According to ACCION International, a leading nonprofit microcredit provider, microfinance is defined as "banking and/or financial services targeted to low-and-moderate income businesses or households, including the provision of credit".

Typically international in scope, microfinance support enables economically disadvantaged individuals to obtain the small-scale capital they need to start up viable income-earning businesses. Organizations that provide microfinance or microcredit are known as Microfinance Institutions, or MFIs. These providers can be nonprofit organizations but also commercial banks or other financial institutions.

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