A conventional mortgage simply refers to any mortgage loan that is not insured or guaranteed by the government. Conventional loans can be either fixed or adjustable-rate mortgages, and may be either conforming or non-conforming. Conforming simply means that the loan meets the guidelines or standards set forth by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. One major factor that determines whether a loan is conforming or not is the loan amount. Loans over the conforming loan limit are considered jumbo loans, and come with a higher interest rate. Still, both are considered conventional. Typically, conventional loans have higher down payment and credit score requirements than government loans; at least 5% down payment is required and in most cases, a credit score of at least 620 is necessary for approval. Mortgage insurance is not required per conventional guidelines unless less the borrower has less than 20% equity in the home. The borrower may start off with less equity and mortgage insurance, and refinance to get rid of the mortgage insurance when they reach 20% equity or greater.