Kiva Review

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Kiva

Funding amount

Up to $15,000

Term

Up to 36 months

Min. credit score

None

Time to funding

Up to 2 months

Kiva is a non-profit lender for microloans, which means you won’t have to pay an arm and a leg in order to get funded. While widely known for lending to small businesses in underdeveloped nations, Kiva also has a loan program for small businesses based in the U.S. Applicants are able to crowdfund interest-fee loans to get funding they might not qualify for through a traditional lender.

Pros

  • Alternative eligibility requirements
  • No-interest payments
  • Fixed repayment schedule

Cons

  • Slow funding timeline
  • Limited loan amounts
  • Loans based on crowdfunding

Kiva

Apply through Lendio How it works

Funding amount

Up to $15,000

Term

Up to 36 months

Min. credit score

None

Time to funding

Up to 2 months

Kiva is a non-profit lender for microloans, which means you won’t have to pay an arm and a leg in order to get funded. While widely known for lending to small businesses in underdeveloped nations, Kiva also has a loan program for small businesses based in the U.S. Applicants are able to crowdfund interest-fee loans to get funding they might not qualify for through a traditional lender.

Pros

  • Alternative eligibility requirements
  • No-interest payments
  • Fixed repayment schedule

Cons

  • Slow funding timeline
  • Limited loan amounts
  • Loans based on crowdfunding

Loan offerings through Kiva.

Kiva stands out by offering a unique platform where lenders can directly support small business owners and entrepreneurs through interest-free term loans. The organization facilitates loans starting at $25 and can go up to $15,000. This approach democratizes the lending process, allowing people from all corners of the globe to receive the financial support they need based on the strength of their business idea and their commitment to their community, rather than on traditional credit scores or collateral.

To initiate the process, applicants must post a compelling story about their business on Kiva’s platform, explaining how the loan will help their operation. From there, the crowdfunding aspect kicks in. The applicant’s personal network and the broader Kiva lender community contribute towards the loan in increments starting at $25. Once the loan is fully funded, the borrower begins repayment according to a fixed schedule agreed upon at the outset.

Kiva term loan quick facts
Loan amount range$25 to $15,000
Time in businessNo minimum
Minimum credit scoreNone
Minimum annual revenueNo minimum
Repayment scheduleMonthly
Fees0% interest for US-based loans
Funding speedUp to 2 months

See if your business is eligible for financing.

How much money are you looking for?

Things to consider.

Slow funding time.

Kiva has a unique application and approval process, which ultimately results in a slower funding time compared to other options. Expect the entire process to last about two months from start to finish. Here’s what’s happening each step of the way:

The initial pre-qualification application takes 30 minutes to an hour to complete. From there, you’ll get a call from a Kiva team member who may have some additional questions about your business. Expect this call to take place within two weeks of filling out your application. 

Next, you’ll get a loan amount offer and will have 15 days to invite family and friends to contribute to your loan. Kiva calls this “social underwriting” and it’s used instead of a credit check. In other words, if there are people in your life who trust you enough to pay them back, Kiva feels comfortable opening your application to the broader community.  

After that, your loan will be listed on the Kiva website to fundraise from their base of 1.6 million individual lenders for up to 30 days. While these extra steps provide financing opportunities that may not otherwise exist for some small business owners, Kiva loans definitely don’t provide a fast path to funding.

Microloan amounts

While the loan amounts offered by Kiva might seem modest compared to traditional loan options, they play a critical role for small business owners who are either starting out or are in need of a financial push without the burden of high interest rates. Ranging from as little as $25 to up to $15,000, these microloans are particularly beneficial for entrepreneurs who need funding for specific, smaller-scale projects or to bridge cash flow gaps.

For businesses in early stages or those not qualifying for larger loans due to credit constraints or lack of collateral, Kiva’s model provides an essential lifeline. Additionally, the absence of interest on these loans means that business owners can focus on using the funds to grow their operations without the added pressure of accumulating debt. This approach empowers entrepreneurs to invest in their businesses more confidently and sustainably.

Completely fee-free.

One of the standout features of opting for a loan through Kiva is the total absence of fees. This contrasts sharply with many traditional and alternative lenders that might charge origination fees, service fees, or prepayment penalties. Your monthly payment amount on a loan through Kiva is solely based on your principal balance, split evenly across your repayment period (up to 36 months). Kiva will then determine how much you can reasonably afford to pay back, which dictates your loan amount.

Alternative requirements to qualify.

You won’t find the standard business loan requirements with Kiva, like time in business, annual revenue, and credit score. Instead, you’ll need to meet the following eligibility requirements, which are a little bit different than usual:

Monthly repayment schedule.

Kiva loans come with a fixed monthly payment plan so that it’s easy to budget your pay-off strategy. There’s no grace period and payments start one month after your loan funds are disbursed. You can make manual payments each month or set up automatic payments; either way, all payments must be made via PayPal.

Monthly payments are typically better suited for small businesses compared to daily or weekly payments required by some lenders. This is especially true if you’re a small business–you may not yet have consistent cash flow to be able to support more frequent payments. A monthly schedule gives you more time to grow your revenue and make your payments to Kiva.

Evaluation

Kiva is best for:

Where Kiva might fall short:

Despite the many advantages of applying for a loan with Kiva, there are certain conditions where it might not be the ideal fit for some businesses. Understanding these limitations can help you make an informed decision:

How to apply for financing from Kiva through Lendio.

Applying for financing through Kiva via Lendio is a streamlined process designed to connect your business with the funding it needs with minimal hassle. Lendio is a small business loan marketplace with multiple lenders that will help match small businesses with loans that suit their unique needs. Here’s how you can get started:

  1. Complete Lendio’s online application form: You will need to fill out a brief online application on Lendio’s website. The form asks for basic information about your business, such as its name, how long it’s been in operation, your monthly revenue, and the amount you’re looking to borrow.
  2. Documentation submission: Alongside your application, you will be asked to submit documents that verify your business’s financial standing. These could include recent bank statements, income statements, balance sheets, and tax returns. Having these documents ready in advance can speed up the process.
  3. Review and acceptance: Once your application is submitted, Lendio will match you with potential lenders that fit your needs. If Kiva is a good fit for your financing requirements, you will receive an offer outlining the terms of the loan. Review these terms carefully to ensure they align with your business goals and repayment capabilities.
  4. Finalize the deal: If you decide to proceed with Kiva, you will work directly with their team to finalize the loan details. This may involve additional verification steps or documents.

The bottom line.

For businesses with compelling stories and a strong network, Kiva can provide a critical lifeline, facilitating growth and development in a financially sustainable manner. However, potential borrowers should carefully consider the platform’s limitations, particularly regarding funding speed and scale, to ensure it aligns with their immediate needs and long-term business goals.Looking for other financing options? Check your eligibility and get multiple financing offers for your small business in one place.

*The information contained in this page is Lendio’s opinion based on Lendio’s research, methodology, evaluation, and other factors. The information provided is accurate at the time of the initial publishing of the page (September 27, 2022). While Lendio strives to maintain this information to ensure that it is up to date, this information may be different than what you see in other contexts, including when visiting the financial information, a different service provider, or a specific product’s site. All information provided in this page is presented to you without warranty. When evaluating offers, please review the financial institution’s terms and conditions, relevant policies, contractual agreements and other applicable information. Please note that the ranges provided here are not pre-qualified offers and may be greater or less than the ranges provided based on information contained in your business financing application. Lendio may receive compensation from the financial institutions evaluated on this page in the event that you receive business financing through that financial institution.

Fueling the
American Dream

$12,000,000,000+

DOLLARS FUNDED THROUGH LENDIO

74+

LENDERS IN Lendio’s NETWORK

300,000+

LOANS FUNDED

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