Kviku Finance Review
A relatively new platform from an established Russia-based financial group
It’s quite likely that you have at least a few Kviku loans in your portfolio if you use certain popular marketplace lending platforms. Since recently, you can invest in them using a dedicated site with no other intermediaries. Should you?
|Total Investment Volume||€2.8m+|
|Average annual interest||12%|
|Minimum Investment||€1 per loan, €50 min. deposit|
|Who’s eligible to invest||EU bank account holders|
|Investment Type||Personal Lending|
|Auto Invest Function||Yes|
|Investor Protection||Buyback & group guarantee|
|Website Language||English, German, Polish, Spanish|
PROS & CONS
- Kviku Finance is a site for European investors kicked off by the Kviku Group. The Group initially launched in Russia in 2013 and has since expanded to five other countries and funded over €100m worth of loans. This certainly adds credibility to the new platform with (yet) low volumes and a very short track record. The Group has been profitable and, after a few years of moderate growth, it expanded very aggressively in 2018, opening several new offices and joining some of the most popular marketplace lending platforms (more on this below).
- All loans are secured with a 30-day buyback guarantee, which covers both the invested principal and accrued interest. In the case one of the loan originators cannot honour the buyback obligation, the group guarantee kicks in and other operating companies within the Group cover the repayment.
- Kviku advertises relatively high returns of about 12% annually, which can be tempting for high yield-seeking investors. It’s worth noting that they have moderated their promises from an initial 15% per annum, while Kviku loans still offer 13-14% average interest rates on marketplaces such as Mintos and Viventor.
- The platform lacks transparency about some of the key features, including the team composition and, most of all, any data on historical results and loan performance. This is a major flaw, especially for a provider with such a short track record who should be trying to gain investor trust – the best way to do it, in my view, is through detailed and open communication.
- Insufficient transparency comes along with potentially high risk. The Kviku Group tends to score mid-rank in several marketplace’s risk assessments. For example, it has a 7 out of 10 risk score on Mintos (recently up from 6) and a B score on Viventor, which is just one rank below “speculative” and means the company has “only enough capability of repaying financial obligations”. On top of that, investing on Kviku Finance, you can only fund loans from the Kviku Group, which amplifies the loan originator risk.
- First, there is no secondary market or any other early exit option, which can be a problem, given the loan terms of up to a year. Second, more hands-on investors would be disappointed with the lack of a manual investment option – you can only use the auto-invest feature. Finally, Kviku doesn’t provide customer service via phone or live chat – the only way to reach out to them is through email.
Who is behind Kviku Finance?
According to the data provided by Kviku to P2PMarketData, the first loans were funded on the platform in February 2020. You could have invested in their loans, however, on Mintos (since August 2018), Viventor and Bondster (since February 2019), as well as Iuvo Group (since April 2020). Starting their independent investment platform, Kviku has taken a similar path as many other large loan originators such as Afranga and Lendermarket.
The daughter-company in charge of the platform is registered in Cyprus, although the core and the oldest market has been Russia, where Kviku launched in 2013. Currently, the Kviku Group gathers online lending companies in six countries after expansions in 2018 to Kazakhstan, 2019 to Poland and Spain, and 2020 to Ukraine and the Philippines. The next locations include India (2021), Vietnam and Indonesia (2022).
From the company presentation we can learn that the Group founders are two Russians – both with very solid backgrounds in corporate finance – Nikita Lomakin (currently the CEO) and Veniamin Lipskiy (now the CFO). Kviku subsidiaries also employ 60 people in Russia and 20 in overseas branches. Kviku Finance only makes the 2019 financial statement available but via Mintos you can access the 2020 report for AirLoans – the Russian branch of Kviku. Both show signs of a rather healthy financial situation with increasing, although not sky-high, revenues and profits.
What does Kviku Finance offer?
Kviku Finance allows you to invest in unsecured consumer loans issued to borrowers via three main products:
- Virtual credit cards, with loan amounts below $50 and durations up to 2 months
- Point-of-Service (POS) crediting, offering no more than $300 for up to 12 months
- Instalment loans, given for 6 months or less and a maximum of $1,500
Virtual credit cards and POS loans are targeted at new customers, while larger cash loans are only available to returning customers with a positive track record. Instalment loans comprise around 50% of all issued loans and almost three-quarters of loans in 2020.
How much can you earn?
The platform advertises a 12% annual return, although any statistics regarding the current portfolio performance or historical results lack, so you just need to trust Kviku’s promise. Lowering the interest rates from the initial 15%, or 13-14% on other marketplaces, may be a sign of higher default rates (common across the platforms in 2020) and probably should be seen as a realistic correction. You certainly shouldn’t rule out a possibility of a further downward adjustment – at the time of writing, virtually all available loans offer interest rates of just 10 or 11%.
The platform offers a quite generous Loyalty Bonus – if you invest €1,000 or more you will receive an extra 1% interest – you can read more about it in Kviku’s FAQs. You can also get a €20 sign-up bonus if you register using this link.
Who is Kviku Finance best for?
You may find Kviku Finance to be a suitable addition to your existing portfolio if you seek exposure to more high-risk, high-return investment in the consumer segment. I wouldn’t make it a cornerstone of my wallet though, given the 100% reliance on a single parent company with mixed credibility assessments.
How to invest on Kviku Finance
You need to fill in a short form and verify your identity – nothing out of the ordinary. After your account has been validated, you can set up your auto-invest parameters – remember, manual investing is not an option in this case. The auto-invest feature isn’t overly complicated – you just pick the preferred interest rate range, loan term, max investment in one loan, and whether you want to reinvest your capital or not.
Kviku Finance launched at the worst possible moment. Just after two months, the whole peer-to-peer lending sector saw the largest slump in investments in its history. Many platforms struggled for the rest of 2020 to offer decent returns or even honour their basic obligations and stay afloat. Kviku survived the first storm, and the underlying financial holding seems to have a good appetite for expansion and innovation. Reducing the initially offered interest rates might have been the first step towards more realistic expectations and better stability and credibility. Improving the transparency of the site, particularly sharing the key performance indicators, should certainly be next.
P2P Market Data are dedicated to providing unbiased reviews of P2P Lending platforms and other alternative investment platforms. We are on a monthly basis collecting funding amounts from over 90 different platforms for The Monthly Funding Report.
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- Reinvestment opportunities
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- Management team
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