Getting VA Loans Online
The paper application form is going the way of the Dodo. While pen-and-ink applications aren’t likely to disappear completely anytime soon, many government programs are making the switch to online applications to save money on printing and mailing costs. In an age where some still haven’t quite made the transition when it comes to doing business electronically, some first time home buyers find themselves struggling with online loan applications and related paperwork.
There are many reasons why people might need help filling out online forms, and not all of them have to do with being behind the times when it comes to technology.
Active duty military members and their families, for example, who have moved and have computers packed away in their household goods might feel at a loss until they get their desktop computers back up and running. Others are knocked offline temporarily by computer problems, viruses or other issues. Still others simply feel uncomfortable sending personal data such as Social Security numbers and account numbers via the Internet.
The good news is that in most cases there are ways a borrower can get help. The lender, for example, is able to help a borrower apply electronically for a VA certificate of eligibility as well as the loan application itself. In most cases the lender uses a secure connection to transmit personal data and there is generally no worry about hacking or data theft compared to what a typical user might worry about connecting online over a wi-fi connection at Starbucks.
For those who simply need access to a computer, there are plenty of alternatives including the local public library or, in the case of active military members, on-base facilities including the base Family Support Center. When connecting online to fill out forms in these more public venues, the borrower should make sure they protect their personal data.
Never save forms to public-access internal hard drives, make sure your computer screen is not visible to others during your session if possible, and make sure you are transmitting data over a secure connection. The VA, for example, allows vets to apply for a certificate of eligibility at https://vip.vba.va.gov. The “s” in the “https” prefix indicates a secure connection.
None of these measures are 100% foolproof, but they do add some extra peace of mind for borrowers who need to fill out forms now and don’t have a lender to help them.
About Joe Wallace
Joe Wallace has been specializing in military and personal finance topics since 1995. His work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and a member of the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association.