Welcome to CANSTAR from our CEO and Managing Director, Andrew Spicer
CANSTAR takes pride in helping consumers make better decisions. We love to hear stories of consumers who have used our website to improve their finances. We now have around 3 million visits each year, and two in three people recognise the CANSTAR gold logo.
We have a team of over 80 talented people who collect, analyse and research over 16,000 loans, cards, policies and products. We see consumer education as a major part of our role. We are trying to make our site useful and easy to use, and you will often see our research and researchers quoted in the press and on television.
Our star ratings system is designed to help consumers increase their chances of finding the right product. We would encourage you to add five-star products to your shopping list.
Our data is used by financial institutions to fine tune their products. We provide the information for the Bank of the Year – with Money Magazine in Australia. Government bodies such as APRA and the Reserve Bank use our research.
How do our Star Ratings work?
The secret to our star ratings is that we compare on value, not price. Do you want to buy the cheapest car on the market? Some do, but most want a car that meets their needs in terms of size, safety, looks and so on.
Our ratings balance price and features, to get overall value, which we then convert to a number of stars. We collect large amounts of information on thousands of financial products. Our research committee then determine the ratings using a formula or methodology. This is always displayed on the website so you can see how we have done it.
We normally rate based on a profile. For example, in health insurance a young single person has different needs to someone who is retired and will not be having more children. Our ratings take account of these differences.
CANSTAR holds Australian Financial Services and Credit licenses and takes all its compliance obligations very seriously.
How are you different to other ‘comparison sites’? Should I trust you?
Details are set out in How we get paid.
Do banks or insurers have to pay to be rated?
Banks, mutual banks, credit unions, building societies and other providers that subscribe to Canstar’s database are automatically included in the Canstar ratings process, which includes daily collection of rate and fee data and regular collection of up to 300 pieces of feature data per product.
If institutions do not subscribe to the Canstar database, the research team may include the provider depending on their size, relevance to consumers, range of products etc. For example, a very small provider which doesn’t service many consumers might not be included.
Insurance, Superannuation and Managed Investment providers are included depending on their size, relevance to consumers, range of products etc. In some cases we will exclude certain providers. For example, in health insurance we only rate open funds that anyone can join and in superannuation we only rate funds that are in the top 30 or with greater than $100m in funds under management.
Canstar’s objective is to cover as much of the market as possible to provide consumers with the widest possible coverage.
Can you give me advice?
CANSTAR is not licensed to give personal advice. We can only give general advice that is not tailored to an individual’s needs. We strongly encourage consumers to get personal financial advice from a qualified adviser.
Who owns and manages you?
CANSTAR is not owned by a financial institution. It is privately owned by private shareholders.
Our Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director is Andrew Spicer. Andrew joined CANSTAR in 2007 and led the diversification of CANSTAR from banking into insurances and investments. He launched CANSTAR Blue, our consumer ratings firm, in 2010. Andrew was a group executive at Suncorp Metway, CEO of IT company WebCentral, and a McKinsey consultant, working in the financial services practice. He holds an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management where he won the Finance Prize, and has completed the leadership program at Harvard Business School.