Newbie Kiva Question

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by Sfmom, Oct 22, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Sfmom

    Sfmom Silver Member

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    Apologies if this is the wrong forum! Also I did some searching, but apologies if this question has been answered somewhere.

    Does Kiva accept Amex gift cards? Are they readily accepted, or is it one of these "hack" type situations where you have to register your address, etc?

    I've read mixed things online - seems like Visa gift cards work, but not as clear about Amex. Visa gift cards are very hard to get a hold of around here in any denomination that makes sense.

    Many thanks in advance!
     
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  2. iolaire
    Original Member

    iolaire Gold Member

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    I don't know about gift cards, I would assume that they work ok. Most funding is via PayPal, where you can change your payment source between the usual direct debit of a checking account or use a credit card. There are no fees to you or Kiva via both methods. I would believe that a gift card could be entered as a credit card and it would work. I don't know if you can fund Kiva without a real PayPal account.
     
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  3. Randy Petersen
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    Randy Petersen Founder

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    There's never a wrong forum on Milepoint, we're all here to help. Good question and the answer is YES. I've included a snapshot below of the checkout page on Kiva which displays the Visa/MasterCard/Discover and American Express logo for payment. AND you don't need a PayPal account to add/donate to Kiva, just select the "Don't Have a PayPal Account" text link.

    Hope this helps and please think about joining the Milepoint Kiva Lending Team HERE. (you'll earn a great "K" button for your profile like both iolaire (the member who posted above this) and I have in our profiles.

    kivaamex.png
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
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  4. Sfmom

    Sfmom Silver Member

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    I'm a longtime PayPal user, but I have read trying to fund Paypal with a gift card is very difficult. I also read there is a way to bypass PayPal and fund with a credit card - wondering if the AmEx GC could be used. Maybe I'll get a $10 one and try it.
     
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  5. Sfmom

    Sfmom Silver Member

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    Our posts crossed. Thank you! I've been considering trying Kiva for some time. Will definitely join your ranks.
     
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  6. Randy Petersen
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    Randy Petersen Founder

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    Here's the way around having a PayPal account for credit/payments into Kiva:

    paycredit.png
     
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  7. Sfmom

    Sfmom Silver Member

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    Trying now - when I hit "Don't have a PayPal" account I get an error message (presumably because its figured out I have a PayPal account!). I tried it using a private browser, and the two options I get are logging into PayPal or signing up for PayPal - I don't get the "Don't have" option. Will keep playing with it -
     
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  8. Sfmom

    Sfmom Silver Member

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    OK everything has it's learning curve! I tried it and got this error message:

    The billing information and card verification number entered does not match your credit/debit card. Please verify that you have entered the correct billing address and card verification number for your card.

    So it looks like it doesn't work, yes? I may still do Kiva, but it would be for the altruism, not the points.
     
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  9. Randy Petersen
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    Randy Petersen Founder

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    You might have a cache problem. To help you, i just went up to the same page and added new money to my existing account. I used PayPal and used the link that I referenced above "Don't Have a PayPal Account" (though i do have one and it's very active). I used the same email for the info to pay by credit card that is linked to my actual PayPal account just to see it it cross checks. Apparently not because I was able to add new money to my existing account using an American Express card and using the payment selection "Don't Have a PayPal Account" all with not a single problem. Here's the receipt I just got that confirms the payment rather than my PayPal account.

    kivapayacct.png
     
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  10. Randy Petersen
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    Randy Petersen Founder

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    Actually it does work, see my note above. I think from your error message is that the address you entered is not the address attached to the credit card you gave them. Nothing more, nothing less and standard procedure on any type of credit card transaction anywhere. I just looked at my American Express statement online and the transaction i just made using PayPal for credit card purchase to add new money to my account is already up there in "pending" as a mile earning transaction. (25 more SPG points and another loan to Kiva, this help thing is rewarding!)

    Gift Cards have the exact same number convention as a regular American Express card. The terms are "A Gift Card may be used at merchants and retailers in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands that accept the American Express Card ("Merchants")."
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
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  11. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    They might do a zip code check, which would be hard using a gift card.

    As Randy showed it’s very simple to just use your credit card directly, that would not help clear out a pile of gift cards, but it remove the need for new gift cards.
     
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  12. Sfmom

    Sfmom Silver Member

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    Thank you for your detailed replies. Sorry if I was a bit glib. I just spent down my Chase/United balances on an award - my first, so excited! - and was figuring out a strategy for accumulating for next year.

    You're absolutely right about the SPG card. I was thinking we could get the United Club card next go-around and use that, too. I guess I was thinking that for Kiva donations to make a real difference point-wise I'd have to lend quite a lot of money. Theoretically I don't see why that wouldn't work - though I'd have to convince my husband - it's just for some reason the idea of pouring in a lot (by a lot I mean maybe $5,000 or more) makes me a little nervous?

    Thank you for all your efforts and for maintain this forum! It's been a huge benefit to my family.
     
  13. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    There is no rush. Make some loans on Kiva and get experience to see if it is a charitable act that fits your lifestyle and income. Once it becomes a known activity it is much easier deciding to ramp up your commitment.

    I spent 2007 through mid-2011 re-lending a few hundred dollars into under a hundred loans ($2.5K). That gave me the confidence to start aggressively lending as the MilePoint team started reporting back from the First Kiva Do, leading to exponential growth since.
     
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  14. Mountainmanduy

    Mountainmanduy Active Member

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    So it is confirmed that as long as the Amex gift card is registered correctly to the address in paypal that you can add loans to kiva? Are you guys using the credit card/debit card or prepaid gift card option?
     
  15. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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  16. Sfmom

    Sfmom Silver Member

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  17. seaturtleguy

    seaturtleguy Member

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    Thanks for this info. Been looking at doing this for some time and this info has helped greatly!
     
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  18. Sfmom

    Sfmom Silver Member

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    Hi all,

    Me again! Now I'm thinking of using Kiva to make the minimum spends of our next AOR a few months away. (I like to plan in advance.) I had a related question.

    I've read here and there that Kiva/PayPal "doesn't like it" if you withdraw all the funds you invest (as opposed to re-loaning the same pool of money). Is that the case? If so, what are the consequences? I'm hoping to make the minimums of several credit cards, which is a good amount of money, and am a longtime PayPal user. Don't want to get PayPal/Kiva mad at me.

    Thanks!
     
  19. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    Kiva doesn't like it if you withdraw your money and keep lending (from a credit card) at the same time. Kiva also doesn't like it if you make frequent small withdrawls.
     
  20. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    This only works if you can float the minimum spend for a long time, you will find yourself lending a large amount with variable terms. So you put a ton of money in upfront and will need to wait for the loans to be paid back. More than likely you will be in a situation where its much easier to put money in than take it out.

    I end up doing a lot of funding, then for some period of months pull out the re-payments (that never equals the initial contribution because not all my loans repay at the same time), then do more funding, and along the way re-lend some of the previous funding.

    In the end Kiva gets much more lending from me then only my initial contributions - this is the type of activity that I think helps Kiva and is beneficial to the ecosystem.

    So if you can not let the money float for a long time its not really helpful to you or Kiva.
     
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  21. Sfmom

    Sfmom Silver Member

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    Thank you for the cautions. I'd done enough reading to realize it would be a long time before we got our money back. We're OK letting it float for a long time (I'm assuming up to a year).

    From the above this would be my plan 1. make the front payment, 2. not lend a while and gradually allow my account to accumulate returns, then withdraw not less often in larger amounts (maybe $1,000? $2,000?), 3. Once the money I have outstanding is down to maybe $1,000 or so, relend some portion of that to help Kiva, depending on how I felt about the whole experience. I've calculated that the opportunity cost of diverting our regular spend from our existing credit cards would amount to about 10% of the money I would invest in Kiva. Given how low interest rates are, it seemed like a good alternative.

    My husband and I do contribute annually to various charities outright--mostly education non-profits and the International Rescue Committee. I think I'd have to really jump into Kiva to get a sense of how much we'd want to contribute to the organization over the long term. Does this make sense? Thank you for all of your help - I read a lot about Kiva online but had trouble finding the answers to these particular questions.
     
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  22. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    Yes, Kiva does appreciate it if you withdraw less frequently. When I make withdrawls, I usually do them near the end of the month (after most repayments are in), and then withdraw just once a month.
    If you are concerned with getting your repayments sooner, then make loans with a shorter loan term. I find that kivalens.org is better and more accurate for sorting loans by loan term.
     
  23. Sfmom

    Sfmom Silver Member

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    Thank you M&S! My husband was initially wary of Kiva, and this entire hobby generally, but he seems to be coming around.
     
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