Kiva Card a Simple Way to do Serious Good

We all seem to be broke these days.
Why would anyone in their right mind want to donate money during a financial crisis?

Easy. Because the person you’re donating to feels the economic crisis, too. The difference is that while you may lose your house, they may lose their lives.

The financial crisis has resulted in drastically reduced commodity prices. That’s good for us, but not so good for the farmers in the developing world who sell the things we consume. For them, tumbling prices mean higher odds of starvation, losing educational opportunities for their children, perishing from health problems, or turning to prostitution to survive.

50% off is not always pretty.

When you give a microloan, you’re not just helping someone out. In bad global economic situations like the current one, you could save someone’s life. offers microloans to select entrepreneurs around the world. Through donations, the organization helps lend tiny amounts of capital to entrepreneurs who would otherwise not have access to funds at all, or be subject to loan sharks.

Most recipients are women. Their businesses run the gamut from car repair shops to small farms. Business owners generally take their loans very seriously and repay them as soon as they can.

Loan applicants are featured on Kiva’s website, allowing lenders to connect to them as people as well as lenders. When website users decide to lend money—usually a few hundred dollars—the money goes to a microfinance institution, which then hands the money to the entrepreneur.

Loans aren’t risky
–defaults are at 1.4%. And Kiva is totally hip. Here are some of Kiva’s most recent statistics, from their website:

Total value of all loans made through Kiva: $45,292,510
Number of Kiva Lenders: 343,694
Current repayment rate (all partners): 98.62%
Average total amount loaned per Kiva Lender (includes reloaned funds): $131.69

If you’re a traveler, Kiva certainly beats giving money to begging children. If you have a big heart, browsing through entrepreneurs’ profiles is enough to convince you that the program works.

Entrepreneurs usually take up to a year to repay loans. Kiva donations start at only $25.

Sound good? Advanta now offers a credit card that will match 100% of your Kiva grant donation of up to $200/month. Additional perks include:

–A 5% credit on all grants made to Kiva, other charities, and some qualifying purchases. Hitting the limit of $1,200 nets you $60 in credit each year.

–15 months of balance transfers at 0% APR.
–APR is fixed at 7.99%.
–No annual fee.
–It’s called a business card, but individuals can apply, too, if their credit rating is very good.

The card is a simple way to do serious good. If you can pay it off, try it out.

  • Erik

    I recently noticed Schwab Charitable launched a microfinance guarantee program. Does anyone have experience or opinion on this?

    This program differs from direct microfinance gifts in that funds are used to guarantee loans—like a parent co-signing a student loan.

    I think it is interesting that this Schwab Charitable program is among a few organizations popping up— and—that are helping to bring microfinance funding opportunities to middle class Americans.

    And microfinance in general is such contrast to the mess created by the credit crisis. It is succeeding because loans are transparent, lenders know the borrowers, borrowers are not encouraged to take out more debt than they need and loans aren’t run through a Veg-o-matic that slices and dices the loans beyond recognition.

    Default rates are less than 3 percent for microfinance loans, this despite the fact that loan recipients are typically poverty-stricken entrepreneurs in some of the world’s least developed economies..

  • Thanks for the great tips.