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Updated on Wednesday, May 30, 2018
If you are a foreign national living in the United States, you probably experienced the extra hoops that you have to jump through to borrow money from a traditional lender.
Few U.S. financial institutions lend money to expats who have an insufficient credit history, and if they do, foreign citizens often have to make a bigger down payment than U.S. citizens. With first-hand experiences of difficulties of borrowing money in the U.S., Rohit Mittal and Priyank Singh, two Columbia University graduates from India, founded Stilt in 2015, hoping to end the borrowing hassle for fellow expats.
No credit score required
6 to 24
on Stilt Personal Loan’s secure website
Stilt loans are originated by Stilt Inc., NMLS#1641523 (NMLS Consumer Access). Terms and conditions apply. To qualify for a Stilt loan you must reside in an eligible state and meet Stilt's underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Rates and terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. Stilt APR's range from 7.99% to 15.99%. For example you could receive a $10,000 loan with a term of 18 months with an APR of 13.00%, the monthly payment will be $614.48. No down payment is required.
Fees and penalties
When making lending decisions, Stilt takes a holistic view of the borrower’s life. Its data models analyze the borrower’s merit by examining nontraditional factors, such as his/her employment potential and financial behavior based on the information provided.
Ultimately, what Stilt looks for in an applicant is the potential for responsible financial behavior. Expats who have high GPAs, high employment potential, solid work experience and show patterns of responsible financial activities may have a greater likelihood to get loan approval and secure a low interest rate — even if they are new to the country and have zero credit.
Borrowing Stilt funds while in college
If you are an international student, you are not eligible for federal student loans in the U.S. But at Stilt, you can apply for a new student loan of up to $5,000. Granted, $5,000 may not cover your full tuition or living expenses while you are in school, but it may help borrowers cover some of the usual start-up costs, such as room and board and food expenses.
College students can borrow as much as $25,000 if they can show proof of an accepted full-time job offer, and they plan to graduate within six months.
Apart from the loan application process, Stilt’s website offers a wealth of advice on issues near and dear to international students and foreign workers, ranging from basic personal finance to the ins and outs on visa requirements. For many newcomers, Silt’s blog and community board could be your one-stop shop to learn to navigate life in the U.S.
- Minimum credit score: No requirement
- Minimum credit history: No requirement
- Maximum debt-to-income ratio: No requirement
Currently, only applicants who physically live in the 12 states where Stilt is licensed to operate are eligible to apply for a loan. You also need a valid U.S. bank account and a phone number.
Your U.S. visa — F-1, OPT, H-1B, L-1, O-1, TN or DACA —must be valid for at least six months. A visitor’s visa will not work.
Stilt also considers those in temporary situations where the expat is waiting for OPT, STEM extension, are on Cap-Gap, or are under H-1B renewals.
Applying for a personal loan from Stilt
The application process is all online. To apply, you will need to enter your requested loan type and amount, the purpose of the loan and your preferred repayment plans.
You can choose a purpose from the 11 options listed in the application, ranging from paying a security deposit on an apartment and living expenses to covering tuition fees and insurance.
While you don’t need a Social Security Number to apply for a Silt loan, you will be asked to fill in the information on the application page. Enter 111-11-1111 if you don’t have one. For those who do have a credit history, their SSN will be included to the file, which may help the borrower get a lower interest rate.
In your profile page, you will be asked to upload your immigration paperwork, financial information and additional documents that could support your case as a trustworthy borrower. If applicable, the things you need to keep handy when you apply for a loan are your: Passport profile page, visa page, U.S. bank account information, I-20, transcripts, resume, job offer letter, four U.S. references and your permanent address in your home country.
Stilt promises to send you a decision in less than one business day.You will have 6 to 24 months to pay back your loan, but you can also choose to borrow money for a shorter term — 12 months or 18 months.
Who’s the best fit for an Stilt personal loan
The ideal borrowers are foreign nationals who need some financial help to settle down in the U.S. Borrowers don’t need a credit history, a Social Security number, proof of employment or a state ID to be eligible to apply for a loan from Stilt. If they get a loan, it will help them establish credit in their host country. U.S. citizens who have a thin credit file may also consider applying for a Stilt loan if they don’t meet other lenders’ strict underwriting standards.
Expats who’ve lived in the U.S. for a longer time, though, may have obtained a SSN and built some credit. Those borrowers may be able to choose a personal loan from a wider pool of lenders offering lower interest rates, bigger loan amounts or better terms.
Alternative personal loan options
There are not a whole lot of other online personal loan lenders to choose from for noncitizens. We found a few for you to consider.
Earnest is another online lender that loan money for nonresidents on work visas, but you will have to have a credit score of at least 650 and proof of a consistent income stream. On the plus side, you’ll avoid origination fees with Earnest.
LendingClub is a peer-to-peer lending platform, which means the funds you receive come from individual or institutional investors who fund the loans for borrowers. LendingClub lends money to non-U.S. citizens with valid, long-term visas.
36 or 60
3.00% - 6.00%
on LendingTree’s secure website
LendingClub is a great tool for borrowers that can offer competitive interest rates. The loan application process is done online and only takes a few minutes to complete without hurting your credit. The loan processing time can take a while and you might not get approved if you have missed payments in the past.
You may also be eligible for a personal loan with Upgrade, an online lender, if you are an expat with a valid visa in the U.S.
Minimum Credit Score
36 or 60
2.90% - 8.00%
Upgrade is an online lender that offers fairly priced personal loans for a term of either 36 or 60 months.... Read More
Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 6.94%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 2.9% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank or designated account within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes the transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days. Funds sent directly to pay off your creditors may take up to 2 weeks to clear, depending on the creditor. Personal loans issued by Upgrade's lending partners. Information on Upgrade's lending partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/lending-partners/.
TD Bank is a traditional bank that may consider borrowers who are not U.S. citizens but have full-time jobs and SSNs. TD Bank’s TD Bank Express Loan personal loans from $2,000 to $25,000, and the APR ranges from 6.99% to 18.99%.
Minimum Credit Score
12 to 60
No origination fee
on TD Bank Express Loan’s secure website