will often invest in loans coming from lending companies which are likely to default.

Take the Conservative strategy : it invests in lending companies with ratings from 7 to 10, which are supposedly the most reliable. However, checking their ratings on ExploreP2P reveals that many of them are actually rated less than 50 out of 100. Should one originator default, it’s likely that the invested capital will be stuck for a long time, and part of it is likely to be lost, resulting in a much decreased portfolio’s performance.

I wrote a lengthy article on Mintos’ loan originators (which actually also covers other platforms). It’s a more than recommended read if you ever consider investing through Mintos – and especially in Mintos Strategies -.

A large number of former Mintos investors left the platform after a large part of their invested capital ended up in recovery. Do you really want to end up like them, just because Mintos strategies are easy to use ?

Alternatives to Bondora Go & Grow and Mintos strategies

Depending on how much effort you want to put into investing, there are several worthy alternatives to these two products.

First, Esketit offers strategies similar to Mintos strategies. However, thanks to the significantly smaller set of originators, it’s much easier to control the risk.

Another option is to start using auto-invest on a user-friendly platform. Among them, Moncera clearly stands out in terms of reliability. It will require more efforts than Go & Grow or Mintos strategies, but the reduced risk and generally increased returns are well worth it !

Esketit strategies

As of July 2022, Esketit offers three strategies. What differentiates them is the proportion of loans from each loan originator.

We’ll specifically look into the CreamFinance Strategy, named after the lending group. Indeed, the two other strategies include loans from a Jordanian loan originator which isn’t profitable and thus risky.

Settings up the strategy is as easy as for a Mintos Strategy. Select the strategy, input the portfolio’s size and you’re done !

Esketit strategy's creation screen features an overview of the strategy, as well as a single input for the portfolio size
Creating an Esketit strategy is trivial

Loans from CreamFinance used to yield 10% in Czech Republic and 12% in Spain. As the strategy allocates loans in equal part in these two countries, the expected performance was 11% annually – this figure is still displayed in Esketit’s website -. However, interest rates in Czech Republic has been increased to 12%, resulting in a theoretical performance of 12%. Actual performance will likely be slightly lower due to buybacks, but not by much.

Trying out Moncera's auto-invest

Investing automatically in P2P loans doesn’t have to be complicated. After all, auto-invest is supposed to make our life easier by saving us time ! As properly designed auto-invest screen is actually trivial to configure, as exemplified by Moncera‘s or Lendermarket‘s websites.

Here’s what Moncera’s auto-invest initially looks like. It’s slightly intimidating, as it’s setup to invest in both consumer loans and real-estate loans.

Moncera's initial auto-invest screeen features ten different fields
Moncera's initial auto-invest screeen

However, I recommend to start by investing only in consumer loans, as they come with a buyback guarantee. After unchecking “Real estate”, the screen is already much more readable !

Unchecking real-estate loans removes two lines from the screen, making it much more readable
Moncera auto-invest screen after selecting only consumer loans

Let’s start to fill it up. First, the strategy name… It’s useful in case you decide to create several portfolios, so you can differentiate them. For now, simply name it “My portfolio” – or any other name you want ! –

The remaining loan term depends on your own time horizon. However, it shouldn’t be too short, as Moncera doesn’t offer a large volume of short-term loans. As of early July 2022, if I input 12 months max (the minimum can be left blank), only 15 loans are available.

Selecting a 12 months maximal duration results in only 15 matching loans
Moncera's auto-invest after inputting a maximal loan term

I’ll thus use 18 month instead in order to have some leeway.

I’ll then input the minimal interest rate (this time leaving the maximal blank). A 10% results in 19 loans, for a total amount of roughly 20k euros. Depending on your portfolio’s size, you may have to lower this threshold to 9%… or be patient as new loans are frequently added.

The portfolio size will obviously depend on your available capital. However, I recommend to use a larger amount than your initial amount. Indeed, setting the exact initial amount means that interests won’t be automatically reinvested, as your portfolio’s size will exceed the threshold. So, just set it to 10% or even 20% higher than your initial portfolio size.

Minimal investment in one loan isn’t too important. Moreover, it will depend on both your portfolio’s size and the number of available loans. Ideally, it should be small enough so that your portfolio is spread between as many loans as possible… but still large enough so that the loans supply is large enough to prevent cash drags. In order to avoid having to micro-manage your auto-invest, I recommend to use twice the current available amount per loan, based on your portfolio’s size and the number of available loans. So, for a €5,000 portfolio and with 28 loans matching my criteria, I’d use roughly 5000/28*2 = 300 euros per loan max.

Finally, leave the reinvestment option checked, unless you want to cash out once the loans are reimbursed.

Here’s the final configuration for my example portfolio :

In total, 9 fields are filled up - including the password and assignment agreement -
Complete auto-invest configuration

In order to validate it, read the assignment agreement, check the box and input your password. You’re done !

I strongly recommend you to check your portfolio at least monthly. Verify that all your funds are invested. Otherwise, you may have to lower the minimal interest rate, increase the maximal term, or increase the maximum amount per loan.

If you’re still concerned about making a mistake, it’s totally possible to start with a €50 portfolio, and increase this amount after a while, once you’ve verified that everything works well !

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