Kiva is a microfinance tool that focuses on raising money for entrepreneurs outside the country. Lenders can browse through a list of loan requests on the site to find the project that speaks most to them. And like Kickstarter, the loans can be small amounts like $25. Not only can your loan help create a new business, but in many areas that new business will have ripple effects on the entire community. Eventually, when they are able, the entrepreneur will repay the loan to Kiva, who will offer it back to you.
The Lending Club is a peer-to-peer lending site that allows users to invest and loan money to individuals and startups. The promise of the site is that investors can earn an excellent rate of return (on average, it’s 9.65%). Those borrowing the money meanwhile can accept up to $25,000 depending on their credit rating and end up with a lower average APR of 7.93%. Consumers really seem to be diving into this option as the site recently passed $1 billion in lending requests from users.
Quirky functions a little differently than the others on this list but it’s still worth including. Basically, users can submit an idea they have for a product they’d like to develop. Then members of the Quirky community get to vote and offer suggestions for how to make the product better. Every week, the Quirky administrators will pick out the most popular product and front the costs for manufacturing it and marketing it online. Meanwhile, each of the users who contributed an idea to make the product better get a small part of whatever profits it ends up making.
—For a comprehensive credit report, visit the BankingMyWay.com Credit Center.