Grupeer

The second Peer-2-peer lending platform I invested in is Grupeer. This platform is from Latvia and has a lot of similarities with Mintos. It looks a bit like the smaller and younger brother of Mintos.

Acceptance process

The acceptance process at Grupeer is simple, just fill in your details and send a personal identification document. When I did this the first time I blurred some of the info, for example my social security number. They did not like this and this slowed down my initial acceptance process a bit. But the communication about it was fair and prompt. They will also ask you some questions about your income but it’s not mandatory for you to give that kind of information.

Depositing funds

Adding funds to Grupeer is just as easy as with most of these platforms. You just transfer the money via bank transfer to their account in Latvia. All the data is at one page and is clearly mentioned. Another option is Transferwise, but I have zero experience with this system since I have a European bank account and I am using the simple IBAN system. Every time I transferred more funds to Grupeer they appeared in my account within 2 business days. And I got a nice notification email about it as well.

Investing

The loans have quite a high annual interest rate, around 14-15% for a loan that has a term of 8 to 12 months. Next to that the loans have a buy back guarantee. Which gives you guarantee that the invested amount will be paid back to you in case the loan defaults.

Depending on the investment you did there is a certain payout schedule. You will be paid interest and principal according to this scheme. And a funny thing is that every time you receive interest of principal you get a small notification email. To get tens of those emails on a day is quite a nice feeling! You really see your money doing its work for you.

Grupeer also offers an auto-invest function. It works exactly like you would expect and it’s simple to operate. The auto-invest functionality really gives you the opportunity to gain a passive income from Grupeer.

Withdrawing money from Grupeer

Of course, I also tested withdrawing money from Grupeer. I did this at a moment when there were literally no loans to start investing in. I started the withdrawal process, which is fairly simple, at Monday morning. It was back on my (European) bank account at Tuesday lunch time already. So that gives me a lot of trust in Grupeer as well.

Today I stopped investing with the app Peaks

As the title says, today I stopped using the Dutch app Peaks. The app was originated by the Dutch bank Rabobank and has been marketed as ‘investing with your spare change’.

The app can (only if you are using it in combination with an account at Rabobank) round off each PIN-transaction to the whole digit and put the difference aside to invest in. So, if you buy a coffee for €2,20 Peaks will round up to €3,00 and the 80 cents difference will be set aside. At the end of each week (on Sunday) you get a notification from the app with the amount of money is going to be deducted from your account. You can then stop this transaction if you think it’s too much for that week or whatever reason you have.

On the following Monday or Tuesday, the money is then invested in some ETF’s (exchange traded funds). You can also choose for one out of four risk profiles: mild, spicy, sharp and hot.

Why did I stop using Peaks?

Sounds nice right? So why did I stop using the app after some months then? Because it is simply not worth it because of the costs. The app is free for the first 3 months, which I used it for, just to see what the fuzz was about. After three months the usage of the app costs 1 euro per month if you have less than 2500 euro invested. Above 2500 euros it costs you 0,5% of the amount you have invested. Next to that there is also the fee you must pay to the funds, usually 0,25% to 0,33%.

Let’s take the riskiest profile (hot) to calculate the costs and let’s say we put in 30 euros each month. The expected payback for this profile is 6,1% on an annual basis. If you don’t pay any fee you will receive around €11,90 in payback after a year. However, you of course do need to pay the fee, starting after 3 months, so 9 euro in total, this will only give you 2,90 after the first year. We did not even incorporate the fees you need to pay to the funds in this calculation!

Some other reasons I stopped using Peaks next to the high costs are the irritating app settings screen and the fact that’s it’s an app, nothing more, nothing less. I have no idea what happens if I break my phone or if I switch phones or numbers.

I see Peaks as a nice experiment to give young people some more insights in how they can invest their spare change, but nothing more than that.  Peaks is not a serious investment for your future, near or far.