How We Review Products and Services
Updated Oct. 30, 2020
You may have seen the following disclosure on all of our business, commercial, and financial product and services reviews and recommendations. It 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."
Here we'll outline the processes that go into making our product and service recommendations that result in the unbiased, trustworthy reviews you can rely on. Investopedia maintains strict independence between the editorial process by which products and services are evaluated and the development of financial relationships by the sales staff who have no influence over the resulting scores and rankings. We do make money on some, but not all, of the products and services we recommend, if you click on a link.
Our senior editorial team oversees all product reviews and has decades of experience in creating objective and astute financial content. You can learn more about our editorial team on our About Us page. But we don't do it alone. We are committed to ensuring that our content and team reflects a diversity of voices. You can read our full Diversity & Inclusion Pledge here.
Our Business and Financial Products and Services Reviews Team
The team responsible for reviewing all providers and products in the financial services space is composed of current and former industry practitioners and dedicated journalists. Together, they have years of experience covering such financial topics as investments, financial markets, and business and personal finance for publications that include Business.com, Business Insider, CNBC, Forbes, Fox Business, InvestmentNews, and Marketwatch. Many of our writers and editors have used or sold these products and services in the past, including at companies such as State Farm, The Hartford, Vanguard, and Wells Fargo. The team relies on its years of expertise to offer important, unbiased insights so readers can make informed decisions about their financial lives.
Our Commercial Products and Services Reviews Team
We’re a team of experienced writers and editors who obsessively scour the retail landscape (both online and off) to find the best products for your life. Besides being experts in our fields, having worked for brands like Amazon, Ebay, and Time—we’re consumers too—and we personally have a passion for products and services that make your life easier.
Types of Reviews
We publish business, commercial, and financial product and services reviews that fall into four general formats:
- Business and financial product and service reviews and recommendations that feature star ratings that are determined by a proprietary scoring methodology we've developed based on our deep subject matter expertise and research.
- Business and financial product and service reviews and recommendations that do not have star ratings. These rely on our deep subject matter expertise and detailed research.
- Commercial product reviews and recommendations that do not have star ratings. These rely on our deep subject matter expertise and detailed research.
- Financial product recommendations that are interest rate-driven such as top lists of certificates of deposits (CDs) and high-yield savings accounts.
Business and Financial Product and Services Reviews with Star Ratings
We examine an industry to determine the universe of companies we should consider, paired with our own deep knowledge of that industry. We develop an in-depth scoring methodology to rate the products and services from those companies. From there we gather the data and determine the overall star value.
Here are the current scoring methodologies we've developed:
- Broker Review Methodology
- Credit Card Review Methodology
- Life Insurance Review Methodology
- Robo-Advisor Review Methodology
- Credit Repair Review Methodology
Business and Financial Product and Service Reviews Without Star Ratings
We examine an industry to determine the universe of companies we should consider, paired with our own deep knowledge of that industry. We gather standardized data using a combination of the information publicly available and user reviews.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of some of the reviews that fall into this category:
Commercial Product and Service Roundups Without Star Ratings
We exhaustively research and recommend a broad range of products and ultimately make a curated list of purely editorial recommendations from writers with subject-matter expertise in every product category we cover. Our team constantly updates our existing recommendations to keep them current, in-stock, available, accurate, and helpful. From office chairs to printers, our recommended commercial products run the gamut from budget to splurge-worthy. We source recommendations from reliable companies who deliver exemplary customer service.
Our team never takes free samples for reviews nor lets retailers, public relations firms, or salespeople dictate our content and product coverage. Instead, we do the heavy lifting ourselves by tapping into our network of experts and testers to help you make smarter purchases.
We strive to present a mix of the best products that represent brands owned by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and other minority groups whenever possible.
Note: All products, including those we review and recommend, may be subject to recalls or revised use recommendations. We, therefore, urge you to monitor any official announcements by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for recalls that may be related to the products you purchase.
Here is a handful of the recommendations that fall into this category:
"Best Rate" Financial Product Recommendations
When the primary value of a financial product comes from the interest rate an individual pays, such as with CDs and high-yield savings accounts, our reviews are structured a little differently. We collect the rates daily, across hundreds of institutions, to find the best rates. We rank products on the strength of the rate they currently offer and apply editorial filters on top of those to rule out products we don't deem great for consumers.
For example, CDs that have what we deem to be unfair early withdrawal penalties do not make the cut. Here are some examples of financial products that get checked daily: