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Compare the Best Online Refinance Lenders

May 18, 2016
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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

NerdWallet’s Online Mortgage Refinance Marketplace

The lenders on NerdWallet’s refinance marketplace are members of a growing group that’s changing the way homebuyers get and refinance mortgages. They’re cutting out middlemen, automating parts of the process and making it shorter and easier to understand. That means refinancing can be cheaper, faster and more transparent. Some have eliminated origination fees, and many handle parts of the refinance — obtaining employment and pay records for instance — that you used to have to do yourself. You’ll still have to meet credit requirements and demonstrate that you can pay back your loan before these lenders will approve your refinance.

LenderLoan TypesGov't ProgramsLoan AmountsMinimum Credit ScoreKey Facts
loandepot NMLS - 600x314

Read our review
Fixed (10, 15, 30-year) and 5/1 ARMs.VA


$100,000 - $1,000,000600Average 700 credit score

Available in all 50 states

Read our review
Fixed (15, 30-year most common) and ARMs (10/1, 7/1, 5/1).FHA



FHA Streamline
Not published620
(580 for FHA, VA)
As low as 23 days to close for purchase, 30 days for refinance

Available in 48 states and DC

Read our review
15-year, 30-year, 7/1 ARM, 7/1 ARM Interest-only, Jumbo, Cash-out refiNone$3,000,000 maximumN/ANo origination fees

Average 28 days to close

Available in 29 states and DC

Read our review
Fixed (15, 30-year) and ARMs (10/1, 7/1, 5/1). Jumbo (fixed or ARM).VA



$40,000 - $3,000,000+620
(580 for FHA)
Average loan amounts of $200,000-$250,000

Available in all 50 states

Read our review
Fixed (10, 15, 20 and 30-year) and ARMs (10/1, 7/1, 5/1).FHA



FHA 203(k)
No minimum or maximum620
(580 for FHA)
Total loan volume grew over 50% in 2016

Available in 46 states and DC

Read our review
Fixed (10, 15, 20, 30-year).None$150,000-$2,000,000620No origination fees.

Available in 12 states (AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, MI, OR, PA, TX, VA, WA)

Average 36 days to close
NMLS ID #330511

Read our review
Fixed (15, 20, 30-year) and ARMs (10/1, 7/1, 5/1).None$200,000 - $1,000,000620Average loan amount of $465,000

Available in 15 states and Washington DC (AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IL, MI, NC, NJ, OR, PA, TN, TX, WA)
AmeriSave Mortgage

Read our review
Fixed (15, 30-year) and ARMs (7/1, 5/1, 3/1).FHA


$60,000 - $1,500,000620
(600 for FHA)
Average loan amount slightly higher than $250,000

Available in 49 states and DC (not NY)

When should I consider a mortgage refinance?

When you refinance your mortgage, you pay off your existing home loan and replace it with a new one with new terms. The goal is usually to lower your monthly payment, pay off your loan sooner or, if you’ve built up some equity in your home, to get cash back to pay for a home improvement project. Whether a refinance can work for you and how much you can save depend on your credit score, your home’s market value and other factors.

» MORE: Get notified when refinancing will save you money

A refinance can also be used to consolidate higher-interest debts, which can save you money on interest payments or pay for a college education. However, it can be risky to finance short-term obligations with long-term debt, and prudent borrowers think carefully before using a refinance for those purposes.

How do I find the best mortgage refinance lender?

We’ve said it so many times, you can probably recite it with us: To get the best mortgage refinance rate, you have to shop multiple lenders. It can save you thousands of dollars over the long run. That’s why we stand on this little green NerdWallet soap box and say it so often. It’s also why we’re compiling an objective resource you can consult.

This is where you’ll find just what kind of refinance loans a lender offers: 15- or 30-year, fixed or variable rate, FHA-backed loans and all the rest. Plus, you’ll find other essential information, like the minimum credit score preferred by each lender, whether the lender charges an origination fee and other key facts.

How do I get the best refinance rate?

First, it’s a good idea to run some numbers with our mortgage refinance calculator. That will give you an idea of how things might shake out for you. Then, take the following steps:

  • Make sure your credit history is in good shape and error-free.
  • Know your credit score so you’ll have realistic interest rate expectations.
  • Shop multiple lenders within a two-week period to minimize the impact on your credit score.
  • Consider contacting a local lender or two, to compare their rates with the results you find here.

Mortgage glossary

Fixed-rate mortgage: Fixed-rate mortgage loans have a set interest rate over the life of the loan, which can last five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40 or even 50 years. The most common is the 30-year fixed rate mortgage. They’re good if you want to avoid the uncertainty of interest rate changes and if you plan on staying in your home for at least seven years.

Adjustable-rate mortgage: ARM loans have an interest rate that’s fixed for an introductory period, after which it can fluctuate annually over the loan’s remaining life span. The initial interest rate, sometimes called the teaser rate, is lower than what you’ll find on fixed rate mortgages. ARM types include 3/1, 5/1, 7/1 and even 10/1. The first number is how long, in years, the teaser rate applies; the second number shows how often the rate can reset. So for a 5/1 ARM, the loan’s teaser rate is set for five years, and then the rate resets every year. An ARM might be right for you if you plan on moving before the introductory period ends or if you think your income will increase.

Read more about fixed-rate mortgages and adjustable-rate mortgages

Conventional loan: Insured by private lenders, conventional mortgages adhere to dollar limits set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government-sponsored companies that provide money for the housing market. Conventional mortgages can be adjustable or fixed. Good credit scores and higher down payments are required.

Jumbo loan: Loans that exceed the dollar limit — usually $453,100 in 2018 — set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. You may need a jumbo loan if you’re buying a house in a large city with a hot housing market. They often come with higher interest rates, down payment, credit score and income requirements.

VA mortgage: Insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs and distributed by private lenders, such as banks or mortgage companies, VA loans are available only to veterans or current members of the armed forces, and in some cases, service members’ spouses. There are no money down or private mortgage insurance requirements, though in many cases there will be a funding fee, which can be financed as part of your loan.

FHA loans: Federal Housing Administration loans are made by private lenders and insured by the government. The insurance protects lenders in case you default on your mortgage. They can be a good option if you’re a first-time homebuyer or have a lower credit score. Down payments can be as low as 3.5%. You’ll have to make an upfront mortgage insurance payment, as well as monthly premium payments thereafter.

FHA streamline refinance: If you’ve built enough equity in your home and have an FHA loan, this refinance program can be a quicker way to lower your interest rate, often without an appraisal. It can be a good idea if you want to save money, but not if you want cash back.

USDA mortgage: The U.S. Department of Agriculture mortgage program is for homeowners in rural and suburban areas who fall under a certain income threshold. No money down and low interest rates are the norm.

HARP: The Home Affordable Refinance Program is a federal government program that helps homeowners refinance their mortgage at a lower rate. The median income of your county is taken into consideration. The program is good if you don’t have much equity built up in your home. This program expires Dec. 31, 2016.

Interest-only mortgage: With this loan, you have the option of paying just the interest for a fixed term, after which you’ll make payments on both interest and principal. These are often taken out for more expensive homes. You’ll want to exercise caution though, because the payment will get higher once the interest-only period ends.

Cash-out refi: Cash-out refinancing allows you to take out a loan against your home equity, but not always at a lower interest rate. The original mortgage is refinanced with a larger loan, and you receive the difference in cash. Think carefully before embarking on this kind of refinance — you’re putting your house on the line. It’s best to use the extra cash for things that add value to your home. Don’t use a cash out refinance to buy a car or pay for a vacation.

More from NerdWallet

Get personalized refinance rates

Calculate your refinance savings

How to refinance your mortgage