Who is the best ETF broker? That's how our readers voted
We know well that the requirements towards the personal ETF broker are individual. Thus it may well be that there are two different test winners for two different investors. On this page you will therefore find only the assessment of our readers. That‘s why your opinion is needed. If you already have experience with one or more providers, please vote – this will help other readers get an authentic picture of the ETF broker.
We at AskTraders.com have been trading for many years, and so we can draw on relevant experience in online trading. Since we are in no way dependent or committed to anything by any ETF provider, we can conduct our reviews objectively and reliably. We know exactly what to look for in a broker test. To help you understand what points to consider in your personal ETF broker test, we‘ll show you in detail the scheme we follow.
We have developed a kind of checklist consisting of 10 categories. This checklist will tell you what we would take into account. Please consider this a suggestion. If there are issues you think are more important, please include them in your reviews.
Criteria for your ETF Broker Test
1. Trade offer
In the first point of our checklist we examine the trade offer of the ETF Broker, which signifies how many ETFs an investor can trade with the provider. Of course, we are not just looking at the absolute number of ETFs. That would be a little too superficial. If you want to be considered the best ETF broker, you have to offer a certain range of issuers. In addition, the ETFs should convince through a broad selection of industries, regions, countries, asset classes and themes. It is of little use to you as an investor if a broker offers 20 different ETFs on the S&P500, but lacks other important ETFs.
Here are some examples of a wide selection:
- Topics: resources such as water, sustainable energy
- Industries: Health, Automotive, Food
- Countries: ETFs on country indices
- Regions: Either regions such as Latin America or only specific regions of a country
- Assets: bonds, real estate, etc.
Since ETFs are predestined for regular savings, we also examine the range of ETF savings plans. It is important to us that there are as many ETFs as possible for saving. The entry barriers should be low, that is, the savings rate should be as low as possible. A reasonable selection of savings intervals, such as monthly, bimonthly, quarterly, quarterly, is also appropriate.
2. Conditionen, Fees & Costs
Investors who put money in ETFs are often very price sensitive. This is understandable, because the much cheaper fees are a major selling point for ETFs. Most ETFs are seen in comparison to actively managed funds. And this is exactly where the argument of fees is gladly used. Since, in the end, every ETF investor is likely to make a profit, it is only too understandable that the fees and costs should be as low as possible.
Whoever wants to be the best ETF provider should according to us not only have low fees for executing your order, but should also offer a range of free ETFs. This means that at least for the ETF purchase there are no fees. The same goes for ETF savings plans. Here, too, at least some ETFs should be free of charge to save. We expect this because we find in our broker comparison that it is almost standard to allow ETF purchases for free. Of course these are not necessarily exotic ETFs, one can‘t expect that. But ETFs on the classic big indices should be included in these special prices.
In addition to the order fees and costs for ETF savings plans you can also include all other fees in your rating, like:
- Fees for deposit and clearing account
- Fees for deposits and withdrawals
- Other fees
- Discounts & bonuses for frequent traders
Top 3 ETF Broker Comparison
3. Account and deposit models for different types of investors
As mentioned above the demands on one‘s personal ETF broker are quite individual. Nevertheless we can categorize many investors into certain groups, so-called investor types. Each type of investor places more value on certain things than others. In order to meet these demands, some ETF providers offer several account or deposit models.
But at this point we want to state that this criterion matters less to us than the conditions of the broker. This is simply because often one doesn‘t need many different account models. For example, an investor always buys ETFs directly, either through a stock exchange or through direct trading, with both options usually offered by brokers.
In trading we have gained our own ETF experience, and we noticed that there are different price models. For example, some ETF brokers offer a so-called flat rate in ETF trading. This means that you as an investor always pay the same fee, regardless of the trading volume or frequency of trading. In return, other features are often more expensive or non-existent.
For VIP customers (each provider having a different definition of „VIP“) there are often special accounts with extensive service, etc. This group of investors is characterized by very high trading volume and / or portfolio volume.
4. Trading platform and mobile trading
Usually there is no special trading platform of the broker offered for download for ETF trading. The majority of online trading takes place directly on the homepage of the broker. To do so, investors log in to the customer area and then call up the custody account administration or the order mask. In our ETF broker test we primarily examine the providers‘ web-based trading platform. There are brokers offering separate software for download and installation, but we do not think this is crucial.
It is important to us that the company not only provides a simple order form, but also other functions, such as chart analysis, background information on the respective ETF, i.e. fees, values, information on the issuer etc. It would be best if a provider were both best ETF broker for beginners as well as for more experienced traders, but that’s your decision!
Our evaluation also includes the offer in mobile trading. We'll check if there's a mobile brokerage app for Android and iOS. However, this is not absolutely necessary for investors to access the ETF depot with their smartphone or iPhone. Many brokers also offer a mobile view of the custodian account and order administration.
5. Ease of use of the website
Ease of use covers several issues. In this category we examine the website of the provider in general, but also the trading platform and the order mask. The investor should find all relevant information and the access to the order mask easily and go there with a few clicks. When selecting the ETF test winner, you are welcome to include these factors. For example, you can ask yourself whether the homepage is clearly designed and visually appealing.
We also observe the accessibility of the website and the platform during hectic stock market phases. A good broker does not save in the wrong place, but provides enough power and IT infrastructure to enable investors to trade easily even during these times.
You might want to pay particular attention to the following:
- Information is accessible without any problems
- Transparent presentation of fees, risks and opportunities
- Homepage is linguistically correct
- All functions, such as the search function, should work well
Opening a depot has become increasingly extensive hereabouts in recent years, but this is not due to the ETF provider, but to various legal provisions. The banks have to stick to these, even though we can‘t call an ETF Broker reputable with total certainty. Therefore, we do not rate it as negative if the account opening takes a few minutes longer, even if that doesn‘t contribute to user friendliness. But we do check whether the broker manages to transform complex structures into simple processes.
6. Customer support
Our experience shows that a broker with excellent support usually offers a great deal. The employees ultimately represent the company. If they are well trained, this suggests that the broker cares for a good customer relationship.
Have you already had experience with the customer service of your broker? If so, how satisfied were you with the service? You could mention, for example, how quickly, friendly and competently the staff members answered your questions. For us it is of course alright if a member of the support team has to ask the respective department in case of more complex matters.
You might ask yourself:
- How quickly does the support answer?
- Do they specifically refer to my question?
- Am I being cajoled to do anything, such as buying a product?
In addition to the actual response of the employees we also expect the bank to provide various communication channels. It is important to have telephone accessibility, e-mail contact and a live chat. The latter has gained tremendous importance in recent years. Of course, the broker should also provide an extensive FAQ area. And a community or forum in which investors can exchange views would be welcome. As for the availability of the support, we expect no 24/7 availability, but at least during the trading hours.
7. Methods of payment
Often ETF brokers provide only one payment option, namely the bank transfer. Here deposits and withdrawals are usually free of charge. Crypto or social trading providers, however, usually offer several payment methods, especially credit cards (Visa and Mastercard) and PayPal or Skrill and Neteller, occasionally even Paysafecard. Only a few ETF brokers have several payment methods on offer. Sometimes the classic bank transfer is supplemented by the offer of Sofortüberweisung or Giropay.
Payment methods such as credit card or PayPal have the advantage that the money is immediately available on the trading account and thus for trading. A bank transfer takes at least one working day. Payment methods with immediate credit are important whenever the investor sees a buying opportunity he wants to make use of immediately. Therefore, it would be nice if there were more brokers with alternative payment methods.
On the other hand, we have to admit that ETF investors are not typically short-term speculators who need to take a buying opportunity right away. Instead, ETFs are suitable for long-term capital accumulation and less for short-term trading.
What matters to us here:
- Minimum deposit with the ETF broker
- Amount of the minimum payout
- Selection and number of payment methods
- Speed of transactions (in particular payment)
- Fees for payment options
8. Additional offers
If you want to establish yourself as the best ETF provider, you should be able to offer something beyond the standard offer. It is not necessary to have all the features other brokers have. But there should be at least a reasonable selection. Additional offers do not necessarily mean an ETF bonus or a premium, though obviously no one would decline the offer of a 50 Euro coupon for the ETF depot. But if you want to be successful in the long run needs expert support in online trading or asset management. That's why we pay special attention to these things in this category.
This includes, for example, a free demo account or an ETF sample portfolio. This benefits both newcomers and more experienced dealers. Beginners especially because they get a risk-free entry into the ETF trade. At the same time, advanced investors can test new strategies or conduct backtesting parallel to their regular trading.
A good additional service also includes an extensive education and training area. There, investors obtain theoretical basic knowledge of ETFs as well as practical advice. Clearly, here it‘s quality before quantity. The training area may include things like free ebooks, webinars, video courses, news updates, an economic calendar, etc. For a sound test result we take a closer look at the learning content.
9. Regulation and Deposit Insurance
In order to prevent ETF fraud when trading, the aspect of regulation and deposit insurance is very important. At this point we need to stress that ETF brokers and ETFs admitted in Germany are subject to very strict supervision. Even if an ETF broker had to file for bankruptcy, at least up to 100.000 Euro per investor will be protected by a deposit insurance. Some banks even have a deposit insurance in the high tens of millions. Funds invested directly in ETFs are not included, as they would not be affected by the bankruptcy of a broker anyway.
The situation would be different if the issuer of the ETF had to file for bankruptcy. Then your directly invested capital would be affected. It is therefore important to obtain detailed information about the issuer. Even though you can never exclude ETF fraud in trading a 100 percent, there are the above points to minimize this risk.
Therefore again our appeal that you as an investor inform yourself extensively about the risks incurred with ETFs.
What matters to us in terms of safety:
- Comprehensive IT security measures, such as SSL encryption
- Compliance with MiFID requirements
- Compliance with regulatory guidelines
- Informing the customer about opportunities and risks
10. Opinions of the Trade Press & Awards
We always round off our ETF experience with the respective provider with opinions from the trade press as well as awards received. Thus it is evident that we would not call a brand new ETF broker the best provider. Even if they offer otherwise very good conditions and services, we want to see if they really proves their worth. A broker has to face the test of time, so to speak, but maybe you have a different opinion.
Of course it‘s a fact that particularly large ETF providers have a wide media coverage. The better known the company is, the more diverse are the opinions and reviews about the offer of the ETF provider, and so we also anticipate a few negative opinions, but on the whole the coverage must be positive.
We also look at awards and prizes received by the ETF Broker. Here, too, quality comes before quantity. Every broker can show off the one or other award. That is why we check first of all who gave the award. Are these prestigious or unknown institutes? The same applies to the content of the award. Frequently awards are given for outstanding customer service, product quality, trade diversity or conditions. In this case one should not automatically assume, the more the better.
Who is your ETF test winner? Vote now
As you can see, we set high standards in our ETF comparison. You‘ve seen what we value in the assessment and what is important to us. In selecting your best ETF broker you are welcome to refer to these points. As already mentioned, the reviews on this page come exclusively from our readers. Which means that it‘s not us who decides on the ETF test winner but the users alone.
We would like to emphasize once again that AskTraders.com is not obliged to any provider. We are an independent portal. Our reviews are based on real brokerage experience, opening accounts, testing the platform, making trades, and more. We have been in contact with many providers for several years. You can therefore rely on our objectivity and seriousness, and you‘re welcome to use our expertise.
Ultimately, you must be satisfied with the provider. That's why you will find only authentic testimonials from real users here. If you already have had some experience with providers, then we ask you to add your opinion, since this helps other readers to get a realistic impression of the company. The ETF broker with the most votes will receive our readers‘ award at the end of the year.