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No green card? You could still qualify for a personal loan.
Nonresidents working in the US can have a difficult time getting a personal loan. Stilt is one of the few personal loan providers that doesn’t require you to have a green card to borrow. Instead, all you’ll need is a valid work or student visa. But you’ll still have to meet some basic eligibility criteria to qualify.
Anna Serio is a staff writer untangling everything you need to know about personal loans, including student, car and business loans. She spent five years living in Beirut, where she was a news editor for The Daily Star and hung out with a lot of cats. She loves to eat, travel and save money.
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. Instead, it relies on aspects of your personal financial history other than your credit rating when underwriting your loan. Rates are capped at 15.99%, which is relatively low when compared to other lenders that offer loans with APRs as high as 36%.
What does Stilt offer?
Stilt, a San Francisco-based fintech company, provides a variety of unsecured loans and other services to nonresidents legally working in 11 US states.
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 who 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 can help 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 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 the 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 personal loans from top online lenders
Updated December 15th, 2019
What does the Internet say about Stilt personal loans?
Not much, but what’s there is good. As of June 2018, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives it an A+ rating, though it’s not BBB-accredited. It has no customer reviews or complaints on its BBB page.
You’ll have more luck finding reviews on Trustpilot. So far 11 customers have left comments. It gets an 8.7 out of 10 rating with all but one customer rating it as excellent. It also 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
Have a US bank account
Live in one of the following states: AZ, IL, FL, TX, PA, CA, MI, WA, GA, NY, NJ, WI 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.
H-4: Visa for family members of an H-1B Visa holder
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:
I-20 documents (for students)
You may also be asked to provide recent bank statements and other documentation, depending on your application. If you don’t have much of a US credit history, Stilt might ask to connect to your bank account so it can access information about your past transactions. This gives its underwriting team another way to evaluate your past financial habits and could help you qualify for a larger loan amount or more competitive rates.
How does Stilt evaluate applications if it doesn’t check credit?
Education and work experience. Stilt looks at your work history, level of education and your GPA if you’re still in school.
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?
Go to Stilt’s website and fill out the required fields before clicking Get Started.
If you meet Stilt’s basic eligibility requirements, a representative will contact you and invite you to apply.
Once you submit your application, Stilt does a soft credit pull (if you have a Social Security number) or goes over your finances, then gets in touch for a quick verification call to make sure your information is correct.
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.
Your funds will be disbursed to your bank account.
How to apply step-by-step with screenshots
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 online payments. Stilt doesn’t have an autopay option, but once you set up your bank account for online payment, making additional payments is relatively painless. You can even set up payments for 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 email@example.com.
Stilt personal loans are 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. But with a limited business history and only 11 states eligible for service, you may want to read more on borrowing options as a nonresident or check out our personal loans comparison page.
Frequently asked questions
It depends on your visa type. Stilt will consider applicants who are waiting on STEM OPT extensions, H-1B renewals or Cap-Gap. It also considers applicants on an F-1 visa.
Yes. Stilt’s website uses 256-bit encrypted SSL security to protect your personal information when you apply — equivalent to what most banks use.
Only if you’re currently on one of the qualifying visas listed above. Otherwise, you’ll need to wait until you get that green card to be eligible for a Stilt personal loan.
Unfortunately, no. If you aren’t a US citizen or DACA recipient, you’ll need a F-1, OPT, H-1B, H-4, O-1, L-1, TN or J-1 visa to be eligible.
Since Stilt doesn’t run a traditional credit check, it uses past banking activity as a way to determine if you’re eligible for the loan or not. This is standard practice for alternative lenders and Stilt shouldn’t be able to access any funds you have in your account based on the information that you provide.
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