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Why am I seeing currency exchange gains and losses?

When you choose a loan on Kiva, or receive a repayment from a borrower, you might see details about currency exchange gains and losses. Here are some helpful details about what that means and why you’re receiving this information:

How does Kiva calculate currency exchange rates?

Currency exchange refers to the amount of local currency that is equivalent to 1 US dollar. Kiva’s currency conversion rates come from, an online currency exchange provider, which calculates its rates using live, up-to-the-minute mid-market currency rates.

The starting amount is calculated on the date that the loan is posted to the Kiva system by the Lending Partner, and we use the currency rates on the billing date every month to calculate whether there has been any currency exchange loss on the repayment.

What are currency exchange gains?

Currency gains may result from exchange rate fluctuations during a loan term.  When lending internationally, the local currency in a Lending Partner’s country may gain value compared to the U.S. dollar. In this situation, a Kiva loan may result in a currency exchange gain.

Any gain from these exchange rate fluctuations will be accrued in a Kiva holding account until the loan term has ended. Once the loan has been repaid in full, any currency gains will first help offset any losses incurred for that specific loan. Because Kiva loans are not investment vehicles capable of earning a profit, any excess foreign exchange gains will be retained by Kiva to cover operating expenses.

What are currency exchange losses?

The amount of currency exchange loss is the portion of a loan not repaid due to currency fluctuations. When lending internationally, the local currency in a Lending Partner’s country may lose some of its value compared to the U.S. dollar — requiring the partner to use more of its local currency to reimburse Kiva in USD. We offer Lending Partners the option to protect themselves against severe currency fluctuations by sharing losses with Kiva lenders. By bearing these losses, lenders protect the partner and its borrowers from currency devaluations.

Can I make money if the value of the local currency appreciates relative to the U.S. dollar?

Kiva loans are not securities or investment vehicles and therefore can’t be used to make money via currency exchange fluctuations. While lenders will not gain funds beyond their principal loan amount if the local currency appreciates against the US dollar, those gains will be credited back to lenders to offset currency losses on the same loan. If no losses were experienced, currency gains will be retained by Kiva to cover operating expenses.

How will I know if the loan I’ve funded is at risk of currency loss?

You can check if a loan is at risk of currency loss in the details on the right hand side of the loan page. To do so, log into your Kiva account and go to to select a loan you’ve funded. Under “Loan details” on the right, navigate to the “Partner covers currency loss” field which will have one of three values: Covered, Possible, or N/A.

You can check currency loss on any borrower's profile by navigating to the right side of the page, under "Loan details".

Covered: The Lending Partner has opted to cover any losses on the loan that are due to currency fluctuation. Lenders will not bear losses due to currency fluctuation.

Possible: The Lending Partner has opted not to cover currency fluctuation induced losses on the loan. In this situation, lenders face additional risk because they will bear all losses greater than 10%.

N/A: The Lending Partner disburses loans to borrowers in USD so their loans are not subject to any foreign currency conversion.

About the author

Elisha Hodgson