Kiva (commonly known by its domain name, Kiva.org) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in San Francisco, California that allows people to lend money via the Internet to low-income entrepreneurs and students. Kiva's mission is "to expand financial access to help underserved communities thrive."
During the Kiva process, a borrower applies for a loan, the loan goes through an underwriting and approval process, the loan is posted to Kiva for fundraising and supporters, the borrower re-pays the loan, and lenders use the payments to fund new loans or donate to a cause, or they can withdraw the money. Borrowers pay interest on most loans to the field partners, and the field partners are charged small fees by Kiva. Lenders do not receive interest on the money they lend.
Kiva relies on a network of field partners to administer the loans on the ground. These field partners can be micro-finance institutions, social impact businesses, schools, or non-profit organizations. Kiva is supported by grants, loans, and donations from its users, corporations, and national institutions.
Kiva includes personal stories of each person who applies for a loan so lenders can connect with borrowers on a human level. Since 2005, Kiva has crowdfunded more than 1.6 million loans, totaling over $1.4 billion, in 77 countries. Repayment is not guaranteed; repayment rate is 96.1 percent. Over 1.9 million lenders worldwide use the Kiva platform.