I should have written about this a few days ago as freebies were available, but I didn’t notice the “limited availability” small print which means the freebies have now run out. However, it is a damn fine thing, so I am going write about it anyway.

A few years ago I was introduced to Kiva, a micro-lending service that rather successfully enables people to pool together to lend money to small businesses in developing countries.

A person, for example in Tanzania, might have a small business making bags and would like to buy bulk materials to expand their output, but needs a loan to buy the supplies before they can sell them.

A loan of $500 is needed, which is then made up by Kiva members pooling maybe $25 each together, and usually within just a few days, the loan can be made. Local organisations manage the loan repayments, and each month some of the money is repaid to each lender.

I was introduced to the scheme by a former boss, and find it a good way of using up any left-over petty cash in my paypal account.

There is no interest earned on the loan, which is typically repaid in about a year, but the default rate is minuscule, so it is a fairly rewarding thing to be involved with with.

You can sign up and have a look here – sorry that the free $25 starters have run out!

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3 comments on “Become a Micro-Lender with Kiva
  1. Steph says:

    There is a website similar to this called Zopa which my father uses. As with Kiva, the default rate is so small and he reckons that over the past year he has received an equivalent of around 6-7% back on the money he has put in – far better than any savings accounts that are around at the moment!

  2. I’m sorry if this seems a very grumpy comment, but I’m afraid you’ve touched one of my (many) pet peeves.

    As a veteran receiver of PR spam, by now you are undoubtedly familiar with the various tricks unsolicited marketing emails use. For example, you may receive one entitled “Come to Example Website for fun and games!”, and at the bottom of the HTML is a line reading “Visit <a href=”http://evil.subdomain.examplewebsite.com/dodgy/code.cgi?emailaddress=ianvisits&action=confirmValid&source=impersonalSpam&update=databaseConfirm_SENDMOARSPAM_0123456789”> http://www.examplewebsite.com </a> to find out more!”, probably with all other links similarly replaced.

    Well, I’m sorry, but to my eyes, to a certain extent, that’s exactly the technique you’re employing here. Wikipedia calls it link manipulation, and the mere fact that Wikipedia’s only writing on the subject can be found in a subsection of the Phishing article should tell you exactly what sort of connotations this practice carries. I’m sure you wrote this post with the best of intentions, but coercion and deception in the name of a good cause are not any less coercion and deception. It is for this reason that so-called ‘chuggers’ are generally looked down upon by society. (It’s also the reason why I never give my email address to a petition, however worthy, if the website includes a clause in the small print along the lines of “By signing this petition you agree to receive future updates from our organisation until further notice, even if you don’t want to, and no you can’t opt out now, you’ll have to wait until you’ve already been added to the spam list and then read through our entire densely-worded ToCs to discover the secret unsubscribe code buried somewhere in the middle.” See: Sense About Science, 38 Degrees.)

    I don’t know what function the URL http://kiva.org/invitedby/ian3440 performs, not having clicked on it myself – the reasons being that I never click on links if I notice the anchor text is not 100% honest about their destinations, for reasons which I hope are obvious. I have no objection to your use of this URL in itself, merely the fact that nowhere is the existence of the “invitedby” link mentioned or even hinted at in plain text in your blog post, which, although this is undoubtedly not so, does suggest nefarious intentions. Please correct this. I wouldn’t refrain from clicking an “accept an invitation” link if it was (a) from somebody I trusted, like you, and (b) clearly marked as such. I would, however, as in this case, refrain from clicking it if it was disguised as a simple link to the top page of a website, because this automatically makes me wonder what there is on that page which you consider important for me to view or be redirected through before reaching my destination, and why it was important for me not to have knowledge of this.

    While this blog is not a Best Male Enhancements 100% Guaranteed advertisement, I believe strongly in not applying one rule to one set of people and another rule to another set. We’ve got the Coalition for that.

    Thanks for reading, and once again I’m sorry if I come across as accusatory – once again, I’m sure this was either an oversight or a decision made with the best of intentions. Please edit the post appropriately to prove me correct.

    • IanVisits says:

      I pretty much reject your complaint for a few reasons.

      Firstly, you didn’t even click on the link.

      Secondly, it simply tracks click-thrus and is a fairly common practice on e-commerce sites.

      For you to write a long rant about how I am behaving an unethical manner without even clicking on the link to see what happens is bizarre.