The impact of microfinance on poverty alleviation, human development and its cost effectiveness will be assessed by reviewing the leading literature on the topic. The literature contradicts each other on the methodology used. The articles are reviewed in a chronological order to preserve the discussion between the authors. The conclusion is that a definite effect on income and poverty is measured but that effects are more profound when credit is given to women. Similar results are found on the impact on human development indicators like health and education. Finally concerning cost effectiveness the programs do not seem financially viable but for society as a whole benefits do seem to outweigh costs.