BEST OF

Best Mortgage Refinance Lenders of February 2023

If you're interested in refinancing your mortgage to get a lower rate or achieve another financial goal, check out our list of some of the best refinance lenders.

By Kate Wood 

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Low interest rates compelled many homeowners to refinance their mortgages over the past couple of years, but even in a higher interest rate environment you might find yourself wanting to refinance.

Whether you want to refinance to cash out some of your home equity or change your loan type, NerdWallet has picked some of the best refinance lenders in a variety of categories so you can determine which one is right for you.

Best Mortgage Refinance Lenders

NBKC
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at NBKC

NBKC: NMLS#409631

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
NBKC

Min. credit score

620

National / regional

National
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at NBKC


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers who want low rates and fees and an online experience with phone support. VA loans are an emphasis.

Pros

  • Offers government-backed loans and some harder-to-find products, such as construction loans and specialty mortgages for pilots.

  • Offers low rates and fees compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

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

Cons

  • HELOCs and construction-to-permanent loans are available only in the Kansas City metro area.

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Pennymac
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at Pennymac

Pennymac: NMLS#35953

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Pennymac

Min. credit score

620

National / regional

National
Learn more

at Pennymac


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers seeking a government-backed mortgage who want to rate-shop online.

Pros

  • Offers a wide variety of loan products, including government-backed and refinance options.

  • Displays custom rate quotes based on home value, down payment or equity, ZIP code and credit score range.

  • “Lock & Shop” lets you secure a rate for up to 60 days, even if you don’t have a purchase contract yet.

Cons

  • Origination fees are on the higher end, according to the latest federal data.

  • Doesn't offer home equity products or renovation loans.

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Better
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at Better

Better: NMLS#330511

4.5

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

  • Offers a program allowing qualifying buyers to make cash offers.

  • Makes it easy to see customized mortgage rates.

  • Average interest rates are on the low end compared to other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer USDA loans.

  • VA loans are not available in every state.

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans.

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PNC: NMLS#446303

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
PNC

Min. credit score

620

National / regional

National

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.

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Rocket Mortgage, LLC
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at Rocket Mortgage, LLC

Rocket Mortgage, LLC: NMLS#3030

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Rocket Mortgage, LLC

Min. credit score

620

National / regional

National
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at Rocket Mortgage, LLC


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers who appreciate a fully digital home loan experience with mortgage rates lower than other lenders’.

Pros

  • Streamlined online process with document and asset retrieval capabilities, as well as the ability to edit your preapproval letter.

  • Mortgage interest rates are on the low side compared to other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

  • Offers the option to work with loan officers by phone if desired.

Cons

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

  • Doesn't offer home equity lines of credit.

  • Origination fees are on the high side compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

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New American Funding
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at New American Funding

New American Funding: NMLS#6606

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
New American Funding

Min. credit score

620

National / regional

National
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at New American Funding


Why we like it

Good for: First-time home buyers and other borrowers looking for a broad array of loan choices.

Pros

  • Offers a wide variety of purchase and refinance mortgages with an emphasis on helping underserved communities.

  • Its home equity line of credit can be used for an owner-occupied or second home.

  • Offers a program to enable buyers to make cash offers.

Cons

  • Mortgage origination fees tend to be on the high end, according to the latest federal data.

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Bethpage Federal Credit Union
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at Bethpage Federal Credit Union

Bethpage Federal Credit Union: NMLS#449104

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bethpage Federal Credit Union

Min. credit score

620

National / regional

National
Learn more

at Bethpage Federal Credit Union


Why we like it

Bethpage has a good selection of loan options but no USDA mortgages or renovation loans. And while it offers multiple online conveniences, you have to contact the lender for customized rates.

Pros

  • Offers a full array of online conveniences, including loan process updates.

  • Offers financing for cooperatives, a type of home that’s common on the East Coast.

  • Sample mortgage rates available for a variety of loan products.

Cons

  • In-person service available only in Queens and on Long Island, New York.

  • USDA loans are not available.

  • Customized rates not available online.

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Flagstar: NMLS#417490

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Flagstar

Min. credit score

620

National / regional

National

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.

  • Borrowers can apply and track loan status online.

  • Offers customized online rate quotes with monthly payment estimates, including mortgage insurance, when applicable.

Cons

  • Home equity loans are geographically limited.

  • Origination fees are on the high side compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

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Carrington: NMLS#2600

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Carrington

Min. credit score

620

National / regional

National

Why we like it

Good for: first-time home buyers or credit-challenged borrowers interested in government loan products.

Pros

  • Offers multiple low-down-payment loan programs.

  • May consider alternative credit data, such as bank statements.

  • You can view customized rates for purchasing a home and apply online.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home equity lines of credit.

  • Lender fees are on the high side, according to the latest federal data.

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Freedom Mortgage: NMLS#2767

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Freedom Mortgage

Min. credit score

620

National / regional

National

Why we like it

Freedom offers a typical range of home loan options, but rates are not available on its website.

Pros

  • Offers conventional, FHA, VA, USDA and jumbo loans.

  • Multiple customer service options, including brick-and-mortar branches, online message center and phone.

  • Low average mortgage interest rates and origination fees, according to the latest federal data.

Cons

  • No mortgage rates displayed online.

  • Does not offer home equity loans or lines of credit.

Read Full Review

Truist: NMLS#399803

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Truist

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

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

Pros

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

  • Sample rates are easy to find on the website.

  • Offers a wide variety of loan options, including construction loans and programs for doctors.

Cons

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

  • For borrowers who prefer to apply in person, branches are limited mostly to the South and East.

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Wells Fargo: NMLS#399801

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Wells Fargo

Min. credit score

620

National / regional

National

Why we like it

Good for: existing customers of the bank looking for a wide selection of mortgage products.

Pros

  • Sample rates clearly posted for various loan products.

  • Offers a wide variety of loan types and products.

  • Mortgage rates tend to be on the low side compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.

Cons

  • Home loans business is broadly focused on bank customers.

  • Doesn’t offer home improvement loans, or home equity loans or lines of credit.

  • Scandals and government actions have damaged consumer trust in recent years.

Read Full Review

CrossCountry Mortgage: NMLS#3029

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
CrossCountry Mortgage

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Good for: borrowers who want a variety of home loan options, including a home equity line of credit and government-backed renovation loan.

Pros

  • Offers a wide variety of mortgage loan types and products.

  • Receives high marks for customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power and Zillow.

Cons

  • Doesn't display information online about rates and fees.

  • Mortgage origination fees are on the high side, according to the latest federal data.

Read Full Review

Why refinance your mortgage?

There are multiple reasons to refinance your mortgage. People usually refinance to save money, either in the short run or the long run, and sometimes to borrow against their equity. Here are some of the main reasons to refinance:

To get a lower mortgage rate. If mortgage interest rates fall after you get the loan, you may be able to refinance to a lower rate. This can result in smaller monthly payments.

To shorten the term. Refinancing from a 30-year mortgage to a shorter-term loan (15 or 20 years, most commonly) might increase your monthly payment even with a lower interest rate. However, it decreases the overall interest you pay over the life of the loan.

To get rid of mortgage insurance. When you buy a home with a conventional loan and a down payment of less than 20%, you have to pay for mortgage insurance. Refinancing is one way to stop paying private mortgage insurance, and it's the only way to get rid of FHA mortgage insurance.

To replace an adjustable-rate mortgage, or ARM, with a fixed-rate loan. Rather than enduring the uncertainty of annual interest-rate adjustments with an ARM, you might refinance to a fixed-rate loan so you don't have to worry that the rate will rise.

To get your hands on equity. With a cash-out refinance, you borrow more than your current loan balance and take out the difference in cash. A cash-out refinance is a popular way to pay for home improvements.

Common refinance requirements

In order to qualify for a mortgage refinance, you will need to meet the criteria set by your lender and loan program:

Credit score. A higher credit score can help you secure the lowest refinance interest rate. Government-backed refinance loans typically have lower credit score requirements than conventional loans. With an FHA cash-out refinance, the minimum score requirement is 500, for example. With a conventional refinance, it’s at least 620. But lenders are permitted to set higher minimums if they choose.

Debt-to-income ratio. Your debt-to-income ratio is the portion of your gross income that goes to paying your debt, including your current mortgage. Many lenders require a DTI below 36%. You can refinance a mortgage with a higher DTI, but you may pay a higher interest rate.

Home equity. Your home equity is the value of your home minus what is owed on the mortgage. The amount of equity you need to refinance varies by lender and type of mortgage, but 20% equity is a common requirement.

Refinance wait period. While you can refinance as often as you want, some lenders require a “seasoning” period between loans. With a conventional cash-out refinance, for instance, you will have to wait six months. If you are refinancing an FHA, VA, or USDA mortgage, the waiting time varies between six and 12 months.

Types of mortgage refinances

Whether you’re looking to refinance a conventional or government-backed mortgage, there are generally four types of refinances:

Rate and term refinance. A rate-and-term refinance is exactly what it sounds like: you refinance your mortgage to reduce the interest rate, shorten the term of the loan, or both.

Cash-out refinance. A cash-out refinance is when you replace your mortgage with a new one for more than your current loan balance. The difference goes to the homeowner as cash that can be used for home improvements or other financial responsibilities. There are conventional, as well as FHA and VA cash-out refinancing options.

Streamlined refinance. The FHA, VA and USDA offer streamlined refinancing options that may allow you to skip the usual appraisal and credit check, saving you time and money. The FHA streamline and VA IRRRL both require that the refinancing result in a financial benefit: either a reduction in your monthly payment or interest rate.

Renovation refinance. A renovation refinance loan works somewhat like a cash-out refinance, in that you take out a larger loan than what you previously owed. The proceeds from the refi go toward fixing up your home. With some renovation refinances, like the FHA 203(k) loan, the lender actually directly pays your contractor. Renovation refinances sometimes allow you to borrow against the value of the home once the upgrades are completed rather than its current value. 

Choosing a refinance lender

Whether you’re looking for the reach of a traditional bank or the personalized service of a credit union, always shop multiple lenders and compare the interest rate and terms each lender offers. Even though it might be easy to refinance with your current mortgage lender, it may not offer the best deal.

Everything can be negotiated. Your lender is required to provide you with a Loan Estimate after you apply to refinance. Compare fees listed under the "origination charges" on the document. If you are not comfortable with a fee, negotiate for it to be removed or reduced.

What is the real cost of your new mortgage going to be? Look at the annual percentage rate, or APR. This number covers all the costs of the mortgage including the interest rate and fees.

More from NerdWallet

Last updated on January 3, 2023

Methodology

The star ratings on this page reflect each lender's performance in NerdWallet’s refinance category. We scored the category and chose lenders for this page using the following methodology:

NerdWallet reviewed more than 50 mortgage lenders, including the majority of the largest U.S. mortgage lenders by annual loan volume (measured among lenders with at least a 1% market share), lenders with significant online search volume and those that specialize in serving various audiences across the country.

All reviewed mortgage lenders that offer more than one refinance product were evaluated based on (1) the portion of their business dedicated to refinance lending, (2) their refinance origination fees, (3) their rate transparency and (4) the ease of their online application. The highest scoring lenders appear on this page.

NerdWallet solicits information from reviewed lenders on a recurring basis throughout the year. All lender-provided information is verified through lender websites and interviews. We also utilized 2021 HMDA data for origination volume, origination fee, rate spread and share-of-product data.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Mortgage Refinance Lenders of February 2023

Frequently asked questions