DEGIRO is a Dutch stock broker founded in 2008 by ex-employees of Binck Bank. The company grew quickly and was opened up to non-professional, private traders in the Netherlands in 2013. It expanded rapidly across Europe and launched an English language platform in the UK by 2015. The DEGIRO brand has become internationally respected in the financial services sector, and now has 200,000 clients in 18 countries across Europe and Scandinavia. It may not be as well-established as some of the other big names in online trading, but it has quickly become known for its low fees and value for money. DEGIRO offers private investors access to a wide range of securities at wholesale prices.
It’s considered by some traders to be the best stock broker in the European market, primarily due to its low fees and award-winning customer service. DEGIRO themselves certainly claim to be one of the most competitive platforms in the world, stating on their website that their fees are, on average, 85% lower than local competitors. Their mission is to develop affordable, custom-made financial services for investors worldwide, and digging into what they’ve achieved so far, it seems they are striving hard to do just that and delivering some fairly impressive results.
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Why Use DEGIRO?
DEGIRO offers private traders a wide choice, with access to over 60 exchanges and more than 2 million products, across 30 countries. They offer Shares, Bonds, Forex and CFD trading. They are a licensed investment firm regulated by Dutch Central Bank and Netherlands Financial Markets authorities and are regulated by relevant authorities in other territories where they trade. For example, in the UK they are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). DEGIRO has one of the most competitive fee structures of any online trader, which is certainly appealing to many new traders who want to keep charges low while they find their feet in the world of online trading. There is no minimum account balance, making DEGIRO suitable for smaller investors. Opening an account is a fast, easy process, as long as you have a bank account in your own name in an acceptable country (most EU countries, including the UK, Norway & Switzerland). DEGIRO has digital identification procedures in place, making the sign-up procedure a ten-minute process, and your account should be live within 1 or 2 days. DEGIRO does not charge inactivity or withdrawal fees, making it an attractive choice for those unsure if online trading is going to be a regular, ongoing activity for them.
The DEGIRO Web Trading Platform
Those looking for DEGIRO MetaTrader capabilities may be put off on discovering there is no DEGIRO MT4 platform available, but the DEGIRO trading platform offers a straightforward, intuitive and easy-to-use interface. DEGIRO has implemented its own in-house trading platform, which has been developed to offer an intuitive and transparent service to traders at all levels of experience. There is a simple one-step login, or you can choose a more secure two-step login if you prefer. On your home screen you will find:
- An overview of your current portfolio
- Your open transactions
- Your latest transactions
- Market information and price data
- A basic news panel
The layout is clear and logical, and even new users should find everything easily. DEGIRO also has a high quality, user-friendly mobile app. Its design is basic, but clear and straightforward, making trading from your smartphone accessible to all users. The mobile app gives you access to all the most important functions you may need, including your portfolio information, your transaction and account history, news, charts and a market overview. A common criticism of the DEGIRO trading platform is that it lacks the customer education, tutorials and training that some other brokers provide, making it a less appealing choice for brand new traders. While this is a fair criticism, the platform itself is so straightforward and intuitive, it doesn’t require a large amount of training to use it and there is a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section that covers all the basics for those new to the platform.
Fees and Charges
As already mentioned, the extremely competitive fee structure is one of the things that sets DEGIRO apart from other online brokers. It offers low trading fees on stocks, CFDs and most other assets. What’s more, there are no account fees, deposit and withdrawal fees, or inactivity fees. DEGIRO also provides one free EFT trading per customer each month. Although DEGIRO’s trading fees can vary considerably, depending on the type of transaction and the country you live in, they tend to remain significantly lower than standard rates charged by other trading platforms, brokers and banks. This also applies to DEGIRO fees on EFTs, Options and Futures. A detailed broker comparison on BrokerChooser.com confirmed that DEGIRO was the cheapest of those surveyed, and significantly cheaper than some. Other stock broker comparison sites agree. All brokers have some products that involve higher fees (BrokerChooser.com concluded that DEGIRO did have relatively high fees for mutual funds), but overall, and for the purposes of many online private traders, DEGIRO is a low-cost option for European investors. For some traders, the fact that there is no minimum account balance is also an important factor in terms of the affordability of trading with DEGIRO. As with any online trader, the fees and charges that may apply to you and your account can change at any time, and you will need to keep a close eye on any extra charges you may incur, but at the time of writing, DEGIRO offers a great fee structure.
DEGIRO has caught the attention of people who matter within the financial services industry and when it comes to awards time they are consistently rated among the best online brokers in Europe. DEGIRO has won over 30 international awards in various categories, including:
- Golden Bull for Best Broker, 2015
- Golden Bull for Best Online Broker, 2017
- Investment and Wealth Management Awards, Best Mobile Share Dealing, 2017
- Investir, Cheapest Broker 2017
- Handelsblatt, Best Online Broker 2017
- Rankia, Best Broker 2017
Some of DEGIRO’s awards are due to their customer service or technology, but, as you might expect, their low fees are another reason they are often rated so highly. They won not only the Investor award for Cheapest Broker in 2017 but also Best Low-Cost Broker at the Investment and Wealth Management Awards. The article announcing this win in the Investor’s Chronicle and Financial Times also pointed out one of the key reasons why DEGIRO is so affordable, stating: ‘The broker can offer these market-beating rates as, unlike many of its peers, its settlement, clearing, trading and IT systems are all run in-house rather than via third parties.” Something worth knowing, as some traders (often wisely) avoid any too-good-to-be-true offerings, assuming that, for example, low fees may be due to corner cutting or low-quality service in other areas.
Disadvantages of DEGIRO
There are obviously some great reasons to consider this low-cost, award-winning broker but no DEGIRO review would be complete without mentioning the various drawbacks of the platform and the reasons it might not be right for certain investors. As we mentioned earlier, the lack of a DEGIRO MetaTrader platform is a drawback for many MT4 traders. Even though the in-house trading platform is adequate and has some of the same functions, it is fairly basic and doesn’t have all the tools traders using other, more comprehensive, web trading platforms may have come to expect. There is a basic news panel with market news, but no real research or analysis, although this is, of course, normal for a discount broker. There are also limits on how you can deposit and withdraw money – only through bank transfer or SOFORT (a third party instant deposit service provider). DEGIRO does not support PayPal, or other popular deposit and withdrawal methods. DEGIRO does not have a banking background and is not listed on the stock exchange. The company is suitable for UK residents and many other EU citizens but does not accept U.S. clients if they are considered a person under IRS guidelines. Another common criticism of DEGIRO is that it does not provide any training for new traders, unlike other brokers such as eToro, who provide an online trading academy, with video tutorials and an online course. DEGIRO also doesn’t provide social trading or demo accounts. Again, this is normal for a discount broker.
How does DEGIRO Compare?
If you’re choosing a broker, you will want to compare DEGIRO to other options available and make a decision based on your own needs and priorities. As their awards confirm, DEGIRO really is considered the best broker in many categories, especially within the discount broker market. It consistently demonstrates that most of its fees are lower than alternative online stock brokers, and it has no fees at all where many others charge them (on things like withdrawing funds or general account maintenance). If you look closely at comparison charts and reviews of DEGIRO, you will notice most of its shortfalls are on things that you would expect from a full-service broker, but not necessarily from even the best discount broker. BrokerChooser.com puts DEGIRO ahead of, or on a par with, other brokers when it comes to things like low fees and its clear, user-friendly trading platform, but acknowledges that it is behind many of its competitors when it comes to research and education. Some alternatives have excellent, easily-accessible research and education, but higher fees. It really is about assessing your own priorities before committing to a new broker. There are products and services not available through DEGIRO, or that have limitations compared to other brokers. There are limitations, for example on the way you can trade cryptocurrencies through DEGIRO, so it is important to think about the type of trading you will be doing to ensure this broker has all the facilities you will need.
The Bottom Line on DEGIRO
If you are considering a new online discount stock broker, DEGIRO should, without doubt, be on your shortlist. It is a solid, well-established broker, already serving 200,000 clients, across 18 countries. There are reasons it may not make the final cut, of course. If you want a platform that incorporates research, training, social trading, demo accounts, MT4 compatibility, or unrestricted cryptocurrency trading, you may find that DEGIRO is not the right fit for you. If you are a U.S. client, considered a person by the IRS, it is also not the right broker for you. You will also find it unsuitable if you need to deposit and withdraw funds via platforms such as PayPal or Neteller. The advantages, however, may outweigh all this for many online traders. For UK (and most EU) residents, the company offers and attractive option, with a wide product range, a simple, functional web trading platform, competitive fees and award-winning service.