Kiva is a US non profit organisation that crowdfunds loans that can be borrowed via the Internet to low income citizens around the world. Since its inception in 2005, Kiva has given out loans totaling over $1.3 billion to 3.2 million borrowers. The organisation does not collect any interest on the loans.

The organisation operates in 78 countries around the world, including 26 countries in Africa. These countries include Mozambique, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Senegal, Rwanda, Kenya, Congo (DRC), Liberia, Burkina Faso and South Africa.

Kiva’s mission

We envision a financially inclusive world where all people hold the power to improve their lives.

Quick Kiva facts

  • Direct loans from Kiva website are 0% interest loans.
  • Operates in 26 African countries.
  • 81% of Kiva borrowers are women.
  • 450 volunteers.
  • A Kiva loan is funded every 2 minutes (watch Kiva live here).
  • 7,752 field partners and trustees.
  • 100% of funds lent on Kiva go to funding loans. Kiva cover own costs through voluntary donations made by Kiva lenders and grants and donations from foundations and supporters.

What Kiva loan can do

  • Students can pay for tuition.
  • Women can start businesses.
  • Farmers are able to invest in equipment.
  • Families can afford needed emergency care.

Kiva took my name from my living room across the globe… Lenders became my friends, my spiritual cheerleaders

How it works for borrowers

  1. Kiva loans are facilitated through a local partner or direct.
    • For partner loans, borrowers apply to a local Field Partner (a local NGO or lending institution), which manages the loan on the ground.
    • For direct loans, borrowers apply through the Kiva website.
  2. The loan goes through the underwriting and approval process.
    • Partner loans are facilitated by local nonprofits or lending institutions, which approve the borrower’s loan request. Kiva does due diligence and ongoing monitoring for each of these Field Partners.
    • Direct loans are approved through “social underwriting," where trustworthiness is determined by friends and family lending a portion of the loan request, or by a Kiva approved Trustee vouching for the borrower.
  3. The loand is posted to Kiva website for lenders to support.

How to apply

  • Find out if you qualify for a Kiva loan by entering the amount and purpose of the loan below, and answering a few quick questions here (20 to 30 minutes).
  • Prove your creditworthiness by inviting friends and family to lend to you (up to 15 days).
  • Fundraise by going public on Kiva, with your loan visible to over 1.6 million lenders worldwide (up to 30 days).

After loan gets funded

After the loan gets fully funded the loan disbursal period starts.

  • For most Partner loans, the money is pre-disbursed, so the borrower can access the funds right away.
  • For direct loans, the money is disbursed only after the loan has been fully crowdfunded on the Kiva website. Direct loans reach borrowers through Kiva’s Field Partners, or through the money transfer platform PayPal.

Repaying the loan

Direct loans through Kiva (not through a local partner) are 0% interest loans. The borrower has to repay the loan but doesn’t have to pay any interest because kiva doesn’t collect interest on loans when you have applied for a direct loan.

However, most borrowers on Kiva do pay interest to Kiva’s local Field Partners. The Field Partners collect interest from borrowers because there are many expenses associated with providing small loans such training, financial literacy classes or health services.

Kiva doest not partner with an organization that charges unreasonable interest rates, and it requires Field Partners to fully disclose their rates.

How this works for investors

Kiva lenders crowdfund an average of $2.5 million in loans each week, creating a unique, renewable pool of funds that is reshaping access to financial services around the world.

  • 100% of every dollar you lend on Kiva goes to funding loans.
  • Lenders receive repayments over time, based on the given repayment schedule and the borrower’s ability to repay. The repayments go into the lenders’ Kiva accounts.
  • Lenders use repayments to fund new loans, donate or withdraw the money.
  • Kiva lenders do not receive interest from loans they support on Kiva.

Conclusion

Micro-finance has proven to be a strong tool in facilitating financial inclusion and building long-term resiliency in the face of unexpected hardships for the poor around the world. In 2016, banks catered to only 33% of the total number of borrowers for micro-finance globally. Half of the extremely poor in the world live in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Research shows that peer to peer lending market is projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 51.5% from 2016 to 2022. The P2P lending industry is among the fastest growing segment in the financial lending market.

Further reading