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Dr. Don Taylor, CFA, Bankrate.com advice columnistChecking out online home equity lenders

Dear Dr. Don,
I'm thinking of applying for a home equity line of credit. How reliable is applying online with companies like Quicken Loans?
-- Sandra Selects

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Dear Sandra,
When you compare home equity rates on Bankrate, most of the lenders' Web sites are just a click away. You want to provide your information on a secured Web site. A secured Web site's Internet address starts with "https://" instead of "http://." If the site is not a secure Web site, then you don't want to enter your personal information on that site.

Your question about firm reliability is an important one. Do a little legwork on the Internet to check up on the company. After all, the company is going to check up on you. Look up the firm's Better Business Bureau report at BBB.org. Use a search engine to see what's out there about the firm, and take a look at any reports filed on the firm with your state's banking commissioner or attorney general.

Quicken Loans entered into a consent agreement with the Federal Trade Commission back in 2002 concerning compliance problems with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA. You can also review the company's Better Business Bureau report online. They have a history with the BBB of satisfactorily resolving consumer complaints.

None of this information would keep me from using Quicken Loans for a home equity line of credit. According to Quicken Loan's Web site, they have a 94 percent client satisfaction score, as measured by a survey taken by clients at closing.

To ask a question of Dr. Don, go to the "Ask the Experts" page and select one of these topics: "financing a home," "saving & investing" or "money."

-- Updated: Nov. 1, 2006
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