Brokerage and robo-advisor review methodology

Review ratings Methodology

Bankrate’s reviews focus on the largest and most respected online brokers and robo-advisors. The reviews take an investor-first approach, meaning evaluations are based on how a typical customer might derive value from the company, rather than focusing on whether a particular feature benefits the broker or robo-advisor. Bankrate’s reviews offer timely and objective information on brokers and robo-advisors so that individuals can make informed decisions.

Bankrate evaluates brokers and robo-advisors on factors that matter to individual investors, including commissions, account fees, available securities, trading platforms, research and more. All data are collected directly from the companies themselves, through the website or direct contact with a representative.

We weight these objective measures according to our assessment of their importance. Then we systematically score the brokers and robo-advisors across categories and scale the raw scores to ensure that you’re seeing the top options among a field of high-quality companies.

Our reviews provide a score rating, on a scale of one to five stars, across five key dimensions as well as an overall score. Our five key dimensions are:

  • Overall cost
  • Accounts and trading
  • Research and education
  • Mobile accessibility
  • Customer experience

In addition to this quantitative evaluation, a qualitative section provides further details and context, highlighting features that users may find interesting or useful. In addition, we offer alternatives for investors looking for a specific feature or service.

Bankrate typically conducts a comprehensive review of each broker and robo-advisor once a year but may update them throughout the year as key facts change or the industry shifts.

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