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Is Charles Schwab available in Germany? Alternatives

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Fact checked by
Franklin Silva
Updated
Jun 13, 2024

Investors in Germany often seek familiar and reputable platforms when they want to put their money to use. Charles Schwab is an investment company with a global reputation, so it’s natural for investors in Germany to inquire if they can use this platform.

Keep reading if you’re eager to find out whether the Charles Schwab platform is accessible to investors in Germany. We’ll uncover all the essential information about opening an account with Charles Schwab and explore other relevant alternatives in Germany.

Is Charles Schwab available in Germany?

Yes, it is possible to sign up for the ‘Schwab One International’ brokerage account in Germany. However, there are some important factors that investors should be aware of when using the platform in Germany.

Charles Schwab primarily operates in the United States, but it provides an ‘international’ service that is accessible to applicants from Germany. It’s worth noting that specific eligibility requirements need to be met, which may narrow down the range of investors for whom this brokerage is a suitable choice. (Further details on this below).

Charles Schwab homepage

How to use Charles Schwab in Germany

Since Germany is part of Europe, residents of this country must adhere to certain restrictions when opening an account with Charles Schwab.

If you’re interested in using the Charles Schwab brokerage in Germany, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Tax ID or social security number – In Europe, this will vary depending on your country of residence.
  • Current ID – You’ll need to use your passport or another suitable form of identification based on your location.
  • Proof of residence – You must submit a recent utility bill or another document confirming your address. This document should display your full name, address, and date.
  • Employment details – You must provide your current employer’s name and mailing address.
  • Access to a scanner – To upload all your documents to Charles Schwab, you’ll need a printer and scanner access.

It’s important to note that Charles Schwab imposes specific requirements and limitations for European investors who wish to use its Schwab One International brokerage account.

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

Some points you need to consider about opening a German 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, you don’t have a commission, but your investment choice is limited. For example, you can’t buy US ETFs.

Charles Schwab alternatives in Germany

These are leading online brokerage options operating in Germany, regulated by top-tier authorities, and providing some features similar to those of Charles Schwab. Given that, here are our suggestions:

eToro

eToro, boasting a user base exceeding 30 million, stands out as the foremost social investment platform where users can emulate and track the strategies of fellow traders and investors. Furthermore, it provides commission-free trading for stocks and ETFs (other fees apply).

Disclaimer: eToro is a multi-asset investment platform. The value of your investments may go up or down. Your capital is at risk.

Interactive Brokers

Catering to the needs of seasoned investors, Interactive Brokers presents an extensive array of products sourced from various global exchanges. In addition, they provide a sophisticated trading platform known as the IB Trader Workstation. They also offer a user-friendly app called IBKR GlobalTrader, tailored for beginners.

XTB

A globally recognised broker for forex and CFDs, this company stands out as a top choice for derivative trading. Moreover, their in-house trading platform, XStation 5, is renowned for its advanced features and user-friendly interface, making it one of the industry’s best options. Notably, they have introduced commission-free trading for real stocks and ETFs in Germany.

DEGIRO

A prominent online brokerage in Europe, this platform has gained recognition for its cost-effective structure. It provides commission-free ETF trading (with external fees applicable) and boasts an extensive range of investment products.

Broker Minimum Deposit US Stock Fees
eToro $50 $0 for buying and selling stocks (spread and conversion fees may apply)
Interactive Brokers $0 Between $0.0005 and $0.0035 per US share (maximum 1% of the trade)
XTB $0 $0 on real stocks and ETFs
DEGIRO €0 €2 per trade (€1 commission plus a €1 handling fee)

#1 eToro

eToro logo
Visit brokerRead review
Products availableStocks, ETFs, Cryptos and CFDs
Minimum deposit$50
Deposit methodsCredit/Debit card, Skrill, Rapid Transfer, Neteller and Bank Transfer
Fees and commissions$0 for buying and selling stocks and ETFs (other fees apply)
RegulatorsCySEC, FCA, and ASIC
Visit eToroRead review

51% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

eToro, established in 2007, is a renowned brokerage firm celebrated for its innovative social trading features. Today, it stands as one of the most prominent fintech companies globally, boasting a user base exceeding 30 million individuals. With access to over 3,000 diverse assets and stocks from 17 different stock exchanges.

eToro’s investment platform, accessible through both web and mobile platforms, serves as a social trading hub. Here, investors can discuss investments, speculations, and market news with fellow traders. eToro also allows users to replicate trading strategies and experiment with a demo account.

Both app versions boast comprehensive and user-friendly interfaces, enabling intuitive, commission-free trading of stocks from various countries, including the US, the UK and, of course, Germany. Furthermore, the app supports ETFs, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs.

The broker places a strong emphasis on reliability and safety, backed by regulation from top-tier authorities like the FCA, ASIC, and CySEC. Investor funds are securely segregated and insured for up to 1 million Euros, providing an additional layer of protection. Additionally, this broker is also authorised by BaFin, the regulatory authority whose primary role is to oversee the safety and protection of the financial sector in Germany.

Considering these compelling attributes, eToro emerges as a robust choice suitable for beginners, intermediate investors, and seasoned professionals in Germany. If you seek more detailed insights into eToro’s services, we recommend perusing our comprehensive eToro review.

eToro is a multi-asset investment platform. The value of your investments may go up or down. Your capital is at risk.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 51% 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.

It is important to read and understand the risks of this investment which are explained in detail at this link.

Zero commission means that no broker fee will be charged when opening or closing the position and does not apply to short or leveraged positions. Other fees apply including FX fees on non-USD deposits and withdrawals. Your capital is at risk. For more information, click here.

#2 Interactive Brokers (IBKR)

Interactive Brokers logo
Visit brokerRead review
Products availableStocks, futures, options, Forex, commodities, bonds, mutual funds, hedge funds, ETFs, CFDs
Minimum deposit$0
Deposit methodsWire bank transfer
Fees and commissionsBetween $0.0005 and $0.0035 per US share (maximum 1% of the trade)
RegulatorsFINRA, SIPC, SEC, CFTC, IIROC, FCA, CBI, AFSL, SFC, SEBI, MAS, MNB
Visit Interactive BrokersRead review

Interactive Brokers is an exceptional choice for European traders and investors. The Interactive Brokers Trader Workstation (TWS) stands out as one of Europe’s premier investing platforms, catering to both novices seeking educational resources and an easy-to-navigate interface, as well as seasoned professionals desiring advanced technical and fundamental trading tools along with extensive research capabilities.

Despite its reputation for attracting advanced traders due to its robust features, wide product selection, and competitive pricing, Interactive Brokers offers the IBKR GlobalTrader mobile app. This user-friendly app is particularly suited for beginners, providing a simplified investment experience without compromising the powerful tools the broker is known for.

Interactive Brokers boasts enticing attributes like low commissions on US stocks, a demo account for practising investment skills, and a diverse range of tradable assets.

Moreover, this brokerage holds an authorisation from BaFin, the regulatory body primarily responsible for ensuring the security and safeguarding of the financial sector in Germany.

These features collectively position it as a compelling alternative to Charles Schwab for German investors. For more comprehensive information, you can refer to our detailed Interactive Brokers review.

#3 XTB

XTB logo
Visit brokerRead review
Products availableStocks, ETFs and CFDs on Stocks, Forex, Indices, Commodities, and Cryptocurrencies
Minimum deposit$0
Deposit methodsCredit/Debit card, Wire transfer, Skrill
Fees and commissions$0 on real stocks and ETFs
RegulatorsCySEC, FCA, KNF, CNMV, and IFSC
Visit XTBRead review

76-83% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

XTB is a prominent global player in the online brokerage sector. It stands out for its regulatory compliance under top-tier authorities, including the UK’s FCA. Notably, it’s listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange and boasts a professional trading platform, XStation 5.

You should be aware that XTB offers 0% commission on stocks and ETFs in Germany, alongside its currently available products like CFDs on several asset classes.

XTB’s research and educational tools shine compared to competitors, enhancing the trading experience. Thanks to its multiple European offices, which allow it to communicate in different languages, XTB provides exceptional customer service.

However, it’s important to note that XTB’s product range is somewhat limited, with a primary focus on CFDs, Forex, and Crypto, while offering access to real stocks and ETFs in select countries, one of them being Germany.

Furthermore, this broker has obtained authorisation from BaFin, the regulatory entity primarily tasked with ensuring the security and protection of Germany’s financial industry.

In essence, that sums up XTB! If you’re seeking a more comprehensive analysis, feel free to explore our XTB review.

#4 DEGIRO

Is Charles Schwab available in Germany? Alternatives 2
Visit brokerRead review
Products availableStocks, Funds, ETFs, Futures, Leveraged Products, Bonds, and Warrants
Minimum deposit€0
Deposit methodsBank Transfer
Fees and commissions€2 per trade (€1 commission plus a €1 handling fee)
RegulatorsAFM, DNB
Visit DEGIRORead review

Investing involves risk of loss.

Established in 2013, DEGIRO stands out as a low-cost brokerage firm that has garnered immense popularity for its low rates. With a user base exceeding 2.5 million, this innovative platform is renowned for its self-directed investment approach, providing the tools needed to embark on your investment journey independently. DEGIRO offers a diverse range of tradable financial assets, including stocks, ETFs, bonds, options, futures contracts, warrants, investment funds, and certain leveraged products.

Notably, DEGIRO allows commission-free trading for select ETFs (though a nominal €1.00 flat handling fee applies alongside external costs), and there are no minimum investment requirements. While the web trading platform is straightforward and efficient, it may be considered basic. However, users tend to adapt to its interface quickly, and the mobile app follows suit. It’s worth mentioning that DEGIRO lacks substantial fundamental research resources, imposes a €2.50 connectivity fee, and lacks pricing alerts.

In terms of security, DEGIRO operates as the Dutch branch of flatexDEGIRO Bank AG, a German-regulated bank. In the improbable scenario where segregated assets cannot be returned to clients, DEGIRO falls under the German Investor Compensation Scheme, which provides compensation for losses stemming from non-returned assets, covering up to 90% (with a maximum of EUR 20,000). It’s important to consider this, particularly if you plan to invest significantly larger sums. Additionally, funds deposited in a DEGIRO Cash Account with flatexDEGIRO Bank AG are guaranteed up to EUR 100,000 under the German Deposit Guarantee Scheme.

For further details, you can read our full DEGIRO review.

Bottom line

Charles Schwab offers the option to open a Schwab One International account for residents in certain European countries like Germany.

Even if it is accessible in your country, Charles Schwab might not be the ideal choice for everyone. It demands a considerably high minimum deposit and comes with limitations on investment options.

Fortunately, German investors have a plethora of alternatives. Numerous reputable brokerages offer more flexible account requirements and a wider range of investment options, making them attractive choices for those seeking to diversify their portfolios.

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Minho Investment Association
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The Minho Investment Association (MIA) is a junior initiative from the University of Minho (Portugal), which aims to promote financial literacy among young people.

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