Under the slogan "Invest wisely. End poverty" the social lending service Microplace.com, an Ebay company, launched today.
The Mission of Microplace is:
MicroPlace’s mission is to help alleviate global poverty by enabling everyday people to make investments in the world’s working poor.
Our idea is simple.
Microfinance institutions around the world have discovered an effective way to help the world’s working poor lift themselves out of poverty. These organizations need capital to expand and reach more of the working poor. At the same time, millions of everyday people here in the United States are looking for ways to make investments that yield a financial return while making a positive impact on the world. MicroPlace simply connects investors with microfinance institutions looking for funds.
The result: more microfinance in the world, satisfied investors, and above all, fewer people living in poverty.
It is not direct peer to peer lending, since lenders choose a country and an 'investment', thereby defining the purpose for which the invested money is used. Refer to this page for a good overview on how the Microplace concept works.
Lenders (termed investors) can invest via Paypal (no paypal fees). Their money goes to the selected microfinance institution (MFI). The MFI uses the money on the purpose described.
The investor buys a security issued by a security issuer. Currently investment offers have terms of 2 to 3 years with interest rates between 1 and 3 percent. Each investment offer (example) is described in detail by a prospectus.
Only U.S. residents are eligible to become investors. Minimum investment amount varies by offer (typically 50 US$).