Bankrate Awards methodologies

The Bankrate Awards

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To determine the 2022 Bankrate Awards, the Bankrate editorial team evaluated hundreds of products and analyzed thousands of data points to identify the best of the best in personal finance. Each category has its own methodology that examines relevant factors like APYs, APRs, fees, loan amounts, customer service and more. Within each category, we named superlatives that are more tailored to individual consumer needs. For example, the best credit card for everyday use likely isn’t the best option for someone who loves to travel. Research and data were collected between Oct. 4 and Nov. 30, 2021.
 
Here’s more information on how we scored each of the Bankrate Award and Social Honors winners.

Best bank overall: Ally Bank

In assessing the best bank overall, Bankrate considered banks and credit unions in every category: online, big banks, regional and credit unions. Factors included fees charged, if any, across account types, availability of competitive APYs, minimum deposit and monthly maintenance or overdraft fees, innovative digital features and more.

Best big bank: Capital One

In determining the best big bank, Bankrate looked at banks that had more than 500 branches across multiple states and regions. Factors included the range of products offered, the minimum amount required to open an account and to avoid monthly service fees, overdraft fees, size of ATM network and associated fees, digital features and more.

Best online bank: Ally Bank

In selecting the best online bank, Bankrate evaluated dozens of banks without branches or operating as digital financial institutions whose products are widely available online. Factors included the range of products offered, the minimum amount required to open an account and to avoid monthly service fees, overdraft fees, size of ATM network and associated fees, digital features and more.

Best regional bank: Spring Bank

In judging the best regional bank, Bankrate evaluated dozens of banks that generally had fewer than 500 branches in one state or region. Factors included the range of products offered, the minimum amount required to open an account and to avoid monthly service fees, overdraft fees, size of ATM network and associated fees, digital features and more.

Best credit union: Alliant Credit Union

In choosing the best credit union, Bankrate looked at membership-based organizations regulated by the National Credit Union Administration. Factors included the range of products offered, the minimum amount required to open an account and to avoid monthly service fees, overdraft fees, size of ATM network and associated fees, digital features, membership requirements and more.

Best savings account

In assessing what makes the best savings account, Bankrate considered annual percentage yield (APY), minimum deposit required (if any), monthly service fees and the account balance needed to avoid fees, and more.

Best money market account

When it comes to the best money market account, Bankrate weighed annual percentage yields (APYs), minimum deposit required, monthly service fees, availability of accounts nationwide, among other factors.

Best CD: Ally Bank

To score the best bank for CDs, Bankrate reviewed CD offerings from more than 100 banks and credit unions. Factors included the APY based on the bank's best CD rate for 7- to 23-month terms, a minimum deposit was $25,000 or less; low minimum deposit requirements; and range of term lengths. Banks that offered specialty CDs, such as a bump-up or no-penalty CD, were given a bonus.

Best free checking account

In determining what makes the best free checking account, Bankrate weighed numerous factors, including the amount required to open an account, monthly minimum balance requirements, overdraft fees, size of ATM networks and any associated fees, among others.

Best cash management account: Wealthfront

In determining the best cash management account, Bankrate assigned a score to money market accounts, looking at criteria including APYs, check-writing privileges, monthly service fees, minimum deposit requirements and minimum balance to earn interest.

Best socially responsible bank: Spring Bank

In selecting the best socially responsible bank, Bankrate looked for institutions with a strong commitment to social and environmental issues, including a broad range of factors, such as how well the bank serves its community, and its relations with employees, charitable contributions and general global impact.

Best broker overall: Charles Schwab

In selecting the best broker overall, Bankrate evaluated brokers on key factors that matter to investors, including costs, tradable securities, customer support, research and education, trading platform, mobile app and more. Those scores were weighted by importance to arrive at the final assessment of the best overall broker. 

Best broker for beginner investors: Fidelity Investments

In selecting the best broker for beginners, Bankrate looked at factors that would likely matter most to investors just getting started. Costs, the availability of fractional shares, customer support and a comprehensive educational offering were heavily weighted among other factors. 

Best broker for low-cost investing: Interactive Brokers

Bankrate focused on a variety of costs and fees in selecting the best broker for low-cost investing. Trading costs, account fees and whether a broker had a wide selection of no-transaction fee mutual funds were especially important. 

Best broker for buy-and-hold investors: Charles Schwab

In identifying the best broker for buy-and-hold investors, Bankrate looked at areas likely to be important to long-term investors. Access to robust research and education, the types of securities available for trading, a wide selection of account types and trading costs were all key factors. 

Best broker for retirement investing: Fidelity Investments

Bankrate looked at a number of factors when identifying the best broker for retirement investing. Brokers were evaluated based on the types of retirement accounts offered, access to research and education, trading costs and fees, customer service and the availability of mutual funds with no transaction fees, among other criteria. 

Best crypto exchange for beginners: Binance.US

In selecting the best cryptocurrency exchange, Bankrate evaluated crypto exchanges on factors relevant for crypto traders, including commissions, tradable cryptocurrencies, trading platform, the ability to stake coins with the exchange, education, mobile app and customer support. 

Best investing app: Betterment

In determining the best investing app, Bankrate evaluated app-based providers of financial services (including robo-advisors, brokerages and mobile-only services) and rated them on their overall experience, education and tools, cost and total value proposition to the investor.

Best mission-oriented investing service: Ellevest

In selecting the best mission-oriented investing service, Bankrate evaluated investing services with a stated mission and then graded them on the impact to their target audience, accessibility, ease of investing, and effectiveness at promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.

Best robo-advisor: Betterment

In selecting the best robo-advisor, Bankrate evaluated robo-advisors on factors that matter to their target audience, including management fees, fund expense ratios, robust portfolio construction, cash management accounts, features and tools, education, access to human advisors and customer support. 

Best credit card for everyday use: Chase Freedom Unlimited

Bankrate ranked each card’s estimated rewards rate, rewards value, bonus value, redemption flexibility and other benefits against those of other cards in the “everyday use” category (all rewards, cash back and travel cards in our database with no annual fee).

Best credit card for foodies: American Express Gold Card

Bankrate ranked each card’s estimated rewards rate, rewards value, bonus value, redemption flexibility and other benefits against those of other rewards cards in our database that offered rewards and perks on dining and at U.S. supermarkets. 

Best credit card for jet-setters: Capital One Venture X

Bankrate ranked each card’s estimated rewards rate, rewards value, bonus value, redemption flexibility and additional benefits against those of other rewards cards in the “jet-setter” category (cards focused on travel-related rewards and benefits).

Best credit card for cash-back fans: Chase Freedom Unlimited

Bankrate ranked each card’s estimated rewards rate, rewards value, bonus value, redemption flexibility and other benefits against those of other cards with “cash back” as their primary scoring category.

Best credit card for families: Capital One SavorOne

Bankrate ranked each card’s estimated rewards rate, rewards value, sign-up bonus value, APR, redemption flexibility and other elements against those of other cards in the “family” category (all rewards and cash back cards in our database with no annual fee that offered rewards and perks on groceries and other household expenses).

 

Best credit card for building your credit: Discover it Secured

Bankrate ranked each card’s membership cost, APR, annual fee (and other fees), security deposit, credit-building features and other elements against those of other secured and unsecured cards in the “credit building” category.

Best credit card for students: Discover it Student Cash Back

Bankrate ranked each card’s rewards program, intro APR, ongoing APR and fees, additional features, customer service experience and other elements against those of other cards in the “student” category (cards designed and only available for students). 

Best credit card for debt consolidators: Bank Americard

Bankrate ranked each card’s intro APR periods, ongoing APR, annual fee, miscellaneous fees and other benefits against those of other cards in the “balance transfer” category (all cards designed primarily for the purpose of transferring a paying down an existing balance at a low introductory APR).

Best credit card for business owners: Business Platinum Card from American Express

Bankrate ranked each card’s estimated rewards rate, rewards value, standard APR, welcome offers, rates and fees and other elements against those of other cards designed for small-business owners.

Best credit card for airline loyalists: Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card

Bankrate ranked each card’s estimated rewards rate, rewards value, bonus value, redemption flexibility and other benefits against those of other cards in the “airline” category (all rewards cards in our database co-branded with a specific airline).

Best credit card for hotel loyalists: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless

Bankrate ranked each card’s estimated rewards rate, rewards value, bonus value, redemption flexibility and other benefits against those of other cards in the “hotels” category (all rewards cards in our database co-branded with a specific hotel network).

Best credit card for making a big purchase: BankAmericard

Bankrate ranked each card’s intro APR periods—especially its intro purchase APR—ongoing APR, annual fee, extra introductory offers, additional features and other elements against those of other balance transfer and low-interest cards in our database.

Best credit cards for stacking: Chase Freedom Unlimited, Flex and Reserve

Bankrate ranked a series of popular single-issuer card combinations based on their combined estimated rewards rates, rewards category coverage, rewards value, redemption flexibility, sign-up bonus value and additional benefits against those of other popular card combinations.

Best for shopaholics: Bank of America Customized Cash

Bankrate ranked each card’s estimated rewards rate, rewards value, bonus value, redemption flexibility and other benefits against those of other cash back and rewards cards in our database with shopping-centric rewards and perks.

Best for streaming services: Blue Cash Preferred from American Express

Bankrate ranked each card’s estimated rewards rate, rewards value, bonus value, redemption flexibility and other benefits against those of other cash back and rewards cards in our database with streaming-centric rewards and perks.

Best mortgage lender overall: Bank of America

Bankrate evaluated more than 80 mortgage lenders in the U.S., including banks (national and regional), credit unions and independent organizations (including online-only lenders). Based on Bankrate Score criteria, Bankrate assessed each lender for: cost (APR); expediency (including approval and closing times); and experience (including online services and support), along with factors such as availability, borrower discounts and loan products. The winner of best mortgage lender overall scored highly across these areas, and also had to be available to all borrowers nationwide and advertise daily mortgage and refinance rates on its website. In the event of a tie, the lender with either the higher APR (based on Bankrate's sample scenario) or the higher customer rating on Bankrate was chosen.

Best mortgage lender for first-time homebuyers: First Midwest Bank

The winner of best mortgage lender for first-time homebuyers scored highly across the Bankrate Score criteria, and also had to offer conventional, FHA and VA loan products and down payment assistance (either directly or as an approved lender in a state housing program). In the event of a tie, the lender with either the higher APR (based on Bankrate's sample scenario) or the higher customer rating on Bankrate was chosen.

Best mortgage lender for refinancing: Lower (Homeside Financial)

The winner of best mortgage lender for refinancing scored highly across the Bankrate Score criteria, and also had to advertise daily refinance rates on its website and offer a low- or no-closing cost option. In the event of a tie, the lender with either the higher APR (based on Bankrate's sample scenario) or the higher customer rating on Bankrate was chosen.

Best mortgage lender for cash-out refinancing: Navy Federal Credit Union

The winner of best mortgage lender for cash-out refinancing scored highly across the Bankrate Score criteria, and also had to have a high cash-out refinance origination volume, according to 2020 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data, and advertise daily refinance rates on its website. In the event of a tie, the lender with either the higher APR (based on Bankrate's sample scenario) or the higher customer rating on Bankrate was chosen.

Best mortgage lender for cash-out refinancing: Wyndham Capital Mortgage

The winner of best mortgage lender for cash-out refinancing scored highly across the Bankrate Score criteria, and also had to have a high cash-out refinance origination volume, according to 2020 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data, and advertise daily refinance rates on its website. In the event of a tie, the lender with either the higher APR (based on Bankrate's sample scenario) or the higher customer rating on Bankrate was chosen.

Best mortgage lender for jumbo loans: Cherry Creek Mortgage

The winner of best jumbo mortgage lender scored highly across the Bankrate Score criteria, and also had to offer a combination of a higher jumbo loan amount and a lower jumbo loan down payment requirement. In the event of a tie, the lender with either the higher APR (based on Bankrate's sample scenario) or the higher customer rating on Bankrate was chosen.

Best mortgage lender for FHA loans: New American Funding

The winner of best FHA mortgage lender scored highly across the Bankrate Score criteria, and also had to have a high FHA loan origination volume, according to 2020 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data, and offer a broad range of FHA loan products. In the event of a tie, the lender with either the higher APR (based on Bankrate's sample scenario) or the higher customer rating on Bankrate was chosen.

Best mortgage lender for VA loans: Veterans United Home Loans

The winner of best VA mortgage lender scored highly across the Bankrate Score criteria, and also had to have a high VA loan volume as of FY 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs data. In the event of a tie, the lender with either the higher APR (based on Bankrate's sample scenario) or the higher customer rating on Bankrate was chosen.

Best mortgage lender for low credit score borrowers: eClick Lending (Celebrity Home Loans)

The winner of best mortgage lender for low-credit borrowers scored highly across the Bankrate Score criteria, and also had to offer FHA, VA and USDA loans. In the event of a tie, the lender with either the higher APR (based on Bankrate's sample scenario) or the higher customer rating on Bankrate was chosen.

Best no-fee mortgage lender: LowRates.com (Sun West Mortgage Company)

The winner of best no-fee mortgage lender scored highly across the Bankrate Score criteria, and also had to have no origination fee and advertise daily mortgage and refinance rates on its website. In the event of a tie, the lender with either the higher APR (based on Bankrate's sample scenario) or the higher customer rating on Bankrate was chosen.

Best for borrowers with bad credit: Upstart

The winner of best personal loan for borrowers with bad credit needed to score the highest on Bankrate Score criteria among the lenders that offer loans to this credit range. After narrowing down to the lenders that offered Loan-specific criteria included minimum loan amount, fees, APR range, customer service availability and online loan access. In the event of a tie, the lender with the lowest starting APR was chosen.

Best for borrowers with fair credit: Best Egg

The winner of best personal loan for borrowers with fair credit needed to score the highest on Bankrate Score criteria among the lenders that offer loans to this credit range. Loan-specific criteria included minimum loan amount, fees, APR range, customer service availability and online loan access. In the event of a tie, the lender with the lowest starting APR was chosen.

Best for borrowers with good credit: Figure

The winner of best personal loan for borrowers with good credit needed to score the highest on Bankrate Score criteria among the lenders that offer loans to this credit range. Loan-specific criteria included minimum loan amount, fees, APR range, customer service availability and online loan access. In the event of a tie, the lender with the lowest starting APR was chosen.

Best for borrowers with excellent credit: Axos

The winner of best personal loan for borrowers with excellent credit needed to score the highest on Bankrate Score criteria among the lenders that offer loans to this credit range. Loan-specific criteria included minimum loan amount, fees, APR range, customer service availability and online loan access. In the event of a tie, the lender with the lowest starting APR was chosen.

Best by home improvement: LightStream

To determine the best personal loans lender for home improvement, Bankrate sorted lenders into those that offered long repayment times, fast fund delivery times and low APRs. The lender that scored the highest average of the three categories won. For repayment times, Bankrate filtered for lenders offering terms longer than five years. For fund delivery times, lenders were filtered to those that fund loans in a week or less. 

Best for debt consolidation: LightStream

Bankrate chose the best personal loan based on low starting APRs and low fees. To determine how the winner was calculated, Bankrate looked at how much the fees added to the overall cost of the loan and determined lenders that offered the lowest cost when adding starting APRs and fee costs together. As a tie-breaker, the winner would be the lender with the highest Bankrate Score. 

Best online lender: Marcus by Goldman Sachs

To determine the best online lender for personal loans, Bankrate compared online-only lenders and picked the one with the best overall Bankrate Score. Bankrate puts an emphasis on customer experience so borrowers can feel confident managing their loan and associated finances without in-person resources. If a tiebreaker was needed, the lender with the highest score in the customer experience category would be chosen.

Best from a bank: TD Bank

To determine the best personal loan from a bank, Bankrate narrowed down the list of lenders to those that are banks with online access and chose the bank with the highest Bankrate Score. The Bankrate Score was determined by accessibility, affordability and customer experience to determine the overall experience of using a lender.

Best for borrowers with fair credit: Figure

The winner of best home equity loan for borrowers with fair credit needed to score the highest on Bankrate Score criteria among the lenders that offer loans to this credit range. Loan-specific criteria included minimum loan amount, fees, APR range, customer service availability and online loan access. In the event of a tie, the lender with the lowest starting APR was chosen.

Best for borrowers with good credit: Spring EQ

The winner of best home equity loan for borrowers with good credit needed to score the highest on Bankrate Score criteria among the lenders that offer loans to this credit range. Loan-specific criteria included minimum loan amount, fees, APR range, customer service availability and online loan access. In the event of a tie, the lender with the lowest starting APR was chosen.

Best for borrowers with excellent credit: TD Bank

The winner of best home equity loan for borrowers with excellent credit needed to score the highest on Bankrate Score criteria among the lenders that offer loans to this credit range. Loan-specific criteria included minimum loan amount, fees, APR range, customer service availability and online loan access. In the event of a tie, the lender with the lowest starting APR was chosen.

Best for home improvement: Figure

To determine the best home equity lender for home improvement, Bankrate sorted lenders into those that offered long repayment times (20-30 years), fast fund delivery times and low APRs. The lender that scored the highest average of the three categories won. For repayment times, Bankrate filtered for lenders offering 20-30 year terms. For fund delivery times, lenders were filtered to those that fund loans in a week or less. 

Best for debt consolidation: Figure

Bankrate chose the best home equity loan based on low starting APRs and low fees so that people looking to get rid of debt will have as few added costs as possible. To determine how the winner was calculated, Bankrate looked at how much the fees added to the overall cost of the loan. The tie-breaker was which lender had the highest overall Bankrate Score.

Best online lender: Figure

To determine the best online lender for home equity, Bankrate compared online-only lenders and picked the one with the best overall Bankrate Score. To achieve a high score, lenders needed to have affordable options, a strong range of customer service hours and online options and be available to many people. If a tiebreaker was needed, the lender with the highest score in the customer experience category would be chosen.

Best from a bank: Citizens Bank

To determine the best home equity loan from a bank, Bankrate started by narrowing the list of lenders to banks with online availability. Bankrate chose the bank with the highest Bankrate Score. The Bankrate Score was determined by accessibility, affordability and customer experience to determine the overall experience of using a lender.

Best innovative home equity product: Figure

The best innovative home equity product was determined by the number of online options, tools and resources available. Evaluated options included resources such as calculators, information databases, mobile apps and online customer service. In the event of a tiebreaker, the winner was determined by the lender with the highest Bankrate Score.

Best for refinancing: Earnest

To find the best student loan for refinancing, Bankrate evaluated 14 well-known and widely available lenders that offered refinancing products. Winners were selected based on the lowest APR ranges and the widest selection of repayment term options. The best lender also needed to have a high Bankrate Score, which considers repayment options, affordability and customer experience.

Best private lender: SoFi

To find the best student loan from a private lender, Bankrate compared 17 banks, credit unions and online lenders and selected contenders that scored above a 4.5 in the Bankrate scoring model. This Bankrate Score evaluates repayment options, affordability and customer experience based on metrics like minimum and maximum loan amounts, number of loan types, grace period lengths, autopay discounts and more. The winner in this category was selected based on the lowest rate ranges offered and highest overall Bankrate Score.

Best for parents: College Ave

To find the best student loan for parents, Bankrate considered seven banks and online lenders that offer loans specifically for parents looking to cover a child's college education. The winner was selected based on a high overall Bankrate Score, which takes into account repayment options, affordability and customer experience, as well a low APR range.

Best for undergraduate students: Discover

To find the best student loan for undergraduate students, Bankrate selected six lenders that scored above a 4.5 in the Bankrate scoring model, which considers repayment options, affordability and customer service. Lenders were ranked based on features like loan amounts and repayment options. The winner was selected based on low APR ranges and unique eligibility requirements or benefits for undergraduates.

Best for graduate students: Ascent

To find the best student loan for graduate students, Bankrate evaluated 16 lenders with loans tailored to students pursuing an MBA, law, medical, dental or general graduate degree. Bankrate focused on lenders with low APR ranges, high borrowing limits and long grace periods for graduate students. The winner also needed to score highly across the Bankrate scoring criteria, which includes repayment options, affordability and customer experience.

Best for boot camps/vocational programs: Sallie Mae

To find the best student loan for boot camps and vocational programs, Bankrate narrowed down the search to three widely available lenders that offer unconventional loans meant for career-building, boot camps or trade school. Of the three contenders, the winner had transparent terms, relatively low APR ranges and a defined grace period. It also had a high Bankrate Score, which evaluates repayment terms, affordability and customer experience.

Best from a bank: PNC Bank

To find the best auto loan from a bank, Bankrate evaluated four banks with nationwide availability and a large branch footprint. Bankrate narrowed down the winner based on the lowest rate ranges for new car loans, used car loans and refinancing loans, with bonuses given for broad customer service hours. The winner also needed to score highly in Bankrate's scoring methodology, which considers repayment options, affordability and customer experience.

Best online lender: LightStream

To find the best auto loan from an online lender, Bankrate considered five reputable lenders with nationwide availability. To select a winner, Bankrate looked for lenders that offered the lowest APR range for new car purchases, used car purchases and refinancing. Bankrate also evaluated the ease of navigating the website and how quickly funds could be made available. The winner needed to score highly in Bankrate's scoring methodology, which considers repayment options, affordability and customer experience.

Best for auto refinance: LightStream

To find the best lender for auto loan refinancing, Bankrate considered 10 banks, credit unions and online lenders available to borrowers nationwide and filtered for lenders with the lowest rate ranges. The winner also needed to offer a wide variety of repayment term options and loan amounts. In the event of a tie, preference was given to lenders with a high Bankrate Score, which includes repayment options, affordability and customer experience.

Best for used car purchase: U.S. Bank

To find the best auto loan for a used car purchase, Bankrate evaluated 11 banks, credit unions and online lenders with an auto loan designed for used vehicles — whether from a dealer or from a private party. From there, Bankrate narrowed down the list based on the lenders with the lowest APR ranges and the widest variety of term lengths. The winner also needed to score highly across Bankrate's scoring criteria of repayment options, affordability and customer experience.

Best for new car purchase: Navy Federal Credit Union

To find the best auto loan for a new car purchase, Bankrate considered 10 banks, credit unions and online lenders with an auto loan designed for new vehicles. While low APR ranges were a key consideration, Bankrate also looked for lenders with high financing amounts. The winner also had to have a high Bankrate Score, taking into account repayment options, affordability and customer experience.

 

Best for new car purchase: LightStream

To find the best auto loan for a new car purchase, Bankrate considered 10 banks, credit unions and online lenders with an auto loan designed for new vehicles. While low APR ranges were a key consideration, Bankrate also looked for lenders with high financing amounts. The winner also had to have a high Bankrate Score, taking into account repayment options, affordability and customer experience.

Best tax software overall

The winner for best tax software rated highly for its cost for federal returns, whether it offers a free version, educational options during the filing process, assistance options during the filing process, ease of use, ability to import forms and whether it offers a refund calculation tracker. Bonuses were given to companies who have a high-rated mobile app or offer in-branch services.

Best low-cost tax software

The winner for best low-cost tax software rated highly for the same factors as the best tax software, but the methodology was indexed to account more heavily for the cost for federal returns and whether it offers a free version.

Best in-person tax assistance (branch)

The winner for best in-person tax assistance rated highly for the same factors as the best tax software, but the methodology was indexed to account more heavily for companies who offer in-branch assistance.

Best home insurance company overall: USAA

Bankrate’s team determined the best home insurance companies by comparing key features that commonly impact customer experience. Our Bankrate Scoring model considers average premiums, company financial strength, customer experience and policy management resources. Each top-scoring provider for these categories has the highest standings with third-party rating agencies such as J.D. Power, AM Best and the NAIC, compared to others in the industry Bankrate evaluated. Our best overall home insurance companies were chosen based on Bankrate Scores and national availability to homeowners, which means these companies are the highest-rated and most accessible in the industry. Bankrate strives to help readers find the best home insurance for their needs, so Bankrate selected two home insurance companies as the best overall since companies have different eligibility criteria. Each company ranked highly in our scoring categories and could be an excellent fit for many homeowners.

Best home insurance company overall: State Farm

Bankrate’s team determined the best home insurance companies by comparing key features that commonly impact customer experience. Our Bankrate Scoring model considers average premiums, company financial strength, customer experience and policy management resources. Each top-scoring provider for these categories has the highest standings with third-party rating agencies such as J.D. Power, AM Best and the NAIC, compared to others in the industry Bankrate evaluated. Our best overall home insurance companies were chosen based on Bankrate Scores and national availability to homeowners, which means these companies are the highest-rated and most accessible in the industry. Bankrate strives to help readers find the best home insurance for their needs, so Bankrate has selected two home insurance companies as the best overall since companies have different eligibility criteria. Each company ranked highly in our scoring categories and could be an excellent fit for many homeowners.

Best digital home insurance company: Lemonade

Bankrate’s team determined the best home insurance companies by comparing key features that commonly impact customer experience. Each insurer's mobile app score and tech-based approach to premiums indicate the provider's ability to adapt to the needs of a digitized market and play a strong role in determining the best digital home insurance company. Our Bankrate Scoring model was also used to evaluate the best digital home insurance company. Each top-scoring provider for these categories has the highest standings with third-party rating agencies such as J.D. Power, AM Best and the NAIC, compared to others in the industry Bankrate evaluated. 

Best for high-value homes: Nationwide

Bankrate’s team determined the best home insurance companies by comparing key features that commonly impact customer experience. Our Bankrate Scoring model considers average premiums for homes valued at $750,000, company financial strength, customer experience and policy management resources. Each top-scoring provider for these categories has the highest standings with third-party rating agencies such as J.D. Power, AM Best and the NAIC, compared to others in the industry Bankrate evaluated. As rates vary widely by a multitude of factors unique to each homeowner, premiums were the most important determiner for our choice for the best high-value home insurer. 

Best auto insurance company overall: USAA

Our top picks for best overall auto insurance company reflect the highest Bankrate Scores, in combination with accessibility to drivers around the country. Bankrate Scores primarily reflect a weighted rank of industry-standard ratings for financial strength and customer experience in addition to analysis of quoted annual premiums from Quadrant Information Services, spanning all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Bankrate knows it is important for drivers to be confident their auto insurance covers the likeliest risks, is priced competitively and is provided by a financially-sound company with a history of positive customer support. In our evaluation, third-party agency ratings from J.D. Power, AM Best, S&P, NAIC, and Moodys significantly impacted the companies’ Bankrate Scores. Each company has its own rating algorithm and underwriting guidelines, so premiums and eligibility will vary. Bankrate strives to help readers find the best car insurance for their needs, so Bankrate has chosen to feature two car insurance companies as the best overall. Each company ranked highly in our scoring categories and could be an excellent fit for many drivers.

Best auto insurance company overall: State Farm

Our top picks for best overall auto insurance company reflect the highest Bankrate Scores, in combination with accessibility to drivers around the country. Bankrate Scores primarily reflect a weighted rank of industry-standard ratings for financial strength and customer experience in addition to analysis of quoted annual premiums from Quadrant Information Services, spanning all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Bankrate knows it is important for drivers to be confident their auto insurance covers the likeliest risks, is priced competitively and is provided by a financially-sound company with a history of positive customer support. In our evaluation, third-party agency ratings from J.D. Power, AM Best, S&P, NAIC, and Moodys significantly impacted the companies’ Bankrate Scores. Bankrate strives to help readers find the best car insurance for their needs, so Bankrate has chosen to feature two car insurance companies as the best overall. Each company ranked highly in our scoring categories and could be an excellent fit for many drivers.

Best budget auto insurance company: Travelers

Bankrate Scores, in combination with company availability and average annual rates for full coverage, led to our determination of the best budget auto insurance company. Bankrate also assessed coverage offerings, knowing that drivers looking for budget coverage may also want to have strong financial protection in place. Bankrate knows it is important for drivers to be confident their auto insurance covers the likeliest risks, is priced competitively and is provided by a financially-sound company with a history of positive customer support. In our evaluation, third-party agency ratings from J.D. Power, AM Best, S&P, NAIC, and Moodys significantly impacted the companies’ Bankrate Scores.  

Best auto insurance company for high-risk drivers: Geico

Bankrate chose our top pick for high-risk drivers from our highest Bankrate-Scoring providers based on its competitive rates and coverage offerings for drivers with more than one incident on their record. Bankrate knows it is important for drivers to be confident their financial protection covers the likeliest risks, is priced competitively and is provided by a financially-sound company with a history of positive customer support. In our evaluation, third-party agency ratings from J.D. Power, AM Best, S&P, NAIC, and Moodys significantly impacted the companies’ Bankrate Scores.  

Best term life insurer: State Farm

Bankrate’s team determined the best life insurance companies by comparing key features that commonly impact customer experience. To help you compare the wide range of options on the market, Bankrate tallied the number of riders offered on each product line (term life, whole life, universal life). To determine a company’s accessibility, Bankrate looked for an online customer portal, digital app, 24/7 customer service and local agents. To find the most competitive policy offerings, Bankrate analyzed coverage capacity (the maximum dollar amount of each company’s death benefit) and the availability of a no-exam option. Since term life insurance is the most common type of life insurance policy, Bankrate determined customer service and accessibility to be the most important measures, and placed the most weight on these categories. Bankrate is committed to helping policyholders understand each company’s strengths and opportunities for improvement. For this reason, Bankrate factored in J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction ratings and third-party financial strength scores from AM Best. Bankrate knows how important it is for a provider to have an exceptional history of paying claims and meeting their policyholder’s needs.

Best whole life insurer: Mass Mutual

Bankrate’s team determined the best life insurance companies by comparing key features that commonly impact customer experience. To help you compare the wide range of options on the market, Bankrate tallied the number of riders offered on each product line (term life, whole life, universal life). To determine a company’s accessibility, Bankrate looked for an online customer portal, digital app, 24/7 customer service and local agents. To find the most competitive policy offerings, Bankrate analyzed coverage capacity (the maximum dollar amount of each company’s death benefit) and the availability of a no-exam option. Since whole life insurance is designed to stay in place until you pass away, policyholders may be especially conscious of customization and the company’s ability to pay out claims. As a result, Bankrate placed the most weight on financial strength and the number of available riders. Bankrate is committed to helping policyholders understand each company’s strengths and opportunities for improvement. For this reason, Bankrate factored in J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction ratings and third-party financial strength scores from AM Best. Bankrate knows how important it is for a provider to have an exceptional history of paying claims and meeting their policyholder’s needs.

Best universal life insurer: Nationwide

Bankrate’s team determined the best life insurance companies by comparing key features that commonly impact customer experience. To help you compare the wide range of options on the market, Bankrate tallied the number of riders offered on each product line (term life, whole life, universal life). To determine a company’s accessibility, Bankrate looked for an online customer portal, digital app, 24/7 customer service and local agents. To find the most competitive policy offerings, Bankrate analyzed coverage capacity (the maximum dollar amount of each company’s death benefit) and the availability of a no-exam option. Since universal life insurance is complex, Bankrate placed the most weight on agent availability and digital accessibility. Since universal life policies take various forms and customization is important, Bankrate weighted riders as the second most important consideration. Bankrate is committed to helping policyholders understand each company’s strengths and opportunities for improvement. For this reason, Bankrate factored in J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction ratings and third-party financial strength scores from AM Best. Bankrate knows how important it is for a provider to have an exceptional history of paying claims and meeting their policyholder’s needs.

Best personal finance influencer: Delyanne Barros, The Money Coach

For the best personal finance influencer award, Bankrate evaluated more than a dozen personal finance influencers on quantitative and qualitative considerations. Among the quantitative considerations, Bankrate looked at the influencers’ CreatorIQ score, average engagement, audience growth percentage over the previous six months and number of followers. Qualitative elements included rating the influencers’ content quality, level of entertainment and the actionability of their content. The field was narrowed to five finalists. From there, the editorial team voted for the winner.

Best personal finance YouTube Channel: The Financial Diet

For the best personal finance YouTube channel, Bankrate evaluated a number of the top YouTubers’ average engagement percentage, content quality, level of entertainment and the actionability of the content. The field was narrowed to three finalists. From there, the editorial team voted for the winner.

Best financial activism account: The Broke Black Girl

For the best financial activism account, Bankrate evaluated nominees by their content quality and the actionability of the content. Bankrate also evaluated them based on whether they’re reaching an audience that has historically been underserved and are they reaching their audience in innovative ways. The field was narrowed to three finalists. From there, the editorial team voted for the winner.

Best personal finance podcast: Planet Money (NPR)

Bankrate evaluated more than a dozen podcasts for the best podcast award. Bankrate considered factors such as content quality, level of entertainment and the actionability of the content. The field was narrowed to three finalists. From there, the editorial team voted for the winner. 

Best personal finance community: Reddit Personal Finance

For the best personal finance community award, Bankrate evaluated a number of the top personal finance communities where members can interact with each other and give and receive advice. In the evaluation, Bankrate considered the communities’ content quality, level of entertainment, the actionability of the advice from the community, and whether the community fostered a positive environment for members. The field was narrowed to three finalists. From there, the editorial team voted for the winner.

Best financial nonprofit: National Endowment for Financial Education

For the best financial nonprofit, Bankrate evaluated each nominee’s impact on society. The editorial team then voted for the winner.

Illustrative elements
Illustrative elements