Credit is increasingly a key element in development strategies. For urban women it can have the dual effect of helping businesses to grow and stabilizing family incomes. In Sri Lanka, however, appropriate affordable credit is not always available to women. This is in spite of the fact that women are often the most reliable borrowers. This article outlines the most widespread Sri Lankan sources of credit and highlights the potential of informal credit in providing basic programming principles. These are illustrated here in the example of the Siddhartha Path Women's Mutual Help Group.