Tag Archives for Kiva.

My Kiva spend experiment

For the past 8 years, Kiva loans have been a significant part of my credit card spend strategy.  With Kiva, it’s possible to increase credit card spend and do good in the world, all at the same time.  With luck and time, you’ll get most of your money back.  The idea is to use your credit card to fund microloans, wait for the money to be repaid, and then withdraw the money via Paypal.  You…

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Why I love Kiva for earning rewards and doing good

Yesterday, a friend named Ariana published a negative post about Kiva “Why I’m No Longer Using Kiva To Earn Points And Miles.”  In that post, Ariana complained about the “farce” of Kiva’s peer to peer lending, Kiva partners’ sky high interest fees, the repayment rate myth, and lending inefficiency.  This post concerned me deeply.  In the past 7 years, I’ve lent nearly half a million dollars through Kiva (not all at once of course!) and…

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Automating Spend

After writing up a deep dive into the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard, I decided to maximize spend on the card by spending exactly $2500 per month for 10 months.  I also have two Club Carlson cards (one business, one personal) that earn a free night at any US property with $10K annual spend.  And I have a Better Balance Rewards card (no longer available to new applicants) from BankAmericard which give me $30 cash…

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FlexPerks kills Kiva 3X

For years I’ve regularly paid for Kiva microloans with my FlexPerks Visa card.  The US Bank FlexPerks Visa card has long offered 3 points per dollar for charitable donations.  Even though Kiva loans are not technically charitable donations, the credit card coded them as if they were.  And, considering that FlexPerks points have been worth up to 2 cents per point towards airfare, this has been a fantastic way to earn up to 6% back…

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How to liquidate small denomination debit gift cards

There are many reasons that you may end up with lots of small denomination debit gift cards.  OfficeMax frequently runs deals, such as “$15 off $300 or more in Visa gift cards.”  And Staples frequently offers Easy Rebates where the $15 or so rebates come in the form of either Staples gift cards or a Visa gift cards.  And there are Amex Offers which often make it possible to buy Visa or MasterCard gift cards…

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Credit Card Spend in 2016 and Beyond

Manufacturing Spend

There was a time when the US Mint sold dollar coins online at face value, with free shipping, and allowed customers to pay with credit cards.  The coins were incredibly popular.  People bought the coins in huge quantities, paid with rewards earning credit cards, deposited the coins at local banks, and then used the banked funds to pay their credit card bills.  This deal, for many, was the “manufacturing spend” opportunity of a lifetime.  Unfortunately,…

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Increase Credit Card Spend (and do good) with Kiva and Kivalens

Update 7/29/2017: US Bank no longer codes Kiva as a charity. This post has been updated accordingly. Kiva is a nonprofit organization that facilitates micro-loans to enterprising individuals around the world so that they may earn their own way out of poverty.  Kiva loans do not earn interest, but they can be paid for with a credit card.  Credit card payments do earn rewards and do not count as cash advances. If you’re considering making…

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How to fix Kivalens (so that you can do good and increase credit card spend)

I published a primer on increasing credit card spend through Kiva in 2013 (see: Kiva: loans, points, and miles).  I believe that all of the basic info there is still correct today, so I’ll simply summarize here: Kiva is an organization that helps deliver micro-loans to people around the world. Loans can be funded by credit card.  If all goes well, you’ll eventually get all of your money back, but you will not earn interest…

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Kiva: loans, points, and miles

Making Kiva loans is one of my favorite ways to increase credit card spend.  Kiva loans help me reach minimum spend requirements for new credit cards; they help me reach credit card big spend bonus thresholds; and, most importantly, they help people around the world who need micro-loans, usually for starting or maintaining a small business. With Kiva, you can make loans with your credit card, and the transactions count as regular purchases for the…

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