I use Kiva on a regular basis to earn miles and points for my travel. Kiva is a microlending organization allowing users to lend as little as $25 to entrepreneurs in mainly third world countries. The borrower or borrowing group then pays back the loan in a series of installments over a number of months on a previously specified repayment schedule. There is no interest paid by the borrower, but it is an opportunity to earn miles and points through your credit card spending while also helping small business entrepreneurship in third world countries.
The milepoint Kiva team is holding a Kiva Do 2013 in San Francisco. The event will be October 25 — 27 and will include talks by Kiva founder and other members of the organization. It will also be an opportunity to socialize with miles fanatics and enthusiastic Kiva lenders, including Randy Peterson himself. The milepoint Kiva team was formed in February 2011 by Team Captains Randy Petersen and Nils (nime01 on milepoint). There are currently 1949 members and $5,878,375 has been lent over the course of the two years. This makes us the #3 team on Kiva in terms of lifetime lending, an impressive feat considering our relatively small team size. The #1 and #2 team have 12,000 and 30,000 members.
The first Kiva Do was held in March 2012 and $400,000 was lent over the 48 hour period. With all our milestones, the weekend of Kiva Do 2013 is an excellent opportunity to build momentum for our team lending. I will personally be matching up to $10,000 total for loans made that weekend. I am sure the number of loans will far exceed that, but there’s only so much I can loan! While I unfortunately will not be able to make it to the Kiva Do 2013, I do hope everyone that goes enjoys “doing well by doing good.”
You can register for Kiva Do 2013 in San Francisco here.
You can join the milepoint Kiva team here.
You can also sign up for Kiva through my referral link here. We will each receive a free $25 to loan (which will not be repaid to us, but it’s free).
Loaning on Kiva:
There is much more in-depth analysis and discussion that can be done about Kiva, but I wanted to give a quick overview of the mechanics and how loans work and a few things to be mindful of.
Something to keep in mind is that this is money you’re floating and investing in Kiva for multiple months at a time. That is, only use funds that you have idly sitting around in a bank account that you won’t be needing for immediate expenses. You should also evaluate the miles you’ll earn through Kiva against other investment opportunities after a proper analysis. That is, if you can instead make a 401k contribution with company match, Kiva may not be the right way to go.
All transactions are processed through Paypal and Paypal actually waives its credit card fees for Kiva loans. This is Paypal’s way of helping out this charity organization. When a Kiva loan gets paid back, you can similarly withdraw the funds through Paypal and back into your bank account.
It’s important to keep in mind these loans are not risk-free. While the overall default rate for the site is about 1%, default rates do vary across the loans. If you choose loans with more reliable field partners and better ratings, you can achieve a much lower default rate. I have been on Kiva for about a year and a half at this point and have never had a single loan default. That is, my loss/default rate is 0%. But, of course, you have to choose the right loans for that. It is also possible to lose more than 1% so you do need to do your research and know what you’re doing.
You can find more information about the Kiva Do on the milepoint thread.