Why shouldn't I just use free data for all my needs?

We are often asked to explain the difference between free and premium data.

The long and the short of it is that we highly recommend using premium data if you are making professional decisions involving real money. If you’re working on something hypothetical — like a mock portfolio — by all means leverage our free data. 

Premium data is generally more complete, more accurate, and more reliable than free data.
Specifically:
Premium data is quality controlled.
Premium data is quality controlled by humans to ensure accuracy and reliability. Free data providers often can’t afford the resources to do the same thing. Therefore spikes and troughs, gaps and outliers can be common. Price adjustments for dividends, splits and other corporate events can be incorrect or absent. Premium data is not perfect, but it is better.
Premium data is well supported.
There is no easy way to report errors or get help with free data sources, again because resources are scarce. While we provide our own support for all of our data products, we can’t guarantee that a free data provider will have the resources to address noted errors.
Free data is not guaranteed.
Free data rarely comes with any guarantee of service level, up-time, quality, or accuracy. A data provider can limit or even discontinue their feed at any time without notice or support to existing users, as we saw with Yahoo Finance recently.
Premium data is documented.
Data from free sources is often poorly documented, with little transparency into the collection methodology. Where do the prices come from? How are they pre-processed? At what times are observations made? These questions are critical to professionals and premium providers outperform their free counterparts on this front.
Here are a few cases where you’ll find premium data essential:
  • When you need professionally vetted sources – Premium data undergoes weeks of evaluation by financial experts to help you make the most accurate decisions
  • When you want more documentation – Premium data comes with robust documentation that gives you details on collection methods, observation times, and more
  • When quality-control and support is necessary – We constantly monitor premium data feeds but, should something come up, our support team will work with you directly 
Did this answer your question? Thanks for the feedback There was a problem submitting your feedback. Please try again later.