Swissquote is a favourite among traders who are looking to make Bitcoin purchases, and there are plenty of things going for this broker. It provides a range of options when it comes to actually buying Bitcoin, including US dollars and euros. There is no custody fee involved when buying Bitcoin with Swissquote, either, and there are several options for those who want to use additional resources to learn about the markets and trading.
There are some negatives associated with using this broker for your Bitcoin trading needs, however. It charges a number of fees, including proportional charges on Bitcoin transactions. It’s not possible to buy Bitcoin using Swiss francs, which is a headache if you live in Switzerland – and the English language version of the Bitcoin purchasing pages are not particularly clear or well organised. While Swissquote is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and authorised to provided services in the UK, its regulatory status is complex and multinational.
To find out more about the pros and cons of using Swissquote to build your Bitcoin portfolio, read on.
Swissquote offers an accessible and easy way to purchase Bitcoins, and many people already use the site to access this most popular of cryptocurrencies. In terms of the currencies accepted, Bitcoin can be purchased on Swissquote using either euros or US dollars. The currency of Switzerland, the Swiss franc, is not accepted – although Swissquote describes this policy as the status “currently”, so there may well be some development on this in the future. It is also worth pointing that, while Swissquote does permit the purchasing of actual Bitcoin as opposed to derivative products, it does not offer a wallet storage service – so you will need to source that elsewhere. This could be both a pro or a con, depending on your trading priorities: the Bitcoin you can buy through Swissquote is pure and straightforward, but it does not come with the leverage and margin options that a Bitcoin CFD (contract for difference) would. So, if you are looking to pursue a higher risk yet potentially higher reward trading strategy, you may be best off with another broker.
The trading costs associated with trading Bitcoin on the Swissquote platform are relatively high compared to some others out there, but they remain manageable. As the name of the platform suggests, the broker is from Switzerland – which means that fees are calculated in proportion to the equivalent amount in Swiss francs, or CHF. For transactions equivalent to between five and 10,000 Swiss francs, there is a transaction fee in place of 1%. For transactions of a value between 10,001 and 50,000, there is a transaction fee of 0.75%. For a transaction amount between 50,001 and 500,000, there is a fee of 0.5%.
However, there are some areas and transactions which do not incur fees – so there are still opportunities to save cash when trading Bitcoin with Swissquote. There is no custody fee, for example, and there is also no stamp tax charged.
Trading Bitcoin with Swissquote is a fairly straightforward process – but the range of account types is consequently not quite so diverse, so there is some restriction in terms of choice on offer. There is one standard account for Bitcoin trading, and this can be found and opened with ease from the main homepage. Swissquote is not permitted by the Financial Conduct Authority to make direct financial promotions in the UK – so customers in the United Kingdom are likely to experience hurdles that those in economies in which Swissquote is regulated won’t face.
One option which may interest you is to go for a robo-advisory account. This account offers a smart and intuitive piece of software which allows you to choose the best portfolio for your needs. However, the broad nature of this sort of account is that it may only be suitable for those who are looking to build broader portfolios which are not restricted to just Bitcoin. It's worth noting that all account types come with a demo option, so you will be able to practice your Bitcoin trading before you go ahead and deposit cash.
There are lots of different trading platforms available for Swissquote traders to pick from. According to the Swissquote site, there are “highly secure and highly performing platforms provide you with direct access to the markets” to pick from – and these change “depending on your investor profile”. The first platform, known as “eTrading”, is useful for those who need a multi-asset platform which includes Bitcoin. Other platforms available, such as Swiss DOTS, are probably not as useful for Bitcoin traders given that they’re dedicated to derivatives: Bitcoin at Swissquote is purchased in its pure asset form.
Mobile apps are also available at Swissquote, so you will be able to enjoy trading while you are out and about if you decide to select Swissquote as your Bitcoin broker. There are specific and different apps which have been created by Swissquote for Android devices, Windows devices and iOS ones too, so there is sure to be one for everyone.
The Swissquote website is user-friendly, although it is in some ways somewhat sparse. Users who access it via the United Kingdom are likely to be presented with a warning informing them that the service isn’t permitted to make financial promotions in their country, but it is possible to continue to the site and read the information provided. There is an issue around language provision: the Bitcoin sign up page is in German by default even when clicking through from the English version, which may pose inconvenience to some. The preferred language can be toggled using a drop-down menu in the top right-hand corner of the page, but this is difficult to find, and the font size is relatively small.
The main Bitcoin landing page contains some useful and relevant information for traders to access, although it is a relatively sparse page. It contains some frequently asked questions about Bitcoin trading with Swissquote, such as “Can I use Swissquote as a “Wallet” (transfer Bitcoin in/out or buy things with it)?” and “What is Swissquote’s current policy in relation to the treatment of Hard Forks and similar events?” – Although these questions are located at the bottom of the page. Fees information can also be found on this page, while links to sign-up forms are placed on the page including right at the top. A risk warning, which outlines the fact that losses can be incurred and that traders should familiarise themselves fully with the potential risks involved in trading before they proceed to put down a deposit, is carried on every page.
If you need to get in touch with the Swissquote team at any stage, the primary way to do that is through the live chat function. A link to the live chat box is carried across the website, and it is located in the bottom right-hand corner. This method of customer support is probably the most useful of any offered by Swissquote, primarily because it is instant in nature. However, there is a disclaimer posted on the live chat access box which states that there are a number of account-related issues – including password problems, account creation, and more – which are not able to be discussed over live chat. This may be an inconvenience to some, and it stands in contrast to some other brokers which are able to process the vast majority of customer service queries over the live chat system provided.
The other main method of contact for customers to take is the phone. There are different numbers to call, depending on whether you are located in Switzerland or beyond, and the lines are described as being open during the working week, between the hours of 8am and 10pm. Users are advised to have details such as their account number at the ready.
When it comes to account funding, there are lots of ways to do so and get your Swissquote account off the ground. Bank wire transfer is one such way, although it is important to note that you need to have a Swissquote which is already up and running before you can do this. Provided you have this, you’ll be able to make a deposit: while Swissquote says it deals with transactions on the same day on which they arrive with the firm, there could be some differences in processing times depending on the bank used. The precise bank account you will need to transfer your cash to could vary depending on the country you’re in. Another alternative is sending a transfer through credit card, although you’ll need to have either a Visa or Mastercard to do this. In terms of the fees charged for deposits, you won’t be charged anything for using the bank wire transfer method – at least not by Swissquote, although there may be some fees from your provider. The same goes for credit card deposits, which are also free of charge.
Swissquote provides a whole host of options when it comes to additional extras. The support centre on the firm’s website lists a range of choices, including webinars for those who want to learn the principles of trading online. However, Bitcoin traders might find that the extra resources on offer are somewhat lacking. The videos, product guide and ebook options are all focused more on foreign exchange trading, and there is a sense across the Swissquote website that forex is more of a priority for the firm.
In the Bitcoin field specifically, one unusual additional offer provided by Swissquote is the “Bitcoin certificate” product. According to Swissquote, this is the first “dynamically managed” Bitcoin certificate, or investment product, to be listed on the Swiss exchange. It claims to help bring down the amount of volatility to which a trade is exposed, and that’s because the team behind it uses sophisticated tools to attempt to work out price movements. The portfolio is diversified, too, with only some of the investment portfolio kept in Bitcoin – and with the remainder kept in US dollars.
Swissquote is a properly regulated organisation, although its regulatory status is somewhat complex compared to that of other firms. It is formed of several companies, including Swissquote Bank Ltd which is a Swiss-based bank licensed by FINMA, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority. Swissquote Ltd, meanwhile, is a separate investment firm which is licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, as well as other financial organisations around the world. According to the FCA, Swissquote is permitted to operate in the UK, and its registered office is on New Broad Street in London. Its reference number is 562170, and it has been authorised to operate since May 2012. Customers of Swissquote benefit from their funds being kept in a segregated bank account, which means that there is no mixing together of funds from clients with funds that Swissquote uses for its own purposes.
As has been the case for many financial organisations in similar positions to Swissquote, this is an organisation which has faced changes as a result of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)’s policy updates. The site now engages in negative balance protection to reduce the risk that you as a trader will lose cash, and there are also standardised warning materials in place.
Swissquote is a long-running broker with a range of awards under its belt. The firm was set up in 1990 under a different name, and the firm as it is now known was listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange in 2000 – which, in some ways, is perhaps the most significant recognition of all. In terms of actual industry awards, the firm was named the Best Swiss Online Broker in 2001. More recently, the firm’s Quant Fund – which makes the most of the algorithm used by the popular Robo-Advisory product the firm provides – picked up the Thomson Reuters Lipper Fund Award. That happened in 2016 and was named the best performing equity fund during the ceremony.
In terms of cryptocurrency recognition, the nature of the crypto community means that there’s often not a lot for firms to enter when it comes to awards. It is worth noting that the firm was the first bank to provide five cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash – the other three being Ether, Litecoin and Ripple. That point was reached in 2017.
Swissquote is an interesting broker: its popularity is cemented among its fans, and it has received plenty of awards. Its long history in the sector speaks for itself in many ways, and it has proved itself to be a cryptocurrencies pioneer. Some Bitcoin traders are likely to find it a little difficult to use, especially when it comes to fees: with other brokers on the market able to offer a range of services at a lower price, those who need a highly cost-effective broker could well end up disappointed. Perhaps the main problem for new Bitcoin traders, however, is the relative lack of information in the additional resources area of its website: for users who need to get trained up in how Bitcoin works, this offer is paltry in comparison to that of other sites.
It's important not to do this prominent broker too much of a disservice. It does provide a regulated and protected environment in which to buy Bitcoin rather than the derivative products that many of its competitors are now choosing to offer instead, as a perceived easier option. It is clearly at the forefront of technological innovation, with the site offering robo-advice and other cutting-edge options to its customers. In sum, this is definitely not a broker to avoid – but it’s also one to do your research on if you decide to opt for it when you launch your Bitcoin trading career.