How We Test

At BrokerNotes, our mission is to make the world of investing easier to understand and to simplify the process of finding, comparing, and choosing reputable online brokers. That mission begins with our commitment to providing our readers with unbiased, accurate information about the global finance industry.

The market for financial products and services is constantly changing, and service providers continue to adjust their offerings. To provide you with the freshest, most up-to-date content, we fact-check and review our guides, reviews, and articles on a dynamic rolling basis.

Our proprietary testing methodologies and algorithms continue to evolve alongside the industry, and we strive to set the standard for the most rigorous evaluations and in-depth research in the industry.

Who leads our research and data teams?

Research, testing, and the ranking of brokers is led by Steven Hatzakis, Global Head of Research for BrokerNotes.co and ForexBrokers.com. An expert voice on the complexities of global forex trading and international regulatory agencies, Steven has decades of experience in the finance industry and has published over 1,000 articles covering the forex industry. Click here to read more about Steven.

The numerous databases that feed our proprietary algorithms (such as Trust Score) are maintained by Jessica Hoelscher, Global Director of Data at Reink Media Group (RMG). An industry veteran, Jessica has worked in finance for over 15 years, and has held Series 7, 66, 9, 10, 4, and 24 licenses. She is also responsible for validating and auditing the many thousands of data points collected by our research team. Click here to learn more about Jessica and the rest of the BrokerNotes team.

How are brokers evaluated?

Our proprietary process starts with a comprehensive inspection and assessment of a broker’s products and services. We examine any and all sites operated by the broker, and explore all available content across a variety of mediums. We also test any available proprietary tools and/or software across available platforms.

Our approach takes into account our collected quantitative data as well as the qualitative observations of our expert researchers. Across Reink Media Group websites – including ForexBrokers.com and StockBrokers.com – our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than 1% each year.

Once we’ve collected and validated thousands of data points, our expert researchers and writers leverage their decades of experience to craft opinion scores for those areas that simply aren’t quantifiable (such as the relative complexity of a new mobile trading platform designed for beginner traders, for example).

Once we have completed our quantitative and qualitative examinations of a broker’s product offerings, we dive into an investigation of its regulatory status; this research helps us determine whether you should trust the broker to keep your money safe.

What is Trust Score?

How do you know if you can trust a brokerage service with your money? This is one of the most difficult (and most important) questions facing traders and investors. At BrokerNotes, we understand how crucial it is to get this part right.

Our team has collected comprehensive data on over 60 brokers across a wide range of regulatory environments, jurisidictions, and countries. Our sister site, ForexBrokers.com, has developed a powerful tool that uses this data to help traders make informed choices based on trust. That tool is called Trust Score. But how does it work?

Based on our own extensive research, we’ve sorted regulatory agencies into three categories (Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3), with Tier 1 indicating the most stringent regulatory environment (which is good) and Tier 3 the least. Our proprietary algorithm combines our data collection on brokers with our exhaustive research on international regulators to produce an individual Trust Score for each broker. Trust Score is a ranking from 1 to 99 (the higher a broker’s Trust Score, the better).

Visit our sister site, ForexBrokers.com, to learn more about Trust Score.

Testing Methodology

As part of our research and data collection process, our researchers test a wide variety of trading software across platforms, including desktop, web-based, and mobile apps.

Testing is conducted on modern devices running up-to-date operating systems. Specifically, MacBook Pro laptops running macOS 12.4, Desktop PCs running Windows 11, and the Samsung Galaxy S9+ and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra devices running Android OS 12 for mobile.

Mobile device testing is conducted using an 802.11n wireless WiFi connection; 4G connections are used when WiFi is not available. All websites and web-based platforms are tested using the latest version of the Google Chrome browser.

What factors determine rankings and ratings?

Our multilayered approach to evaluating brokers takes a wide range of factors into consideration. We collect thousands of data points across dozens of variables. Our data is further broken down into a group of core categories, each of which receive an individual weighting based on relevance and importance:

  • Cost & funding
    How much does it cost to use the broker’s services and platform(s)? How easy (or expensive) is it for traders to fund their live trading accounts?

  • Regulation
    Is the broker recognized and regulated by any reputable financial regulatory agencies?

  • Investment options
    How many tradeable symbols are available? Does it offer forex? CFDs? Crypto? How does the broker’s products stack up against the competition?

  • Trading platforms
    Does the broker offer a proprietary trading platform? Does it make good use of available platforms like MetaTrader or cTrader?

  • Apps & tools
    What kind of mobile apps and tools are available? Does the broker offer a proprietary mobile trading platform?

  • Market research & education
    Are there educational resources available for beginners? Is there a rich selection of market research tools?

Our Editorial Principles

Your trust in us, alongside the trust of the industry as a whole, is of the utmost importance to our mission. We pride ourselves on maintaining the highest standards of editorial integrity, and we always adhere to the following principles:

  • If we love a service or company, we’ll tell you – no matter what.
  • If we think a company or service has room to improve (or should be avoided altogether), we’ll let you know – no matter what.
  • If we’ve determined that using a broker or service provider puts your money at risk, we’ll say so – no matter what.

Our ongoing pledge to our readers is to provide content that is 100% unbiased. We don’t ever sacrifice our ideals - or provide inaccurate or misleading information - in order to make money. Curious about how we’re able to avoid using paywalls? Click here to learn more about how we make money.

About Reink Media Group

BrokerNotes is but one constellation in the greater financial universe of Reink Media Group. Check out some of our other sites: ForexBrokers.com, StockBrokers.com, and investor.com.

Whether we are helping you find a broker, a financial advisor, a new credit card, or a new savings account, Reink Media Group will always put people before profits to make sure you end up with the right choice for what you need.

Click here to learn more about Reink Media Group.

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