Stilt personal loans for nonresidents review February 2018

Stilt personal loans review

No green card? No problem. You could still qualify for a personal loan.

Nonresidents working in the US can have a difficult time taking care of financial obligations like personal loans from abroad. And finding financing to fund a move or other personal expense isn’t always easy. Stilt is one of the few personal loan providers that doesn’t require you to have a green card to borrow: All you need is a valid work or student visa. We take you through what Stilt has to offer, who qualifies and how to apply — to help you decide if Stilt is right for you.
Product NameStilt personal loans
Min Loan Amount$1,000
Max. Loan Amount$25,000
Min APR From 7.99%
Maximum Loan Term2 years
  • Be employed
  • Have a US bank account
  • Live in a state where Stilt operates
  • Hold one of the following visas: F-1 and OPT, H-1B, O-1, L-1, TN, J-1, or DACA

What makes Stilt personal loans unique?

Stilt personal loans are designed with nonresident workers and new immigrants in mind. You don’t need a green card or a Social Security number to apply, and it relies on aspects of your personal financial history other than your credit rating when underwriting your loan. Rates are also relatively low, capped at 15.99% — as compared to other lenders who offer loans with APRs as high as 36%.

What does Stilt offer?

Stilt, a San Francisco-based fintech company, provides unsecured loans and other services to nonresidents legally working in 11 US states. It offers:

  • Personal loans. Unsecured term loans can be used for just about any legitimate purpose. Many borrowers use them to refinance loans from other countries so they don’t have to worry about transferring money abroad or converting currency.
  • Student loan refinancing. Students on an F-1 visa about to graduate with a job offer can apply to refinance their student loans, even if they originated in another country.
  • Student loans. Stilt offers private loans to students on F-1 and OPT visas that are working part-time, though it isn’t advertised on its website yet. The customer service representative we spoke with told us Stilt was still working out some of its features.
  • Credit-building tool. This free service isn’t a loan, but it helps you build credit. Just sign up, register some of your monthly bills with Stilt and provide your bank account information. Stilt takes care of paying your bills by withdrawing the money from your account and reporting the payment to credit bureaus.

What are the benefits of getting a personal loan from Stilt?

  • No green card necessary. You don’t need to be a US citizen or permanent resident to qualify for a personal loan with Stilt.
  • No credit score required. Since you probably don’t have a US credit score as a nonresident, Stilt looks at other aspects of your financial history and behavior when determining your loan amount, rate and term.
  • No prepayment fees. You can save on interest by paying off your loan early.
  • Excellent customer service. You can reach a Stilt representative who’s willing to walk you through its products by phone, live chat or email.

What to look out for

  • Limited availability. You can only get a Stilt loan if you live in one of 11 states it serves.
  • No cosigner option. You can’t get lower rates (or improve your chances of approval) by having a friend or relative with a stronger financial history cosign your loan.
  • Complicated website. While Stilt has an extensive FAQ section, not all of its information is up-to-date and comprehensive.
  • Young company. Stilt has only been up and running for about two years, so it doesn’t have much of a track record.

Compare more loan options for nonresidents

What does the Internet say about Stilt personal loans?

Not much, but what’s there is good. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives it an A rating, though it’s not BBB-accredited. The BBB mentions that the length of time it’s been in business is the main factor that negatively affected its rating.

It has no reviews or customer complaints on the BBB website. It also has no reviews on its Trustpilot page. It gets five stars on Yelp, based on five positive reviews. Reviewers highlighted Stilt’s low rates, quick funding — in just two to three days — and easy application.

Am I eligible?

To be eligible for a Stilt personal loan, you must:

  • Be employed
  • Have a US bank account
  • Live in one of the following states: AZ, CA, FL, GA, IL, MI, NY, NJ, PE, TX, or UT
  • Hold one of the following visas:
    • F-1 and OPT: Student visa for full-time students that are allowed to temporarily work in the US.
    • H-1B: Specialty worker visa.
    • O-1: Individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement work visa.
    • L-1: Intracompany transferee work visa.
    • TN: NAFTA professional visa.
    • J-1: Exchange visitor visa for work- or study-exchange program participants.
    • DACA: Visa for undocumented immigrants who entered the country as a minor.

What documents do I need?

All non-US citizens or permanent residents must be prepared to provide:

  • Passport copies
  • Visa copies
  • I-20 documents (for students)

You may also be asked to provide recent bank statements and other documentation, depending on your application.

How does Stilt evaluate applications if it doesn’t check credit?

Since having a credit score is not a requirement — you need a Social Security number for that — Stilt might consider the following when determining your rates:

  • Education and work experience. Stilt looks at your work history, levels of education and sometimes even your GPA.
  • Financial behavior. Similar to a credit check, Stilt looks at your debit and credit accounts to see how you handle your personal finances.
  • Derogatory fees. If you have any late fees, overdraft or nonsufficient funds fees regularly taken out of any of your bank accounts, it could hurt your application.
  • Defaults, collections or bankruptcies. If you’ve defaulted on a large debt, it could have a negative effect on your application.
  • Accuracy of application. Make sure to reread your application a few times before submitting it. It could hurt you if its underwriters find inaccuracies.

How do I apply?

  1. Go to Stilt’s website and fill out the required fields before clicking Join Our Waitlist.
    Stilt homepage screenshot
  2. If you meet Stilt’s basic eligibility requirements, a representative contacts you to invite you to apply and asks for documentation.
  3. Once you submit your application, Stilt does a soft credit pull (if you have a Social Security number) or goes over your finances and gets in touch for a quick verification call to make sure your information is correct.
  4. If you’re approved, Stilt will send you an offer. Carefully read your loan terms and conditions before signing. Stilt will then do a hard credit inquiry, which may affect your credit score.
  5. Your funds are disbursed to your bank account.

I got the Stilt personal loan. Now what?

It’s time to start repaying your loan. You have several repayment options, including check, bank transfer or paying online. It doesn’t have an autopay option, but once you set up your bank account for online payment, making repayments online are relatively painless. You can even set it up for Stilt to withdraw payments on a future date.

Since Stilt doesn’t have any prepayment penalties, try repaying your loan as quickly as possible to save on interest. If you notice anything wrong with your account or have any questions, contact customer service by calling 855-557-8458 or 628-400-7726, using the live chat feature on its website or by emailing

Bottom line

Stilt personal loans is one of the few options that nonresidents in the US have, and it’s great for paying for relocation if you just got a job or are managing your personal loans back home. Its interest rates are competitive, even compared to standard personal loans, and you can typically get your funds within a few days. Not sure if it’s for you? Read about your borrowing options as a nonresident or check out our personal loans comparison page.

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