How We Review Products and Services
Updated Aug 11, 2020
The disclosure we place on our reviews and recommendations of products and services reads:
"We publish unbiased product reviews; our opinions are our own and are not influenced by payment we receive from advertisers. Learn more about our review process and read our advertiser disclosure for how we make money."
Below we'll outline the processes that go into making our product recommendations so that you have confidence that what you're reading is unbiased and you can trust the recommendation.
Types of Reviews
There are three general types of reviews/recommendations that we publish about products and services:
- Product reviews/recommendations that feature star ratings determined by a proprietary scoring methodology we've developed,
- Product reviews/recommendations that do not have start ratings and rely exclusively on the deep subject matter expertise of the writers and editors creating the review and their extensive research of the products, and
- Product reviews/recommendations that are rate-driven such as top lists of certificates of deposits (CDs) and high-yield savings accounts.
Reviews with Star Ratings
There is a short list of products (which we will continue to expand over time) for which we've developed in-depth scoring methodologies to rate the products. You'll recognize that you're on one of these reviews/recommendations by the presence of star ratings on it. Here is a current list of the scoring methodologies we've developed:
- Credit Card Review Methodology
- Broker Review Methodology
- Robo-Advisor Review Methodology
- Life Insurance Review Methodology
Reviews Without Star Ratings
For products in which we've yet to develop a scoring methodology, the general process our writers and editors follow is to standardize data collection across the products and heavily research them using a combination of the information on their website, calling them, reading user reviews, and combing through publicly available data. Here is a non-exhaustive list of some of the reviews that fall into this category:
- Personal loan lenders (ex. https://www.investopedia.com/best-personal-loans-4773300)
- Student loan lenders (ex. https://www.investopedia.com/best-student-loans-4775346)
- Banks (ex. https://www.investopedia.com/tiaa-bank-review-4799752)
- Home warranty companies (ex. https://www.investopedia.com/best-home-warranties-4777763)
- Health insurance companies (ex. https://www.investopedia.com/best-health-insurance-companies-4775920)
"Best Rate" Reviews
For financial products where the primary value comes from the interest rate they pay such as CDs and high-yield savings accounts we perform daily rate checks across hundreds of institutions to find the best rates. In these cases we're ranking the products purely on the strength of the rate they currently offer, and applying editorial filters on top of those to rule out products we don't deem great for consumers, for example CDs that have early withdrawal penalties that we don't think are fair. Here are some examples of financial products where we're performing daily rate checks:
Our senior editorial team oversees all product reviews and has decades of experience in creating objective financial content. You can learn more about our editorial team on our About Us page.