Review of Viainvest – 2019

Review of Viainvest

What is Viainvest?

Viainvest is a P2P lending platform owned by VIA SMS Group, Latvia. The platform was launched in 2016 – but VIA SMS Group has a longer history.

The owner, VIA SMS Group, is active in 7 European countries – Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Poland, Czechia, Romania and Spain. It offers 5 various consumer lending products – short-term loan (available in Poland, Czechia and Spain), installment loan (available in Latvia and Sweden), credit line (Sweden, Latvia, Romania and Czechia), as well as payment card with credit line SAVA.card (available for customers in Latvia).

The Viainvest platform currently gives you the opportunity to invest in loans through viaconto.es (Spain), viasms.pl (Poland), viasms.cz (Czech Repyblic), and viasms.lv (Latvia). Meaning, all loan originators are tied to the VIA SMS Group.



Is VIA SMS Group profitable?

Is Viainvest profitable?
During the first half of 2019, the company reached a net turnover of EUR 13 698 298 (31% increase in comparison with the same period in 2018).

The group’s net profit in 2018 was €2 768 915

How Big of a Player is Viainvest?

Viainvest is a medium-sized player on the P2P market. Smaller than the big players, like Mintos and Twino – but bigger than small players , like Peerberry and Grupeer.

Funding in 2018 reached €91M, which is about half of Twino’s funding. But unlike Twino, Viainvest currently stays clear of more riskier loans in countries like Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine.

In our opinion, Viainvest operates on more mature markets with reasonable growth, like Poland and Latvia, which lowers the risk you take as an investor.

Is Viainvest Transparent?

Viainvest is probably one of the most transparent P2P Platforms we have used. Unlike FastInvest and other platforms, all numbers and annual reports are very easy to find; either on the Viainvest website or through links to VIA SMS Group.

You can also dig into the numbers of each loan originator to ensure that economics are in good standing.

It also proved to be easy to contact Viainvest. You can phone, email, or use the chat function in Latvian, Russian or English. We used the chat function and got answers relatively quickly.

While “How it Works” and “FAQ” give valuable information and is well organized, we miss a search function. Sometimes the information you want isn’t exactly where you expect it to be.



What are the Returns on Viainvest?

One common interest rate on Viainvest

Since summer 2019, Viainvest offers one interest rate on all loans: 11%.

This initiative raised the average return rate on the platform and no doubt made diversification easier, since you no longer need to go after the highest interest rates.

Some argue that 11% is lower than on many other P2P platforms and seem to forget that the higher the returns, the higher the risks.

Who Can Invest on Viainvest P2P platform?

As an individual, you must be at least 18 years old and hold a tax residency within one of the European countries or Switzerland. You also need a bank account and provide a copy of a valid passport or ID card. The information on the bank account must match your investor profile on Viainvest, before you can start investing.

Similar requirements also apply to the legal entities. Information provided upon registration must match the company information appearing when transferring funds from a bank.

All investments are made in EUR and the minimum investment in a single loan is €10.

The payment type is SEPA (Single European Payments Account), meaning you must transfer money from a credit institution in Latvia or another EU country (or Switzerland).

Tax Information and Tax With-holdings

euro by Chiara Daneluzzi

Unlike many other platforms, Viainvest seems to take both money laundering laws and tax treaties more seriously.

Your income from the platform will basically be taxed according to the legislation of the loan origin country. This doesn’t really apply to Poland and Latvia, where no tax with-holdings are required. But it does apply to Spain and the Czech Republic.

If you aren’t a citizen of any of these countries, you probably have tax obligations in your home country and don’t want Viainvest to withhold taxes. To avoid the with-holdings on returns in Spain and the Czech Republic, you must get a tax certificate from tax authorities in your home country. Upload this tax certificate to the platform before you make any investments! Viainvest will not refund taxes on interest that have been paid before you uploaded the necessary documents.

A tax certificate confirms the existence of Double Taxation Convention between your country of tax residence and the loan origination countries. You normally need one certificate for each country you plan to invest in.

Note that the tax laws in the Czech Republic are complicated. You may be subject to tax and preliminary with-holdings even with a certificate, depending on your country of residence. Learn more about the tax issues and see a full explanation on the Viainvest website.

Is all of this tedious? Yes, maybe. Our impression, however, is that the platform seems to have good legal advisers that cover their back.

The Auto-invest Tool

Auto invest on Viainvest

With the auto-invest you can automate your future investments. Every time your investment account is funded by repaid loans or transfers from your bank account, the auto-invest tool makes new investments based on your settings.

You to set rules based on loan term, investment amount, loan originator, and loan type. You can also indicate if you want funds to be re-invested or not.

Since all loans now have the same interest rate and the buy-back guarantee is there by default, you don’t need to worry about those settings.

You can also diversify your investments by creating several auto-invest portfolios and allocate certain amounts of your funds to each portfolio.



Manual Investments on Primary Market

You can, of course, invest manually by picking your loans from a list of available loans on the primary market.

If you have a specific strategy, you can filter the list of loans by:

  • Loan originator (country)
  • Loan Type
  • (Interest rate)
  • Loan amounts
  • Remaining loan term
  • Available amount for investment

Available loan types are Short term loan, Installment loan, and Credit Line.

You should be aware that loans on the primary market are quickly funded. Most of the time, you will see a notice telling you: “Currently there are no loans listed”.

No loans

Annoying, of course. So, we strongly encourage you to use the auto-invest feature. When we used auto invest during 2019, funds have been re-invested almost immediately and rarely been sitting idle on our account.

There is no secondary market on this platform, which means that you cannot sell a loan before it expires. Your investment is locked for the term specified, unless it is a credit line that gets extended over a long period of time.

Is there a Buy-Back Guarantee?

Yes, Viainvest has a automatic and generous buy-back guarantee.

A buy-back guarantee means that the loan is bought back if the borrower can’t pay back the initial loan. On Viainvest platform, this guarantee kicks in after 30 days.

The buy-back guarantee is provided by each loan originator. The loan originator will repurchase a delayed loan at the nominal value of outstanding principal plus accrued interest income.

Delayed Loans

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to see the number of delayed loans. You must filter the list of your investments and manually try to figure out how well each loan originator performs.

Our current ratio of delayed loans is 8%, which is extremely good. Going back a few months, the ratio was slightly higher, but it hasn’t exceeded 22%.

Referral Program

There is referral program in place. It is perhaps less lucrative than the programs on many other platforms, but it is probably adequate for a company that wants to control its growth.

You send a link to a friend (or add it to your social profile or website – like the link below). The referred person must sign up through the link and invest at least €50.

For each successful referral, both you and referred person will earn a one-time 10 € bonus (November 2019).

If you are planning on signing up with Viainvest, it pays to sign up through a referral link – like the one below. We, however, don’t mind if you use the link provided by one of your friends instead.

Sign up with Viainvest

What Others Think about Viainvest

Viainvest on Trustpilot in November 2019

Viainvest has 10 reviews on TrustPilot (13,175 users). So, at least they don’t try to inflate their own numbers. You may want to compare this to Iuvo-Group, a platform that has 131 reviews and less users or FastInvest which has inflated the reviews from 31 to 398 in less than a year – a way to effectively bury any negative reviews.

Viainvest’s positive reviews seem to be mostly sale pitches from users who wants you to use their referral links. The negative reviews are from people who have misunderstood the functions or transfer options.

Two examples:

I have been using Viainvest for more than a year

I have been using Viainvest for more than a year now. At first, I was skeptic, but later after I managed to withdraw my funds without any problem I continued investing. At the moment net annual return is a bit over 11%.

 

Do not use you can’t get your money out.

This is one of the worst p2p lending sites out there their returns are only 11%. But the most frustrating thing is you can deposit money via transferwise etc. But they will not let you get your money back. In my opinion you are better using a site like Mintos has they have more attractive rates and I have no problem withdrawing my money.

What We Think

Pros – What We Like

  • Simple return strategy (Always 11%)
  • Smooth auto-invest tool
  • Exemplary transparency
  • Seriousness about money laundering and tax rules
  • Generous buy-back guarantee (30 days)

Cons – What We Don’t Like

  • Website has no search function
  • Low flow of available loans on primary market

Summary

Viainvest statistics - courtesy Viainvest

Founded
2016
Users
13 175 (November 2019)
Yearly funding
€91M (2018)
Country
Riga, Latvia
Company annual reports
Yes
Company owner info
Yes
Investing in:
Czech Republic, Latvia, Poland, and Spain
Currency
EUR
Type of loans
SMS loans, Credit line
Individual borrower info
Yes
Individual borrower grading
No
Risk grading
No
Buy-back guarantee – delayed loans
Yes (30 days)
Investment fees
No
Withdrawal fees
No
SEPA Bank transfers
Yes
Primary market
Yes
Secondary market
No
Referral Program
Yes
Auto-invest tool
Yes

Rated by P2P Investments:

Ease of website functions
Very good
Ease of sign-up process
Very good
Ease of money transfers
Very good
Loan availability
OK
Loan diversity
OK
Risk
Low

Current Stake by P2P-Investments.org:

Initial Deposit (Jan 2019):
€500
Current portfolio balance (Nov 2019):
€6 622

Featured photo by Headway on Unsplash

Referral link for €10 Bonus



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