Our Methodology

Do you want to know how BrokerChooser vets brokeragers before recommending them to you? Here is how we uncomplicate the broker selection process.

Every broker review or comparison you find on BrokerChooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We want to help you find the broker that is right for you, because it can be a difficult process. Believe us, we've been there.

 Our methodology, in a nutshell, is:

  • Independent - We only publish objective analyses based on live testing. 
  • Data-driven - We check around 500 data points for each broker.
  • User-focused - We focus on criteria that are most important to our users.
  • Evolving - We regularly update our recommendations and fine-tune the way we work.

Independent

One of our most important ethical guidelines is that the review scores are independent of financial compensation from brokers.

Everything in our reviews is based on our first-hand experience: we open a live account anonymously at each broker and deposit real money. We check the broker's services along 9 key areas.

The 9 key areas

1. Fees

We want to make sure you know the costs of trading or investing with a broker. We gather information on fees straight from the brokers’ sites. We check all fees that occur for every asset class. We uncover hidden costs and dig deep into both trading and non-trading fees. We look at deposit and withdrawal fees and inactivity fees charged by brokers. To find your real costs we calculate fees for buying a position, holding it for one week, and selling it. To remain up-to-date, we collect data automatically for certain fee data points.

2. Safety

We want to make sure you know that your money is in safe hands. Therefore, we map out the brokers' legal background, check if they are overseen by a trusted regulator, and if they offer investor protection. The safety of our money is a key concern for everyone, and BrokerChooser only recommends regulated brokerages. In several articles, we also give you tips on how to spot scam brokers.

3. Deposit and withdrawal

We want to make sure you are aware of the costs, the different methods, and the time it takes to deposit and withdraw your money at the broker. We deposit and withdraw real funds to test how the process works at each broker. All of these aspects are weighted in the scores we give to brokers. For example, a broker that allows the use of credit cards for free is scored higher than one where only wire transfer is available, which usually carries a fee.

4. Trading platforms

Your trading comfort is affected significantly by the type of platform you use. This can be a mobile platform, a platform dedicated to PCs (this is what we refer to as desktop platforms), or a browser-based web platform. We test each trading platform, focusing on general user experience, as well as on specific features like placing orders, authentication options and customizability.

5. Account opening

To make sure we give you accurate information, we open real accounts with brokers. We know that opening an account can feel overwhelming and confusing. For example, the list of required documents can be unclear for a beginner user. We take a hard look at how easy the account opening process is, what account types are available and whether a minimum deposit is required.

6. Product portfolio

Overall broker scores are also based on the number of markets they give you access to, and the products they offer. A broker that has more product types will get a higher score than a broker that only offers CFDs, for example.

7. Customer service

Each customer support channel is tested personally by BrokerChooser team members. The customer service scores of each broker are based on 8 meaningful interactions with their customer support staff, trying all their available channels at different times, be it live chat, email or phone.

8. Education

Well-structured and quality educational content can help you be more comfortable with a broker's platform, and trading itself. Brokers with useful, information-packed education tools earn higher ratings. These tools may include webinars, videos, podcasts, articles, you name it.

9. Research

Higher brokerage costs can be justified by a range of in-depth, unique and useful research tools. These allow you to get information on market sentiment, trends, tickers and companies. We look at all of the research tools the broker provides.

Data-driven

Our expert broker analyst team evaluates the same key areas and criteria for all brokers. Final scores are created by using different weights. The weighting of these criteria is based on our professional experience and our users’ preferences.

At the moment, we check 497 data points for each broker, as detailed in the following table:

BrokerChooser methodology - number of criteria
Area Criteria
Fees 289
Security 33
Deposit and withdrawal 11
Trading platforms 43
Account opening 15
Product portfolio 62
Customer service 12
Education 6
Research 9
+1 General Information* 17
*Covers areas like country of origin, which is not included in the scoring.

User-focused

We believe that the secret of a flourishing business is listening to the customers. Input from you is vital as we’d like to build a truly helpful platform.

Since we think the users know best what they want, we regularly conduct user interviews and ask for our customers’ feedback on various platforms.

If you would like to support our work by telling us about your experiences in investing or trading, write an email to [email protected].

Evolving

We fine-tune our methodology regularly based on our own and our users' experiences.

At the end of each year, we update how we weight the scoring. In the table below, you can see how the ranking of weights changed for 2022, and which areas moved up or down in level of importance.

BrokerChooser methodology - ranking of weights
Area Ranking - 2023 Ranking - 2022
Fees #1 #1
Security #2 #2
Deposit and withdrawal #3 #3
Account opening #3 #4
Trading platforms #4 #3
Product portfolio #4 #5
Customer service #5 #6
Education #5 #7
Research #5 #7

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

How much time is spent on each broker?

  • We have a sophisticated methodology and we know exactly what we want to check. For a team of analysts and editors, it takes one to one-and-a-half weeks to research, write and double-check each of the reviews you see on BrokerChooser. Imagine the amount of work and time we save you!

How many people are working on this?

  • Our team of 15+ experts is working on our reviews on a daily basis.

How often do you refresh the data?

  • We update our content throughout the year continuously. We keep tabs on all of the brokers during the year, so we can incorporate any changes as soon as possible. If needed, we hold annual update work sessions to focus on improving our content.

Do you treat brokers who pay more differently?

  • No – we never did, and we never will. Actually, we don't get any revenue from about half of our reviewed brokers. And the brokers we do get revenue from are not necessarily the ones we recommend to our readers most of the time. This is because we focus on our customers and provide an unbiased opinion on which is the best broker for their specific preferences.

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