Sure, you can pocket the money when it comes back. (Which is almost always does — Kiva’s overall default rate is currently less than two percent. Given recent stock market downturns, you may well do better with Bolivian woodworkers than the S&P.) But where’s the fun in that?
When your loans get repaid and you shuffle the money off to somebody else, it feels like you’re running your own tiny foundation. It’s really fun.
And remember: this costs me virtually nothing, other than the time value of the money while it’s out of my hands and the rare one or two percent of loans that default. (That said, I haven’t had a single default so far.) And for that fair price — a few farthings above free — you get to reach across the world like this:
Now that repayments are starting to keep my account almost reloaded on its own, this is starting to look like a lifetime hobby.