How does Stilt decide loan approvals and interest rates?

Posted by Frank Gogol
Updated on March 15, 2022


At Stilt, we believe in transparency, clarity, and honesty.

We believe better-informed borrowers are good borrowers. As we grow, we want to inform potential borrowers about what makes a good application at Stilt. What should they expect when they apply for a loan. This will help them give us the right information we are looking for and help us in providing the best interest rates possible.

These are just high-level guidelines to help a potential borrower understand the behind the scenes of how Stilt views an applicant. We extract hundreds of more nuanced factors from the data and use machine learning and statistical models to determine the lowest interest rate.

Below are some broad strokes on what we look at in an application:

  1. Current Employment or Employability: If you are currently employed full time or have a job offer that you’ve accepted, it is a strong positive for your application. It shows that you have the ability to pay a loan. If you don’t have a current job offer, we look for clear signs of employability in the near future. The higher your chances of employability, the lower your risk.
  2. Education/Work Experience: A good education and work experience increase your chances of employability (including GPA). We look at your educational and professional background in detail using our data models.
  3. Financial Behavior: This is the second most important aspect we look at. If your spending and saving behavior has been good without any hiccups, it is considered positive for your application. We are trying to understand how you manage your expenses month to month. This is both for debit and credit accounts.
  4. Derogatory Fees: We are looking for responsible payment patterns in the past. You should not be consistently charged overdraft fees, insufficient funds fees, or other types of derogatory fees. If you slip or forget a couple of times, we take that into account.
  5. Defaults/Collections/Bankruptcies: These are extremely important factors of credit risk. If you have previous accounts in default or collections, they can have a significant negative impact on your overall application. We understand that there could be smaller issues with retail cards like Macy’s, JC Penney, and others. Defaults on these acceptable depending on the circumstances and may not impact your chances of getting a loan significantly.
  6. Visa Status: As a foreign national, it is important to maintain a legal visa status for the term of the loan. We offer loans to F-1, OPT, H-1B, O-1, L-1, G, TN visa holders. We also consider situations like OPT STEM extension and H-1B renewal.
  7. Information Accuracy: We verify all the information you add during the application process. We cross-check details in one document with the same information in other documents. It is important that all the details are consistent as this helps us reduce fraud and further lower interest rates for the borrowers.
  8. Credit Check/Credit Score (only for applicants with SSN): We do a hard credit pull for every applicant (even if you haven’t had any credit or don’t have an SSN). This is a standard in the industry and required by credit bureaus. Also, we need to make sure your credit history is sound (however limited it may be).

Table of Contents


There are no minimum credit score requirement.

Good education and professional background increases your chances of approval — even if you are new to the country or don’t have any credit history.

Responsible financial behavior can help you lower your interest rates.

Minimal derogatory fees like late fees, insufficient funds fee, overdraft fees are also acceptable.

We also consider situations where you are waiting for OPT, STEM extension, are on Cap-Gap, or will go for H-1B renewals.

Accurate information is very important for successful applications.

If you have strong positive points across these dimensions, you can get approved for a loan at lower rates. We are committed to providing the best interest rates possible and work hard at constantly improving our risk models. Our goal is to provide the best rates possible to our borrowers and help them access a better financial future.

If you still have questions about your eligibility or want to learn more about how we make decisions, feel free to reach out to us via live chat on the site or email at [email protected]

Need a Loan? Get One in 3 Simple Steps

If you are considering applying for a personal loan, just follow these 3 simple steps.


Apply online for the loan amount you need. Submit the required documentation and provide your best possible application. Stronger applications get better loan offers.


If your application meets the eligibility criteria, the lender will contact you with regard to your application. Provide any additional information if required. Soon you’ll have your loan offer. Some lenders send a promissory note with your loan offer. Sign and return that note if you wish to accept the loan offer.


The loan then gets disbursed into your U.S. bank account within a reasonable number of days (some lenders will be as quick as 2-3 business days). Now you need to set up your repayment method. You can choose an autopay method online to help you pay on time every month.


About Stilt

Stilt provides loans to international students and working professionals in the U.S. (F-1, OPT, H-1B, O-1, L-1, TN visa holders) at rates lower than any other lender. Stilt is committed to helping immigrants build a better financial future.

We take a holistic underwriting approach to determine your interest rates and make sure you get the lowest rate possible. 

Learn what others are saying about us on Google, Yelp, and Facebook or visit us at If you have any questions, send us an email at [email protected]