How We Test

Written by

September 06, 2023

Our unbiased testing of financial products at rests on three key pillars:

Hands-on data collection and testing. Our writers and researchers painstakingly collect and verify numerous data points on each product, then personally put each through its paces, whether it be a credit card, a savings account or a tool for stock analysis.

Expert opinion regarding where the product stands relative to its competitors. Our team is immersed in the industries we cover. We leverage decades of personal finance and investment industry experience to educate readers and critically evaluate products and services.

The human touch. We prefer using human intelligence over AI, so you won’t get content from a bot. Our team has opinions, and we share them.

Here’s some more detail on how we test specific types of products on

Banking products

Our analysis of banking products begins with meticulous data collection.

Our credit card rewards calculator, a one-of-a-kind tool to help readers find the best rewards credit card for their own real-world spending, is based on dozens of human-collected and verified data points as well as a complex set of calculations behind the curtain. We calculate how much each credit card’s reward program would pay out per year, factoring in:

  • Spend category inputs.
  • Tiered rewards rates.
  • Rewards spending caps.
  • Default rewards rates.
  • Annual fees.

Our top credit card picks in various categories are based on the data we collect, the calculator algorithm, and our credit card experts’ informed knowledge of the industry as a whole.

For's inaugural best savings accounts review, we collected a total of 532 data points over seven months to score and rank high-yield savings accounts. We assessed 19 banks across 70 variables spanning five core categories, including APY (annual percentage yield), monthly fees, user experience, account features and banking services. To test quality and usability, we opened, funded and used each bank’s high-yield savings account.

We collect APY and other data on an ongoing basis and regularly survey the savings account industry for accounts that stand out.

Stock trading and investing

Our reviews and comparisons are based on comprehensive research and testing. Data is validated by in-house analysts. We focus on trustworthiness, ease of use, relevant features, and value for your money.

When we review a trading product or service, our writers personally open accounts and do a deep dive into its functionality and features. The product is then rated relative to others in the industry, drawing on our writers’ deep knowledge of the space.

Financial advisors

Our unrivaled coverage of U.S.-based financial advisors begins with collecting extensive federal regulatory data.

  • Each month, we collect publicly accessible data from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) IAPD Database. Registered investment advisory firms are required to file this information annually.
  • We then filter for data points that are incorporated into our proprietary Trust Algorithm.
  • The data in this set is sorted and weighted based on significance and the net impact on Americans.
  • The Trust Algorithm then assigns an Overall star rating for each firm.

In this manner, we provide Americans with unbiased information on the firms they are considering trusting with their assets. All firms are listed and detailed in our searchable database.

Read more

See some of the results of our extensive testing.