KIVA is a micro-financing website. While most people would not find $20-$100 a large sum of money, the people of KIVA do. The idea is lending money to people from poor countries like Cambodia or Ghana so they can build up their business or in some cases assist with personal issues.
I prefer to stick to the people who need help with their business as the spin offs are greater. The great thing about KIVA is that you can lend $25, $50, $75, $100, etc. What ever you feel comfortable lending. While $25 isn't going to break many banks, it will make the world of a difference to third world entrepreneurs.
How it works is the borrower goes to a third party organization like CREDIT which is a partner in the World Relief organization. CREDIT then applies for money through KIVA and the KIVA users will pool their money to pay the amount requested by the lender. The lender typically gives you a reason like buying a cow or buying clothes for resale in bulk or buy a cart for transporting goods.
The lender is then required to make payments like a loan by certain dates. In most cases, they pay the exact amount required every month and in other cases they may pay more this month and less the next to equal out the payment. The money is returned to CREDIT who in return gives it back to KIVA. KIVA then considers it a credit to your account so you can re-distribute your funds to other borrowers or put it back in your Paypal or bank account.
To date, KIVA has helped make $80 million US dollars in loans thanks to 521,000 lenders. The current repayment rate is 98.50% and the average borrower borrows $415.27
Here's a report the PBS put together on KIVA.
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