Bankrate wouldn’t need any introduction, but we will do it anyway. It is a personal finance company based in NY, with a strong educational focus, operating online since 1996 with the goal of becoming a leader in giving people the best advices for their most important financial decisions. It evolved by offering an extraordinary comparison service of rates for mortgages, saving accounts, credit cards, and more. With 40+ years of experience, Bankrate has gained a very solid reputation: it has been recognized by big names such as Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, to mention a few.
Today, it also provides access to a complete spectrum of financial products, among which credit cards, banking services, car, and life insurance.
Currently, Bankrate has a vast public of readers, while many prospective borrowers and homeowners are using its platform to find the best options for their needs. A plethora of topics are addressed: starting to save or invest, getting a credit card, saving for retirement, and of course purchasing or refinancing a home, among others. There are guides about the fundamentals of personal finance, calculators, and reviews of banks’ services as well.
The company doesn’t lend in itself, but acts as a marketplace where you can select all the features of your desired home loan: then, you are presented with a nearly instant listing of multiple offers, from both national and local lenders that partner with Bankrate, and can accept your conditions.
Altogether, these mortgage servicers can provide many different loan options, from the traditional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to federal-backed loans, and you are almost certain to find what suits you.
Unlike similar services of loan comparison, Bankrate doesn’t need that you submit personal details or to upload financial documents to show you the offers but bases its selection uniquely on the parameters you input. This is a great edge if you don’t want to disclose your data, to see your expected rates. It actually functions like a huge live database that can retrieve multiple deals, according to a set of requirements on your part. You choose each of the following:
And Bankrate’s matching algorithm finds all the lenders that can grant you a mortgage for your situation. For each lender, you will see the interest rate offered, the APR (that include certain fees), your estimated monthly payment with that rate, and a breakdown of the upfront costs so that you will be more confident about how your budget is involved by embarking in any mortgage.
Otherwise, you find the best offers starting from a certain need. You can filter your selection to low upfront costs, closing the mortgage quickly, low monthly payments, FHA or VA mortgages: this means refining your research basing on such goals.
In essence, Bankrate publishes advertised lenders’ rates, in combination with using matching criteria: your final rate will be very close to the one actually offered by the lender of choice, as clearly stated in the own Bankrate’s disclosure. The company definitely commits that the terms are accurate, through a trusted relationship with its partners.
A unique perk is in maximum transparency about the lenders: not only you see what lenders are making their offers, but Bankrate also provides more in-depth information, through overviews and points to consider, about the partners involved, so that you make the most informed choice possible.
Considering its wide network comprising of banks, credit unions, and lending companies, there is are several mortgage options which can be chosen from.
On the website, you can check daily rates and APRs for each type of mortgage with its term, including those available for refinancing.
Few other online services like this can display so many offers in a single instance: it must be stated that Bankrate has one of the biggest top selections of lenders in the market, giving you plenty of quality choices. However, bear in mind that you must prove to be eligible for any of them, providing the final lender with documentation about your financial status.
Many people are using Bankrate when it comes to renewing an existing mortgage, right because it gives you maximum flexibility. In some cases, you may be given the option of a cash-out amount refinance: you borrow a larger than the original amount, exploiting increased equity in your home, repay and take the difference as cash.
At a glance, here is what you will find available on the whole
Bankrate doesn’t set other requirements than the parameters you input in the fields to receive offers: the remainder of the process will take place on the lender of choice website, then by phone. The specific criteria to qualify imposed by each lender are not disclosed.
Most of the lenders in Bankrate’s network will give you the chance to buy discount points, that are meant to bring and lock the rate at a lower percentage: this represents a short-term investment that will make you save on the many years to come if you can afford the upfront cost.
To help you with your decision, we have summarized all the benefits and drawbacks of using Bankrate we could find.
Where Bankrate stands out is in the amount of quality information it disposes of to users of the website. That is compiled by experts and is greatly valuable especially if you don’t have a clue about mortgages, loans, or finance in general: you will learn about how the process of getting a mortgage works, and the notions about credit. For the purpose, there is also a glossary, and varied calculators will make you come up with prospective payments, so being ideal for budgeting such a relevant expense.
As a reminder, one perk to not underestimate is the chance to see what you may qualify for without having to submit personal information, or any documents
If you have a less than fair credit score, that is below 580, you can’t select any offer from Bankrate. This is because there aren’t lenders catering to risky borrowers in the network, so you will need to turn your research elsewhere.
Furthermore, some customers encountered diverse issues with individuals who dealt with their loans, among which receiving too many unsolicited calls or being somewhat unprofessional. But this happens all the time because of the law of big numbers: lots of people using the service plus many lenders, with several ways they operate, means a greater margin of error over time.
There is no regular application form from Bankrate, it is no needed: it begins with choosing your credit score and other parameters. Within seconds, you will get individualized offers in real-time on the webpage itself, without having to check your email, as typical of other similar platforms. Of course, there will be no obligation to proceed with any of the offers you are presented with.
If you do, you are redirected to a private space where to complete a 30-second form to get a custom quote; once done, you will be in touch by phone with a representative to discuss the loan offer and eventually proceed.
The lender will require further information about your finances, and to get that will conduct a hard pull on your credit report. Once signed the agreement, the time to be funded varies a lot depending both on the lender and your bank: in general, you can expect to wait for a week, at the very least.
Your experience with Bankrate is not going to be fully passive: you can reach the support team by email tickets or also by phone, and we found that the response time is within expectations. Questions are answered in a friendly and professional way, definitely abreast of the company’s reputation.
We couldn’t find Bankrate’s accreditation on the Better Business Bureau, but the customers’ online feedbacks speak generally good. Among the mixed reviews we found on Trustpilot, one the most reliable unbiased reviews portal, there are several reports of customers satisfied of refinancing through Bankrate, or pleased about the amount of information they were able to find; other liked the free credit score checking and monitoring service, which is a great plus. What generally appears is the ease and convenience to find a suitable offer for their needs, and the way the company provides access to brokers is appreciated.
On the other hand, customers complain about varied issues, instead of one in particular: for instance, some are upset to discover final rates different from the ones advertised, others to be harassed from calls and emails from the chosen lenders, or even being unaware of credit pull. However, consider these being just common, barely unavoidable objections for a marketplace of lenders.
Bankrate is a direct choice if you are not sure about a single mortgage lender, but want to compare different options for a new mortgage or refinancing, provided that you are in a good financial position. If you are a first-time homebuyer with little or no awareness of how mortgages work, this is a place where you find guidance and answers to nearly all your doubts.
Turning to single lenders is likely to be a better choice if you want a direct-to-consumer experience, or having much choice is somewhat overwhelming for you. And you just have to seek elsewhere if your score is less than fair.