In 2011, Kiva Zip was launched by Kiva.org as a pilot program in “Alpha” testing mode. Its aims were to expand access to capital for hard-working small business owners, lower the costs of that capital, and more closely connect Kiva’s online community of borrowers and lenders.
Five years later, we’ve disbursed well over $10 million in 0% interest loans to more than 2,000 small business owners throughout America, crowdfunded by 75,000 individual people committed to creating the vibrant, diverse, small-business-enriched communities they want to live in. And today, we’re delighted to announce that Kiva Zip will soon be graduating to a new home on Kiva.org!
Why are we excited about Kiva Zip combining with Kiva.org?
For Kiva Zip borrowers, the main benefit of this new, combined website will be faster fundraising. At the time of writing, 77,822 people had made a loan to a small business owner on Kiva Zip. For Kiva.org, that number is more than 1.4 million!
More lenders also means more brand impressions – both for borrowers, and for the rockstar Trustees that endorse them. For example, Kiva Zip Trustee Centro Community Partners has empowered their community members with $135,800 of 0% interest capital, and maintained a 100% repayment rate on the 16 loans they have endorsed. We can’t wait to share stories like this with Kiva’s million plus lenders.
For lenders, there will be many benefits of a more unified lending experience:
- All lenders’ Kiva lending will be centralized under 1 account, with 1 balance, and they will be able to do all of their lending from 1 website;
- It will be simpler and easier to discover and support new loans both in the U.S. and around the world, on any device;
- Lenders will be able to use Kiva Cards to support U.S. loans;
- It will now be possible to credit U.S. lending to a Kiva lending team. You can check out Kiva’s existing community of 38,000 lending teams here, or create your own!
For Kiva there are benefits of this move too. Rather than having to maintain 2 separate financial systems, email systems and websites, we will now only have to maintain 1 system. This will save us money and time, and should mean a smoother user experience for everyone in our community!
How will this coming together of Kiva Zip and Kiva.org happen logistically?
The new, combined Kiva website will go live on June 2.
When it does, Kiva Zip will have a new name…Kiva U.S.. And you’ll be able to log in or support U.S. loans from Kiva.org/US.
In order to ensure a smooth transition, the Kiva Zip website will be taken down on May 28, and all lending to U.S. loans will be paused. There will then be a few days during which it will not be possible to log in to your Kiva Zip account.
Any loans that were fundraising on the Kiva Zip website on May 28 will re-appear on Kiva.org and can be found through Kiva.org/US on June 2, and their funding status will be carried over. For example, if a $10,000 loan was 72% funded on May 28, it will re-appear on Kiva.org on June 2 still at 72% funded.
Borrowers whose loans are fundraising during this transition, will have an extra 20 days to reach their goal. For example, if a borrower’s loan was due to expire on June 9, we will reset their expiration date to June 29 when we make the move to the new, improved website.
After June 2, “Kiva U.S.” borrowers will see a pretty similar dashboard to what they see today. Lenders who previously made loans on the Kiva Zip website will now see these loans appear in their Kiva.org portfolio.
All users – borrowers, trustees and lenders – will keep the same sign in email and password as they currently have.
To set expectations, with a substantial website re-architecture like this, there will always be a learning curve and an adjustment period. We are very excited about the benefits that a combined experience will bring to all of our community members in the long-term, but in the short term it may take some time to ensure every bug is fixed, and every important user functionality retained and enhanced. Please be patient with us in early June, as we set Kiva up for deeper and broader impact over the coming decades.