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Articles / Is Charles Schwab available in Europe? How it compares

Is Charles Schwab available in Europe? How it compares

George Sweeney, DipFA| Updated May 23rd, 2023

Investors looking to buy and sell stocks will often first look towards recognisable names and brands. Charles Schwab is an investment company that’s well-known and respected around the world. So it’s no surprise that European investors from France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and the rest of Europe all want to know if it’s possible to trade stocks and shares using the platform!

Keep on reading if you’re keen to find out if the Charles Schwab platform is available to investors in Europe and the EU. We will cover everything Europeans need to know about the Charles Schwab stock brokerage and reveal some potential alternatives.

Is Charles Schwab available in Europe?

Yes, it can be possible to sign up for the ‘Schwab One International’ brokerage account throughout parts of Europe. But, not every country has access and there are some crucial things European investors need to understand about using the platform.

Charles Schwab does offer an ‘international’ service that’s open to some applicants from Europe. The downside is that there’s some strict criteria to meet, and residents from some countries are not eligible, which may limit who this brokerage is suitable for.

How to use Charles Schwab in Europe

If you’re curious about using the Charles Schwab brokerage in Europe, you’ll need the following information to hand:

  • Your tax ID or social security number – in Europe, this will depend on your country of residence.
  • Current ID – this will need to be your passport, or another suitable form of identification (depending on where you’re based).
  • Proof of residence – you’ll need a recent utility bill or some other proof of address (containing your full name, address, and date).
  • Employment details – you have to provide the name and mailing address of your current employer.
  • Access to a scanner – to upload all your documents with Charles Schwab, you’ll need a printer and a scanner. 

Along with all these documents, Charles Schwab has some pretty strict requirements and limitations for investors in Europe hoping to use its Schwab One International brokerage account.

Which European residents can invest with Charles Schwab?

Charles Schwab may adjust which countries are eligible for an account, but at the moment, you should be able to open an account with this broker if you’re based in:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Luxembourg
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

Major European countries where investors will have to look elsewhere to invest include:

  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Estonia
  • France
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Macedonia
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Netherlands
  • Romania
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

Other things you need to know about using Charles Schwab in Europe

Some points you need to consider about opening a European Charles Schwab account:

  • There’s a $25,000 minimum deposit to open an account.
  • You can only trade in US dollars.
  • Only using one currency means that if you use the Euro or any other currency, you’ll have to pay a currency conversion fee to invest.
  • For most US stocks, there’s no commission, but investment choice is limited. For example, you can’t buy US ETFs.

Charles Schwab alternatives in Europe

If you’re in Europe and want to access the best brokerages and investing options, there are some alternatives to Charles Schwab that provide more choice and flexibility. 

Here are some of the best brokerages available in Europe that may be more suitable than the limited Charles Schwab Account:

eToro | Social trading and 0% commissions on stocks

Established in 2007, eToro is a fintech company that allows investors to safely invest in multiple assets such as ETFs, Stocks, Cryptocurrencies and CFDs on Stocks, ETFs, Commodities, Forex, Indices and Cryptocurrencies. The social-trading platform is user-friendly, comprehensive, and functional.

Interactive Brokers | Sophisticated trading tools

Online broker with a sophisticated trading platform that offers a wide range of products. The company, founded in the US and active in Europe for decades, you also get access to the useful IBKR GlobalTrader app.

Trading212 | Low fees and excellent app

Trading212 is an online brokerage that lets you trade stocks, ETFs, and CFDs. You’re able to trade with no commissions and there’s even a ‘pie’ feature where you create your own portfolio. 

DEGIRO | Zero commission ETF trading and low FX fee

DEGIRO is one of the leading online brokers in Europe, with over 2.5 million users. It has competitive FX fees, a low-cost structure, and offers commission-free ETF trading (external fees apply).

XTB | Helpful trading tools for technical analysis

XTB lets most European investors trade stocks and ETFs for free. It’s also a world leader in Forex and CFD trading and is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

Freedom24 | Useful for IPOs and US stock options

Freedom24 is one of the leading online brokers that let you invest in stocks at IPO prices, in addition to million+ ETFs, stocks, and US options. Founded in 2008, this is the only NASDAQ-listed European broker.

Plus500 | Ideal for a demo account and CFDs

Well-established broker who offers CFDs on Forex, cryptocurrencies, stocks, commodities, ETFs, options and indices. Plus500 also provides user-friendly web-based and mobile apps with attractive features like a demo account to practice.
Disclaimer: 86% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

Broker Fees for US stocks Minimum Deposit
eToro $0 $50 (varies)
Interactive Brokers $0.0035 per share (min $0.35 per order) €0
Trading212 €/£0 €/£10
DEGIRO €/£1 (+ €/£1 handling fee) €/£1
XTB €0 €1
Freedom24 €0.008 per share (depends on plan) €0
Plus500 $0.006 per share €100

#1 eToro

Is Charles Schwab available in Europe? How it compares 2
Visit eToro

eToro at a glance

Products availableStocks, ETFs, Cryptocurrencies and CFDs on Stocks, ETFs, Commodities, Forex, Indices and Cryptocurrencies
Minimum deposit$50 (varies between countries)
Deposit methodsCredit/debit card, PayPal, Neteller, Skrill, Rapid Transfer, iDEAL, Klarna/Sofort banking, bank transfer, Trustly, Przelewy 24
Fees and commissions$0 for stocks and some ETFs, but $5 withdrawal fees and FX charges apply

eToro was founded in 2007. It’s famous not only for allowing investors to buy and sell financial instruments but also for its social (copy) trading features. Today, it’s one of the most well-known brokers in the world, with over 30 million users.

On the platform, you can discuss investments, speculations, and market news with other traders – even copying their strategies. The platform offers a wide range of assets suitable for beginners but also riskier assets recommended for advanced traders, such as cryptocurrencies and CFDs. You can open a demo account to practise your investments before trading with real money. 

As a downside, the base currency of the platform is USD$. So you will have to pay between 0.5% and 1% currency conversion fees when exchanging between US$ and EUR€ (depositing and withdrawing using a bank transfer is the cheaper option). Still, eToro is probably the best alternative you have to Charles Schwab in Europe.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 77% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

#2 Interactive Brokers (IBKR)

interactive brokers logo
Visit Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers at a glance

Products availableStocks, futures, options, Forex, commodities, bonds, mutual funds, hedge funds, ETFs, CFDs
Minimum deposit€0
Deposit methodsBank transfer/SEPA
Fees and commissionsLow fees but vary based on asset and order size

Interactive Brokers is an exceptional broker available to European traders and investors. The Trader Workstation (TWS) of Interactive Brokers is one of the top trading platforms in Europe. It caters both to beginners and professional investors looking for educational materials and an easy to use platform and advanced technical and fundamental trading tools and for in-depth research.

Due to its sophisticated and powerful tools, the wide range of products available for trading, and its low prices, Interactive Brokers normally attracts advanced traders. However, the mobile app IBKR GlobalTrader app is user-friendly and more suitable for beginners, simplifying investments without losing the powerful tools for which the broker is famous.

Interactive Brokers offers attractive features such as low commissions on US stocks, a demo account for practising investments, a wide range of tradable assets, and trading in EUR€. All of which makes it a great alternative to Charles Schwab for investors in Europe.

#3 Trading 212

Is Charles Schwab available in Europe? How it compares 3
Visit Trading 212

Investing involves risk of loss.

Trading 212 at a glance

Products availableStocks, ETFs and CFDs on Stocks, Forex, Indices and Commodities
Minimum deposit€10
Deposit methodsBank transfers, credit/debit car, Dotpay, Giropay, Carte Bleue, Blik, Direct eBanking, Apple/Google Pay, PayPal, iDEAL
Fees and commissions0.15% and 0.50% fx fee on Trading 212 Invest and Trading 212 CFD

Founded in 2006, Trading 212 is a fintech company based in London aiming to democratise the entire investment process through a simple mobile app. You can invest in over 10,000 stocks and ETFs, CFDs on Stocks, Forex, Indices and Commodities. Over 15 million people have already downloaded the app.

In Trading 212, you will find commission-free stocks and ETFs trading, fractional shares, and even an automatic investment system. Opening an account is extremely quick and easy. On the downside, there are some limitations with the assets available (such as the lack of bonds and options). And, it charges a 0.15% FX fee when buying assets in a currency different from your base account. But, this Trading212 still offers much more than the Charles Schwab international account.

In a nutshell, the broker offers low prices, great educational resources, an impressive range of tradable assets, and user-friendly trading apps – making it an excellent alternative to investors in Europe thinking about using Charles Schwab. If you want to learn more, check out our Trading 212 review.


Is Charles Schwab available in Europe? How it compares 4

Investing involves risk of loss.

DEGIRO at a glance

Products availableStocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, warrants, futures, options
Minimum deposit€1
Deposit methodsBank transfers
Fees and commissionsNo/low commissions for most investments but a handling fee normally applies

DEGIRO was founded in 2008 and provides services to over 2.5 million European clients. In addition to stocks and ETFs, DEGIRO’s products include mutual funds, bonds, futures, and options, warrants, with the ability to trade on pre-market and after-hours trading.

DEGIRO is a great trading platform in Europe for zero-commission ETF trading. It’s a perfect pick if you want to minimise your trading costs as it does not charge any fees for inactivity, deposits, or withdrawals while offering commission-free trading on several popular ETFs (plus external fees). Furthermore, the platform gives access to over 30 exchanges around the world.

On the downside, DEGIRO does not offer forex trading, charges €/£1 commission for US stocks, and charges €/£2.50 annually per exchange as a connectivity fee. There are also handling fees to pay on most trades. However, this is still much more convenient than using Charles Schwab for most European investors. For further details, you can read our full DEGIRO review.

#5 XTB

Is Charles Schwab available in Europe? How it compares 5
Visit XTB

80% of retail CFD account lose money.

XTB at a glance

Products availableStocks, CFDs, Commodities, Forex, Cryptocurrencies
Minimum deposit€1
Deposit methodsBank transfer, credit/debit card, Paysafe
Fees and commissionsNo commissions on stocks but inactivity fees apply

Founded in 2002, XTB presents itself as a market player with extensive worldwide experience, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – and other local regulators like BaFin – and listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. The platform offers 0% commissions on stocks in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, and Spain. However, its software is more oriented to CFDs and forex trading.

XTB also offers other financial products, such as commodities and cryptocurrencies. XTB charges high commissions on CFDs of cryptocurrencies but low costs for Forex. One major downside is that you’ll face an inactivity fee of €10/month after one year of non-trading or if you have not made any deposit in the last 90 days. 

Opening an account and transferring money is a quick and hassle-free process (demo account available). You can get started with just €1, which is much lower than the $25,000 Europeans need to open an international account with Charles Schwab. Take a look at our full XTB review for more details.

#6 Freedom24

Is Charles Schwab available in Europe? How it compares 6
Visit Freedom24

Investing involves risk of loss.

Freedom24 at a glance

Products availableStocks, ETFs, bonds, futures, and options
Minimum deposit€0
Deposit methodsWire transfer and credit/debit card
Fees and commissionsNo commissions are charged in the first 30 days. After this period, the commissions vary according to the instrument being traded and depending on the type of plan chosen

Freedom24 is a company founded in 2015 that offers more than 40,000 stocks from different exchanges around the globe. The broker is regulated by CySEC (License No. CIF 275/15) and, therefore, your funds are protected by the rules pursuant to the Investor Compensation Fund of Cyprus

Freedom24 is best known for offering IPO subscriptions, an exclusive feature that you will not find on many trading platforms (including Charles Schwab international). Their trading app, which can be used on your mobile and on a browser, is well-designed and intuitive – but lacks customisation options. 

Overall, the platform is reliable and comprehensive. It offers a unique feature regarding access to IPO subscriptions that sets it apart from other brokers, giving it a unique edge compared to the Charles Schwab international account. Please check our Freedom24 review to find out more about the broker and understand their pricing structure.

#7 Plus500

Is Charles Schwab available in Europe? How it compares 7
Visit Plus500

86% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

Plus500 at a glance

Products availableCFDs on stocks, ETFs, Forex, commodities, indices, cryptocurrencies, and real shares (on Plus500 Invest)
Minimum deposit€100
Deposit methodsCredit/debit card, bank transfer, PayPal, Skrill
Fees and commissionsLow and competitive fees

Plus500 is an online broker offering a wide range of financial products, including real shares and CFDs on forex, indices, shares, commodities, options, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies. It is available in over 50 countries and is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

There are two account types:

  • Plus500 CFD: It only focuses on CFD products;
  • Plus500 Invest: Where you can trade stocks (real shares)

CFDs are an instrument that needs to be traded with care because it often leads to losses, due to the leverage effect that can magnify any loss. Despite this feature not being suitable for beginners, other factors may attract European investors who are new to the world of investments. 

The broker allows you to open a demo account to practise investments and familiarise yourself with the platform. Opening an account is extremely easy and the trading platform is intuitive, functional, and customizable. In addition, the broker provides educational resources and 24/7 customer service.

Finally, it is regulated by top-tier regulators like the FCA and CySec, meaning that Plus500 is appropriately supervised and that there is an investor protection scheme under the entity you open an account with. For instance, If you open an account as a European investor through Plus500CY Ltd, you are protected up to €20,000. Additionally, Plus500 provides negative balance protection for CFD trading on a per-account basis – only to retail clients from the European Union.

Plus500 has a slightly higher account minimum than some other platforms and is a bit limiting but still a great alternative to Charles Schwab for most investors throughout Europe. If you want to know a bit more about the platform, take a look at our in-depth Plus500 review.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 86% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

The bottom line on Charles Schwab in Europe

Although you can open a Schwab One International account with Charles Schwab if you’re based in some large countries throughout Europe (like Germany or Spain), there are plenty of European countries (like France and Italy) where Charles Schwab is unavailable. 

Even if you can access Charles Schwab in your country, it may not be the best move. You need an extremely high minimum deposit to get started, and you’ll be limited with your investment options. 

Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives for European investors. You’re able to open accounts with numerous brokerages. Ones who also have a great reputation but don’t have such strict requirements and also give you more flexibility for your investment portfolio. 

So, investing using Charles Schwab in Europe isn’t your only option. Let us know in the comments below what country you’re in and if you plan on using Charles Schwab or one of the alternative platforms!

George Sweeney, DipFA

George is a freelance writer and qualified financial advisor who focuses on educating others in personal finance and investing. His work has been featured on The Motley Fool, Finder, Freetrade, Yahoo Finance, MoneyMagpie, and Online Mortgage Advisor.‍