Updated July 26th 2019 – Unbolted Review
How I Make 7%+ Annual Returns Lending On Secured Assets Like Rolex Watches And Diamond Rings!
My Lending Experiences & Actual Investment Returns Published Monthly Below.
What is Unbolted?
Offering returns upwards of 8%-9% return on investment. Unbolted have a unique spin on Peer to Peer lending. Capital is loaned against various Items which are sent to Unbolted and stored at their premises as asset security.
Generally smaller, valuable items such as gold or diamonds which are easy to sell. This means when loans default, capital can be recovered quickly.
Unbolted also lend against larger, more valuable items such as collector cars. However these types of items tend to be the exception rather than the rule. They have also started providing bridging and small business loans secured by business assets and Director guarantees.
My experience with Unbolted was mixed at first, but now I’ve learned how to invest with them, it’s getting better. Although they are a viable investment option for very reasonable returns. Lending out larger amounts of capital can take a long time. I have drip-fed my capital to them over the past year and it seems to be getting lent out faster more recently
Over the course of a year, I have been experimenting with Unbolted settings. I have found that setting auto-invest amounts much higher than required can help get invested faster. It will still take time to get a significant amount of capital lent out though, but because of the uniqueness of Unbolted’s loans, I think it’s worth the wait.
My Unbolted Account Growth & Income Charts
Click Here to See Screenshots & Detailed Monthly Updates From My Personal Unbolted Account
The Obvious Investor – Easy-Info Table© – Unbolted Review
Overall Rating*: (3.4 / 5) Who can invest: Loan Currencies: £ Estimated Return: 6% to 9.8% My Actual Return
8.40% My Calculated XIRR: 7.76% Risk Rating*: 5/10 - Low to Medium Early Exit: No. Min. Investment: £5 Deposit Funds: By bank transfer. Usually takes 24 - 48 hours for BACS.
Can be same day for Faster payments.
Auto-Invest: Yes Manual Invest: Yes Lending To: Agreements directly with borrowers Loan Types: Pawn Shop Loans. Bridging Loans.
Pre-Auction Financing. Small Business Loans.
Default Rates: Not Published. Loans Amortize: No. Loan Security: Yes, some. Pawn Shop Items with Good LTV's (<75%).
Business loans secured by assets or
Provision Fund: Yes. Discretionary Gold Provision Fund and Provision Trust.
Time to Invest: Long, Very Slow. Time to Mange: None (Auto-Invest).
Lender Fees: No. Payments Received: Interest and Capital Received Monthly. Amount Lent: Not Published. Number of Investors: Not Published. Loan/Dflt Stats: Not Published. Regulated: Yes: FCA Location: London, UK Launched: November 2014 Website: www.unbolted.com Email: [email protected] Telephone: 0203 5671300 (UK) IFISA/IRA: Yes Cashback**: No How to Sign Up**: Sign Up Here!
Unbolted Review – Overview
Unbolted’s Peer to Peer business was launched in November 2014 in London UK.
Unbolted do not publish their lending figures as far as amounts lent out. So I am unable to publish that information for this lender.
Their last filed financial accounts are publicly available from Companies House. Balance sheet for 2017 below.
They gained FCA permissions in June, 2017.
It’s important to note that the FCA is not the same as the FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme), so capital is not protected as it would be in a bank.
Opening an account with Unbolted is fairly easy. Just the usual ID and anti-money laundering checks. If they can verify you though one of the UK’s credit agencies, you may be approved immediately. If not, you may need to send them a copy of your passport or driving license, and a utility bill or bank statement.
Any resident of the UK who is 18 years old or over can signup with Unbolted if they can pass the ID checks & anti-money laundering checks.
A UK bank account is also required to signup.
Deposits & Withdrawals
Deposits and withdrawals are made by bank transfer from a UK bank.
Typically deposits show up in your account the same or next working day.
Withdrawals can typically take 1 – 2 business days.
The deposit and withdrawal screens are very simple.
Just Unbolted bank details for transfer in, and amount for transfer out.
Note: there is no confirmation after the withdrawal screen. Hit submit and it’s happening.
Time to Become Invested – Unbolted Review
Unbolted has both auto-invest and manual-invest accounts.
In the manual-invest accounts, it’s very difficult to get good diversification as the loans are taken very quickly by manual investors, and there are not many of them.
Auto-lend is what most investors do I believe, so I just get in line with everyone else and let the auto-invest do it’s job.
Unfortunately as mentioned previously, lending out capital can take time with Unbolted, weeks or even months for larger amounts.
This is one of the reasons my lending account with them remains very small.
I may increase it a little moving forward but it will be in small chunks to see how much I can keep invested at one time.
Who are we lending to?
Unbolted is a true Peer to Peer Platform.
Lenders are lending directly to borrowers who are typically consumers with assets to pawn, or small to medium size British businesses (bridging loans against business assets are available).
Loan agreements are directly between the lender and the borrower. Unbolted just acts as a middle man, managing loans, payments and debt collection etc.
Loan Security – Unbolted Review
Unbolted provide pawn shop-style loans secured with assets, typically with LTV’s of less than 75%. Gold, jewelry, art, antiques, pretty much anything that would historically have been taken to a pawn shop.
They also provide Sale Advance Loans, where they loan up to 50% of an items reserve auction value, Bid Now – Pay Later Loans, and business loans secured by company stock and/or Director personal guarantees:
Here is a list of a few of my current loans:
As you drill down into the loan information, it is easy to see the details on each individual loans.
Unfortunately, that is all of the information available on the asset.
No pictures or further information, so even if you were an expert on asset valuation, it would be difficult to make educated lending decisions in the manual lending account.
Personally I just use the auto-invest account and make sure the capital is well diversified.
Amortization – Unbolted Review
Most of Unbolted’s loans do not amortize, as the loan terms are short (3 – 12 months typically).
Capital and interest are paid back at the end of the loan term, or the loans are sometimes renewed for another period.
You can see on the screenshot below, both principle and interest are being repaid at the end of the loans.
Selling Loans and Withdrawing Capital – Unbolted Review
There is no early exit available with Unbolted loans, so once you make an investment, you are in for the duration.
Loans are typically 3 to 12 months though so you should be able to get most of your capital out within that time period if you set your auto-reinvest option to “off”.
Auto-Invest loans are diversified automatically when you initially invest with Unbolted.
Capital is spread between available loans in each loan portfolio.
In the auto-invest section of the website, you can set the amounts you want to invest in any single loan, and loan type.
As you can see from the screenshot below, I have my investment set to £25. That doesn’t mean £25 is the amount that will be lent, it is the maximum.
I find that typically a much lower amount per loan gets allocated out, so here you can see why it has been difficult to get much money lent.
There is a little trick I came across to help with this. If you set the amounts to a much larger value than you really want lending out, I find that a larger amount gets put into each loan. I have my setting now at £1000 per loan. It increases the amounts lent out on each loan but it never gets close to the £1000 number. Be aware though, it technically could put the whole £1000 into a single loan, so that is a risk if you use this tactic.
These where my previous settings:
And these are my current settings which seem to be working well. You’ll note I only put £5 into “Bespoke Loans”, that’s because most of them don’t have provision fund protection so I don’t want to get too much lent out with one of those. They are generally safe, but I’m not comfortable putting too much money into a single loan. See next section for a more detailed explanation.
As you can see in the screenshot above, there are 2 types of provision fund with Unbolted.
The first is a gold trust fund which protects lenders against a possible fall in the price of a gold-based asset such as jewelry or gold watches.
The second provision fund is called the “Provision Trust” and typically covers regular non-gold pawn type items.
Bespoke loans are typically business type bridging loans, or auction financing loans are these are not covered by a provision fund but are usually secured by assets with a reasonable LTV.
On the downside, it’s important to note that both of these provision funds are discretionary, meaning it is Unbolted’s decision as to if the funds should pay out or not.
So getting your capital back from a default is not guaranteed, even if it is covered by the funds.
Retirement Account – Unbolted ISA
Unbolted offer an IFISA (Innovative Finance ISA) for UK residents enabling tax free investments for Peer to Peer lenders. Read more about ISA’s here.
Website – Unbolted Review
Unbolted’s website is very basic and easy to use.
It really only gives a few options. Buy manual loans, or set auto-lend options. Add or withdraw funds.
Frankly it’s one of the less-impressive interfaces, but I guess it does the job.
The screenshots shown previously in the review, plus the one below are pretty much all that there are, so at least you won’t get lost 🙂
Summary – Unbolted Review
Overall I think Unbolted are a good option for diversification with small amounts of capital.
Lending on pawn items that are easy to sell upon default has its place when you have loans on property that can take months or years to sell if defaulted.
I do intend to add more capital to my Unbolted account to see how the lending goes, however it will only be in small chunks for now and will unlikely ever become a significant part of my portfolio.
Thumbs Up Points for Unbolted
Good Returns – returns of 6% – 10% on secured, easily salable assets with provision funds is certainly nothing to sniff at. Considering some larger lenders are offering only 4% on non-secured assets, with no provision fund.
Easily Salable Assets – secured with good loan-to-value numbers, which means that in the event of a default investors should be able to recover most of their investment relativity quickly.
Auto-Invest – I really don’t see any other way to invest with Unbolted, and once you’re invested, it really is a hands-off investment.
Diversification – with the auto-invest account, Unbolted does a good job of spreading your investment over as many loans as possible based on your lending settings.
Low minimum investment – The minimum investment and you can put in to any loan type is £5, so if you don’t have a lot of money to lend, you can still invest with Unbolted.
Good Default Recovery – Unbolted have a good history of recovering on defaults, which is good to know when things go bad.
Provision funds – Gold & Provision Trust funds cover many of the loans, so when defaults occur, it shouldn’t affect your account too much, however they are discretionary.
Financial Conduct Authority – (FCA) Regulated.
Unbolted ISA – retirement account available for UK investors – Unbolted ISA
Thumbs Down Points for Unbolted
Smaller Company – with shorter track record, launched in 2014, Unbolted haven’t had to deal with a financial crisis yet, so we won’t know how they fair until the next one. They do seem to be sticking with what they know though so hopefully they will prevail.
No Early Exit – No secondary market to sell loans, so once you invest, you’re in for the duration. Most loans are for 6 months or less though, so it’s not too long to wait to get your capital back.
Cash Drag – larger sums can take a long time to become invested, so cash can sit un-lent making no returns for weeks or months. My tip about setting investment values earlier can help with this.
Smaller Loan Book – This is really just a function of the last bullet point, not many loans with too many investors trying to get them.
Asset Information – not much information at all on the assets you’re lending on, making manual investing even more difficult.
Discretionary Provision Funds – which means there is no guarantee of a payout when default occurs. Management decides when the funds pay out.
Basic Website – although easy to use, the Unbolted website doesn’t give much versatility for choosing loans and automating investments.
Risk Factor – 5/10 – Medium
Is Unbolted Safe? I consider Unbolted to be in the middle area of the risk scale.
Even taking in to consideration that loans are asset secured, they are still a small company with minimal trading history.
Who Can Invest with Unbolted
UK residents with a U.K. bank account can invest with Unbolted. Contact Unbolted for further information.
Offers & Signup Links**
Similar Lenders to Unbolted
Unbolted Intro Video
Ready to Get Started Lending? Disclaimers: * My lender reviews, star ratings and risk ratings are based on my personal investing experience with the company being reviewed. These ratings are personal opinions and are subjective. You should do your own research before investing any capital and not base investments solely on the opinions published on this site. ** Some of the links on this website are affiliate referral links. When you click on these links, I can sometimes receive a commission, at absolutely no cost to you. This helps me to continue to offer new reviews and monthly portfolio updates here on my website. Platforms reviewed on this website I am currently investing with, or I have invested with in the past. You can see with full transparency on my Lending Returns page which lenders I am invested with (or have previously been invested with) at any point in time. I am not paid a fee by any of the companies to write reviews, so the reviews are unbiased and purely based on my own personal experiences. Please read my full website Disclaimer before making investment decisions.
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* My lender reviews, star ratings and risk ratings are based on my personal investing experience with the company being reviewed. These ratings are personal opinions and are subjective. You should do your own research before investing any capital and not base investments solely on the opinions published on this site.
** Some of the links on this website are affiliate referral links. When you click on these links, I can sometimes receive a commission, at absolutely no cost to you. This helps me to continue to offer new reviews and monthly portfolio updates here on my website.
Platforms reviewed on this website I am currently investing with, or I have invested with in the past. You can see with full transparency on my Lending Returns page which lenders I am invested with (or have previously been invested with) at any point in time. I am not paid a fee by any of the companies to write reviews, so the reviews are unbiased and purely based on my own personal experiences.
Please read my full website Disclaimer before making investment decisions.