The largest global online auctioneer and payments firm EBay Inc. on Wednesday launched a website allowing investors to buy securities aimed at improving conditions in the poorest countries.
Microplace.com will allow people to invest as little as $100 (Rs3,960) to support development in impoverished areas. Microfinance is the supply of loans, savings, insurance and other basic financial services to low-income households and businesses, typically without collateral. “This is different because it’s the first Web-based service for the everyday investor to invest in microfinance and earn an investment return while addressing global poverty,” MicroPlace founder and general manager Tracey Pettengill Turner ,?who sold MicroPlace to eBay in June 2006.
MicroPlace funds are designated for such countries as Cambodia, Ecuador, Ghana and Tajikistan. The securities mature in two-four years and, despite lacking credit ratings, yield just 1.5-3% a year. Investments may be made through eBay’s PayPal service or a regular bank checking account.
MicroPlace makes money from charging issuers to list. “We aspire to break even and if and when we reach profitability, eBay intends to reinvest any profits back into its own social initiatives.” ?
Eric Auchard contributed to this story.