RoboCash review (2020): The simplest peer lending platform in Europe?

Robocash is a P2P investment platform with 12% interest. It is open for investors from the EU and Switzerland, but brokering loans from mostly Asia at the moment. Robocash is still small, but it belongs to a large, hungry parent company: Robocash Group.

Robocash Group originated from Russia, founded there in 2013. In early 2019, Robocash moved their headquarters to Croatia, but the Robocash Group operates on a vast market: The EU, Swizerland, Russia, Kazakhstan - even Philippines and India.

The Robocash Group is pretty big, 1482 employees spread across half the globe. Robocash is focused on Europe. Yeah, it gets confusing, but it's good to understand that while Robocash is small, it's part of a well established, large group.

Robocash made a loss in 2017 and I would be surprised if they pushed to profitability in 2018, but the parent, Robocash Group, is strikingly profitable. Here's Sergey Sedov, the CEO of Robocash Group introducing the key points of Robocash:

While Sergey might sound a bit like the stereotypical villain from a James Bond movie, he is twice as bad-ass. He is a pioneer in peer lending, having co-founded his first peer lending company already in 2010. He holds a PhD in Economics and is in charge of the Robocash Group, which is forecasted to produce almost $23M profit in 2019.

How Robocash works

It's very simple:
  1. You create an account on Robocash, and verify it with your ID
  2. Transfer money to your Robocash account
  3. Set up your auto investment portfolio
That's it. Robocash will keep your principal at work. Robocash works with multiple loan providers, from multiple countries.

Robocash works with loan originators from Russia, Kazakhstan, Philippines, India and Spain (maybe already others), and then connect investors on their platform to refinance those loans. Investors buy a claim to the profits of those loans. Similarly to many other platforms such as Mintos and Grupeer, Robocash also is a broker - kind of. There seems to be a subtle, but important difference though.

Robocash buyback guarantee

Robocash has a full buyback guarantee. In the case the borrower cannot repay the loan, Robocash will buy it back from the investor in full. This guarantee covers also the accrued interest, meaning that for as long as Robocash's full buyback guarantee holds, you should be getting a solid 12% interest to your principal.

What does a solid 12% return on investment look like over time? Test my compound interest calculator what would happen if you invested 10,000 now and waited for 15 years.

Limit of 10,000 €

Robocash doesn't allow you to deposit more than 10,000 € on your account. With this, they seem to be ensuring that they get a wide base of individual investors as opposed to a few deep pockets or institutional investors. If you want to grow wide, this seems like an interesting move. 10,000 € isn't a showstopper for most. It's pretty close to what I'm comfortable putting in a single platform.

Out of the 6,200 investors on the platform, 182 investors have the maximum of 10,000 deposited. I'm one of them.

I kind of like the fact that they limit the deposit to 10,000€. It's enough for me to make it very relevant, about 100€ interest per month. If Robocash was desperate for more capital, they could lift this limitation and get a boost. It seems this limitation is there to control the supply of money, and it seems to work. There's never any cash drag!

Robocash risks

Unlike in other loan broker platforms, it is actually Robocash that takes the risk of e.g. a loan originator becoming insolvent - not the investor. So while the investors' money is earmarked towards specific loans by specific loan originators, it is Robocash that is responsible for covering the delayed payments including interest, not the loan originator. That's great, as long as you believe Robocash stays up, and there are very strong reasons to believe that is the case.

Since Robocash promises to carry all the risk, it all depends on how long Robocash wants to stay in this business.

Getting a 12% return on an investment is pretty damn incredible and I'm just happy to tag along. Since Robocash Group made $11.4M profit in 2018 and is projecting to make $22.9M in 2019, it doesn't look like the carpet would very easily be pulled underneath Robocash's "feet".

Even liquidity risk is very small, as there are lots of short duration loans available. I've configured my auto invest to max 60 day loans and seldom suffer from cash drag. All of my investments are currently in 30 day loans, so the whole 10,000 returns to me in a maximum of 30+30 days.

All of this doesn't mean there's no risk, of course. Obviously Robocash has the financial air cover to be in this industry in good or bad. Even if the market turns sour, there wouldn't be any imminent risk of insolvency due to the profitable parent company. It boils down to want. Does the industry look profitable? So far yes. If others are making money in this business, Robocash should have good chances to do so as well.

Having recently written a more thorough piece on the 8 unique risks of peer lending, the last one is perhaps most prominent on Robocash: political risk. The loan originators operate mostly in Asia and for example in China, peer lending industry imploded after regulation took a stricter turn. Similar moves could happen elsewhere. Reading an article on BusinessWorld it would seem the opposite is true in Philippines: supporting consumer lending is seen as a way to boost the profitability of banking. But to me this seems like the most important risk to follow.

Why I like Robocash

For me, Robocash has been the easiest platform to use. There are a lot of reasons to like Robocash:
  1. Belongs to a larger group, that is profitable, big and stable
  2. Provides a high 12% interest with a fully hands-off platform
  3. Loans are short, mostly 30 day, which means liquidity is high
  4. Robocash carries virtually all the risk, even the loan originator becoming insolvent/bankrupt
But this does make me wonder - is it too good to be true? Are there risks there I don't see? If the P2P business turned out to be unprofitable, could the parent company shut it down without covering for investors' losses somehow?

Help Robocash - take a very quick survey

If you have a few seconds of your time, please take Robocash's survey, by which they look to understand P2P investors a little better. The survey has only three questions (no open ended ones) and it literally can be completed in a matter of seconds.

Full disclosure

As I've said, I have invested the full 10,000€ on Robocash. Since the platform caps the deposits and I'm very happy with it, I have no reason to change my position. I steadily get over 100€/mo from Robocash and continue to re-invest my capital there.

With so few concerns and such a hands-off approach, I've found Robocash to be the simplest P2P lending platform so far, and give it a four stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐.

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