Frequently Asked Questions


What’s in it for me?

A safe and profitable investment that is aligned with your values. By lending through Mekar, you will help Indonesian micro businesses grow, drive local economies and create positive social impact while earning higher interest rates than most time deposit accounts. Your principal is protected with a guarantee provided by Mekar’s lending partners.

Getting Started

  • Why should I become a funder?

    Mekar offers you a double bonus. Firstly, Mekar offers you an interest rate which is higher than what you can earn in a bank’s savings account. In Indonesia you can earn 5%-6% on a 12 month time deposit account. With Mekar your annual earnings start at 8% and go up to 12.5%. 

    Secondly, your money helps small businesses in Indonesia grow, 90% of our loans are for women micro-entrepreneurs. If you save money at a bank it is very unclear how your money is being used by the bank. At Mekar you can choose who, where and what your investment is used for.

  • Where do I register?

    Funders can register https://mekar.id

  • Can foreigners without an Indonesian bank account lend with Mekar?

    Yes, you are welcome to invest. When you register as a funder in Mekar, Mekar will provide you with a personal account number at Bank BNI in Indonesia to transfer your investment to. You will need to invest a minimum of USD 3000 or Eur 2500. We have set this minimum amount to ensure you earn enough on your investment given the cost of international transfers.

    You will be notified by Mekar when your deposit has been received, you can then start selecting the businesses that you want to finance and lend to Mekar businesses. You will receive a notification when your loans have been repaid and their is idle balance in your Mekar account. You can then lend it again or transfer the money back to your home bank account. Mekar will charge no extra fees for this but do realize that international bank transfers cost money (about USD 60, back and forth), as does inflation (about 3%-4%) and we will deduct 20% tax on your interest earnings. You will receive a receipt for the tax payments, which you can use to show your own tax office that the tax has already been paid. Most countries have a ‘double taxation treaty’ with Indonesian

  • When can I start investing?

    You can invest once your registration has been checked. Once approved you will be notified with your Mekar Account number. Then you are ready to invest. It should take 4 to 48 hours between registering and being ready to invest.

  • Is my investment kept by Mekar?

    No, Mekar does not hold your money. The Financial Markets Authority (OJK) does not allow us to. Your money changes places at transfer/deposit, investment and repayment.
    - When you transfer money to Mekar it is kept in a safe “escrow” or Third Party account. Deposits from Indonesia are held with our payment provider Xendit. Xendit is one of Indonesia’s top independent payment providers. Deposits from abroad are held with Bank BNI, one of Indonesia’s four state banks.
    - When you invest in one or more loans, your money goes from your “escrow” or deposit account to the Lending Partner bank account.
    - When your investment is repaid your money is transferred by the Lending Partner to our payment provider Xendit. Xendit ensures that it is deposited in your “escrow” account.

    At each step Mekar ensures that the transactions are modified in your dashboard.

  • Can I sell a loan and get my money back early?

    No, at the moment this is not possible.

  • Where do I find my Funding Agreement with Mekar?

    You can find the agreement between you and Mekar in your dashboard.

Transferring funds

Payment and fees

  • How much can I earn investing through Mekar?

    You can earn between 8% to 12.5% per year in Indonesian Rupiah. Let’s explain that ... All loans for small businesses on Mekar’s platform offer you a base or nominal interest rate of 8-10% per annum. This means that if you lend 100, you will receive monthly repayments, totalling 108 to 110 within one year.

    However, Mekar has now made it possible to automatically reinvest the monthly repayments in new loans for a shorter period. You are now not sitting on idle money, your idle money is being put to work. Your earnings can therefore go up to 12.5% per year, depending on for how long you lock up your investment. You can invest for a period of 12, 18 or 24 months. You then get your money back at the end of the period.

  • How much can foreign investors earn?

    If you do not have an Indonesian bank account you still earn the same high returns as an Indonesian funder, but there are extra costs involved. So in USD, EUR, AUD or other currencies, you will earn about half that of an Indonesian funder.

  • How much do the borrowers pay?

    Borrowers pay our lending partners about 23% per year. 13% goes to the Lending partner for their work and guarantee. 2% to Mekar and about 8% to the funders. If you lend for a longer period of time, you will earn more, but the borrower still pays the same amount.

    This lending rate may seem high, but the borrowers that we lend to have no collateral and cannot get a regular loan from a bank. In Indonesia a borrower without collateral will usually pay about 40% or more if they want to get an uncollateralized loan from a bank. Their other alternative is to borrow from a loan shark that would charge them about 80% to 300% per year. Our borrowers are therefore happy that they can get a relatively cheap loan via Mekar.

  • How does Mekar calculate my interest?

    The interest or yield calculation is :
    = (Loan Amount x (Maturity date - Sold Date) x 10 %) : 360 Days

    Illustration :
    - Loan Amount  : Rp. 5.000.000
    - Sold date          : Friday, 7 July 2017
    - Maturity Date  :  30 December 2017
    - Rate                   : 10 %

    You Earn = (Rp. 5.000.000 x (30 Dec 17 - 7 July 17) x 10 %) : 360 Days
                      = 244.444

  • Is the interest rate fixed or variable?

    The interest on your loan is fixed. It will not change with changes in the state interest rate that are announced by the Indonesian Central Bank.

  • Is the interest rate per year flat or effective or APR?

    We quote ‘flat’ rates. Which means that 10% is 10 on a loan of 100 in one year. The effective interest rate or APR is then roughly 15%.
    We prefer the communicate the flat rate because it is what you get, 100 at 10% = 110 at the end of the year. Other lenders like to offer the effective rate because it seems you may get more.

  • How do I withdraw money from my Mekar Account to my own bank account?

    In the dashboard. go to the menu “Account” and “Withdrawals”.

Tax

  • Are my earnings taxed?

    Yes, Indonesian citizens, organisations and residents will be charged tax (PPh 23) as follows:
    15% of earnings if you have a Tax ID number or “NPWP”;
    30% of earnings if you do not have an ‘NPWP’.

    Foreign investors will be charged 20% of earnings. Most countries have a double taxation treaty with Indonesia, therefore you can present the Mekar Tax receipt (below) as proof of payment.

    Mekar will provide you with monthly and annual tax receipts (XLS) and proof of tax payment, which can be found in the dashboard. There you can download them. Mekar’s Lending Partner will pay the income tax due, and provide the receipts from the tax office. Mekar shares these with you.

Keeping your money safe

  • How much money can I lose and how can I reduce my risk?

    All funders with Mekar have their initial investment 100% guaranteed. That won’t be lost. Regarding the earnings or interest on your investment, yes you can lose money. If you invest in one loan you have a 1% chance that you will lose all your interest earnings. However, if you invest in 100 Mekar loans, you have a higher chance of losing only 1% of your interest earnings. So you should spread your investments.

    We recommend 2 things to reduce your risk:
    Tip 1. Never lend more than 10% of your savings;
    Tip 2. Always invest in at least 3 loans or more, so that you minimize your losses if one loan does not work out well.

  • Is my loan guaranteed or insured?

    Yes, your initial investment is guaranteed by our Lending Partners. They do not guarantee the interest portion though. There is no insurance on the loan. So if the borrower fails to repay any part of the loan, then the Lending Partner will repay the amount you initially lent, and none or part of the interest portion. Since January 2017, when we started this service all loans and interest has been fully repaid. There have been no arrears.
    Mekar itself cannot guarantee the loans since the Financial Markets Authority (OJK) prohibits online lenders from guaranteeing the loans.

  • How does Mekar select its loans and lending partners?

    Mekar works with Credit Cooperatives (Lending Partners) to help identify, lend and collect on loans. Mekar therefore puts a lot of effort into selecting the best Lending Partners and their loans through a strict audit and check before offering their loans to you.

    All of Mekar’s Lending Partners must:
    have a solid loan book. Less than 1% of its loans are more than 90 days late in repaying, these are called non-performing loans (NPLs);
    be large enough and focus on growing small businesses. It has have more than 1000 borrowers with productive or business loans;
    have large financial reserves to buffer against unforeseen situations. Its ratio of financial reserves to loans outstanding must be over 20% (this is also known as the Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR). It must of 20% and the ratio of PPAP (Provision for Earning Assets Losses) of at least 81%;
    be profitable. It must have been profitable for the last 36 months;
    be able to guarantee the funders of Mekar - Guarantee your loan principal (the loan amount).

    And all borrowers:
    - have never been late in repaying their loan
    - only use the loan to grow their business or other productive purposes.

Investment periods

  • Long term investing at Mekar

    With Mekar you can now compound (add-up) your returns. When you select the 12-Month, 18-Month or 24-Month Invest option you can earn almost 50% more than with a “Monthly-Invest” scheme.
    What Mekar does is that we will automatically reinvest all the repayments made to you into new loans. This means that the repayments do not sit idly in your Mekar Account, they are always at work, earning interest for you in new loans. These new loans have a shorter lending period, so that we can ensure that you get repaid in one go at the end of the 12-18-24 Month period.
    The “Monthly Invest” scheme ensures you get money back every month (Indonesian bank account required). At the end of the loan period everything is repaid. With the 12-18-24 Month Invest scheme, your money is at work for the full period, and you get your initial investment and interest back in one go.

    Check the new offerings and rates on our homepage Mekar.id.

  • How do I invest for 12-18-24 Months?

    - Register as a funder
    - Login and go to the dashboard Click the “Invest” menu
    - Choose for how many months you wish to invest, 12-18-24 Months
    - Make sure you have enough Balance (money) in your Mekar Account
    - Select “Auto Invest” if you want to let Mekar select your loans for you
    - Select “Select “Manual Invest” if you want to select loans of your choosing. You can use the “Filter” to select Gender, Period, Interest, Industry and Region. Then check all the loans that you want to lend to. Only select as many as you have funds for in your account. After selecting the loan, you will be referred to the Loan Shopping Cart. Then, you can click Confirmation menu to retrieve the invoice.

    Please also make sure the balance in your virtual account is sufficient to proceed the investment. If you have insufficient balance in your Mekar Account, you can add funds on the Top Up menu. The invoice will be sent to your e-mail and through notification on your Mekar Account. Please top up the balance of your virtual account via Mekar.id with the funds that match to the total invoice amount.

About loans & Lending Partners

  • What is a ‘Lending Partner’?

    A Lending Partner is a lending institution, like a credit cooperative (KSP) or a regional bank (BPR), that Mekar works with to find local small businesses, finance them and collect the loans for you. By collaborating with lending Partners Mekar can now enable you to finance businesses across the whole of Indonesia. See the profiles of Mekar’s lending partners :

    KOMIDA
    AKR

  • Is my money really used for the businesses I have selected?

    Yes. The ownership of the loan that you have selected and financed is transferred to you. The Lending Partner still ensures that the loan repayments are collected for you.

  • How is my deposit transferred to the borrower?

    When you select a loan that you want to lend your money to, you are actually buying the loan. This is the same as buying a product in an ecommerce website. The price you pay for the loan that you buy, i deducted from your Mekar Account, and transferred to the Lending Partner within 24 hours.

  • Who collects the loan installments from the borrower?

    The Lending Partner is responsible for collecting and servicing your loan. Even though your money is now financing the loan, the Lending Partner will treat the loan as carefully as if it their own loan. In fact, the staff at the Lending Partner do not know which loan is ‘theirs’ or ‘yours’ so they treat all borrowers the same.

Referral program

  • What can you earn?

    You can earn IDR 100,000 (USD 7) per referral. This referral bonus should be used within 30 days of receiving it. You can use the bonus the next time that you fund new loans.

  • What do you need to do?

    Share your Mekar referral code with your friends and family, when they register using your referral code, you will get a referral bonus.

  • Where is your referral code?

    You can find it in the top of your dashboard.

About Mekar

  • What is Mekar?

    Mekar is an Indonesian fintech peer-to-peer lending company. Mekar makes it possible for people and organisations to finance small business borrowers throughout Indonesia via the Mekar website. We are able to service small businesses across Indonesia because we work together with the financially strongest credit cooperatives in Indonesia. Our aim is to improve access to finance for small businesses across Indonesia. Mekar is the trade name for the limited liability company PT Mekar Investama Sampoerna. Mekar means ‘blossom’ in Indonesian.

  • What is P2P lending?

    Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is the practice of lending money to individuals or businesses through an online platform such as Mekar that matches lenders with borrowers. P2P lending is the same as ‘crowdfunding’ or ‘marketplace’ lending. It means that your money is being used to finance the loan that you have selected, person-to-person. P2P lending and crowdfunding also means that a ‘crowd’ of many lenders can finance one borrower.

  • Who is behind Mekar?

    Mekar was founded by the Putera Sampoerna Foundation. Putera Sampoerna is one of Indonesia’s most respected businessmen. Since its establishment in November 2010 Mekar has been wholly funded by the Foundation. Mekar’s peer-to-peer lending platform is operated by the company PT Mekar Investama Sampoerna, which in turn is 100% owned by PT Sampoerna Wirausaha. Mekar is managed by Thierry Sanders (Strategy), Pandu Kristy (Operations), Randy Gunadi (Sales) and Dandi Rusli (CTO).

  • What are Mekar’s strengths?


    - Mekar is financially backed by the Sampoerna family, one of Indonesia’s most successful business families.
    - Mekar works with the best credit cooperatives in Indonesia. Our Lending Partners have large financial reserves and have the lowest non-performing loans (NPLs) rates in Indonesia.
    - 90% of Mekar’s loans are to micro-enterprises run by women. Repayments on these loans are more reliable.
    - This allows our Lending Partners to offer a guarantee to Mekar’s investors.
    - Mekar is the only peer-to-peer lending platform in Indonesia offering pre-funded or securitized loans. All loans on our platform have already received their loan, we check if the borrowers repayments are satisfactory, if so we offer the loans on Mekar.id.
    - Mekar only facilitates productive loans to businesses that need finance to expand their business. This helps create jobs. Mekar never provides consumer finance.
    - Mekar finances businesses all over Indonesia. This is made possible by its collaboration with Credit Cooperatives that have branches in all regions of Indonesia.

  • Why is Mekar necessary?

    In Indonesia, banks provide finance to less than 20% of the businesses that need it. 80% are either served by friends, family and loan sharks. Mekar aims to make access to finance for growing businesses possible without the need of growing a large branch network. That is why Mekar works with carefully selected local financial institutions so that your funds go to where businesses need it most.

  • Is Mekar regulated by the Financial Services Authority (OJK)?

    PT Mekar Investama Sampoerna (MEKAR) is a legal entity established under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Indonesia. MEKAR is an Information Technology-Based Lending Service Provider (Peer-to-Peer Lending) that has been registered and supervised by the Indonesian Financial Services Authority (OJK), as stipulated in the Registration Letter from OJK Number: S-237/NB.213/2018 dated March 20, 2018. MEKAR’s business activities are closely supervised and regulated under OJK Regulation No.77/POJK.01/2016 on Information Technology-Based Lending Services to ensure MEKAR's legality and compliance with the laws and regulations in Indonesian.

  • How does Mekar make money?

    Mekar charges the Lending Partner, not the funder, for every loan sold. Mekar will generally charge between 1% and 3% of the funds disbursed to them.

  • What does Mekar mean?

    Mekar means to blossom. The three colours in our logo symbolize the collaboration between three stakeholders namely funders, agents and entrepreneurs. These “three hands” can be found in all Sampoerna Family company logos. The yellow in the logo represents Mekar’s staff and technology, which are the two things that unite it all. Together we blossom, Mekar bersama.