12 Months with Bondora

Happy new year! Head uut asstat. Let’s make 2021 better than 2020 starting with our financial goals.

This post is my experience with Bondora. I made 286.36€ as passive income. Read either the short version or the long story which covers the entire experience (not just the numbers).

Found this post to be useful? Show your support by signing up to Bondora via my referral link: https://bondora.com/ref/jaim227

Short Story: The Numbers

  • 15/01/2020: Opened Account
  • 15/01/2020: 100€ Deposited
  • 15/01/2020: 10€ Deposited
  • 16/01/2020 – 29/01/2020: 0.02€ daily Go & Grow returns
  • 30/01/2020: €4,999 Deposited
  • 30/01/2020: 0.02€ Go & Grow returns.
  • 31/01/2020 – 14/04/2020: 0.92- 0.96€ daily Go & Grow returns
  • 15/04/2020: 9.37€ Deposited
  • 15/04/2020: 23.69€ Deposited
  • 15/04/2020 – 27/11/2020: ~ 0.97€ daily Go & Grow returns.
  • 28/11/2020: Withdrew 286.36€ (total Go & Grow returns)
  • 28/11/2020: Withdrew 5,142.06€ (total deposits)
  • Total Investment: 5,142.06€
  • Total Return: 286.36€
  • ROI: 5.5689% in 318 Days. ~ 0.90€ per day.
  • Would I do it again? Yes.

Long Story: The Experience

I first heard about #Bondora through Angelo @ P2P Investing Europe. I chose Bondora over Mintos. Mintos is from Latvia whereas Bondora is from Estonia. I like both but Estonia is my thing, so I went with Bondora

Fear & Confidence

P2P lending comes with risk. As MoneySmart put it, “you could lose some or all of your money“. Reddit posts had me a little worried about starting with Bondora or any P2P platform. There’s a lot of scary stories out there.

It’s a scam, man!”. Eventually I read from more reputable authorities on personal finance and concluded that Bondora was a reliable, proven P2P platform. A legitimate investment opportunity.

Understanding and Managing Risks

There’s actually different ways to use Bondora. You can finance loans individually or you can use the Go & Grow account. I asked Bondora about the risks associated with a Go and Grow account. Here’s what they replied:

Hi Jai, As you might know, Bondora is one of the oldest P2P platforms and was founded in the height of the global financial crisis over 10 years ago. Throughout the years, we have collected and analyzed lots of data in all the markets we operate. This gives us confidence for the future even though the times are hectic these days.We have explained our risk mitigation processes on our Support Guide articles, Risk section and YouTube channel. All Bondora loans are unsecured personal loans without guarantees. Please read Go & Grow Risk Statement to acknowledge all risks involved with Go & Grow product.In the unlikely situation of bankruptcy, no further loans will be issued, and an administrator would take over from there to continue to manage the existing investments. We have also explained it and other risk mitigation processes in use on our Support Guide article.If you have any additional questions, please contact our support at [removed] and someone can assist you“.

Go & Grow or Self Managed Loan Investments?

So what about the other options? P2P investing can actually be quite involved if you’re actively selecting loans to finance yourself. I’m interested in a passive income product. Bondora‘s Go & Grow account is managed by Bondora. I make the deposits and sit back. It’s done. No loan analysis and research needed.

If you came across stories about people losing money on Bondora you should revisit those stories. Re-read them. Look at whether they’re talking about losing money as an investor who decided to self-select loans to finance, played a high-risk game, chose poorly and lost out. Or were they using the Go & Grow account and then weren’t able to withdraw their funds following issues around ID verification? More on that later…

Interest Rates

Interest is paid daily with Bonodra. Unlike term deposits it’s satisfying to see your interest arrive on a daily basis and further you can withdraw at any time. Which by the way is another area of Bondora which has copped some negative feedback.

On my investment of 5,142.06 I earned ~ 5.5689% over 318 days. This equated to around 0.90€ per day. A small portion of my total investment was added around April. Had I started with the total investment on day 1 the ROI would have been slightly higher. Pretty good ROI though.

Withdrawing from Bondora, Errors, Mistakes & Frustration

This is the bit we all get nervous about. Bondora critics will tell stories about people not being able to verify their ID and thus not being allowed to withdraw. Scary.

I know I provided all necessary ID when I opened my Bondora account. So I was surprised to see this message pop up on my verification tab “Almost done! Click to complete your account setup“.

Bondora platform: “Almost done! Click to complete your account setup

As you can see from the picture above – I’ve got 3 green ticks against the ID items. Everything should be fine. I answered a few basic questions, supplied ID again but this message remained.

Bondora’s Help / FAQ Page contains a “Contact Us” form which fails.

I checked Bondora‘s help / FAQ page about ID verification (above). The “contact us” form connected to this topic failed to send my message to Bondora. This made me even more nervous..

ID Verification, again?

I went back to the ID Verification page and inspected the HTML behind it. The button which reads “Almost done! Click to complete your account setup” is actually fake. it doesn’t do anything.

Bondora button doesn’t do anything…

I found this very frustrating given the connection between ID verification and being able to withdraw.

Contacting Bondora via Facebook

I messaged Bondora via facebook. It took them 2 to respond as it was a weekend and there’s a timezone difference. The response advised a support team member would reach out via investor@bondora.com. They made contact and it was confirmed my ID verification was now A-OK. Nothing further to verify. I could now try and withdraw my funds.

Wrong Phone Number

Once I hit withdraw Bondora‘s 2 way authentication sent me an SMS to my old phone number. I wasn’t able to withdraw, yet. I had to go to my account settings, update my phone number and then I was able to withdraw again. Bondora only accepts European phone numbers.

An Estonian phone number just makes life easier in Estonia and the rest of Europe. Thanks to the EU’s “roam like at home” laws, it’s often cheaper to use an Estonian SIM in the EU over a non-EU roaming SIM. Click to read more.

If you Get an Estonian Phone Number – keep it no matter where you are.

Wrong Bank Account

By this time I was getting pretty frustrated and now with the SMS code entered I finally withdrew my money. The only problem is that the money went to a closed bank account! Fortunately though this was an easy fix. I wrote to both Bondora and LHV Pank. While Bondora was a little confused – LHV Pank advised the prior account was closed and the money would be returned back to Bondora.

Non-EU/EEA digital nomads, travellers and expats can open bank accounts in Estonia. However, it can be expensive without residency. Here’s what you need to know: Estonian Banks, Alternatives and e-Residency

The money came back. I changed my account, withdrew it. The funds appeared almost immediately. Within minutes.

Conclusion

I think I’ll invest with Bondora again in 2021. Despite a few hickups around ID verification and some mistakes I made with the phone number and an outdated bank account everything worked well. Bondora did respond to my enquiries, the interest was paid as promised and overall it was successful.

The #1 concern I have about Bondora is that the funds invested have no guarantee. In the event of a total fail you may lose some or all of your money. While returns with traditional banking options like term deposits are barely above inflation – they’re not likely to disappear.

Psst! I’m not a financial adviser. Do your own research, own your risks. The purpose of this article is to share my experience.

Support Me

Share, link or comment on this post. Or if you found this post to be useful – sign up to Bondora via my referral link: https://bondora.com/ref/jaim227

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Published by Jaiven

Estonian based Australian Blogger, frequent traveller to Europe. Successful Airbnb Superhost and a small time Entrepreneur.

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