Kiva Review

Kiva is a microlender that’s been providing business loans since 2005. It’s a non-profit organization that’s aimed at helping startups and micro-businesses get off the ground, and it’s well known for offering its loans at zero percent interest.

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    What loans Kiva offers

    Kiva has a very basic offering and provides just one type of loan, a micro business loan. 

    How Kiva works

    Kiva definitely isn’t your typical lender. While under its basic terms you can borrow between $25 and $15,000 for up to three years, you won’t be borrowing from Kiva itself. Instead, the provider acts as a crowdfunding intermediary, and your loan request is posted to its loan board. If users of the website like the sound of your business project, they can choose to part-fund your loan. This could mean you end up with dozens of separate individuals or organizations funding your loan.

    Since interest rates are set at zero, your backers won’t be making any money from their investment. You’re relying on people’s philanthropic nature, and this type of lending is often used to fund local community projects. This method also means it can take months to get all of the funding you require as you wait for the money to come in.

    If you’re struggling to get enough backers, you don’t have to lend the full amount you originally requested and can cash out what you have at any time and begin repayments.

    How do I qualify for Kiva?

    There are no minimum qualification criteria; Kiva loans are open to anyone willing to use this crowdfunding method.

    Kiva Pros And Cons


    • You can fund any project you’d like
    • Zero interest rates
    • All credit types welcome


    • Very low borrowing limits
    • It could take months to get fully funded
    • Not suitable for larger businesses

    How do I apply for Kiva? 

    The online application form should only take about 20 minutes to complete. It’ll usually be approved near-instantly and then posted to the Kiva website. You can then invite friends, family and associates to fund your loan or wait for the site’s users to take a liking to your project. You can then cash out your funds and start repaying any time.

    Documents I need to apply for Kiva

    • A photo of you and your business
    • A PayPal account
    • Basic financial information about your business

    Kiva for bad credit

    Kiva is a good choice for those with bad credit or no credit history at all. There are no minimum requirements and anyone can set one up. Bear in mind, though, that if you don’t have a strong network of supporters, your lending amount will be severely limited.

    Kiva customer support

    There’s a customer service number you can call; however, this is for voicemails only and you’ll need to request a callback from a customer service representative. The provider encourages you to send your queries via the online contact form.


    Kiva is certainly a unique business loan option, and it might be the right solution for someone struggling with bad credit. Although there are lengthy funding times, reliance on a large community of supporters and very low borrowing limits mean many of us will need to try an alternative route.

    You might want to start with SmartBiz if you need more funding. It offers loans between $30,000 and $350,000, interest rates from just 7.5% and terms up to 10 years. It also has a quick turnaround on approvals.