Kiva Business Loans Overview

Our Approach:

To help you decide the right loan, we meticulously reviewed Kiva’s loan offering and matched it to the businesses most likely to benefit from microlending loan solutions.

In this review, we’ll cover the type of loan Kiva offers to help you better decide if Kiva is the right lending partner for your small business. 

Selecting the best small business loan for your company comes down to three things:

  • Type of business you have
  • Needs of your business
  • What you want for the future of your business

Kiva’s Business Loans Summary:

Kiva offers microfinance loans using a crowdsourcing platform that are interest-free up to $15,000 and repayable over a 36-month term. Microlending is premised on the idea that in-need borrowers are supported by many lenders whose money is collectively pooled together to meet the needs of the single borrower.

  • Microfinancing loans are the best business loans for businesses needing a short term infusion of capital to help the business owner grow the business. Kiva offers microfinance loans up to $15,000 with rates as low as 0.00% per lifetime of the loan.

PROS

  • Money can be used for any business expense
  • Zero-interest loan
  • Replayable over 36 months

CONS

  • Smaller loans
  • Kiva doesn't report to credit bureaus
  • If your loan is only partially funded, you get nothing
  • You are responsible for helping the loan get funded
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Recommended: Read our guide on how to build business credit.

How to Apply for a Kiva Microfinance Loan:

  • Apply online at Kiva.org/application.
  • Provide your business formation documents
  • Show your business plan
  • Determine how much you need
  • Add loan profile picture
  • Write your personal story
  • Provide a business story
  • Explain the purpose of the loan
  • Link social media accounts
  • Gather a support network
  • Be responsive to Kiva
  • Get local support
  • Get funded for your loan.

Types of Kiva Business Loans

Kiva offers one type of business loan: microfinance loans. Microfinance loans were started with the original intent of helping impoverished people start or grow businesses to climb their way out of poverty. Kiva provides short term microfinance loans to businesses worldwide, with the help of partners who lend money to make it easier for microlending to be successful. As the name indicates, the amount of the loan is micro in comparison to traditional bank loans.

Kiva Microfinance Loan

Microfinance loans are useful when a business owner needs an injection of capital to quickly generate business income and grow the business faster.

Lowest rate: 0.00% per week

Loan sizes up to: $15,000

Benefits:

  • Free up cash flow
  • Zero-interest loan
  • Can be used for anything

Qualifications:

  • You must be 18 years of age.
  • You must be living in the US, and your business must be operating in the US.
    • Kiva operates in all states EXCEPT Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Vermont, and Rhode Island.
  • You must use this loan for business purposes.
  • You must have a separate business bank account.
  • You cannot currently be in bankruptcy.

How to Apply:

  • Apply online at Kiva.org/application.
  • Provide your business formation documents
  • Show your business plan
  • Determine how much you need
  • Add loan profile picture
  • Write your personal story
  • Provide a business story
  • Explain the purpose of the loan
  • Link social media accounts
  • Gather a support network
  • Be responsive to Kiva
  • Get local support
  • Get funded for your loan.

Kiva Customer Reviews

Kiva seems to have mostly negative reviews from customers. Here are some verified Kiva reviews on Trustpilot’s website made by people who sought loans through them to help their businesses:

“It sounds like a good idea, but it's really just another GoFundme. It's a crowdsourcing program, NOT a traditional small business loan program. Once you are set up, you have to beg friends and family to loan money to your project. Once a set number of friends and family loan you money, they send your project out to the "network." It's all or nothing at that point. My project raised over half of the loan amount...money I could have used for my business, but they sent it all back to the people who donated. This should only be a last resort, even then...I would suggest just trying a GoFundMe instead. A LOT less hassle.”

“I donate sporadically to Kiva. No direct debits - my income is too variable for that. But when I have enough, I feel privileged to be able to contribute to someone else’s success by way of providing a loan. So far, everything’s been paid back. Actually, that’s not much of an issue to me (and I wish there was an option to simply donate rather than just lend) but it does mean I can redistribute those repayments to others. The system is set up so you can lend according to different sectors: women, single parents, farmers, livestock, etc. I’m glad I found Kiva. It makes me feel more globally connected.”

“Kiva is a great crowdfunding platform and a wonderful way to empower others!”

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Learn more by checking out our comprehensive guides on small business loans.

Kiva Review Ratings

Value - 2.5/5

Overall, Kiva’s will not be the best loan option for most businesses. Since Kiva is a microlender whose nonprofit mission is to help alleviate poverty, the loan amounts are much lower than traditional bank loans or other working capital loans.

Customer Service - 4/5

Kiva’s customer service is friendly, transparent, and extremely helpful. The problem with their customer service is that they make borrowers jump through several hoops before they’ll qualify them for a loan. Much of the process involves the borrower looking for money outside of Kiva.

Ease of Use - 3/5

Applying for a microfinance loan was easy enough but maybe more work than what it was worth. Everything is explained in detail on Kiva’s website, but there are a lot of steps to take to get funded, and if you don’t get fully funded by individual lenders, you get nothing and will have wasted a lot of time.

Included Features - 2.5/5

We like Kiva’s approach to lending because it makes it possible for business owners who are impoverished, who otherwise may never have qualified for a loan, to get funded. This is our favorite aspect of microlending, but other features we liked include:

  • Zero-interest rate
  • 36-month repayment plan
  • Money can be used for anything

Final Thoughts on Kiva

Kiva may be the right lender for your business if you need short term financing with a zero-interest 36-month repayment term and need less than $15,000. If your business needs more money or a loan to help build business credit, Kiva is not the loan for you.

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Visit our comprehensive guide on small business loans.

FAQ

How do Kiva loans work?

Loan funds are repaid by utilizing PayPal. Partner lenders are repaid directly from the borrower.

How do I get a Kiva loan?

The application is all online and takes about an hour to complete. Once you complete the application, a member of Kiva’s team will reach out to you with further instructions.

Do you make money on Kiva loans?

Kiva doesn't pay interest to lenders and does not guarantee that a lender will be repaid. Lenders lend money because they support the cause of microlending.

Can I get my money back from Kiva?

Money in your account is called “Kiva credit,” so your money cannot be taken out until it has been lent out and repaid.

Does Kiva Zip conduct a credit check?

Kiva never reports repayment information to any credit bureau.

What is Kiva's approach to microfinancing?

Kiva is a nonprofit organization with a mission to reduce poverty by lending micro amounts of capital to help businesses grow, thus helping the business owner climb out of poverty.

How does microfinance help the poor?

Microfinancing loans can benefit low-income neighbors by supporting local entrepreneurs whose economic growth, in turn, benefits their communities.