Everything You Need to Know About NerdWallet
Since it was founded in 2009, Nerdwallet has become one of the largest online destinations for information on all things personal finance. Here's a look at what they offer and how they operate.
Nerdwallet is a highly popular personal finance site in the U.S. that lets users make more informed financial decisions. It does this through comparing different products and services available from banks, insurance companies and other financial services. Nerdwallet was founded in 2009 but has quickly become a well-known destination for better understanding different financial offerings and choosing the best for one’s particular situation.
Who is Nerdwallet?
Nerdwallet has become well known for its ability to educate consumers about the various financialproducts and services available on the market along with reviews and comparison tools to help them make smart decisions about the financial services they choose. Although people of all ages can use Nerdwallet, it is targeted toward millennials and helping them choose between credit cards, college loans, mortgage loans, banking, insurance policies and stock trading
History of Nerdwallet
Nerdwallet was founded in 2009 by Tim Chen and Jacob Gibson. It originally offered a web application that let consumers compare bank-issued credit cards. Banks would pay a success fee to Nerdwallet for new customers that signed up for their service. Since then, Nerdwallet has grown to 200 employees and has developed relationships with eight different banks and a dozen insurance companies.
What Services Does Nerdwallet Offer?
In their own words, Nerdwallet “offers financial tools and objective advice to help people understand their options and make the best possible decisions”. They do this through both reviews and comparisons of different financial products, including:
Nerdwallet offers reviews of the “Best credit cards of 2017” as well as the best rewards cards, cash back cards, travel cards and more. People also search for credit cards for bad credit, low interest cards and balance transfer cards, and Nerdwallet includes reviews on all of those.
Common questions regarding choosing a banking solution include the ability to compare checking and savings accounts, as well as CD rates, money market accounts and transfer fees. Nerdwallet also reviews the best checking and savings accounts, plus money market accounts and prepaid debit cards. They also review a handful of banks according to different categories, such as:
- Online and mobile banks
- Brick and mortar banks
- Credit unions
- Big Banks
Investing can be a tangle of choices, and this is yet another area where Nerdwallet works hard to excel. From the best brokers for different types of traders to the best IRA providers, online brokers and tax software, Nerdwallet aims to cover all the bases of basic investing and financial management. The site also includes investment calculators for retirement, Roth IRAs and 401(k) savings plans.
Nerdwallet helps prospective homeowners understand and decide between the various mortgage options, including 30 year fixed mortgages, 15 year fixed mortgages, 5/1 ARM rates and more. They also include tools to help you understand how much home you can afford, what your mortgage payment will be (approximately) and how much you could save if you refinance at today’s rates.
You can get a loan for almost anything – from buying a car to starting a small business. Common areas that Nerdwallet reviews and compares with regard to loans include loans for people with bad credit, as well as personal loans and payday loan alternatives. As with its other services, it also offers calculators and tools here to help you calculate personal loan, student loan and car loan payments.
Common areas for comparison within insurance services include cheap car insurance, life insurance companies, homeowners insurance and even offers health and life insurance quotes through its partners.
Nerdwallet also offers an Ask an Advisor service at www.Nerdwallet.com/ask where you can ask financial questions for free to experts including CPAs and certified credit counselors. You can ask questions anonymously.
How Does Nerdwallet Work?
Nerdwallet breaks its services down into different categories, where users can go depending on the stage they’re on with regard to the different financial services. For example, if you’re looking to buy a home, you need to know how much home you can realistically afford. In those cases, you’d use one of Nerdwallet’s calculators. You can also learn more about how mortgages work and the different types available, as well as compare between them when you’re ready to take the next step.
Review, Compare, Calculate, Learn
Nerdwallet categorizes financial services based on certain criteria. You can review prospective services based on unbiased, independent ratings, as well as compare between options. You can also use Nerdwallet’s online calculators and learn more about some of the most common questions related to buying and working with the different financial services you’re interested in. Everything is categorized neatly on the sidebar of the website, so it’s easy to navigate between options to filter out exactly what you want.
Why Should I Create an Account with Nerdwallet?
Nerdwallet allows you the option to create an account with them in exchange for your latest credit score each week. This weekly update lets you see how your credit score has changed over time. As this is only a “soft pull” (meaning it’s not done by a lender to evaluate your creditworthiness) of your credit, signing up won’t affect your score.
Where is Nerdwallet Located?
Nerdwallet is located in San Francisco, along Market Street. They lease the top two floors of a building which also houses another startup app called Hotel Tonight – for last minute hotel room bookings – as well as a Nordstrom Rack on the ground floor.
How Legitimate and Trustworthy is Nerdwallet’s Website?
Nerdwallet aims for full transparency and is not shy about how they make money (more on that below). Reviews and ratings come from other Nerdwallet users as well as anonymous posters while recommendations for different lenders and companies come from Nerdwallet itself, which has a partnership with these companies.
How Does Nerdwallet Make Money?
Nerdwallet receives a “success fee” for each new customer that signs up for different services through their site. Much like an affiliate commission or a finder’s fee, Nerdwallet makes money when you choose one of their partners and get approved by them. Currently, Nerdwallet features over 7,000 different financial products (and growing), but not all of them have a compensation agreement with the company.
What Are Some of Nerdwallet’s Strengths?
Nerdwallet provides a number of benefits to young people just starting out on the road to financial freedom. Whether getting your first credit card or buying their your home, Nerdwallet offers you plenty of choices and the tools to make smarter financial decisions.
Reviews of Major Credit Card Companies, Lenders and Financial Institutions
From banks to insurance to credit cards, Nerdwallet reviews which options are best for different situation. This allows users to get a direct opinion on which cards may be right for their needs. All of the major credit card providers are featured on Nerdwallet and you can easily find the highest ranked credit cards for your particular needs, such as credit cards for people with bad credit, cards for people who want airline miles, cards with the best cash back rewards and much more.
Financial Advisors Available to Answer Questions
If you have a financial question, you can head over to https://www.nerdwallet.com/ask where you can ask a financial advisor any question free or charge. Advisors who participate on Nerdwallet are carefully curated, so you can be assured at getting top notch advice. Current questions being asked run the gamut from when to max out a health savings account, to helping ones aging family get started with Medicare. If you like the answer you’re given, but want a bit more information, you can schedule a consultation with the advisor directly, or just say thank you!
Free iPhone App
Nerdwallet also offers a free iPhone/iPad app that lets you see your credit score (from TransUnion®) and report for free as well as receive alerts if there are major changes to your score. You are also matched with the best credit cards according to your current credit score and financial goals. You don’t have to have a Nerdwallet account to use the app, but you can sign in if you have one. Otherwise, you can also use your Google account as a starting point.
What Are Some of Nerdwallet’s Weaknesses?
Nerdwallet isn’t perfect and its avalanche of information can be overwhelming at times. It does a great job of comparing and recommending various financial tools, including credit cards. However, you should also know that:
Articles Are Not Comprehensive
Nerdwallet isn’t the only financial comparison site out there, but they do a fine job of “borrowing” content from other sites and reworking it to fit their review template. Like a log jam, keywords are stuffed in the beginning of the article in order to attract search engines (and the people who search for very specific and direct terms) which means that Nerdwallet’s articles on different financial products are not nearly as comprehensive as those found on other, more authentic review sites.
Because the content is pigeon-holed into Nerdwallet’s own system, it’s rather sloppy, disconnected and difficult to follow. If you’re just looking for a quick credit card comparison tool, you can get the basics well enough through Nerdwallet, but you’re encouraged to also dig deeper on your own and do your own research independently.
Common Questions People Ask About Nerdwallet
It’s understandable that when you’re reading about credit card, insurance or mortgage comparisons and reviews, you still have many questions. Here are some of the most common questions we’ve received about Nerdwallet, along with their answers:
Is Nerdwallet Accredited by the BBB?
Nerdwallet is not BBB accredited, but according to their BBB rating system, Nerdwallet gets an A+. Currently, there are no user ratings or reviews about the company on the BBB website and the site has had no complaints filed about it. In these cases, the default rating is an A+ regardless of whether or not the company is a member of the BBB.
Who are Nerdwallet’s Partners and Affiliates?
Nerdwallet is currently partnered with some of the biggest financial institutions in the U.S., including:
They do not currently have an affiliate program in place.
What Should I Watch For When Working with Nerdwallet?
You should understand (and Nerdwallet makes no secret of this) that they are paid should you apply to (and be approved for) various financial products. So it is in their best interest to paint a good picture of the different programs available without really concentrating on the drawbacks. As long as you’re aware of Nerdwallet receiving a “finders fee” for your application and approval, you can largely trust the details they provide on the various financial products in their roster. It always pays to do your own independent research, however.
What Do Customers Say About Nerdwallet and Its Services?
People enjoy the ease with which they can ask questions and use the tools that Nerdwallet provides. Since Nerdwallet doesn’t even require you to sign up for an account, many people find the privacy a breath of fresh air compared to many other comparison sites that make their money on selling your details. Customers do insist that you should do your own homework when it comes to seriously evaluating various financial offerings, and understand that not all financial resources are evaluated or presented here, but even with that in mind, Nerdwallet and its app are a good way to make more informed choices, particularly where credit cards are concerned.
How Accurate are Nerdwallet’s Reviews?
It’s worth noting that Nerdwallet does not have compensation agreements with all of the financial products it features, however it shouldn’t surprise you that they paint those with whom they do have such an agreement, in a fairly positive light. While it’s difficult to say if the actual product is worth such a high rating or not, it’s still understandable that Nerdwallet would project their “sponsors” highly on the list of recommendations, since they’re the ones paying the bills.
If you go into the site with this in mind, and try not to let it cloud your judgment, chances are you’ll have a solid, reputable experience with Nerdwallet. And despite some minor drawbacks, the site continues to grow and scale at an enormous rate. With this in mind, there’s no reason to suspect that Nerdwallet will be going anywhere, anytime soon, and for this reason, with a dash of skepticism on some of the reviews, millennials interested in managing their finances right will find a wealth of reasons to consider Nerdwallet among their favorites.