NEO Finance Review
Neo Finance is a popular peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform from Lithuania. The platform lists self-originated consumer loans from Lithuanian borrowers for interest from 6% - 27% per year. The loan term can take up to 84 months and your investment is secured by a Provision Fund. Keep reading our NEO Finance review to learn more.
NEO Finance in Numbers
Regardless of whether you’re just starting out with P2P lending or you’ve already invested on other European P2P lending platforms, it’s always good practice to analyze the platform’s statistics before signing up and investing money.
|NEO Finance Statistics|
|Investor's earnings:||+ €6.5 M|
|Total loan value:||+ €46.4 M|
|Amount of investors:||+ 25,000|
|Loss of investor's money:||-|
|Average portfolio size:||€ 2,821|
|Latest financial report:|
NEO Finance is one of the most transparent platforms we have reviewed in 2020. The platform has a dedicated statistics page, which can give you a good overview of their numbers.
You should note that the statistics page isn’t always up to date. As we write our NEO Finance review, the data in the latest financial report from January 2020 very much differs from the information on their statistics page.
Good Customer Support
This gave us a good reason to reach out to NEO Finance and request further information. Luckily, NEO Finance’s support is very responsive and they were able to provide us with additional data, which we have outlined for you in the table above.
With over 25,000 active investors, NEO Finance ranks in the 10 largest P2P lending platforms in Europe. In fact, the investor count is very similar to that of their competitor Grupeer, which is a marketplace for business loans.
Loan Value and Average Portfolio Size
Unfortunately, NEO Finance did not disclose the amount of money investors have lost on their platform as all of the defaulted loans are still in the debt recovery process.
NEO Finance Referral Code
NEO Finance offers one the highest sign-up bonuses of all P2P lending platforms. Sometimes NEO Finance offers special promo codes that give users an additional bonus of €10.
We, at P2P Empire, were able to secure a better deal for you. Simply sign up with our link, complete the registration and invest to receive a €25 NEO Finance bonus. There is no special referral code needed in order to claim your bonus.
Get a €25 bonus right away!
NEO Finance’s New User Requirements
In order to be able to invest in loans on Neo Finance, you need to reside within the European Union. In fact, the sign-up process on Neo Finance is one of the most time-consuming of all the platforms. When signing up, you’ll notice that NEO Finance is collecting significantly more personal data than most other P2P lending platforms.
Here’s what registering on NEO Finance looks like:
- First, you need to type in your phone number. This is effectively used as your agreement to all the platform’s terms and conditions.
- Next, you need to input your email address, which you will use to login to your investor account. You can also use your Google or Facebook profiles to register on NEO Finance.
- In the next section, you’ll be asked to answer a few AML (anti money laundering) questions.
- You need to confirm all your data with a digital code that you will receive on your phone. In the next step, you’ll need to verify your identity. You can do so by uploading a copy of your ID or passport. This will give you limited access to the usage of the platform. You can deposit max. €500 or generate a turnover of max. €1,000. If you want to lift this limitation, you will be required to take a selfie in real-time.
- After using the code to confirm the validity of your data, you need to wait until NEO Finance verifies your account.
The sign-up process reminds us of Crowdestate’s, which also collects more user data than the typical P2P lending platform. NEO Finance is regulated by the Lithuanian bank, which might be one of the reasons for their collection of investors’ information.
We should also inform you that NEO Finance limits outgoing payments. Investors cannot withdraw more than €15,000 per month. We haven’t noticed those limitations on other platforms.
Equally note-worthy is that, for non-Lithuanians, the platform will deduct income taxes from the interest you earn through investing in loans.
Risk and Return
When reviewing P2P lending platforms, we always look at the protection schemes that come with investments. While real estate lending platforms like EstateGuru, Reinvest24 and BitOfProperty offer investment opportunities backed by mortgages, most consumer loan oriented platforms offer a buyback guarantee.
Let’s have a look at how NEO Finance protects your investment:
In-House Due Diligence
If you have read any of our other P2P lending reviews, you might have noticed that we prefer platforms that complete their due diligence in-house. Some platforms outsource this task to third-parties, which might increase risk, especially because the thoroughness of this due diligence depends on the loan type and industry.
How does NEO Finance complete their due diligence?
NEO Finance does its borrower due diligence in-house. The platform follows internal guidelines as well as the regulations according to the Consumer Credit Law. The platform rates every single loan according to its creditworthiness. If you want to find out the default rates of loans, rated by different scores, you can have a look at NEO Finance’s statistics.
According to NEO Finance, the platform looks at 30 different personal criteria when evaluating the loan application. The platform also checks the entries about the borrower in the Lithuanian credit database (PRDB) and collects historical and current loan data.
Here’s the criteria all NEO Finance borrowers must pass, in order to be accepted for a loan:
- NEO Finance uses the database SODRA to collect information about their borrowers’ salaries.
- A NEO Finance borrower must have a regular income and work at the same employer for at least four consecutive months.
- Finally, a borrower’s monthly loan payments must not exceed more than 40% of their monthly income.
You should know that NEO Finance helps fund consumer loans, which means there is no collateral held by any security agent. In short, you are investing in unsecured personal loans in exchange for higher interest rates.
NEO Finance offers a paid protection scheme called the Provision Fund. Here is how it works:
- You sign the loan agreement with the Provision Fund service activated
- NEO Finance provides security over your investment
- Delayed payments are covered directly by NEO Finance
- The Provision Fund comes with a fee of0.44% - 22.91% per investment
- The fee depends on the borrower’s credit rating as well as the loan maturity
- The delayed payments are covered by the Provision Fund in which all investors pay the Provision Fund fee
- If the loan agreement is terminated or the borrower repays the loan in advance, the fee for the Provision Fund is reduced, so the investor will not incur a loss
In the event where there is not enough money in the Provision Fund to cover all the defaulted loans, NEO Finance will back the fund with their own capital.
What Happens if the Loan Defaults?
If the borrower fails to repay the loan, the following debt collection process is initiated:
- If the borrower misses their payment schedule, they will be notified via SMS immediately.
- After 30 days of delayed payment, the borrower is reported to the credit check company Credit Lietuva.
- After 40 days, the debt is transferred to the debt recovery company.
Currently, all defaulted loans are still in the debt recovery process. According to the NEO Finance statistics, there are outstanding loan payments worth €413,189 that have been delayed for more than two years. This equals 2.77% of NEO Finance’s entire loan portfolio.
How Does NEO Finance’s Protection Scheme Affect Investors?
If using the Provision Fund, users should not be affected at all, as NEO Finance will pay the outstanding interest as well as the loan principal back to investors’ accounts.
If you don’t use the Provision Fund and the loan is delayed by 60 - 130 days, NEO Finance terminates the loan agreement andoffers investors the opportunity to buy the debt at the market price, which is around 50% to 80% of the face value.
If you reject the offer, the debt is transferred to the debt collection company or bailiff, where it can take up to two years to be recovered. All the expenses of the recovery are covered by the borrower.
As you can see, there is a protection scheme in place, however, this is not free of charge: you will need to pay a significant cut of your investment in order to pay the protection fund fee. On the other hand, the size of the fee also depends on the credit rating of the borrower as well as on the loan maturity.
- Investments in loans with credit rating C have higher interest (typically 18% - 24% p.a.)
- Investments in loans with credit rating A have lower interest (typically 6% - 11%)
The Provision Fund fee is logically higher for more risky loans and vice versa. At the end of the day, according to NEO Finance, you can earn an average interest of 18% p.a. A broadly diversified portfolio is going to help you cover potential losses.
Note that the returns are highly dependent on the availability of loans and whether you use the protection fund or not.
Also take into account that NEO Finance withholds the tax from your interest. According to NEO Finance, only residents from Lithuania who can provide proof of residency are able to request to submit their taxes on their own. For non-Lithuanian investors, the taxes will be deducted from the interest payments.
Is NEO Finance Safe?
Who Leads the Team?
The platform is led by Aiva Remeikienė, who has been with the company for six years and is the board member, as well as the CEO of NEO Finance. Aiva is also a board member of Legal Balance, a legal services provider in Lithuania.
Who Owns the Platform?
If you want all the ownership details, head over to NEO Finance’s Information Document here.
Happy with a brief summary?
Well, the company’s largest shareholder is UAB ERA CAPITAL, which has 74.94% ownership. This company is owned by Evaldas Remeikus and Aiva Remeikiené.
The rest of the company’s shares are detailed in the screenshot below:
Are there Any Suspicious Terms and Conditions?
When reviewing P2P lending sites, we always have a look at the terms and conditions.
- Only an individual person can create a NEO Finance account. Legal entities cannot invest on NEO Finance.
- Additionally, NEO Finance explains that your automated investments are prioritized if you reach the VIP status. This means that you will pick your loans first as opposed to investors without the VIP status.
- Borrowers need to purchase a creditworthiness rating in order to be able to take a loan from NEO Finance. Additionally, this rating is only valid for 72 hours. This is the case with a few payday loan companies and it’s one of the techniques to increase the profit of NEO Finance. For the investors this has no impact.
- The solvency of a borrower is accessed in accordance to the rules provided by the Bank of Lithuania.
- NEO Finance’s terms also explain that the platform is not responsible for any losses resulting from users’ investments on the platform.
Do Investors have Access to Individual Loan Agreements?
Investors need to accept the loan agreement before investing on NEO Finance. We have had a look at the fine print and here is what we’ve found:
We only have access to the Lituanian version, so if you’re not familiar with the language, we suggest opening the page in Google Chrome and translating it to English.
As mentioned above, NEO Finance does its own due diligence, which is also referenced in their loan agreement.
We believe that in-house due diligence has a higher value than due diligence by third parties.
If the borrower is delayed with the payments, the platform charges late payment fees of up to €30 per month. Additionally, if the borrower is delayed by more than 30 days, the credit rating of the borrower decreases which lowers the chances of getting a loan in the future.
These steps increase the chances that the borrower will follow the payment schedule to avoid any extra fees, which is great news for us, as investors!
Another good point to mention is: if the borrower decides to repay the outstanding balance of more than €2.320, the platform might charge a 1% early payback fee, if the outstanding loan term exceeds 12 months. For loans that mature in less than 12 months, a fee of 0.5% is payable by the borrower.
This is standard procedure by many banks, it’s good to see this clause within the loan agreement, as most platforms don’t include this. This process helps to cover the loss from planned interest payments as the borrower will repay earlier than the agreed date.
Overall, the terms within the loan agreement are straightforward and we have not spotted any suspicious clauses.
The platform itself is very easy to use, especially when compared to more complex interfaces on platforms like Mintos or Bondora. You can either choose to invest manually or via the auto invest feature.
If you have successfully completed the registration and NEO Finance has verified your application, you are able to define an automated investment strategy, which will be executed automatically, based on your preferences.
NEO Finance offers you the option to either invest automatically in the primary or secondary market, which, in the P2P lending industry, is a luxury, as it’s rare that a platform will offer this choice.
It’s up to everyone’s risk profile to decide how to set up the auto invest settings. We recommend having a look at the statistics before choosing the creditworthiness rating of the borrower that you would like to invest in. Also, don’t forget to activate the Provision Fund if you wish to do so.
The main goal of this feature is to:
- Diversify your portfolio
- Lower your risk
- Save time while investing
NEO Finance allows you to define your maximum investment amount per loan, as well as your preferred interest and loan term. You can also define additional criteria, which we believe isn’t as valuable as there aren’t any statistics that would help you to make a fact-based decision.
Selecting too many options might limit the functionality of the auto invest feature, which can lead to cash drag. Your funds won’t be invested due to low availability of loans that match your criteria. Narrowing down your auto invest criteria is only recommended on platforms with huge volumes of loans.
NEO Finance also gives you the option to invest manually in loans, and this platform is one of the few platforms that actually share more details about the borrowers. You can view information about borrowers’ income as well as their current liabilities.
Having access to this information is something that helps to increase the transparency of the platform. Investors on Mintos, PeerBerry or Robocash only have very little information about who is lending their money.
NEO Finance offers loyal users, who invest a certain amount of capital, various perks, including:
- Higher priority when investing via auto invest
- 10% higher coefficient when selling defaulted loans
- Additional selection criteria for the auto invest (including family income, total loan volume, borrowers’ work experience)
So, we hear you ask, what is the scale of the VIP program? Let us tell you!:
- Bronze: Active investments of more than €5,000
- Silver: Active investments of more than €15,000
- Gold: Active investments of more than €50,000
- Platinum: Active investments of more than €125,000
With each level, users get more benefits. It’s up to everyone to evaluate whether it’s wise to invest such a large sum of capital into a platform that caps the withdrawal limits and offers only limited diversification options. The average investor has a portfolio size of less than €3,000 which does not even unlock the first VIP status.
Unfortunately, as we write our NEO Finance review, there are only three loans available for investment. This is a common problem on many P2P lending platforms that offer self-originated loans. The demand for investments is simply much higher than the current supply, which results in uninvested capital and therefore no returns for the investors.
The little availability of loans is also something that limits diversification options, and considering users are funding Lithuanian consumer loans, diversification is already quite limited. And, of course, if there aren’t enough investment opportunities on the platform, it is going to be hard to build a well-diversified P2P lending portfolio.
This isn’t an issue unique to NEO Finance. We have also experienced cash drag on platforms like Mintos, Robocash, Profitus or Grupeer.
While the duration of the cash drag varies from platform and loan type, it’s certainly something you should keep in mind when choosing a P2P investment platform.
If your goal is to invest short-term, NEO Finance is not a good fit for you. The platform does not allow for instant withdrawals unless you manage to sell your investments on the secondary market.
NEO Finance, gives you the option to sell and purchase investments on the secondary market for a premium or discounted price. Note, however, that a brokerage fee of 1% will be charged for the buyer as well as the seller on the secondary market.
Also, keep in mind that your offer on the secondary market is only valid for 30 days. There is no guarantee that you will find a buyer right away, as this highly depends on the supply and demand.
The secondary market on NEO Finance isn’t a place to trade your investments, rather a place to liquidate your investments if you can’t wait until the end of the loan term. NEO Finance certainly shouldn't be compared to Mintos’s Invest and Access tool or Bondora’s Go and Grow.
The customer support team from NEO Finance is very responsive. We have requested a lot of information from NEO Finance in order to create this in-depth and fact-oriented NEO Finance review. The platform came back to us with detailed answers to all of our questions within only one day.
NEO Finance Review Summary
High Interest Rates
NEO Finance is an interesting P2P lending platform that has gained a lot of traction in recent months. The higher interest rate with an optional protection fund is certainly a system that many investors appreciate. According to NEO Finance, the average interest rate is around 18% which is higher than on most other platforms that list consumer loans.
Risk and Return
While the risk and return ratio seems to be right, it’s not the only factor, you should look at when choosing a P2P lending platform. The availability of loans is certainly something you should pay attention to. The more you diversify, the lower your risk of default.
NEO Finance is a suitable secondary P2P lending platform for investors who want to diversify across multiple platforms. But, before you sign up and invest, we suggest having a look at the availability of loans. If there aren’t enough available loans, it’s probably not the right fit for you, as your capital will remain uninvested and that is not the goal you should be aiming for with P2P lending.
Tempted to go with NEO Finance?
What is the minimum investment amount on NEO Finance?
The minimum investment amount in one loan from NEO Finance is €10.
Is there a secondary market on NEO Finance?
There is a secondary market on NEO Finance which allows you to sell or purchase other loans. If you decide to use the secondary market, you will be charged a 1% brokerage fee.
Can I withdraw my money anytime?
You cannot withdraw your money anytime. Investors need to wait until the loan is repaid. You can, however, sell your investments on the secondary market and withdraw your money earlier.
How is my investment protected?
Your investment on NEO Finance can be optionally protected by a protection fund. This protection scheme is, however, not for free. Depending on the loan term and credit risk, the protection fund fee ranges from 0.4% - 22%. Find out more about this in our in-depth NEO Finance review above.
|Address:||A. Vivulskio g. 7, LT-03162 Vilnius|
|Phone:||+370 687 00 300|
|Opening Hours:||Weekdays from 9AM to 6PM|