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Is Charles Schwab available in the Philippines? Alternatives

Minho Investment Association| Updated January 15th, 2024

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 investors in the Philippines want to know if it’s possible to invest using the platform!

Keep on reading if you’re keen to find out if the Charles Schwab platform is available to investors in the Philippines. We’re going to uncover everything you need to know about opening an account in Charles Schwab and other relevant alternatives in the Philippines.

Is Charles Schwab available in the Philippines?

No, it is not possible for a Philippine investor to open an account with Charles Schwab. Although Charles Schwab does offer the ‘Schwab One International’ brokerage account for international clients, the Philippines is one of the countries restricted due to U.S. laws.

If you attempt to open an account in the Philippines, you will find the following:

Source: Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab alternatives in the Philippines

Charles Schwab is not accessible in the Philippines due to U.S. regulations. However, there are several compelling alternatives that offer similar or superior investment opportunities at minimal or no cost. Discover our recommended choices for your investment needs:

Interactive Brokers | Best all-round app

Founded in 1978, IBKR is one of the world’s most trustworthy brokers. It offers an enormous range of financial products (stocks, ETFs, Options), and low currency conversion fees (FX fees). It also launched IBKR GlobalTrader, a modern mobile trading app to trade stocks, ETFs, and options, ideal for novice investors.

Saxo Bank | Best for experienced investors

Saxo is a multi-asset broker providing retail and institutional clients access to a full suite of investment products like stocks, bonds, funds, derivatives, etc. Saxo Bank also has a proprietary trading platform (SaxoTraderPRO) and high-touch customer support.

XTB | Best for beginners

It offers zero-commission in stock and ETF CFDs trading and low spreads on hundreds of markets through Forex, Indices, Commodities, and Cryptocurrencies. Awarded multiple times as the best Forex and CFD broker.
Disclaimer: 77% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

Pepperstone | Best for CFD Trading

Broker founded in 2010 offers a range of investment products, including CFDs on stocks, forex, indices, commodities, cryptocurrencies, and ETFs. Their trading app is popular due to its user-friendly interface, competitive prices, and access to the global financial markets.
Disclaimer: 77-89% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

Broker US Stock Fees Min. deposit Regulators
Interactive Brokers Up to $0.005 per US share (min. $0.35 per order) $0 FINRA, SIPC, SEC, CFTC, IIROC, FCA, CBI, AFSL, SFC, SEBI, MAS, MNB
Saxo Bank Classic Acc: 0.08% (min. $1); Platinum Acc: 0.05% (min. $1); VIP Acc: 0.03% (min. $1) $2,000 FSA, FCA, MAS, FINMA, ACPR, AMF, DNB, FSMA, NBB, SFC, ASIC
XTB $0 (for CFD on US stocks) $0 FCA, KNF, CySEC and FSC
Pepperstone When using MT4/MT5: 0.02 USD per share for CFDs on US shares and ETFs and between 0.07% and 0.20% for other markets. When using cTrader: $3 to open the contract and $3 to close it $0 ASIC, SCB, CMA, CySEC, FCA, BaFin and DFSA

#1 Interactive Brokers

Is Charles Schwab available in the Philippines? Alternatives 1
Visit Interactive BrokersIs Charles Schwab available in the Philippines? Alternatives 2

Interactive Brokers at a glance

Products availableStocks, ETFs, Options, Futures, Forex, Commodities, Bonds and Funds
Minimum deposit$0 (USD 2,000 for margin accounts)
Deposit methodsBank Transfer
Fees and commissions$0.005 per US share (min. $0.35 per order)

Founded in 1978 and publicly listed in NASDAQ (ticker: IBKR), Interactive Brokers is a global online broker that surpassed major financial crises, showing resilience and a rigorous risk management process.

Interactive Brokers offers an advanced investment platform that includes a wide range of products (stocks, options, mutual funds, ETFs, futures, bonds, and currencies) from +135 markets, solid trade execution (IB SmartRouting), and a set of technical and fundamental tools to help you in your investment decisions.

The SEC PH, the financial market regulator in the Philippines, supervises the capital market and oversees all entities qualifying as financial market participants. Although IBKR is not regulated by them, they can operate in the Philippines due to their top-tier regulators like the FCA in the UK.

On the downside, Interactive Brokers’ fee structure is quite complex, the registration process is lengthy (but fully online), and the broker doesn’t offer commission-free trading. However, when considering FX fees, narrower spreads, and the stock loan program, Interactive Brokers’ clients still get significant savings compared to most brokers.

Want to know more about Interactive Brokers? Check our Interactive Brokers Review and visit the Interactive Brokers website.

#2 Saxo Bank

Visit Saxo BankIs Charles Schwab available in the Philippines? Alternatives 2

62% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

Saxo Bank at a glance

Products availableStocks, ETFs, CFDs, Options, Futures, Forex, Bonds and Funds
Minimum deposit$2,000
Deposit methodsCredit/Debit card, Wire transfer
Fees and commissionsClassic Acc: 0.08% (min. $1); Platinum Acc: 0.05% (min. $1); VIP Acc: 0.03% (min. $1)

Launched in 1992, Saxo Bank is one of the most solid financial entities in the brokerage industry, with a proven track record of success. It lets you trade over 70,000 financial instruments through their trading platforms: SaxoTraderPRO (for PC) and SaxoTraderGO (on mobile).

The wide range of cash and margin trading products across global markets includes stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds, cryptos, options, futures, CFDs, forex, and more! Saxo Bank presents its advanced research tools for “Buy and hold or trade on leverage”. 

Saxo features three trading platforms: SaxoInvestor, SaxoTraderGO, and SaxoTraderPRO. Each app builds upon the former in terms of available tools and sophistication–with SaxoTraderGO being an award-winning choice.

The company remains regulated by many top-tier authorities, such as FCA, SEC, FINRA, BaFin and ASIC.

If you want to learn more about the broker, check our Saxo Bank review and visit Saxo’s website!

#3 XTB

Is Charles Schwab available in the Philippines? Alternatives 4
Visit XTBIs Charles Schwab available in the Philippines? Alternatives 2

76-85% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

XTB at a glance

Products availableCFDs on stocks, Forex, indices, commodities, and cryptocurrencies
Minimum deposit$0
Deposit methodsCredit/Debit card, Wire transfer, Skrill, Neteller
Fees and commissionsCommission-free trading for CFD on stocks using the Standard Account (markup of 0.30% included in the spread)

Founded in 2002, XTB is a major player in the brokerage industry with extensive worldwide experience, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – plus other relevant regulatory bodies – and listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. 

The award-winning trading app XStation, available for mobiles and desktops, enables you to trade a wide range of instruments, gives you access to several technical analysis tools, allows you to copy the trades of other investors, and provides you with comprehensive educational resources. However, you can only buy CFDs on stocks (and ETFs) in the Philippines. Therefore, you will not have direct exposure to stocks, only indirect exposure via the derivative. 

Another downside: you will face an inactivity fee of €10/month after one year of non-trading, and if you have not deposited in the last 90 days, it charges high commissions on CFDs of cryptocurrencies but low costs for Forex. 

Want to know more about XTB? Check our XTB Review and visit XTB’s website.

#4 Pepperstone

Is Charles Schwab available in the Philippines? Alternatives 6
Visit PepperstoneIs Charles Schwab available in the Philippines? Alternatives 2

74-89% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

Pepperstone at a glance

Products availableCFDs on Forex, Index, Stocks, Currency Indices, Commodities, ETFs
Minimum deposit$0
Deposit methodsCredit/Debit card, Wire transfer, PayPal, Poli, Neteller, Skrill, BPay and UnionPay
Fees and commissions0.02 USD per share for CFDs on US shares and ETFs and between 0.07% and 0.20% for other markets

Pepperstone is an Australian brokerage company founded in 2010 and regulated by many top-tier authorities such as the FCA or the ASIC. The broker allows you to trade on popular trading apps such as MetaTrader 4 and 5, and the trading app Pepperstone cTrader, available for iOS, Android, and Windows, is recommended by the company for all types of investors.

The company also provides a social trading platform called DupliTrade, where you can automate your investments from the MetaTrader account, coping strategies from other traders, and enjoy a demo account to practice investments.

Pepperstone is a CFD broker. This is an instrument that needs to be traded with extreme care because it often leads to losses due to the leverage effect that can magnify any loss.

The bottom line on Charles Schwab in the Philippines

In conclusion, Charles Schwab is not available for investors in the Philippines due to U.S. regulations. 

However, there are great options to consider. Interactive Brokers (IBKR) offers a wide range of products and an intuitive and complete app. Saxo Bank is excellent for more advanced investors, offering various investment choices and advanced tools. XTB offers low spreads and is good for beginners in most countries, but in the Philippines, they only allow trading Stocks and ETFs through CFDs, which might be tricky for beginners. Pepperstone, an Australian CFD broker, gives many trading options and multiple deposit methods.

The best online broker in your specific case will depend on your profile, preference, and objectives. Explore the websites above and decide for yourself!

A reminder that the above should not be seen as investment advice and should be considered information only. Investors should do their own research and diligence about the best-suited services and opportunities for their risk, returns, and impact strategy.

Hope we helped, and leave your comments below!

Minho Investment Association

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