ViaInvest review

Table of contents

An excerpt of ViaInvest's loans list

ViaInvest's overview

ViaInvest focuses mostly on short-term, secured loans offering an uniform 12% interest rate. In addition, the platform also offers a very small number of real-estate or business loans with very specific characteristics.

My opinion on ViaInvest

It’s a pity that ViaInvest‘s offer is relatively complex when it comes to business or real-estate loans. In addition, the platform’s website pales in comparison to the well-designed interface most competitors offer.

However, the platform is part of a large group which is regarded as financially solid. In addition, returns are reasonable – roughly comparable to Moncera, but lower than Robocash or Lendermarket -.

Overall, ViaInvest provides a good way to diversify a P2P loans portfolio through reliable loan originators.

Detailed ratings

Actual performance

The performance of my ViaInvest is slightly below 11%, which is lower than for many competitors.

Loans liquidity

In early 2021, the volume of loans on the platform wasn’t enough to meet investors’ demand. Fortunately, things have improved in May.

Reporting

The statistics are very basic, and the dashboard would benefit from a redesign.

Transparency & reliability

The platform is part of a large and rather solid group. Moreover, it’s also the case for the loan originators.

Website ergonomics

ViaInvest’s website lacks behind more recent competitors in term of design and usability.

ViaInvest's pros & cons

Pros

  • The platform and the related originators are part of the same group, which is financially solid
  • The returns are reasonable, especially when considering the platform's reliability

Cons

  • Lower performance than many competitors
  • The tax withholding mechanism reduces performance for loans from Spain and Czech Republic
  • The website looks dated and its ergonomics could be much improved
  • Business and real-estate loans are a bit complex and very heterogeneous

Loans characteristics

Loans durations

Short-term : less than one month

Medium-term : one month to one year

Long-term : more than one year

Loans kinds

Individual

Business

Real-estate

Minimal investment

€10

Buyback guarantee

Buyback guarantee available

Currencies

EUR – Euro

Overview of ViaInvest's loans

The following kinds of loans are currently available on the platform :

  • Short-term loans
  • Installment loans
  • Credit line
  • Business loans and real-estate loans – both are classified by the platform as business loans –

As of July 2021, there are two large business loans available – from Philippines an Spain -.

Like all business loans on the platform, these two investments require a lot of reading in order to understand the loan’s conditions.

The Filipino loan results from a cooperation between ViaInvest and Twino. Although it’s classified as a business loan, the funds will actually be used in order to fund a consumer loans portfolio. The loan term is 2 years, and interest rate is 11% paid monthly, plus 2% at maturity date. This loan comes with an early exit option, which has somehow complicated terms. In a nutshell, the prior notice period is at least one month, in which case the additional 2% interests are forfeited.

The Spanish loan is totally different. Indeed, it will be used to acquire mortgage-backed non-performing real estate loans. The loan term is at most 2 years – although it’s likely to be repaid early -, and the interest rate is 12%.

Short-term loans, credit lines and installment loans

They form the overwhelming majority of loans on the platform. In spite of their different nature, they have rather uniform characteristics. Indeed, they all have the same 12% interest rate (as of June 2021). In addition, they are secured by a buyback guarantee. Installment loans usually have a one year duration, while other loans kinds last around one month.

Borrowers are located in many different countries. As of early 2021, they are :

  • Latvia
  • Czech Republic
  • Poland
  • Sweden
  • Romania
  • Spain

One drawback of ViaInvest is that 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. Unfortunately, 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.

Loans volume

In the past, the platform suffered from several cash drags, as there were not enough loans available to meet investors’ demand. In early 2021, the loans supply was often really low, which resulted in an empty loans list.

The main drawback of this situation was that the auto-invest wasn’t fast enough to invest when new loans were published. It was thus necessary to invest manually in order to grab the available loans.

Fortunately, ViaInvest managed to greatly increase the loans supply in late Spring 2021. Indeed, it nearly doubled compared to the previous month. One can only hope that this improved situation will last !

Buyback guarantee

Like on most P2P platforms, loans on ViaInvest come with a 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.. It will refund both accrued interest and principal after 60 days of default. This delay used to be shorter (30 days), but got increased in late Spring 2021.

As already mentioned, business and real-estate loans aren’t covered by the buyback guarantee.

Platform’s transparency and reliability

Overall, ViaInvest provides a satisfying level of transparency. Moreover, its parent company – as well as the related loan originators – seem to be financially solid. Let’s dig into these topics !

ViaInvest’s background and team

ViaInvest was founded in 2016 and is located in Riga, Latvia. This platform is part of the VIA SMS Group, a large financial group. It’s very similar to Robocash, which is the platform used to fund loans provided by Robocash Group.

No data is available regarding ViaInvest’s financial health. However, we have to keep in mind that this platform wasn’t designed to make money, but rather to fund the loans portfolio of the parent company. It thus makes more sense to verify the reliability of VIA SMS Group.

The financial report for 2019 is available. It underwent an audit by BDO. Although this accounting firm is slightly less known that Ernst & Young (used by Mintos and EstateGuru), it’s still much better than for competitors who provide unaudited reports. Reading the report reveals that VIA SMS Group is profitable.

Even better, although 2020 was – to say the least – challenging, the interim report for the first six months show that the group still managed to make a profit.

Going back to ViaInvest itself, the platform’s team is introduced on the website. Direct links to their LinkedIn profile aren’t provided, but it’s easy to check out ViaInvest’s LinkedIn page.

In term of regulations, ViaInvest announced in March 2020 that they were applying for a IBF (investment brokerage firm) licence from Latvia’s FCMC (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.

Licensing & regulation

Licensing is a topic regularly mentioned in ViaInvest‘s newsletters. Indeed, the platform want to obtain an investment brokerage firm (IBF) license. As of June 2021, this process seems to be in its final phase.

Track record

Marketplaces such as Mintos had to suffer from defaulted and suspended loan originators. On the contrary, ViaInvest’s track record in this regard is spotless – as are Robocash‘s or Moncera‘s for example -. Indeed, listing only originators which belong to the same group allows platforms to have a much better insight regarding their financial reliability !

Loan originators reliability

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.

Short description of two loan originators at ViaInvest

The available information on the platform’s loan originators is rather succinct. However, it’s important to remember that just like ViaInvest, all of them are subsidiaries of the VIA SMS Group.

Reporting & statistics availability

The platform provides statistics regarding the monthly loans volume and number of users.

Loans descriptions

Like most competitors, the platform provides information about the borrower. However, for peer-to-peer loans, it’s kind of pointless to look at them as they’re uniform loans.

Detail of a loan at ViaInvest

On the other hand, providing details about real-estate or business loans makes a lot of sense. ViaInvest‘s descriptions for such loans is very complete – probably too verbose, in fact -. I mostly regret the lack of a clear valuation regarding the collateral for the real-estate loan.

Impact of Covid-19 outbreak on ViaInvest

Like for many competitors, the main impact of the coronavirus outbreak was a much decreased loans volume.

Platform's features

Early exit

Early exit available

Investing methods

Auto-invest

Manual investing

Secondary market

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

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 !

However, as already pointed out, it may from time to time be necessary to invest manually in order to have a totally invested portfolio.

Auto-invest

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.

In addition, should you decide to invest in business loans, the screen will be cluttered by warnings as these work differently from other loans.

One last annoyance is that selecting Vietnam will automatically check business loans, as only these loans are offered in this country. It’s thus important to double-check all fields before saving !

Website’s ease of use

Languages

English, German, Latvian, Spanish, French

Funding methods

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 !

ViaInvest's registration process

It takes very little time to register. For a long time, the platform didn’t implement any KYC/AML check. However, as they’re about to obtain an investment brokerage firm (IBF) licence, investors must now verify their identity.

ViaInvest use iDenfy, a service less known that its main competitor Veriff. I thus expected the process to be painful, but I was pleasantly surprised. Indeed, it’s quite trivial to get verified. I only had to take a picture of both sides of my ID, as well as a selfie. The only slight downside is when verifying using a mobile phone, the button and the picture previews are too far apart. However, I overall found the whole process efficient.

Once the process is completed, identity verification may take up to two days. However, in my case, it was much faster. Indeed, after a few hours, I received a confirmation email.

Account funding and funds withdrawal

The only available method is SEPA transfer.

Website’s design and ergonomics

Overall ViaInvest‘s website feels dated, especially when compared to a newcomer such as Lendermarket.

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 -.

Reporting

The reporting options are rather poor; apart from the investments list and account statement, very few statistics are available. In particular, the dashboard could do with some serious make-over.

For example, one very basic feature which initially seems to be is missing is an overview of the loans status. Nearly all platforms will clearly display the percentage of current and late loans in your portfolio. At ViaInvest, investors have to toy with the interactive graph at the bottom, which has a terrible interface.

Documentation

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.

Communication & support

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.

The platform has a blog, which isn’t very user friendly but provides insightful news.

Official ViaInvest pages on social networks

Support

Finally, when it comes to getting support, investors can get in touch with ViaInvest by e-mail, phone or via a live chat box. The platform’s investors advisor also answers questions in ViaInvest’s unofficial Telegram channel.

Actual performance of my ViaInvest portfolio

11,45%

At the end of September 2021, the XIRR for my ViaInvest portfolio was 11,45%.

Although the actual performance is lower than what I obtain at Mintos, Lendermarket or Robocash, it's a reasonable figure for a platform that seems reliable.

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 ViaInvest portfolio in August 2019

ViaInvest's main competitors

ViaInvest's facts & figures

Location

Riga, Latvia

Founding year

2016

Number of investors

24,764

As of September 2021

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.

ViaInvest FAQ

In conclusion...

It's a pity that ViaInvest has such a poor user interface. Indeed, combined to the lower performance than most competitors, it makes the platform unappealing. However, this is partly compensated by the reliability of ViaInvest's parent group - a parameter which has to be taken into account -.

Disclosure

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.

6 thoughts on “ViaInvest review”

  1. You seem to know a whole lot of this P2P funding thing and I have one question:

    Do you earn (into your web account) that 10-12% Interest Rate after the stated “Closing Date” of the project?

    I am asking this because I’m confused on the “anual 12%” and then the project says its only 30 days for the “loan term”…

    Reply
    • Hi Iwan,

      Interests rates are nearly always computed yearly; this helps when we want to compare then. Otherwise, it would be harder to compare loans with different durations.

      However, most P2P loans interests are reimbursed monthly. If the loan term is 30 days, you’ll be reimbursed interests and capital after 30 days; if it’s longer, you’ll usually be reimbursed interests once per month, and the capital at the end of the term. This is the common situation for loans to individuals; if you invest in business or real-estate loans (like through CrowdEstate or BulkEstate) it may be different.

      I hope this answers your question. Don’t hesitate to get back in touch otherwise, or for additional info !

      Have a great day

      Reply
  2. Having read this I believed it was very informative. I appreciate you finding the time and energy
    to put this informative article together. I once again find myself personally spending a
    lot of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

    Reply
  3. hi, thanks for this review. I am investor in Viainvest and I like their platform. One thing I really dislike it that their buybacks are not started automatically. You have to monitor yourself and manually initialize for each individual loan. In addition you cannot filter loans eligible for buyback on the website (can only be done by downloading the excel….). This is very different from any other platform. Have you looked at this?

    Reply
    • Hello,

      The “buyback” term as used at ViaInvest is slightly confusing. My experience is that defaulted loans are bought back automatically; however, loans that get extended for longer than 120 days can also be bought back manually by the investor. I remember having to do it on many loans, when I liquidated my original portfolio. It was rather tedious.

      Reply
      • indeed it is very tedious and their website does not explain it. Seems easy to make this automatic or do for the whole portfolio in one go so it may be on purpose to keep investors locked in???
        It doesnt seem they should be getting 4 stars for their website and their buyback… .

        Reply

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