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- Stilt is an online lender that specializes in lending to immigrants and underserved populations.
- Borrowers with bad or limited credit should consider Stilt; if you have fair or good credit, there are better options (see below).
What we like:
Favorable for nonresidents
|Rates (APR)||7.99% – 35.99%|
|Loan Terms||6 – 36 months|
|Loan Amounts||$1,000 – $35,000|
|Fees||Origination fee: 0% – 5%|
Prepayment penalty: None
Late fee: 4% – 5% of monthly payment
However, the types of people who could access personal loans hasn’t always been so broad. Immigrants and underserved populations have historically had a hard time accessing products at major financial institutions, and Stilt wants to change that.
Stilt is an online lender built on the vision of providing a transparent, affordable way for international students, visa holders, DACA holders, and refugee and asylum applicants to borrow for various financial needs. Stilt isn’t for everyone, though. This review will tell you what you need to know.
In this review:
- Stilt personal loans: At a glance
- Pros & cons of Stilt loans
- Eligibility & application requirements
- Where to find Stilt alternatives
Stilt personal loans: At a glance
|Stilt personal loans|
|Loan amounts||$1,000 – $35,000|
|Term lengths||6 – 24 months|
|APRs||7.99% – 35.99%|
Stilt is a private loan company catering to expatriates. Stilt’s founders created the company with the initial purpose of helping international students pay for their education, although they now lend for a variety of purposes, including building credit.
Most lenders focus on determining borrower risk by evaluating their credit history, but this does not work for recent immigrants. While expats may have a well-established credit history overseas, once they come to the United States, their financial past is virtually wiped clean.
Without a credit score, history of financial activities, or a track record of on-time payments to creditors, international students and other expatriates are deemed an unacceptable risk for nearly all traditional U.S. lenders.
Stilt utilizes technology-based tools to gain a better understanding of the risk a borrower represents to the lender. More weight is placed on educational background or future endeavors, experience at work, current and future income, and other behavior.
>> Read more: Can You Get a Personal Loan as a Non-US Citizen?
Pros & cons of Stilt loans
- You can get a Stilt loan without collateral or a cosigner. In fact, you can get a loan even if you don’t have a Social Security number or a credit score.
- Immigrants, international students, and people with limited credit histories may qualify for a loan from Stilt.
- The company is not a bank but is instead backed by Y Combinator and a group of investors, which led to a lull in funding in the first half of 2017.
- Stilt’s maximum loan amount of $35,000 may not be enough for some borrowers.
- Stilt Personal Loans must be repaid within two years, which may present a challenge for those who use the funding for education, but have no immediate job prospects or a low level of income immediately after graduation.
- Stilt loans used for education do not offer the same provisions to borrowers as federal student loans, such as income-driven repayment, loan forbearance, or potential forgiveness.
Eligibility & application requirements
For visa holders and international students, Stilt offers a simple platform to apply for personal loans. While not a full list, Stilt reviews the following information:
- Employment Details: Stilt borrowers are evaluated based on their current employment or future employability, as it points to an ability to repay borrowed funds in the future. If a borrower has a job offer or a strong work history, either in the United States or elsewhere, Stilt views that borrower as a lower risk and is more apt to approve a loan request.
- Education: Stilt also reviews an applicant’s educational background, including coursework and GPA. Through distinct data models, the company is able to gauge the strength of an application based on education-related details.
- Financial Behavior: Stilt takes an interesting approach to reviewing the financial behaviors of its applicants by requiring a secure link to bank account information. The company evaluates spending and saving habits to better understand how expenses are managed each month for both credit and debit accounts. The company also looks for insufficient fund fees, overdraft fees, or other derogatory fees when reviewing an applicant’s bank information.
- Visa Status: Because Stilt is focused on international students, visa holders, DACA holders, and refugee and asylum applicants the status of one’s visa is of utmost importance in the application process. Loans are offered to individuals who hold F-1, OPT, H-1B, O-1, L-1, G, and TN visas.
The application process through Stilt is straightforward, and it is housed completely online. Bank links and document uploads are done through Stilt’s platform, and with the help of algorithms and machine learning, most borrowers receive a loan decision in as little as two business days.
Stilt student loans come with no hidden fees and no prepayment penalties, which closely follows the company’s mantra of transparency in lending.
Where to find Stilt alternatives
Stilt may be a good option for those struggling to find any other lender to accept their application, but that doesn’t mean it should be the only lender you consider. If your credit is limited or poor, we recommend getting rate quotes from a few of these bad credit lenders as well.
How we rated Stilt personal loans
Stilt received a LendEDU Rating of 4.4/5. LendEDU rates personal loans based on a variety of data points including rates, terms, fees, funding time, soft credit check availability, and more. You can learn more about our rating methodology here.
Ready to take out a loan through Stilt? Find out your rate on its website.
7.99% – 35.99%
$1,000 – $35,000
6 – 24 months
Author: Jeff Gitlen