Mintos Review 2024: Leading P2P Marketplace Worth Investing Again?

Mintos is the largest P2P lending platform in Europe and therefore enjoys a special status as the market leader in the P2P market. More than half a million investors have registered with the platform and more than 8 billion euros in P2P loans have already been financed since its inception in 2014.

As impressive as these numbers are, Mintos faced many stress tests and struggles in recent years, which have exposed the platform’s weaknesses. In this Mintos review you will find out about the risks that come along with investing on the biggest P2P marketplace in Europe and whether an investment is still worthwhile.

All the information that are covered in this Mintos review are based on my own personal experiences with the platform for the past 6+ years. Please make sure to do your own due diligence before investing on any platform. More information can be found in the Disclaimer.

Further analyses of other platforms can be found on my P2P Platform Review page.


Mintos Overview

Before we get started, here is a quick summary with the most important information about Mintos.

Founded / Started:May 2014 / January 2015
Legal Name:AS Mintos Marketplace (LINK)
Headquarter:Riga, Latvia
Regulated:Yes (Financial and Capital Market Commission)
CEO:Martins Sulte (May 2014)
Community Voting 2022:2.95 out of 5 | See Voting
Assets Under Management:EUR 614+ Million (April 2024)
Number of Investors:540.000 (April 2024)
Expected Return:10,4%
Primary Loan Type:Consumer Loans
Collateral:Buyback Guarantee
Bonus:No

About Mintos

mintos-review-logoMintos is a Latvian P2P marketplace, founded in 2014, where investors can invest in a variety of loans from global lenders, earning a return of around 12%.

Due to its highly scalable business model, Mintos is the largest P2P platform in Europe in terms of financed loan volume and assets-under-management.  

The vision of the platform is that investing into loans will become a mainstream asset-class, while Mintos aims to be the world’s leading P2P marketplace.

The Origin Story

mintos-review-p2p

Martins Sulte, one of the founders and CEO of Mintos, was in the final stages of his MBA studies in 2014. At the time he wrote down some ideas about what he could do after graduation. 

With his experience in the financial sector (Ernst & Young, later investment banker at SEA) and his natural interest in technology, he wanted to combine both of his passions.

After reading an article about the British platform Landbay on TechCrunch, he became aware of the P2P lending business model. Together with Martins Valters, who had previously been his supervisor at Ernst & Young, the two founded the company Mintos in 2014.

Ownership

Mintos-Review-OwnershipThe question of who owns Mintos has always been popular as well as controversial. On the Mintos website it says besides the two founders Martins Sulte and Martins Valters, four other investors have been involved in the set-up of Mintos.

These are: Maris Keiss (co-founder of 4finance and Mogo), Aigars Kesenfelds (co-founder of 4finance and Mogo, investor in Artsy and Madara Cosmetics), Kristaps Ozols (co-founder of 4finance and Mogo ) and Alberts Pole (co-founder of 4finance and Mogo).

The ultimate beneficiary owner of AS Mintos Holding is Aigars Kesenfelds, who owns at least 25% of the company according to IFRS standard. The exact shareholder breakdown is not revealed by Mintos.

AS Mintos Holding is in turn owned by ALPES Capital Ltd. Also here, Aigars Kesenfelds is the ultimate beneficiary owner.  

Aigars Kesenfelds

mintos-aigars-kesenfeldsAigars Kesenfelds is often considered the secret string-puller behind Mintos. The Latvian multimillionaire, who was one of the four founders of 4finance in 2008, appears very rarely in public. However, his reputation precedes him by a long way.

An extensively researched article by a Re:Baltica journalist “The Fast Millionaire” portrays the rise and background of Aigars Kensenfelds empire and also showcases his cross connections to Mintos.   

Mintos Management

Mintos is represented by CEO and co-founder Martins Sulte and by co-founder and COO/CFO Martins Valters.

mintos-review-rethink-p2p


Business Model & Finances

Throughout the process of due diligence, investors should also have a look at the business model of a P2P platform as well as the overall financial situation. How does the company earn money? Does the platform operate profitably? And how well is the company positioned financially? In the following paragraphs of this Mintos review, you can follow-up on those questions.

Monetization

How does Mintos earn money? The P2P marketplace generated a revenue of EUR 8.21 million in 2022. This revenue is divided into five different sources.

Mintos-Review-2023-Revenue-Sources

  • Service Fees for Lenders: EUR 8.2 million (89.4%)
  • Inactivity Fee for Investors: EUR 336,000 (3.7%)
  • One-Off transaction Fees: EUR 293,000 (3.2%)
  • Currency Exchange Commissions: EUR 191,000 (2.1%)
  • Transaction Fees Secondary Market: EUR 151,000 (1.6%)

The inactivity fee for investors was introduced on 3 January 2022. Investors will be charged a monthly fee of EUR 2.90 if they do not invest in any new loans or sell any loans from the portfolio for six months. Mintos was thus able to generate a revenue of EUR 336,000 in its first year, which corresponds to the marketplace’s second-highest source of income in 2022.

Profitability

Is Mintos profitable? After four consecutive years, some with very significant losses, Mintos was able to generate a profit again in 2022. The consolidated report shows a profit of EUR 220,000. Because the portfolio under management decreased by around 30% and therefore the revenue also fell by 10%, the profitability at Mintos is primarily explained by massive cost savings. Among other things, many employees were laid off, which led to savings of about EUR 1.2 million.

Mintos-Review-Profitability

The balance sheet of Mintos, on the other hand, is quite presentable.

Mintos-Erfahrungen-Bilanz

KPIs such as the equity ratio (64%), the liquidity ratio (1.78) or the debt-to-equity ratio (0.58) are all in a good range. Only the historically high number for intangible assets should be viewed critically.


Sign Up and Bonus

In order to invest on Mintos, investors must meet two important requirements: A minimum age of 18 years and proof of a European bank account in their own name.

The registration process on Mintos is very simple and intuitive. After opening an account via email, the KYC and AML questionnaires must be filled out. This is followed by the verification of identity and the declaration of tax residence.

Bonus for New Investors

Currently there is no additional cashback bonus if you sign up on Mintos. However, if you should decide to sign up, please use this link to support this blog. 


Investing in P2P Loans on Mintos

How does Mintos work and what should investors know and consider when investing on the marketplace? In the following sections of my Mintos review you will find all the necessary information that you need.

Loan Offering

The 80+ lenders represented on Mintos offer a variety of different loan types. These include:

  • Private: Consumer Loans, payday loans, car loans
  • Corporate: Business loans, agricultural and factoring loans
  • Real Estate: Mortgage loans.  

From an investor’s perspective, the large number of loan types is a big advantage in terms of diversifying the loan portfolio on Mintos.

Investors can achieve further diversification with the geographical selection of their P2P loans, as up to 33 different countries can be selected for investments. The geographical focus is on Europe, with a focus on the Baltic States, the Balkans and Eastern Europe. However, it is also possible to invest in Africa (South Africa, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Kenya), South America (Colombia, Mexico) or South East Asia (Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia).

The terms of the loans depend on the lending company and the structure of the individual bonds (notes).

Fractional Bonds

Due to its licensing as a brokerage company, Mintos can make further asset classes accessible to its investor community, apart from the lending business. Since October 2023, this also includes the possibility to invest in bonds.

Mintos-Review-Fractional-Bonds

Interesting here is both the low minimum investment amount of only EUR 50 and the fact that there are no management fees. The first offer on Mintos comes from Eleving Group (formerly Mogo). The bond of EUR 3 million runs for 5 years and offers investors an interest rate of 13%.

Mintos Core ETF Portfolio

With the Mintos Core ETF portfolio, the P2P marketplace added another asset class in December 2023. The platform takes care of all portfolio management aspects, including market analysis, selecting ETFs and scheduling transactions. Based on a catalogue of questions, the company puts together an ETF portfolio that is designed to meet the investor’s risk tolerance and investment objectives.

Mintos-Review-Core-ETF-Portfolio

Investments in the Mintos Core ETF can be made from as little as EUR 50. Mintos does currently not charge any fees for this service.

Costs and Fees

The registration on Mintos is free as well as the usage of the primary and secondary market (as a buyer). No costs or hidden fees apply for investors. Also deposits or withdrawals can be done free of charge. 

The only costs that apply are in form of transaction fees when selling loans through the secondary market. This fee is 0.85% and was introduced on April 13, 2020.

Expected Returns on Mintos

According to Mintos, the net return on the platform is between 10% and 12%. The calculation is made including an annual loss ratio. For this reason, the return on investment in 2020 is only at 2.4%.

Mintos-Review-Net-Return

Write-downs were taken on loans issued by suspended credit entities based on our recovery estimates.

In case further losses from outstanding recoveries are written off in the future, the net return would be adjusted downward accordingly. 

Afer being five years with Mintos, my personal return is at 10.79%. However, there are still more than EUR 1,000 in the recovery process, which I declared as a loss since no recoveries have been made for two straight years. As a result, my total return has dropped to 7.22%.

Auto Invest

Investors on Mintos can take advantage by using the Auto Invest, which means that the returns can be automatically reinvested. With the Mintos Auto Invest, the following settings, among others, can be configured:

  • Selection of lenders and borrower countries
  • Loan type (Personal, Corporate, Real Estate)
  • Buyback guarantee (Yes, No)
  • Interest rate: From 5% to 30+% percent
  • Loan term: Up to 72 months
  • Investment amount per loan

After becoming a regulated marketplace, Mintos is now packaging similar loans into a financial instrument (Notes). The minimum investment amount for a Note is EUR 50 and can consist of up to 12 individual loans.

Also the secondary market can be used to invest in loans. The purchase itself comes without any fees. However, a fee of 0.85% applies when selling through the secondary market. A premium or discount can be selected as well.

Mintos App

Mintos launched a smartphone app for its investors in February 2020. Check here for iOS (App Store) and Android (Play Store) to download the app.

Mintos Forum

If you have questions about Mintos, other platforms or different p2p-related topics, you can join the re:think P2P Community on Facebook and engage in discussions with more than 1,000 other private retail investors.

Alternatively, you can also find the latest posts, news and updates on my Telegram channel.


Mintos Taxes

After Mintos has become a licensed brokerage company, the platform is now legally obligated to withhold taxes on your income earnings that derives from investments into regulated financial instruments (Notes). The tax will be automatically withhold after receiving an interest payment.

The applicable tax rate is depending on the country of your tax residency and according to the submitted tax information and certificates. 

  • 20% for private investors and tax residents of Latvia
  • 20% for investors from outside the EU/EEA
  • 5% for private investors with residency in the EU/EEA (except for Latvia)
  • 0% for Lithuanian tax residents (tax certificate is required)
  • 0% for legal entities 
When paying taxes in your county of residence, the withheld taxes can usually be deducted from the overall balance. This means that the effective taxation rate will be the same as it has been before when investing into claim rights. To get access to the relevant data, Mintos offers to download tax reports and income statements from the platform.

Mintos Risks

Mintos faced several crises and problems in the past. While the origins of these crises are not related to Mintos (Covid-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine), they have clearly exposed the problems at Mintos.

Especially in 2020, there have been numerous actions and entanglements that have not painted a good picture with regards to the integrity of the platform. 

Conflicts of Interest

At the shareholder level, Mintos has always had strong overlaps with many of its lender companies. While this can be an advantage in terms of communication and possible settlements, there is also the risk that decisions primarily serve the interest of shareholders and only secondarily of the investors.

Especially in the time before Mintos became a regulated marketplace, there were some inglorious examples in which apparent conflicts of interest led to investors being disadvantaged.

Disintegration of Finko Group

Early 2020, Finko Group had an outstanding portfolio of approximately EUR 100 million. At the time it was the largest non-bank lender on Mintos. The year before, the Finko group, which funded seven lender portfolios on Mintos, financed EUR 366 million in consumer loans while generating a profit of EUR 17.6 million.

Only a year later, there is nothing more left of the group except an empty shell. Some lenders have had their licenses revoked under dubious circumstances (Varks in Armenia), others have filed for bankruptcy (Metrokredit and Kiva from Russia) or have been sold for a ridiculous price to competitors with the same shareholders (Sebo from Moldova), which in the end left no funds available to meet the buyback guarantee which was advertised to investors in advance.  

Collapse of Varks

Armenian lender Varks has been the largest lender within the Finko Group with EUR 30 million on Mintos at the time of the license withdrawal in March 2020. On the blog I wrote about the dubious circumstances of the license withdrawal as well as the the promotional activities which were run prior to it by Mintos to advertise loans from Varks (including forward flows and cashback campaigns). This happened despite obvious problems on the part of the Central Bank of Armenia with the lender.

Also the entanglements between the shareholders and the broken debt clauses between Varks and Mintos were already a topic on this blog.

In the case of Varks, Mintos was well aware of the lender’s financial situation and problems with the central bank. Yet, no measures were taken or initiated to protect investors. In the end, it was publicly communicated that a two-year repayment plan until the end of 2022 was agreed upon. Unsurprisingly, no funds have been returned to investors to date.

Corona Crisis / Covid-19 Pandemic

Mintos responded fairly fast to the spread of the Corona pandemic. As a consequence, both strategic and operational measures have been adjusted. In the first “Ask Mintos Anything” session on 19.03.2020, Mintos CEO Martins Sulte announced the following actions, among others:

  • Focus on financial stabilization and consolidation of the platform
  • Cost reduction of approx. 40%
  • Layoff of 45 employees (140 employees have been newly hired in 2019)
  • Downsizing of marketing budgets (e.g. no cashback bonus for new investors) 

At the time of the session, the company had EUR 3.6 million in cash available, which would allow the platform to continue its business operations as usual over the next 15 to 18 months given its current cost structure.

Two measures that have been integrated on Mintos seemed to be very questionable though.

The Schedule Extension

In October 2019, Mintos introduced a schedule extension for the first time. What had been a good and understandable idea at its core (no repurchase of loans once the loan term is extended) soon became an excuses to allow lenders to maximize liquidity from investors funds.

The schedule extension was increased over the course to up to 6 intervals of 31 days each. Later on, it was also introduced that already defaulted loans can be further postponed. Not only did Mintos violate its own user agreements with these actions, they also worked more in favor of (affiliaed) lenders rather than the interest of investors.

New Terms & Conditions

The introduction of new terms and conditions in August 2020 was no less controversial. What was sold to investors as an update regarding “Mintos Strategies” included nothing less than the participation in legal costs as soon as the lenders (on-boarded by Mintos) are no longer able or willing to make loan repayments.

This leads to a liability shift from Mintos to its investors and a free ride for the platform. 

War in Ukraine

The war in Ukraine has also had a significant impact on Mintos investors. After Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Mintos suspended all new investments on the primary market for Russian or Ukrainian loans. In total, eight lenders are affected by these restrictions (Creditter, DoZarplati, EcoFinance, Kviku, Lime, Mikro Kapital, Mokka and SOSCREDIT).

Mintos has taken the following actions in response:

  • All Russian and Ukrainian lending companies have been removed from Mintos strategies
  • No currency exchange from and to Russian rubles, valid for all currencies
  • Loans from Russia and Ukraine can still be bought and sold via Mintos secondary market 
  • Russian and Ukrainian loans from Mintos strategies are not available for standard payout. Liquidity can only be achieved by selling on the secondary market.

Funds in Recovery

As of early 2023, the Mintos portfolio under management reached a level of EUR 652 million. Of this portfolio, roughly 40% are either delayed, in pending payments or in the recovery process. In conclusion, only 60% of the entire loan book perform as expected. Those are some questionable numbers compared to other platforms and competitors. 

In total, more than EUR 155 million are currently in the recovery status.


Pros & Cons

In this section I have listed the biggest advantages and disadvantages of Mintos.

Advantages

  • Track Record: With market experiences since 2015, Mintos is among the more established platforms in the P2P environment.
  • Regulation: Since 2022, Mintos has been under the supervision of the Financial and Capital Market Commission (FCMC) in Latvia, being a regulated and licensed brokerage platform.
  • Growth Potential: The highly scalable business model enables Mintos to grow significantly faster and gain market shares compared to other platforms.
  • Transparency: Mintos publishes regular updates on business developments as well as audited annual reports. 

Disadvantages

  • Due Diligence: The Covid-19 pandemic exposed many of the company’s weaknesses. This includes primarely the unsufficient due diligence of its lending companies.
  • Recovery: Due to weak lender valuations, EUR 150+ million of investor funds have been in recovery since the beginning of 2024.
  • Conflicts of Interest: Mintos has shareholder overlaps with many of its lenders, creating dependencies and conflicts of interest. 
  • Questionable Actions: As a result of the conflicts of interest, numerous measures have been introduced in the past that have had a detrimental effect on the interests of investors.

Mintos Alternatives

In terms of its business model, Mintos is most comparable to P2P marketplaces such as PeerBerry or Income Marketplace. The biggest difference between the marketplaces is that PeerBerry is backed by a large and established non-bank lender from Europe (Aventus Group), which primarily offers its own loans on the marketplace.

Similar P2P platforms that are worth considering as well are Esketit and Robocash.

You can find other Mintos alternatives on the P2P Platform Comparison page.


Mintos Community Feedback

The Mintos reviews within the P2P lending community are rated fairly average. In the Community Voting 2023, a score of 2.95 was achieved out of 121 votes. In the years before, the score was 2.61 (2022) and 3.22 (2021).

The most popular platforms in 2023 have been Esketit, Robocash, PeerBerry, LANDE and Income Marketplace.

Mintos-Review-2023-Community-Voting


Summary Mintos Review 2024

Mintos is the largest marketplace for P2P loans in Europe. The platform achieved this status due to a high scalability of its business model while operating in an unregulated environment for many years. This gave the platform a crucial edge over many competitors in Europe.

Mintos’ problems have become apparent with the outbreak of macroeconomic events such as the pandemic or the war in Ukraine.

The marketplace has not carried out sufficient due diligence on many lenders or taken measures to secure investor funds. As a result, more than EUR 150 million in financed loans are in the process of being recovered at the beginning of 2024. Mintos itself is already expecting a loss of at least EUR 64 million.

A big reason for concern should be how Mintos was handling actions at the time of 2020. Severeal measures have showcased that shareholder interests of affiliated lending companies are prioritized over investor interest. Hence, Mintos wasn’t just able to protect investors funds properly in many cases, but also the moral integrity of the company as a whole has to be questioned. 

We believe that beginners are better suited to focus their attention on other platforms such as Esketit, Income or PeerBerry. If investors want to take advantage of the broad loan offering on Mintos, it would be advised to fully understand the underlying risks of investing on Mintos. The ability to evaluate the performance of individual lending companies is crucial to earn decent returns on Mintos as a diversified approach will not get the job done. 


FAQ Mintos Review

What is Mintos?

Mintos is a Latvian P2P marketplace, founded in 2014, where investors can invest in a variety of loans from global lenders and earn a return of around 12%. Due to its highly scalable business model, Mintos is currently the largest P2P platform in Europe in terms of the funded loan volume.

Who owns Mintos?

The beneficiary owner of AS Mintos Holding is Aigars Kesenfelds, who thus owns at least 25+ percent of the company according to IFRS standard. AS Mintos Holding is in turn owned by AS ALPS Investments. Also here, Aigars Kesenfelds is the ultimate beneficiary. Mintos does not disclose an exact breakdown of the ownership structure.

How does Mintos earn money?

Mintos earns money through five different revenue streams: Service fees from lenders, inactivity fees from investors, one-time transaction fees from lenders, commissions on foreign currency exchanges and fees on secondary market transactions. Through these five pillars, Mintos was able to generate revenue of EUR 9.1 million in 2022.

Hi, ich bin Denny! Seit Januar 2019 schreibe ich auf diesem Blog über meine Erfahrungen beim Investieren in P2P Kredite. Meine Analysen sollen Privatanlegern dabei helfen reflektierte und gut informierte Anlageentscheidungen treffen zu können. Dafür schaue ich mir die Risikoprofile der einzelnen P2P Plattformen an, hinterfrage deren Entwicklungen, teile meine persönlichen Einschätzungen und beobachte übergeordnete Trends aus der Welt des Crowdlendings.    
Mein Bestseller "Geldanlage P2P Kredite" gilt in Fachkreisen als das beste deutschsprachige Finanzbuch zum gleichnamigen Thema. Zudem versammeln sich in der P2P Kredite Community auf Facebook tausende von Privatanlegern, die sich regelmäßig über die Anlageklasse P2P Kredite austauschen. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *