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Kiva is a micro lending site aimed at low income entrepreneurs in 44 developing countries. It’s a cross between a charity (it’s a non profit organization) and a peer-to-peer social lending site.
You select a 6-12 month loan based on the profiles of the people involved and the business they are running. The minimum investment is $25. The loans do not earn any interest.
You can make a loan using PayPal, with free payment processing, or a credit card. Once you make your loan, you get updates and can track repayments. Once your loan is paid, you can lend it to someone else.
The default rate is 1.5%. So there is some risk in not getting your money back, but it is low. You can see more of the Kiva stats.
The heartwarming part about Kiva is how such a little amount of money can make such a big impact in another country. When the average loan is $415.46 for a Kiva entrepreneur, it really reinforces how far that money can go for their business.
In an interesting twist, Kiva, recently announced they will now be funding loans in the United States, their first move into lending in a developed country.
I’m interested in putting some money to work with Kiva. Have you loaned money on Kiva? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience.
Moving on to the personal finance finds of the week. My favorite is the crazy article about the glitch that hit some Visa users with a $23 quadrillion charge… and a $15 overdraft fee!