FAQs: Kiva's response to COVID-19

We recently announced major changes to the Kiva U.S. program in response to the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak. We’re eager to help small businesses struggling under the impact of this pandemic, and we’d like to answer any questions you may have.

For Lenders

Why only in the US?
We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has a global impact, and we'll continue to explore ways to help as many people affected by this crisis as possible. Currently, the U.S. market is the place we have the most agility to deploy financial assistance through our direct lending program. 

Can I forgive a loan or request a borrower not have to repay? 
While offers to forgive loans are very generous, Kiva's lending process is designed to accommodate loans and not donations. This means that all funding requests posted to Kiva are considered loans, and there unfortunately isn't a way to request that a borrower not repay your portion of the loan they received.  

Aside from lending, how can I help Kiva support small businesses in a bigger way? Can I donate?
Yes, we welcome added support for Kiva’s COVID-19 efforts, and have organized a few ways to get involved with commitments over $10,000. If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to: partnerships@kiva.org. You can also donate to Kiva’s operating expenses.

I have additional questions not covered in this FAQ. How can I get them answered?
If you’re a lender, please email contactus@kiva.org with any more questions you have. General questions can be asked at kiva.org/help.

For Borrowers

What is the minimum eligibility for borrowing on Kiva? 
The borrower must:

  • Meet impact standards
  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Not currently be in bankruptcy
  • Not be a registered sex offender or terrorist
  • Not have violent or financial criminal convictions in the last 5 years
  • Be able to cover their monthly debt with their monthly income

** If any of these are not met, the application will be declined

Can individuals take personal loans?
No, Kiva US loans must be used for business purposes.

Does a borrower have to repay this loan?
Yes, this is a loan, not a donation.

How does the grace period on my loan work?
For a borrower that requests a grace period, the initial repayment date will not start until after up to 6 months post-loan disbursal.

How long will these changes in the loan product last?
Given the nature of how this crisis is evolving, we don’t yet have an end date for the changes in eligibility, loan size, and grace period.

Are current repayment terms able to be altered in response to COVID-19? 
Because loans are funded by a base of 1.6mm lenders rather than a single entity, formal repayment terms are complicated to restructure. 
We expect and completely understand this will be a difficult period for borrowers to repay. As needed, borrowers can set up reduced repayment schedules. They should be in communication with borrowers@kiva.org or their local Capital Access Manager if they expect changes. 
We also strongly encourage borrowers to keep lenders posted through the updates section accessible through their borrower portal. We are not reporting on credit, so this will not negatively impact a borrower’s credit score.

Can a current borrower take out an additional loan?
Borrowers with current loans would be asked to repay their current loan before applying for another.

I have additional questions not covered in this FAQ. How can I get them answered?
If you’re a potential or current borrower, please email borrowers@kiva.org with any more questions you have.

Thank you!

About the author

Casey Miller

Casey Miller is the content and media coordinator at Kiva in the Portland offices. She began her journey with Kiva as a New Media and Branding intern in the summer of 2019 before continuing on as the content and media coordinator, now managing Kiva's social media accounts and the Kiva blog. Casey graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.A. in Journalism, and still uses this journalistic background in her storytelling at Kiva. With a passion for travel and cultural exchange, Casey seeks to spread the stories of our cultures and communities for those whose voices are often ignored.