Stilt Loans Review: Personal Loans For Immigrants And Visa Holders

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If you are an immigrant or a visa holder and want to get a loan, you might be wondering what your options are. One newer solution in the personal loan space is Stilt.

Stilt is a fintech company that offers personal loans to immigrants and the underserved. You may find that the loans the platform provides fit well with your borrowing needs. 

In this Stilt Loans review, we’ll talk about how the platform works and what it has to offer to help you determine if it’s the right choice for you.

Stilt logo
3.5
Overall Rating

Summary

Stilt provides personal loans to immigrants and other underserved persons living in the United States. They offer personal loans between $1,000 and $35,000 even if you have bad credit or no credit.

  • Ease of use

    4

  • Customer service

    4

  • Fees

    3.5

  • Loan options

    2.5

Pros

  • Approval paraments include other factors beside credit score
  • Only a soft pull credit check
  • No social security number needed
  • Fast approval times

Cons

  • Some may pay high interest rates
  • Not available in all U.S. states
  • No co-signers allowed
  • Fees and interest rates may be high in some cases

What is Stilt?

Stilt was founded in San Francisco with the purpose of serving the loan needs of immigrants and the underserved.

Getting a loan when you are new to the United States or have limited (or bad) credit can be challenging. Stilt’s goal is to provide access to loans for people who would normally be shut out of the financial system.

The company was created to work differently than other loan providers so that people with no credit or poor credit can have a chance to get a personal loan when they need one. 

Stilt loans aren’t funded by a bank or other financial institution. Instead, they are issued directly from Stilt, which lets the company implement different lending parameters and procedures than banks.

In turn, this allows Stilt to fulfill its mission of offering loans to people who would not otherwise be approved for financing.

Stilt reports that it stands out from its competitors due to:

  • Low interest rates
  • No SSN required
  • Easy approval process
  • No unexpected fees
  • Approvals without co-signers or collateral
  • No prepayment charges
  • Excellent customer service

To date, this mission-driven company claims to have served immigrants from over 125 countries across six continents, making it a contender in the personal loan space.

How Does Stilt Work?

When you apply for a personal loan with Stilt, your online application will be reviewed within 24 hours. 

After the review process, Stilt may ask you for some personal documentation such as pay stubs, a job offer letter or other documents. 

Once your loan request is approved, Stilt will send you a promissory note to sign. You should receive your loan funds within two to three days of returning your signed promissory note.

You can use your Stilt personal loan for any purpose, including: 

  • Paying for education
  • Purchasing necessities
  • Covering expenses
  • Any other personal needs

After you receive your loan funds, you’ll start making payments on your loan each month. 

Who Is Eligible to Get a Loan From Stilt?

Although Stilt works to serve immigrants and the underserved, there are still some requirements for obtaining a loan through the company.

To get a loan from Stilt:

  • Loan applicants must live in the United States
  • You must live in a state where Stilt is licensed
  • You must have a U.S. bank account in your name
  • P.O. box addresses are not eligible
  • You must have a U.S. personal phone number
  • A legal and eligible valid visa is required 

It’s important to note that you must have had your visa for at least six months, and it needs to continue to be valid for the duration of the loan term you are requesting. 

Eligible visa holders include:

  • CPT
  • OPT
  • H-1B
  • H-4
  • O-1
  • L-1
  • J-1
  • TN
  • DACA

Stilt has other requirements as well. For instance, you must be a student, be employed or have a verifiable job offer. Stilt will also review your banking activity to understand your financial habits.

Additionally, the company will do a soft pull on your credit. However, credit history is only one factor the company uses to determine eligibility. 

For that reason, you may still qualify for a Stilt loan even if you have poor credit. Stilt encourages all interested applicants to apply regardless of credit or employment factors. 

How Much Does Stilt Cost?

The loans Stilt offers have interest rates that range from 7.99% to 24.99% or higher in some cases. Interest rates are determined based on your risk assessment.

To determine your rate, Stilt evaluates your:

  • Current employment/employability
  • Work experience/education
  • Visa status
  • Payment patterns/derogatory fees
  • Bankruptcies/defaults/collections
  • Spending and saving patterns
  • Credit score/check
  • Accuracy of application information

Machine learning algorithms use this information to calculate your interest rate.

Beyond your interest rate, Stilt does charge additional fees pertaining to your loan and your payment habits.

Other fees you may encounter with Stilt include:

  • An origination fee that gets taken out of your loan proceeds 
  • Late fees if your payment arrives after the designated grace period 
  • A non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee if you can’t cover your automatic payment 

Origination fees, late fees and NSF fees vary by state. Read the terms and conditions of your promissory note for complete details on these and other charges. 

Stilt Features

Stilt offers many key features that could make the company perfect for your loan needs. Here is a list of some of those features. 

Personal Loans

Stilt offers personal loans ranging in value from $1,000 to $35,000. 

You can use the loans for any purpose you desire, like paying for school, buying a vehicle or covering other expenses. 

It’s important to note that Stilt does not offer student loans, credit cards or any other type of loan at this time. However, you can use your Stilt personal loan as a way to pay for your education. 

Hint: Another option if you need a student loan is to take advantage of one or more of the many ways to avoid student loan debt

Easy Loan Payments

Stilt Loan payments

Stilt allows you to make your payments manually each month through your Stilt loan dashboard. These one-time payments can be made every month before your payment due date.

Alternately, you can use one-time payments to make additional payments on your loan. 

You can even set up an automatic payment for your Stilt loan by providing Stilt with your bank account information.

Stilt does not offer a rate discount for automatic payments as of this writing. 

You cannot mail in your loan payments to Stilt. Stilt only allows online payments as of this writing. 

Additionally, Stilt does not charge a prepayment penalty if you decide you want to pay your loan off early. Simply go onto your Stilt dashboard and look for the payoff amount if you want to pay your loan off. 

Stilt Referral Program

Stilt offers a referral program for its clients. If you refer a client via an email invite to apply for a Stilt loan, you may qualify for this referral bonus.

The company will credit the referral bonus to your account after the loan funds are approved and disbursed to the referred applicant.

You’ll receive $25 per successful referral, and you can earn up to $500 per year. 

Keep in mind that no referral bonus will be paid if the email invite isn’t sent before the referred party opens a Stilt account. 

Stilt App

Stilt offers an app for iOS and Android users. You can use the app to access customer support, apply for a loan, freeze your Stilt Checking Account debit card and more.

Credit Reporting

Stilt does report to the three major credit bureaus. This means that your payment history on your Stilt loan will be reflected on your credit report. 

If you make your Stilt loan payments on time, this is a good thing as it will help you build a positive credit history

Stilt Credit Reporting

However, if you make your Stilt loan payments late, this could have a negative impact on your credit report and score. 

It’s also important to note that having collection reports or bankruptcy reports on your credit bureau doesn’t automatically disqualify you for a Stilt loan. 

The Stilt website states that they cater to loan applicants who may have a history of defaults or other credit snafus on their credit report. 

What Others Are Saying About Stilt

Stilt’s Trustpilot score is 4.1, which is considered a “great” score. There are 154 reviews of Stilt on Trustpilot as of this writing. 

Most negative complaints (which accounted for 9% of reviews) revolved around people not getting approved for loans or experiencing bad customer service. 

Fortunately, many of the positive reviews report experiencing a smooth application process, fast approvals and great interest rates.

Here are some of the positive and negative reviews from Trustpilot:

It’s an easy and fast process. The loan was approved in 3 hrs and money was disbursed in 2 business days.” – SLP

“Great if you have not-great credit and would like to get a loan. But don’t expect great ongoing support with them and don’t open a checking account with them.” – Rohith Amruthur

“I am really happy with the service STILT has provided. This is the third time I am taking loan from them. I never had a bad experience. They are very professional and they respond to our queries in quick time.” – Siju Kurian John

“Stilt is the worst loan company. After my loan is approved and I have submitted all my documents. They say they cannot offer me loan and they canceled it.” – CM D

“Very convenient for international students. Their loans helped me stay in school! The staff is really kind and helpful! Would recommend! It’s a lifesaver for internationals!” – Itzel Rodriguez

“This was the worst customer service experience I have had. Lost money, a lot of my time following up and a lot of mental stress with no mistake of my own.” – Hammy

FAQ

Before applying for a loan with Stilt, these frequently asked questions can help you decide if it’s right for you.

Do I have to have income to apply for a Stilt loan? 

You either need to have current employment or a verified job offer. If you don’t have one of those two things, you are not eligible

Can I apply with a co-signer to boost my chances for approval for a Stilt loan? 

Stilt only accepts single-person applications for loans at this time. They do not accept co-signers or co-applicants on a loan. 

Is there a minimum credit score requirement for Stilt loans? 

No. Since Stilt bases your loan approval on several factors, there is no minimum credit score requirement for approved loans. 

What are Stilt’s customer service options?

You can contact Stilt by calling their customer service number at 415-630-2323 or by emailing them at team@stilt.com.

Is Stilt safe?

Stilt is as safe as many other fintech companies. When it comes to connecting your bank account with Stilt to pay your loan or using the website for any data communication, a 256-bit encryption connection is used.

Additionally, if you have a Stilt Checking Account, you are covered with $250,000 in FDIC insurance.

Summary

Stilt was founded to provide a way for immigrants and the underserved to get personal loans. Whether you need a loan for school, a vehicle or something else, Stilt may be able to help. 

As with any loan, be sure to read the terms and conditions of the loan before signing. It’s critical to know all of the requirements of the loan.

Also, make sure you fully understand the fees and other financial obligations of your loan. Fees and interest rates vary depending on your credit history and the state you live in.

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