BEST OF

11 Best Online Mortgage Lenders of October 2021

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

NerdWalletAug 13, 2021

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Online mortgage and refinance companies offer convenience and automation. They can even save you money. And if you want to see a friendly face before you close a deal, online lenders can often provide that, too.

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

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, getting a mortgage may be a bit of a challenge. Lenders are dealing with high loan demand and staffing issues that may slow down the process. Also, some lenders have increased their fees, adjusted their minimum required credit scores or temporarily suspended certain loan products. 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 pandemic, see NerdWallet’s financial guide to COVID-19.

Summary of Best Online Mortgage Lenders of October 2021

Better
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at Better

Better: NMLS#330511

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Better

Min. Credit Score

620

National / Regional

National
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at Better


Why we like it

Good 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 do VA or USDA loans.

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NBKC
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at NBKC

NBKC: NMLS#409631

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
NBKC

Min. Credit Score

660

Min. Down Payment

0%
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at NBKC


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.

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Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans
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at Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans

Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans: NMLS#3030

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%
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at Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers who appreciate smartphone and online convenience for a fully digital home loan experience powered by Quicken Loans.

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.

  • Offers document and asset retrieval capabilities.

Cons

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

  • Getting a customized interest rate requires a credit check, which can lower your credit score by a few points.

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Guaranteed Rate
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at Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate: NMLS#2611

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Guaranteed Rate

Min. Credit Score

620

National / Regional

National
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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.

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Quicken Loans
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at Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans: NMLS#3030

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Quicken Loans

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%
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at Quicken Loans


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers looking for just about all of the services your neighborhood lender offers — 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 many working Americans.

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

  • Provides a wide variety of loan types, including renovation loans and all government-backed mortgage products.

Cons

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

  • Quicken's lender fees can be stout and it doesn't offset those fees with particularly low mortgage rates.

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Ally Bank
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at Ally Bank

Ally Bank: NMLS#181005

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Ally Bank

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%
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at Ally Bank


Why we like it

Ally Home offers online mortgage applications and loan tracking, with an emphasis on jumbo loans. But borrowers who want FHA or VA loans are out of luck.

Pros

  • Excels in online convenience, with document upload, loan tracking and e-signatures.

  • Offers good rate transparency; rate shoppers can see customized interest rates.

Cons

  • Limited variety of loan products: FHA, VA and USDA loans are unavailable.

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

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Fairway Independent Mortgage
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at Fairway Independent Mortgage

Fairway Independent Mortgage: NMLS#2289

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Fairway Independent Mortgage

Min. Credit Score

640

Min. Down Payment

3.5%
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at Fairway Independent Mortgage


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers who want access to a wide variety of mortgages and the convenience of a comprehensive mobile application process.

Pros

  • Offers a robust suite of loan products, including a variety of renovation loans.

  • Has a digital application that can be completed in 10 minutes.

  • Works with some state housing finance agencies to offer mortgages with down payment and closing cost assistance.

Cons

  • Mortgage rates aren't posted online.

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Reali Loans
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at Reali Loans

Reali Loans: NMLS#991397

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Reali Loans

Min. Credit Score

620

National / Regional

Regional
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at Reali Loans


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers looking for an online mortgage application experience.

Pros

  • Offers a completely online application process.

  • Posts current interest rates for purchase and refinancing.

  • Provides customized rate quotes online.

Cons

  • No FHA, VA or USDA refinance products.

  • Available only in a dozen states.

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SunTrust (Truist): NMLS#2915

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
SunTrust (Truist)

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3.5%

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, entrepreneurs and other professionals.

  • 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.

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Bank of America: NMLS#399802

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bank of America

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

5%

National / Regional

National

National / Regional

National

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

  • 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.

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Wells Fargo: NMLS#399801

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Wells Fargo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Why we like it

Wells Fargo has a world-class selection of mortgage products and offers competitive, easy-to-shop rates.

Pros

  • Provides numerous online conveniences, including loan application and process updates.

  • Current rates clearly posted for various loan products.

  • Offers a wide variety of loan types and products.

Cons

  • New applications for home equity lines of credit suspended during COVID-19 crisis.

  • Government actions and scandals have damaged consumer trust in recent years.

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What is an online mortgage?

"Online mortgage" refers to a mortgage from a lender with no physical presence. That definition has broadened, as even banks with brick-and-mortar branches all across the country offer robust online 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 that 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 process varies depending on the lender. But in general, an online mortgage lender should allow you to accomplish key tasks like getting rate quotes, filling out an application and uploading documents from your computer or mobile device. In some cases, you may not even need to dig up all of the documents yourself.

Many lenders can access necessary information from government agencies, financial institutions and employers (with your permission, of course), and take days off the closing process. And with e-closings, you can even close the loan remotely in a little as 15 minutes.

More from NerdWallet:

Last updated on August 13, 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 Online Mortgage Lenders of October 2021

Frequently asked questions