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Our Methodology

Sophisticated, tested, reliable
Last modified: Dec 2019

Our goal is to help you find the right online broker by bringing clarity to the process. Everything you find on Brokerchooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We are proud to share with you how our 10+ years of experience in finance, combined with readers' feedback, creates the foundation of your Brokerchooser experience.

We check close to 300 criteria per broker

We evaluate the same 9 key areas and criteria for all brokers. Altogether, we check 272 criteria for each broker as detailed in the following table:

Brokerchooser methodology - number of criteria
Area Criteria (#) - 2020
Fees 124
Security 26
Trading platform 32
Deposit and withdrawal 13
Account opening 8
Product portfolio 42
Education 5
Customer service 7
Research 9
General information* 6

*Covers information like the country of origin, which is not included in the scoring.

As of December 2019, we had 57 brokers reviewed, which means that altogether we collected more than 15,000 data points during 2019. 

Besides the above criteria, we also have a database that collects which countries each broker accepts clients from. We capture this data for 227 countries.

We check brokers anonymously with a live account

Everything in our reviews is based on first-hand experience: we open a live account at each broker and deposit real money. The broker does not know we are testing. During the test, we give a score for each of the criteria.

Final scores based on our expertise and readers' preferences

After we checked the criteria for the brokers, we convert the findings into scores, using different weights. The weighting of these criteria is based on our professional experience and our readers’ preferences, to make sure that the final score truly reflects what clients are looking for, what areas matter to them.

At the end of each year, we update the scoring weights. In the table below, you can see how the ranking of weights changed for 2020, which areas moved up or down in importance.

Brokerchooser methodology - ranking of the weights
Area Ranking - 2020 Ranking - 2019
Fees #1 #1
Security #2 #2
Trading platform #3 #3
Deposit and withdrawal / Account opening #4 #5
Product portfolio #5 #4
Education #6 #8
Customer service #7 #6
Research #8 #7

Did you know?

  • All brokers on Brokerchooser are regulated by financial authorities
  • The review scores are independent of financial compensation from brokers

The review and the overall scores are sometimes discussed with brokers. We correct factual mistakes based on a discussion with the given broker but we always have the final word on opinions. The review is then updated regularly to keep up with the latest changes.

One last note: all the brokers you come across on Brokerchooser are monitored by at least one top-tier financial regulator, therefore they are definitely not scams. We also prefer reviewing brokers that are listed on a stock exchange or have a banking background. 

9 areas

1. Fees

We get the fees from the brokers’ sites. We check every fee: for stocks, forex, funds, etc. We uncover hidden costs and dig deep into both trading and non-trading fees: to find your real costs we calculate the fees for buying a position, holding it for one week and selling it. 

2. Security

Getting a clear picture of where the broker is regulated, what investor protection you get, what history and background the broker has is vital for the security of your investment. This information is given a high weight.

3. Trading platforms

Whether a broker is available on the web, on various mobile devices and on desktop computers will affect your trading comfort significantly. Each trading platform is tested for general user experience, as well as for specific features like placing orders, authentication options and customizability.

4. Deposit and withdrawal

We deposit and withdraw our money to test how the process works. The methods, costs and the time required to deposit and withdraw money are of special interest to readers. All of these are weighted. A broker that allows the use of credit cards for free is scored higher than one where only wire transfer is available, for a fee.

5. Account opening

We test the account opening process. Sometimes even the list of required documents can be unclear for you when you start to open an account. We give you information on several aspects of account opening, like the ease of the process itself, what account types are offered and the minimum deposits required.

6. Product portfolio

Brokers are scored based on the number of markets they make available to you and the number of products they offer. A broker that offers more products (e.g. everyting from stocks to futures) will get a higher score than a broker that only offers CFDs.

7. Education

A well-structured and quality educational section can help to make both the platform and trading itself safer and easier to understand. Brokers with useful and information-packed education tools such as webinars, tutorial videos or a demo account earn higher ratings.

8. Customer service

Each support channel is tested personally by Brokerchooser team members. Customer service scores of each broker are based on 8 meaningful interactions with support on every channel, be it live chat, email or phone.

9. Research

Higher 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 offers.

Have a question or suggestion regarding our methodology? We are eager to hear your feedback! Just send us an email to [email protected].

Frequently Asked Questions

How much time is spent on each broker?

  • Even though we have a sophisticated methodology and we know exactly what we want to check, it takes one to one-and-a-half weeks to research and write each of the reviews you see on Brokerchooser. Imagine the amount of work and time we save you! If you are very thorough and spend two hours with each broker (no one does that) it would still take you a full week just to collect the raw information.

How many people are working on this?

  • Our team includes 12 full-time people and 5 part-time colleagues.

How often do you refresh the data?

  • We do a huge update annually during which we redo the whole test, score each criterion again and rewrite the review for all brokers. Beyond this, we keep tabs on all of the brokers during the rest of the year as well and make smaller adjustments once or twice a year to reflect the latest data.

Do you treat brokers who pay more differently?

  • No, and we never did. Actually, we don’t get any revenue from half of the 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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