How to Safely Apply for a Mortgage Online
Technology makes our daily lives so much easier—though that addiction to social media and doom scrolling is another story! Our tech-savvy world is so connected that you don’t even have to make your way to a loan advisor’s office to apply for a mortgage. This is great news in the time of COVID, as it not only saves time and hassle, but can be a healthy, responsible approach for those who would rather abstain from optional meetings.
Our APM mobile app, for instance, allows you to safely apply for a mortgage online. You can calculate and compare monthly payments, mortgage insurance, taxes, and more. Then, once you’re ready to apply, just scan and upload your documents directly from your device. The app gives you live status updates on the loan process and can even get you pre-qualified for a loan with a short application.
Wherever you apply for a loan, you want to make sure you know how to safely apply for a mortgage online. After all, you have some sensitive information contained in those documents! Social Security numbers, addresses, income, account information, employer details. These are not facts you want in the wrong hands.
Thankfully, a little discretion and due diligence upfront can keep your information protected while you enjoy the convenience and ease that comes as you safely apply for a mortgage online.
Choose a Well-Known Lender
There are many mortgage lenders out there with name recognition. While that doesn’t mean you should give someone your business simply because you know their company from an ad or commercial, brand familiarity can provide a sense of security as you safely apply for a mortgage online.
Don’t recognize the company? Do a quick internet search. You want to see the company website, check out online reviews, and even confirm their standing with the Better Business Bureau. A legit lender will have all this information available within a few clicks.
Understand How Lenders Keep Your Info Safe
A scrupulous lender will require you to upload your information through a secure online portal. Sending documents through email or taking down your information over the phone is not secure. These forms of communication can be great when it comes to introductory meetings or even confirming a fact or two, but your official documents should be uploaded and posted to an encrypted portal, requiring registration with a unique user ID and complex password (don’t forget to write down the password—and don’t share it with anyone who won’t be on your mortgage application).
You can always give the lender a call to see how they handle online mortgage applications if you’re unsure. Many will provide you with a dedicated web address. Some even use encryption software on their emails to ensure the utmost privacy. You can also ask lenders how they use your information and whether they sell it to third parties. You have a legal right to know how your information is being used—and by whom, so don’t be afraid to express those rights!
Stay Off Public Wifi
A lender can do everything right on their side, but if you’re using an unsecure internet connection, your information may still be in jeopardy. That’s why it’s not a good idea to access these documents over public wifi. It’s best to complete these tasks at home or at work (if allowed) where you know your internet connection is safe, private, and secure. This can be especially tricky if you’re using a mobile app, as our phones tend to naturally find and connect to public wifi. Create a quick reminder or jot down a note in your notepad app and complete these tasks once you’re back at home or in the office.
If you typically rely on public wifi, it may be worth asking a trusted friend or family member if you can upload your documents from their place, where the internet is secure. Remember, too, that you don’t have to apply for a mortgage online. Our loan advisors are happy to sit down with you at your convenience if you’d prefer to do the paperwork in person.
Keep an Eye Out for Fraudulent Communications
We’ve all seen it—people posing as legitimate service providers when they’re not. They’ll impersonate credit card companies, banks, the IRS, and, yes, even mortgage companies. Don’t share your information—including your login, password, or any documents—with anyone you can’t verify.
Most lenders will never ask you to submit documents via email or over the phone. Always check that an email came from your loan advisor’s exact email account and that a telephone call came from the phone number you have on file. An easy way to verify this is by saving this information in your phone under Contacts. If you can’t verify the person requesting this information, always feel free to reach out to your loan advisor directly. They can easily let you know whether they (or someone from their office) made that request or not.
The power of fintech (“financial technology”) has made it more convenient than ever to apply for a mortgage. If you’re going to safely apply for a mortgage online, however, you want to make sure you take these extra steps to keep you and your documents secure. The last thing you want is someone taking out a credit card in your name or accessing a bank account right before you make one of the biggest financial decisions of your life.
These actions can impact your credit report, debt-to-income ratio, and ability to secure future credit. That includes a mortgage! A little safeguarding will go a long way as you safely apply for a mortgage online.