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Home Equity HELOCs

Best Online HELOC Lenders

Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) aren’t just available through traditional banks and credit unions. With the rise of online lenders comes online HELOCs—and added convenience and efficiency.

Online HELOCs not only spare you from commuting or waiting in line but also streamline the entire HELOC process. You can shop for HELOC rates, submit an application, and schedule an appraisal from the comfort of your couch. But not all online HELOC lenders are equal, so we’re bringing you three of the best places to get an online HELOC.

The best online HELOC lenders

We researched multiple high-quality HELOC lenders to find the best ones for an online HELOC. We considered the affordability, application process, and unique features.

LenderRates (APR)Min. credit score
Figure8.60%17.25%640
BethpageStarting at 8.50%670
LendingTreeStarting at 6.99%Varies by lender

Figure – Best HELOC

LendEDU rating: 4.9 out of 5

  • Digital appraisal process
  • Autopay and credit union discounts
  • Not available in Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, New York, or West Virginia

Figure ranks as the best overall HELOC thanks to its online lending experience. With Figure, your application and appraisal are completely digital, so you won’t need to schedule an in-person property valuation and wait for the appraiser to show up.

Unlike other lenders that only offer variable-rate HELOCs, Figure’s HELOCs come with fixed rates. Figure also requires a 100% initial draw. No matter how much you need to borrow, you must max out your credit line during your first withdrawal.

Bethpage FCU – Best for large HELOCs

LendEDU rating: 4.7 out of 5

  • No closing costs, application fees, or origination fees
  • Appraisal not required for some borrowers
  • Not available in Texas

Despite only having brick-and-mortar branches in New York, Bethpage HELOCs are available in 49 states and D.C. Joining the credit union costs $5, and once you’re a member, you can get a Bethpage HELOC from almost anywhere in the U.S. (Sorry, Texas.)

Bethpage takes an average of 35 days to process and open HELOCs—and sometimes up to 10 weeks. While Bethpage may not be the best choice for fast funding, it offers a fixed-rate HELOC conversion option at no additional cost, letting you lock in low rates as needed.

LendingTree – Best marketplace

LendEDU rating: 4.5 out of 5

  • Compare prequalified rates
  • No fees
  • Doesn’t impact your credit score

LendingTree is not a lender but an online marketplace where homeowners can compare prequalified offers from its network of partner lenders. These lenders offer home equity loans, HELOCs, and cash-out refinance solutions.

Filling out the form won’t affect your credit score, which helps limit the negative effects of comparison shopping with lenders that don’t offer a prequalification check.

How do online HELOCs work?

Online HELOCs are similar to how traditional HELOCs work. In short, you’ll apply for your line of credit, get an appraisal (if required), and start making withdrawals after closing. The two crucial differences are:

  1. The appraisal process might be mostly or totally automated.
  2. Face-to-face support is limited by default.

Depending on your lender, you might have a standard in-person appraisal. But it’s possible your HELOC lender will use one of these two appraisal methods:

  • Automated valuation models (AVMs): AVMs analyze market trends and comparable sales of similar properties in your area (often referred to as “comps” in the real estate investing world). This data helps lenders determine your home’s value without ever setting foot on your property.
  • Desktop appraisals: Desktop appraisals are somewhere between regular appraisals and AVM appraisals. These rely on market trends and data, as well as photos of your home’s interior and exterior, to arrive at a property value.

Even if your online lender requires a human touch to assess your home’s value, its customer service and self-service options are likely to be online.

You can call your lender’s customer service team, and additional technology-facilitated features—such as online chat—will be available. Rather than making payments or withdrawals at a physical location, you’ll use online account access to manage your funds. 


Tip

Online access procedures and capabilities vary by lender. Your lender should provide account setup instructions. It will tell you what functions you can perform on your own and when you might need to contact a representative for further assistance or authorization.


Pros and cons of an online HELOC

Pros

  • The online HELOC process is streamlined and efficient.

    From quick applications to automated appraisals, online HELOCs spare you the headache and hassle of waiting in line at the bank or rearranging your schedule to accommodate the appraiser. 

  • Fast funding is the norm.

    Why wait on your funds if you don’t need to? With some online HELOC lenders (Figure and Hitch, for example), you can close on your HELOC in a couple of weeks or less. Traditional HELOCs, on the other hand, can often take months to close.

  • You don’t have to work with people if you don’t want to.

    Do social interactions make you squirm? Online HELOCs are about as introvert-friendly as you can get. You may not even need to speak to your lender on the phone, giving you more control—and more comfort—throughout the lending process.

  • Manage your credit line on your time, from wherever you happen to be.

    Not only does online account access offer unmatched convenience, but it’s also a game changer for people with mobility issues, busy parents, and those of us who simply can’t add another errand to our to-do list.

  • Enjoy access to a wider range of lenders.

    With online HELOCs, you aren’t limited to the banks or credit unions in your area. You have several choices because most online HELOCs are available in multiple states.

Cons

  • In-person support is nearly nonexistent.

    Most online lenders have few, if any, physical locations. If you’re not comfortable with technology—or if you simply prefer dealing with humans over machines—an online HELOC may not be a good fit.

  • A learning curve is likely.

    Your online HELOC could test your technological prowess, especially if you need to learn new software to complete a desktop appraisal. That won’t be the case with every lender, so check with each one before applying.

  • Virtual appraisals could undervalue your home.

    If you’ve made improvements to your property that significantly increase its value, your lender may not know if it uses AVMs or desktop appraisals. That could result in a lower HELOC limit than a standard HELOC.

  • Online HELOC lenders may not have been around long.

    One little-considered advantage of traditional HELOCs is that they often come from banks or credit unions with longstanding reputations. Online HELOCs—and the lenders that service them—are often relative newcomers. You may appreciate that innovation, or you may feel more confident working with an industry mainstay.

If you’re not sure whether an online HELOC is your top priority, browse our list of the best HELOC lenders.

How to choose an online HELOC

There are virtually no limits on how you can use your HELOC. The possibilities are exciting, but you shouldn’t rush out and apply with the first lender you see. Instead, exercise discretion and evaluate potential lenders against these criteria:

  1. Consider your borrowing cost. Which lenders offer the lowest rates? Which ones provide rate discounts? Even with rate discounts factored in, can you manage the monthly payments when your draw period is up?
  2. Consider your borrowing ability. How much can you borrow with each HELOC? Are the draw periods long enough? If your borrowing limit or draw period is insufficient, that HELOC offer may not be worth your while.
  3. Look for added fees—or the lack thereof. Your HELOC may come with origination fees, application fees, appraisal fees, or closing costs. To save money and maximize your credit line, prioritize lenders that keep these fees to a minimum.
  4. Compare each HELOC’s terms and conditions. Stipulations around minimum draw requirements or introductory offers can have a massive impact on your borrowing cost and borrowing experience. It’s best to be aware of these before committing to a lender.

Tip

Some lenders advertise no closing costs when, in reality, they cover closing costs for you. If you repay or close your HELOC within a certain time frame, you may need to repay those costs.


As you shop for an online HELOC, give yourself as many options as possible. Before you submit a full application, check your rates with at least four lenders. 

Prequalifying doesn’t affect your credit score, but it lets you make a more informed decision. Since opening a HELOC often means taking on a large debt obligation, you want to be as discerning—and as patient—as possible.

Our expert’s recommendation

Erin Kinkade

CFP®

As you’re shopping around, begin by searching for reputable lenders with positive ratings and those with good reputations that have been in business for at least four years—ideally longer. In addition, I suggest double-checking the lender by searching the Better Business Bureau’s website. Ensure the lender is a BBB-accredited business.

How to apply for an online HELOC

After you’ve prequalified and found a HELOC offer that suits your needs, the next step is a formal application. Here’s how it works:

  1. Prepare your documents. You’ll need to submit income and property records, such as pay stubs, mortgage statements, property tax bills, and proof of homeowners insurance. Have your HELOC application documents on hand for a smoother experience.
  2. Check your property value. HELOC applications often ask for a rough estimate of your property value. While it won’t replace an official appraisal, real estate listing platforms can give you a rough idea of what your home is worth.
  3. Fill out the application. Now, you’ll confirm your identity and income details, upload your documents, and consent to a hard credit check. 
  4. Schedule an appraisal. Some lenders, like Bethpage, may let you skip this step, but if your lender requires an appraisal, you can’t move ahead without one. The quicker you and your lender take care of the appraisal, the faster you can close on your HELOC.
  5. Review and sign your HELOC agreement. Your lender will then send you a HELOC disclosure. This disclosure outlines any draw requirements, how fees are assessed, your starting APR, and whether your APR is fixed or variable.
  6. Gain access to your HELOC. Once you’ve signed your agreement and closed on your HELOC, you can withdraw from your credit line in as little as four days.

That buffer exists due to the Federal Trade Commission’s three-day cancellation rule. Under this rule, you have three days to cancel your HELOC if you change your mind. You need to wait for that window to pass before you can access your funds.

But your credit line may not be open that fast. It depends on your lender. 

Applying for most online HELOCs only takes a few minutes. But when you account for application reviews, appraisals, and funding timelines, the HELOC process often takes several days or weeks to complete.


Tip

Save time by digitizing your documents. If you receive paper statements, you can use your phone and scanner apps to convert your hard copies into electronic files you can attach to your HELOC application.


Just as important as choosing the right HELOC is spending it wisely after closing. Remember, you’ll need to repay whatever you borrow.

You might have your HELOC money earmarked for a specific purchase, but if you need ideas, consider funneling your funds in a way you’ll appreciate in the future:

There’s nothing wrong with using your HELOC for not-so-necessary expenses, but thinking strategically about where you put your HELOC funds can improve your long-term financial outlook.

Recap: Best online HELOC lenders

LenderRates (APR)Min. credit score
Figure8.60%17.25%640
BethpageStarting at 8.50%670
LendingTreeStarting at 6.99%Varies by lender