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10 Best Online Mortgage Lenders of August 2020

NerdWalletJanuary 22, 2020

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Online mortgage lenders offer convenience, automation and digital tools. Browse our picks for the best online lenders.

NOTE: Due to the coronavirus outbreak, obtaining a mortgage may be a bit of a challenge. Lenders are dealing with demand and staffing issues. If you can’t pay your current home loan, refer to our mortgage assistance resource. For the latest information on how to cope with financial stress during this emergency, see NerdWallet’s financial guide to COVID-19.

Going online to look for a mortgage or a refinance is routine these days. That's because companies — both new online mortgage lenders and traditional players — are doing more on the web.

The new online mortgage model offers convenience and automation. It can even save you money. And hey, if you want to see a friendly face before you close a deal, you can often do that, too.

Remember, you should still get preapproved before you house shop, get at least three quotes before you choose a mortgage and evaluate how much home you can afford before you take the plunge.

To help you choose an online mortgage lender, NerdWallet has picked some of the best out there in a variety of categories to help you get the home loan with the best mortgage rate, term and fees.

Summary of Best Online Mortgage Lenders of August 2020

LenderNerdWallet Rating Minimum Credit Score Minimum Down PaymentLearn More

Better.com: NMLS#330511

at Better.com

Best for customer service

620

3%

at Better.com

Rocket Mortgage: NMLS#3030

at Rocket Mortgage

Best for mobile experience

620

3%

at Rocket Mortgage

Quicken Loans: NMLS#3030

at Quicken Loans

Best for first-time home buyers

620

3%

at Quicken Loans

Fairway Independent Mortgage: NMLS#2289

at Fairway

Best for government loans

620

3%

at Fairway

Reali Loans: NMLS#991397

at Reali Loans

Best for refinance

620

5%

at Reali Loans

SoFi: NMLS#1484615

Best for refinance

660

10%

Read review

NBKC: NMLS#409631

at NBKC Bank

Best for online lending overall

620

3%

at NBKC Bank

Guaranteed Rate: NMLS#2611

Best for customer service

620

3%

Read review

SunTrust: NMLS#2915

Best for first-time home buyers

620

3%

Read review

Bank of America: NMLS#399802

Best for online lending overall

620

3%

Read review
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at Better.com

Better.com: NMLS#330511

Great for digital convenience

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

at Better.com


Why we like it

Good for: Better.com shines for tech-savvy borrowers who prefer an online experience.

Pros

  • An online process with human help as needed.

  • Makes it easy to see customized mortgage rates.

  • Offers an "underwriter-reviewed" preapproval letter in as little as 24 hours.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

  • Doesn't do FHA, VA or USDA loans.

Read Full Review
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at Rocket Mortgage

Rocket Mortgage: NMLS#3030

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

at Rocket Mortgage


Why we like it

Ideal for anyone who appreciates smartphone app service, support and time savings. Rocket Mortgage offers a fully digital home loan experience with a large variety of mortgage products.

Pros

  • The site caters to self-service users who want to apply for a home loan without talking to a human unless it’s absolutely necessary.

  • With your authorization, accesses asset statements from 98% of U.S. financial institutions.

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

  • Rocket Mortgage’s document and asset retrieval capabilities can save you a bunch of time and hassle.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

  • If you’re a “look me in the eye” type of customer, you’re out of luck.

  • Doesn’t consider alternative credit data. It just looks at credit scores and debt-to-income ratios, the way most mortgage lenders always have.

Read Full Review
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at Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans: NMLS#3030

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

at Quicken Loans


Why we like it

Ideal choice for convenience and quick-response customer service. Quicken Loans provides just about all the services your neighborhood lender does — with online convenience.

Pros

  • Quicken Loans couples a fully online application with available mortgage advisors for those who want a human touch.

  • Instantly verifies employment and income for more than 60% of working Americans.

  • Offers custom fixed-rate loan terms that are between eight and 30 years.

  • Provides FHA-backed loans, USDA loans as well as products offered by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae that require down payments as low as 3%.

Cons

  • Quicken Loans doesn't offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

  • If you’re a “look me in the eye” type of customer, you’re out of luck.

  • Doesn’t consider alternative credit data. It just looks at credit scores and debt-to-income ratios, the way most mortgage lenders always have.

Read Full Review
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at Fairway

Fairway Independent Mortgage: NMLS#2289

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

at Fairway


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers who want lots of options and a quick turn time. Fairway Independent Mortgage offers a full selection of home loans along with a comprehensive mobile app for a fast and easy application process.

Pros

  • A robust suite of loan products.

  • Licensed in all 50 states.

  • Close in as little as 10 days using the Fairway app.

Cons

  • Limited branch locations.

  • Mortgage rates not posted on website.

Read Full Review
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at Reali Loans

Reali Loans: NMLS#991397

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

5%

at Reali Loans


Why we like it

Ideal for tech-savvy home buyers and refinancers in its multi-state lending territory. Reali Loans has an automated lending platform that offers round-the-clock access to application and loan-management tools.

Pros

  • Boasts of closing loans quickly.

  • No upfront origination or broker fees.

  • 24/7 access to your loan and its progress.

  • Transparent platform that automates (and shortens) the refinance process.

Cons

  • Currently operates in a limited number of states.

  • Doesn’t offer USDA government loans.

Read Full Review

SoFi: NMLS#1484615

Logo

Min. Credit Score

660

Min. Down Payment

10%


Why we like it

Ideal for young professionals and self-employed borrowers looking for a lender that considers nontraditional income.

Pros

  • Provides an entirely digital mortgage application to make the process easier for borrowers.

  • Considers nontraditional income, such as restricted stock units, and works with self-employed borrowers.

  • Does not require private mortgage insurance for jumbo loans.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer government-backed loans, like FHA or VA.

  • Does not offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

Read Full Review
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at NBKC Bank

NBKC: NMLS#409631

Great for first-time home buyers | digital convenience | customer service

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

at NBKC Bank


Why we like it

Good for borrowers with solid credit who want to pay low fees and get an online experience with phone support. VA loans are an emphasis.

Pros

  • Offers low rates and fees when compared with other lenders.

  • Extends full online capabilities, from application to loan tracking.

  • Displays customized rates, with fee estimates, without requiring contact information.

Cons

  • Equity lines and construction loans are available only in the Kansas City metro area.

  • Doesn’t offer renovation loans.

Read Full Review

Guaranteed Rate: NMLS#2611

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

Good for borrowers seeking conventional or government-backed loans, and a totally online experience.

Pros

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

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

Cons

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

Read Full Review

SunTrust: NMLS#2915

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers with fair credit or better. SunTrust, now a part of Truist Financial Corp., offers a variety of customer service options.

Pros

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

  • Provides customer service in its physical locations, online, via chat and by phone.

  • Offers wide variety of loan options, including a loan program for licensed medical professionals

Cons

  • Customized rates not available on website without starting an application.

  • Branches limited to mostly the Southeast.

Read Full Review

Bank of America: NMLS#399802

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers who prefer a traditional bank. Bank of America offers a wide array of mortgages and online account management tools. It also has first-time home buyer loans with low down payments and no mandatory mortgage insurance.

Pros

  • Allows borrowers to apply entirely online.

  • Offers down payment and closing cost assistance programs.

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

Cons

  • Does not offer renovation loans.

Read Full Review

Online mortgage FAQ

What is an online mortgage?

The term "online mortgage" is used to refer to a mortgage from a lender that has no physical presence, like Quicken Loans. That definition has broadened, as even banks with brick-and-mortar branches all across the country — like Bank of America — offer robust online mortgage capabilities.

When NerdWallet gathers the top online mortgage lenders, we look for lenders that let borrowers apply, upload necessary documents and track the entire loan process via an app or a mobile-friendly website. But you'll find plenty of lenders who offer even more online conveniences, like online preapproval, custom rate quotes or the ability to live chat with an actual person.

How does an online mortgage work?

The exact process varies depending on the lender. But in general, an online mortgage should allow you to accomplish key tasks like getting rate quotes, filling out an application and providing documents without having to sit down with a loan officer. In some cases, you may not even need to dig up all of the documents yourself.

Rocket Mortgage, for example, will electronically access necessary information from government agencies, financial institutions and employers (with your permission, of course). It claims finding all your information online can take days off the closing process.

Though with some online mortgage lenders you'll still close the loan in person, "eClosings" are becoming more common. For example, Fairway Independent Mortgage lets some borrowers opt for a digital closing — once you've reviewed all the necessary documents, the actual closing can take as little as 15 minutes.

How do I find online mortgage lenders?

Scroll up! We've already suggested 10 terrific options. But if you're trying to figure out the best online mortgage lender for you, you may want to look for a lender that suits your specific situation. For example, NKBC Bank earns high marks both for online experience and as a top lender for first-time home buyers.

Even if you're looking for online convenience, location matters. Some top online mortgage lenders, including Reali and Better.com, aren't available to borrowers in every state.

What types of online mortgages can I get?

Offerings vary by lender, but with a bit of searching, you can find an online mortgage lender for virtually any type of home loan. For example, in addition to conventional loans, SunTrust online mortgage options include jumbo loans, VA loans, FHA loans and USDA loans, plus refinancing and home equity lines of credit. SoFi offers jumbo loans with down payments as low as 10% for qualified borrowers and doesn't require mortgage insurance for these super-sized loans even with a down payment that's under 20%.

How do I choose an online lender?

When you're evaluating online lenders, consider your goals. In addition to being sure that they offer the kind of mortgage you need, think about what's important to you outside the application and approval process — after all, this could be a long-term relationship. Check out customer service options. Guaranteed Rate, for example, earns high marks for customer satisfaction.

Can I get an online mortgage loan with bad credit?

It's possible to get an online mortgage with bad credit, but you'll want to do some homework before submitting any applications. Look at lenders' minimum credit scores and pay attention to whether those minimums are for a conventional or FHA loan. Mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration often have lower minimum credit score requirements.

The beauty of filling out an online application for pre-approval is that it's fast, but the downside is that you can't explain your financial background or credit history to a computer. If you've got a credit score that needs improvement or limited credit history, you may want to look for online mortgage lenders willing to consider nontraditional credit data.

More from NerdWallet

Last updated on January 22, 2020

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 Online Mortgage Lenders of August 2020