BEST OF

Best HELOC Lenders of December 2021

A HELOC lets you tap your home's equity. Compare our selections for best HELOC lenders.

NerdWalletAug 31, 2021

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

A home equity line of credit, or HELOC, is a second mortgage that lets you borrow against the value of your home. You tap equity as needed.

The interest rate on a HELOC tends to be lower than rates on credit cards and personal loans. Lenders use your loan-to-value ratio, or LTV, to decide if you have enough equity for a HELOC.

NerdWallet has chosen some of the best HELOC lenders to help you find the one that's right for you. We have also included some top lender picks for cash-out refinance mortgages, which are another way to access your home equity.

Summary of Best HELOC Lenders of December 2021

Our picks for

cash-out refinance

A cash-out refi can be a solid alternative to home equity lines of credit, and you’ll often find it offered with a lower, fixed interest rate. Below are two options for cash-out refinance lenders.

Rocket Mortgage, LLC
Learn more

at Rocket Mortgage, LLC

Rocket Mortgage, LLC: NMLS#3030

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Rocket Mortgage, LLC

Min. Credit Score

620

National / Regional

National
Learn more

at Rocket Mortgage, LLC


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers who appreciate convenience online and on the go for a fully digital home loan experience with consistently acclaimed customer service.

Pros

  • Caters to self-service users who want to apply for a home loan online and talk to a human only as necessary.

  • Estimates the loan amount you’ll qualify for within minutes.

  • Streamlines the online process with document and asset retrieval capabilities, including the ability to edit your preapproval letter.

Cons

  • Getting a customized interest rate requires a credit check, which can affect your credit score.

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or lines of credit.

  • Lender fees are on the high side and the fees aren't offset by particularly low mortgage rates, according to the latest data.

Read Full Review
Guaranteed Rate
Learn more

at Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate: NMLS#2611

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Guaranteed Rate

Min. Credit Score

620

National / Regional

National
Learn more

at Guaranteed Rate


Why we like it

Good for: homeowners who are looking to refinance conventional, FHA or VA mortgages.

Pros

  • Offers the ability to securely upload and digitally sign loan documents.

  • Displays detailed sample rates for many of its refinance loan products.

Cons

  • May charge an application fee.

Read Full Review

Our picks for

home equity lines of credit

Bank of America: NMLS#399802

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Bank of America

National / Regional

National

Max LTV

N/A

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Credit Score

620

Why we like it

Good for: first-time home buyers looking for low-down-payment options and existing customers who may get a discount on fees.

Pros

  • Offers down payment and closing cost assistance programs.

  • May give existing customers a discount on mortgage lender origination fees.

  • Offers home equity line of credit, or HELOC.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer renovation loans that roll costs into a mortgage.

Read Full Review

US Bank: NMLS#402761

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
US Bank

National / Regional

National

Max LTV

80%

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Credit Score

620

Why we like it

U.S. Bank gets high marks for its loan offerings and online customer conveniences — and has competitive fees and mortgage rates.

Pros

  • Offers a full line of conventional and government loan products.

  • Provides home equity loans and lines of credit.

  • Allows borrowers to apply and track their loan's progress online.

Cons

  • No personalized mortgage rates available online.

  • Published mortgage rates assume an above-average credit score.

Read Full Review

PenFed: NMLS#401822

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
PenFed

National / Regional

National

Max LTV

90%

Min. Credit Score

N/A

Min. Credit Score

N/A

Why we like it

PenFed Credit Union has a digital mortgage application and offers a wide selection of mortgages, including low-down-payment home loans. But it doesn't offer FHA mortgages.

Pros

  • Offers a broad selection of home loan products, including low-down-payment options for first-time home buyers and home buyers of limited means.

  • Offers a lender credit, based on loan amount, for purchase mortgages.

  • Mortgage rates and fees are low compared to other lenders, according to the latest data.

Cons

  • Lender credit isn't available for refinance mortgages.

  • Doesn't offer FHA or home improvement loans.

Read Full Review

PNC: NMLS#446303

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
PNC

National / Regional

National

Max LTV

84.9%

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Credit Score

620

Why we like it

Good for: borrowers with low-to-moderate incomes or limited down payments. PNC offers several low-down-payment loans, including one with no mortgage insurance.

Pros

  • Posts current mortgage rates on its website.

  • Has an online application for mortgage preapproval and a digital tool to track application progress.

  • Offers several affordable loan options, including FHA, VA, USDA and the PNC Community Loan.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer renovation mortgages.

  • In-person service is not available in every state.

Read Full Review

Our pick for

HELOCs overall

Connexus: NMLS#649316

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Connexus

National / Regional

National

Max LTV

N/A

Min. Credit Score

640

Min. Credit Score

640

Why we like it

Connexus boasts low-down-payment conventional loans and makes mortgage rate information readily accessible online, but doesn't offer government-backed mortgages.

Pros

  • Offers both traditional and interest-only HELOCs.

  • Displays sample rates for its entire array of loan products, and you don't need to provide personal information to get a custom rate quote.

Cons

  • Lacks document upload and online loan tracking capabilities.

Read Full Review

Our picks for

home equity lines of credit

Flagstar: NMLS#417490

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Flagstar

National / Regional

National

Max LTV

89%

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Credit Score

620

Why we like it

Good for: borrowers who want a wide range of choices — not only among mortgage products, but also in the channel they prefer, whether a branch, online or on the phone.

Pros

  • Offers a wide range of loan types and products, including FHA, VA and USDA.

  • Has a full suite of online conveniences.

  • Does well with rate transparency, and monthly payment estimates add mortgage insurance, when applicable.

Cons

  • Home equity lending is geographically limited.

Read Full Review

SunTrust (Truist): NMLS#2915

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
SunTrust (Truist)

National / Regional

National

Max LTV

89.9%

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Credit Score

620

Why we like it

Good for: first-time home buyers, doctors and other borrowers interested in low-down-payment mortgage options.

Pros

  • Offers a wide variety of loan options, including special programs for doctors.

  • Offers a complete suite of online mortgage application tools and loan tracking.

  • Sample rates and fees are easy to find on the website.

Cons

  • Customized rates aren't available online without starting an application.

  • Branches are limited mostly to the Southeast.

Read Full Review

Current average HELOC rate

Average

High

Low

4.418%.

5.240%.

4.110%.

How a HELOC works

A HELOC works like a credit card: You’re able to borrow up to a certain limit, repay some or all of what you took out, then do it again as needed. The lender uses your home’s value to set the HELOC limit. You may borrow during a draw period that lasts for several years and pay only interest on the balance. After the draw period ends, you may no longer take money out, and you pay the principal plus interest.

By contrast, a home equity loan provides a lump sum that you repay in installments of equal payments over a set period.

To obtain the best HELOC rates, make sure you comparison shop, preferably among at least three lenders. By shopping around, you're likely to find the combination of features and interest rate that make the best home equity line of credit for your needs.

Pros and cons of HELOCs

A HELOC has a variable interest rate, which means it can go up or down over time. When the interest rate rises, the minimum monthly payment may increase, too.

A HELOC's main advantage is that it offers flexibility. During the draw period, the minimum monthly payment covers just the interest on the balance, so you don't have to pay principal if you don't want to.

There are two major disadvantages to a HELOC: The interest rate can rise, and you can get in over your head if you're not careful. You may end up borrowing so much that you can't comfortably afford the principal and interest during the repayment period.

HELOCs typically have lower interest rates than credit cards. But defaulting on a HELOC could put your home at risk of foreclosure.

More from NerdWallet

Last updated on August 31, 2021

Methodology

NerdWallet's star ratings for mortgage lenders are awarded based on our evaluation of the products and services each lender offers to consumers who are actively shopping for the best mortgage. The five key areas we evaluated include the variety of loan types and products offered, online conveniences, online mortgage rate information, and the rate spread and origination fee lenders reported in the latest available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. To ensure consistency, our ratings are reviewed by multiple people on the NerdWallet Mortgages team.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best HELOC Lenders of December 2021

Frequently asked questions