Bankrate is an independent comparison service for various types of mortgage products. The platform displays today’s best rates for mortgages, refinancing, and home equity loans. Rates can be customized to your personal home-buying and financial situation and zip code. Bankrate offers loads of useful educational resources to help you make a more informed decision.
Bankrate’s customizable rate tool is very straightforward to use. Just select your preferred mortgage type (e.g. purchase refinance), zip code, property value, loan amount, and loan term, along with your estimated credit score. Within seconds, Bankrate will show you a list of top lenders along with their interest rate, APR, monthly payment, and upfront costs. If you like any of the lenders, click the “next” button to be redirected to their website where you can continue with an application.
The Bankrate search tool also includes an advanced option, just in case you want to take a deep dive into a particular sort of product or particular features. You can ask to search for FHA loans, VA loans, or mortgages with low upfront costs, quick closing, or low monthly payments. You can also search for loans that cater to specific property types or property uses. Whether you use the simple or advanced search tool, the end result is always a list of the top lender deals applicable to your search filters.
Free comparison tool
No need to enter personal details
Gives you an overview of the market
Bankrate is not a lender
Bankrate works with a cross-section of lenders – but not with all lenders
No customer support
The appeal behind Bankrate is that it lets you conduct a quick market comparison of mortgage loans without any commitments. When you use Bankrate to check today’s mortgage rates, it will never ask you for money or personal details. Each time Bankrate refers a user to a lender, the lender pays Bankrate – keeping the service free for consumers like yourself.
Like any marketplace or comparison service, Bankrate does not actually underwrite mortgages itself. This isn’t in itself a bad thing, but it is worth knowing this fact before using Bankrate as it’ll help avoid any confusion when you end up getting redirected to a third-party lender’s website.
As mentioned, Bankrate doesn’t actually provide loans. However, it does offer mortgage comparison tools for the following types of products:
- Conventional loans
- Jumbo loans
- FHA loans
- VA loans
- Refinancing (including cash-out)
- Home equity loans
With Bankrate, what you see is what you get: namely a free mortgage comparison tool and free educational resources.
The comparison tool lets you compare rates from many (but not all) of the top mortgage lenders in 2021, with potentially lower rates than you’ll find when contacting the lenders directly.
The educational resources including how-to guides, mortgage calculators that show you how much house you can afford and how much you can expect to spend on monthly payments, and intelligence-type articles on topics such as where rates are trending.
Bankrate is a comparison service, and as such the rates and APRs offered by its partnering lenders naturally vary. There is no way of showing all the rates offered by its partners – it depends on a number of factors including the ZIP code you’re searching in, the amount you’re willing to pay for a property, how much you’re willing to put down as a down payment, your credit score, and the loan term. However, what we can say is that as a leading marketplace, Bankrate is able to force lenders to compete for your attention, forcing rates down overall.
Based on our own study of Bankrate lenders, a credit score of 660+ is generally enough to get you below the average interest rate for a 30-year or 15-year fixed-rate mortgage.
Overall, Bankrate can find you loan terms ranging from 10-30 years and adjustable rate mortgages ranging from 3/1 to 10/1.
Bankrate is purely an online service and doesn’t offer much in the way of customer support. If you do have a question about its service, then the only way to share this with Bankrate is through the contact form on the Bankrate website (click Contact Us at the bottom of any page on the Bankrate site).
Although its lender network isn’t the most extensive, Bankrate is a useful comparison tool for the simple reason that it works with a cross-section of some of the top lenders in the mortgage industry.
The fact that Bankrate doesn’t require contact details is a big plus because it allows you to compare lenders without the hassle of having your phone ring off the hook from advertisers.