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, create the foundation of your BrokerChooser experience. We revise our methodology every time, fine-tuning all our criteria to be able to perfectly evaluate any broker service.

We check close to 500 criteria per broker

We evaluate the same 9 key areas and criteria for all brokers. Every year, we fine-tune our methodology based on our own and our users' experiences. At the moment, we check 473 criteria for each broker altogether, as detailed in the following table:

BrokerChooser methodology – number of criteria (2020)
Area Criteria
Fees 268
Security 31
Trading platform 43
Deposit and withdrawal 15
Account opening 12
Product portfolio 55
Education 7
Customer service 14
Research 11
General information* 17

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

During the course of 2020, we added new reviews to BrokerChooser while also keeping our older ones up to date. This means that we edited more than 70 brokers and 25,000 datapoints.

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

We also started to experiment with automation and scraping, adding thousands of new datapoints to our ever-expanding methodology.

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 note of what we experience in our methodology based on our 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 or 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 2021, which areas moved up or down in importance.

BrokerChooser methodology - ranking of the weights
Area Ranking - 2021 Ranking - 2020
Fees #1 #1
Security #2 #2
Deposit and withdrawal / Account opening #3 #4
Trading platform #4 #3
Product portfolio #5 #5
Research #6 #8
Customer service #7 #7
Education #8 #6

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 gather fee info straight from the brokers’ sites. We check all fees that occur for all asset classes, e.g.: for stocks, forex, funds, and so on. We uncover hidden costs and dig deep into both trading and non-trading fees: to find your real costs we calculate fees for buying a position, holding it for one week and selling it. Also, we collect data automatically for certain fee data points, to be up to date.

2. Security

This is about mapping the brokers' legal landscape, making sure who regulates which entity, the investor protection you get, what history and background the broker has. This is vital for the security of your investment, therefore this area is weighted properly.

3. Deposit and withdrawal

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

4. Account opening

We dedicate the time to open real accounts at brokers. There are times, where the list of required documents can be unclear for an everyday user. Apart from this, we compile information on several aspects of account opening, like the ease of the process itself, what account types are offered and the minimum deposits required.

5. Trading platforms

Your trading comfort is significantly affected depending on what type of platform you use. It can be a platform dedicated to PC-s (this is what we call desktop platforms), a mobile platform, or a browser-based web platform. Each trading platform is tested by us, focusing on general user experience, as well as on specific features like placing orders, authentication options and customizability.

6. Product portfolio

Brokers are scored based on the number of markets they have available for you and the product selection they provide. A broker that has more product types will get a higher score than a broker that only offers CFDs for example.

7. 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 sentiments, trends, tickers and companies. We look at all of the research tools the broker provides.

8. Customer service

Each support method is tested personally by BrokerChooser team members. The customer service scores of each broker are based on 8 meaningful interactions with their support service, trying all their methods be it live chat, email or phone.

9. Education

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

 

We are eager to hear your feedback! Let us know if you have questions or remarks about our methodology. Just send us an email to [email protected]. Thanks!

 

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 21 full-time and 14 part-time members.

How often do you refresh the data?

  • We maintain our content throughout the year continuously since 2020.  We keep tabs on all of the brokers during the year, so we can reflect on any changes as soon as possible. If needed, we hold annual sessions, to focus on bettering our content in any way that comes to mind.

Do you treat brokers who pay more differently?

  • No, and we never did. Actually, we don't get revenue from little less than 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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