My opinion on ViaInvest
However, the platform is part of a large group which is regarded as rather reliable. For conservative investors, this aspect may be more important than high returns.
ViaInvest’s pros & cons
- The uniform interest rates mean that investors have fewer choices to make
- The platform and the related originators are part of the same group
- Low interest rates
- Tax withholding mechanisms, which reduces performance for loans from Spain and Czech Republic
- Perfectible ergonomics
Overview of ViaInvest’s loans
There are currently three kinds of loans available on the platform :
- Short-term loans
- Installment loans
- Credit line
- Business loans
All loans except business loans are secured by a buyback guarantee and offer a uniform 12% interest rate. On the other hand, business loans may have lower interest rates (currently 8% or 12%) and aren’t covered by a buyback guarantee, but a collateral is provided.
Business or installment loans are usually long-term (10 months to 2 years), whereas credit lines and of course short-term loans have durations around one month.
Borrowers are located in many different countries. As of July 2020, they are :
- Czech Republic
In addition to the rather low interest rate, a withholding tax is applied to interests generated by Czech or Spanish loans. It amounts to 15% in Spain and 19% in Czech Republic. It’s apparently possible to avoid it by providing a tax certificate, but getting it in France is a big headache so I didn’t bother. As a result I’ve decided to exclude these two countries from my auto-invest configuration.
In the past, the platform suffered from several cash drags, as there were not enough loans available to meet investors’ demand. Fortunately, the loans supply has greatly increased.
There are currently seven loans originators A loan originator is the firm that originally provides the loan to the borrower.
They usually lend a small percent of the amount using their own funds, while the
remaining is put on sale on loans marketplaces. The part of the loan kept by the
originator is called called skin in the game; it’s typically 5%-10% of the
loan amount, and is supposed to encourage originators to provide quality loans. present on ViaInvest; that’s roughly one for each country where loans are offered.
Little detail is available about these entities; compared to the amount of information provided by PeerBerry, it could really be improved.
Like most P2P companies, ViaInvest‘s buyback guarantee A buyback guarantee is a guarantee provided by the platform or a loan originator.
If repayment of a loan is delayed by more than a given delay (usually 30 or 60 days),
the platform or loan originator will buy back the loan. The guarantee may cover only
part of the capital, or in a much more interesting case, both the capital and accrued
interests. As the conditions vary from one platform to another, it’s very important
to check this point. will refund both accrued interest and principal after 30 days of default. As already mentioned, business loans aren’t covered by the buyback guarantee – but they are secured by a collateral -.
Platform’s transparency and reliability
The platform’s team is introduced on the website, albeit without direct link to their LinkedIn profile. The platform also displays public statistics regarding the monthly loans volume.
The available information on the platform’s loan originators is rather succinct; however, all of them are subsidiaries of the VIA SMS Group. The group publishes yearly audited financial reports; they’re not yet available for 2019 but should be ready soon.
In March 2020, ViaInvest announced that they were applying for a IBF (investment brokerage firm) licence from Latvia’s Financial and Capital Market Commission. This would lead to an improved protection for investors; however, it remains to be seen whether this licence will be granted.
Overall, ViaInvest is regarded as rather reliable.
Impact of Covid-19 outbreak on ViaInvest
Like for many competitors, the main impact of the coronavirus outbreak was a much decreased loans volume.
There’s no secondary market The secondary market is a marketplace allowing investors to sell loans from their
portfolio to other investors. This is useful if they need to get their money back
before the loan’s maturity. at ViaInvest. As most loans are short-term, it’s not a big deal.
For medium-term loans – as well as short-term loans which got extended more than 120 days, effectively making them medium-term -, it’s possible to use the Buyback feature. This mechanism, which shouldn’t be mistaken with the buyback guarantee simply means that it’s possible to sell your loans back to the platform after 120 days. Selling loans this way is free and instantaneous.
Manual investing at ViaInvest
While it’s possible to invest manually through ViaInvest‘s loans list screen, there’s little point in doing so. I strongly encourage investors to save time by using the auto-invest feature !
Like most competitors, the platform provides a few details about the borrower, but it’s kind of pointless to look at them in detail anyway.
If ViaInvest‘s auto-invest screen is easier to configure than Mintos‘s, it pales compared to the beautiful design of the similar screen found at Lendermarket or Swaper. Like most of the website, the fonts are very small, and the color contrasts aren’t strong enough.
Moreover, it’s not possible to filter directly by country. As a result, in order to prevent investment in Spain and Czech Republic because of the tax withholding, I have to disable to matching originators (viasms.cz, Via SMS Group and viaconto.es) instead.
One more annoying aspect is for example selecting Vietnam will automatically check business loans, as only these loans are offered these. It’s thus important to double-check all fields before saving !
In addition, should you decide to invest in business loans, the screen will be cluttered by warnings as these work differently from other loans.
Website’s ease of use
ViaInvest’s registration process
It takes very little time to register.
Account funding and funds withdrawal
The only available method is SEPA transfer.
Website’s design and ergonomics
As already noted regarding the auto-invest screen, the small fonts and weak colors contrast make the website hard to read. Navigation could also be improved : there’s a side menu, but it’s hidden by default – although a lot of blank space is available on both sides of the screen -.
Available languages & translations quality
The English translation of ViaInvest‘s website is of good quality. Other languages seem to be available, but it looks like only the front page got translated !
The reporting options are rather poor; apart from the investments list and account statement, very few statistics are available. For example, one very basic feature which is missing is an overview of the loans status. Nearly all platforms will display the percentage of current and late loans in your portfolio, but this information isn’t available at ViaInvest.
The FAQ A FAQ is simply a compilation of Frequently Asked Questions is useful, as it’s both extensive and well-written. On the other hand, the How it works section is basically useless and provides very little useful information.
Investors can get in touch with ViaInvest by e-mail, phone or via a live chat box.
Communication from the platform
ViaInvest is a rather quiet platform; investors will mostly receive account summaries as well as an occasional newsletter. The frequency of the account summaries is configurable on the Settings/Site settings page.
Actual performance of my ViaInvest portfolio
At the end of June 2020, the XIRR for my ViaInvest portfolio was 10,24%.
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 ViaInvest portfolio in August 2019.
ViaInvest's main competitors
For a detailed comparison of the different p2p-lending marketplaces, check out this article.
ViaInvest's facts & figures
Number of investors
Loans amount financed
As of July 2020
Who can invest at ViaInvest
Both private and legal entities are welcome to invest with VIAINVEST.
To begin investing as a private individual, you must be at least 18 years old and hold a tax residency within one of the European countries or Switzerland. In order to start investing feel free to complete the registration process and make the first deposit to your VIAINVEST investor account. If personal information stated in your investor profile matches the bank information of the person transferring funds to the VIAINVEST platform, the investor profile becomes active and you are able to start investing.
Similar requirements also apply to the legal entities – to start investing, the legal entity must register to open the investor account and make the first deposit. If the information provided upon registration matches the company information appearing when transferring funds, investor account is confirmed.
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.