Monday, Aug. 24, 2009


Peer-to-peer micro-lending, anyone? Kiva links "micro-bankers" like you and me with screened "micro-preneurs" in the developing world (and now even in the U.S.). You can lend as little as $25 in capital to the Kiva applicant of your choice. When the money is paid back, you can withdraw your original investment, donate it to Kiva or lend it to another needy applicant. Kiva claims a 1% default rate and a 97% on-time repayment rate, which means that, right now at least, your money is safer in the hands of the world's poor than in your 401(k). Of course, Kiva is a charity, not a broker, so you don't earn any interest.