Best online mortgage lenders of 2022

We compared dozens of online lenders to help you find the right mortgage for your home.

Article image

Policygenius content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn about our editorial standards and how we make money.

While most mortgage lenders have some sort of online presence, not every bank and lender fully leverages the possibilities of the digital frontier. Not only are today’s online mortgage lenders offering easy-to-navigate online applications and fantastic mobile apps, but many also try to stand out by offering low-interest rates, low down payment requirements, and highly accessible customer service.

If you don’t mind a lender that also has physical office locations, also check out our list of the best overall mortgage lenders for 2022.

Best overall online mortgage lender

NBKC Bank

4.3

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

NBKC Bank logo

NBKC is the best overall online mortgage lender on the market, offering low origination fees and availability in all 50 states plus D.C. NBKC’s online experience is fully built out, especially its easy-to-understand application process. You can also track the progress of your mortgage application online.

Visit website

Best new online mortgage lender

Zillow

4.3

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Zillow logo

Zillow, the popular online platform for finding real estate, got into the mortgage lending market a few years ago and has already become a major player. With low interest rates and fees, Zillow’s digital experience is great and the site offers a wealth of educational resources.

Visit website

Best online lender for low interest rates

Guaranteed Rate

4.2

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Guaranteed Rate logo

As the company’s name suggests, Guaranteed Rate is known for being very upfront about the details of its lending products. Potential customers can also access personalized rate information without providing contact data or filling out an entire mortgage application.

Visit website

Best online lender for customer satisfaction

Movement Mortgage

4.2

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Movement Mortgage logo

Movement Mortgage is well-known for its customer service and has numerous options that don’t require borrowers to put up large down payments. Perhaps because of Movement Mortgage’s focus on an upfront, easy-to-navigate process, it has a very low number of CFPB complaints.

Visit website

Best online lender for closing cheaply

Better

4.1

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Better logo

Better sets itself apart from other lenders because it doesn’t charge any application, origination, or underwriting fees. Better also has some of the lowest interest rates of any online mortgage lender we looked at and it was built specifically for customers who desire an online-only experience.

Visit website

Best online lender by volume of new loans

Fairway Independent Mortgage

4

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Fairway Independent Mortgage logo

Fairway has received more mortgage applications recently than any other online lender we considered, and by a wide margin. Its popularity may be due to its large number of mortgage products available and a simple application. If you’re looking for a 15-year mortgage, Fairway was also named our best 15-year mortgage lender for 2022.

Visit website

Best nonbank online mortgage lender

Guild Mortgage

3.8

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Guild Mortgage logo

Guild Mortgage, with its low number of CFPB complaints, is well-respected for its customer service record and could be a great choice for first-time homebuyers and young borrowers. Guild Mortgage has been around since 1960, so it has a much longer history of success than some newer online-only entrants.  

Visit website

Best online lender with brick-and-mortar presence

PNC

3.8

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

PNC logo

PNC is a great option for borrowers looking for a hybrid of a great online presence and numerous physical branches. PNC is upfront about its rates and offers a variety of mortgage types of term lengths, including some options that require low down payments.

Visit website

5 tips for choosing the right online mortgage lender

1. Shop around

Buying a home will probably be one of the biggest financial decisions of your life, so you should keep your options open during your research process. This means looking at every mortgage option available, including the bank in your neighborhood as well as the latest online mortgage offering. It’s important to compare rates and fees for different lenders, but also to compare how customers view each lender — like by looking at CFPB complaints against a lender. Knowing how long a lender has been in business can also help you feel more confident that your lender will be in business for the full term of your loan. Determine what is important for you as a borrower and use that as a guide.

2. Master the process of online searching

When researching online mortgage lenders, search smart. Be aware of which search results are sponsored. Your searches might be manipulated by advertisers, which you can try to mitigate this by doing thorough research. Check out reputable, unbiased websites that compare lenders and look around a lender’s site to get a better idea of how business with them could go. Your previous web activity can also affect what lenders you see in searches, so consider deleting your browser cookies or using an incognito browser. Don’t be afraid to click onto the second page of search results. 

3. Improve your credit

To increase the chances of approval of your mortgage application, you want your credit score to be as high as possible. If your credit is low, like below 600, you might have trouble getting approval from any lender or you might receive higher interest rates. Increasing your credit score can take time, but even simple moves can make a difference. For example, always paying your minimum balances on time will help your credit score. Paying down debt, even if you can’t afford a lot, can also help. Sometimes it also makes sense to spend less on your credit card leading up to an application or even increase your credit limits, because that lowers your debt-to-income ratio.

4. Compare rates & fees

When comparing your options, take a holistic approach – interest rates are critical, yes, but also look at what sort of fees you are expected to pay. Compare origination fees, application fees, and other closing costs from lenders. Additionally, think about the size of your down payment and how it could affect future costs. For example, a lower down payment could mean you pay mortgage insurance for longer.

5. Read all the fine print

A mortgage is a big undertaking and you should read, in full, any agreement you reach with a lender before signing it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand or disagree with something. Double check all information to ensure it’s correct. After you sign a contract, changing it could be difficult if not impossible.

Online mortgage lenders vs. banks

In one obvious sense, an online mortgage lender is different from a traditional bank in that the former operates mostly or entirely on the internet. It’s common that online lenders offer streamlined processes and online applications that you can fill out in as little as 10 minutes. Many online lenders have user-friendly mobile apps built for customers comfortable with technology.

Some online lenders may also specialise in certain types of mortgages or in the type of homebuyer they serve. As an example, a lender may pitch itself more toward borrowers with bad credit or borrowers who can’t afford a large down payment. Because of this specialization, online mortgage lenders might be able to offer lower interest rates and fees than you would find at a traditional bank.

On the other hand, traditional banks often have centuries and serve many different types of customers. Larger banks may have physical branches across your state or even the country, allowing you to work with a familiar company no matter where you move. It’s also common for traditional banks and mortgage lenders to offer a vast range of services. You might even be able to get a deal through bundling a mortgage with other banking services.

Ultimately, choosing between an online lender and a traditional lender comes down to personal preference and to finding the best deal for your personal situation. Spend time comparing both online mortgage lenders and banks to find an option that fits your needs.

Methodology

Using data collected in accordance with the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and released by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (a division of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), we examined millions of mortgage applications initiated in 2020 and issued a rating for each lender using Policygenius’ unique scoring model.

We compared each lender across five metrics: the interest rates offered by the lender, the origination fees charged by the lender, the number of complaints made to the CFPB about the lender, the lender's loan offerings, and how widely available the lender's loans were. Each metric was scored on a scale of 1 to 5, and then each lender's five scores were averaged into a single rating. Below are breakdowns of each metric.

Interest and fees methodology

To calculate the scores for lenders’ average interest rates and origination fees, we reviewed only originated mortgages that met the following criteria.

  • Loan type: Conventional

  • Loan purpose: Home purchase

  • Loan amount: $250,000 to $1,000,000, which covers a mix of FHA mortgages, conforming mortgages, and jumbo mortgages

  • Household income: $100,000 or higher

  • Combined loan to value ratio: 50 or higher

  • Term: 30 years

We did not include any interest-only mortgages, mortgages that included a balloon payment, lines of credit, reverse mortgages, or mortgages for a business or commercial purpose.

Our interest rates and fees scores don’t necessarily reflect what the lender is offering on its website. Rather, they are the rates and fees recorded by the FFIEC among mortgages that conformed to our criteria. Borrowers may be offered a range of incentives to receive a lower APR or pay lower fees, so our scores indicate a baseline measure and your actual experience with your lender may vary.

Complaints to the CFPB

We also looked at how often borrowers or applicants complained to the CFPB about the lender. These complaints could mean anything from having trouble applying or paying for a mortgage to experiencing outright fraud or discrimination. This score covers the total number of complaints about the lender for the year 2020 divided by the number of applications (not just originated mortgages), since many would-be borrowers encounter an issue during the application process. Although all lenders have relatively few complaints against them, some had much larger proportions than others.

Offerings

Most lenders offer a variety of types of home loans. For the purposes of this scoring model, we looked at the four mortgage types defined by the FFIEC:

  • Conventional loans

  • FHA loans

  • VA loans

  • USDA/RHS loans

The vast majority of loans originated by the lenders we reviewed were conventional mortgages, meaning that they are not backed by any government program, as FHA, VA and USDA/RHS loans are. Government-backed loans may be more affordable than conventional loans, but they often have strict income or residency requirements.

We gave higher scores for offering more products. However, we did not consider fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages, jumbo loans, refinances, or home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) as distinct mortgage types.

Availability

Lenders were scored based on the number of states in which their loan products were available, with lenders available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia receiving the highest score.