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Is Charles Schwab available in Switzerland? Alternatives in 2024

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 Switzerland 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 Switzerland. We’re going to uncover everything you need to know about opening an account in Charles Schwab and other relevant alternatives in Switzerland.

Is Charles Schwab available in Switzerland?

Yes, it is possible to sign up for the ‘Schwab One International’ brokerage account. But there are some crucial things investors need to understand about using the platform in Switzerland.

Charles Schwab works primarily in the US. However, the company offers an ‘international’ service open to applicants from Switzerland. The downside is that there are some strict criteria to meet, which may limit who this brokerage is suitable for (more on that below).

How to use Charles Schwab in Switzerland?

Since Switzerland is part of Europe, there are some restrictions that this country’s residents must follow to open an account with Charles Schwab.

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

  • Your tax ID or social security number.
  • 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 European investors hoping to use its Schwab One International brokerage account.

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

Some points you need to consider about opening a 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 Swiss franc (CHF), EUR, or any other currency, you’ll have to pay a currency conversion fee to invest.
  • For most US stocks, there’s no trading commission, but investment choice is limited. For example, you can’t buy US ETFs from Switzerland.

Charles Schwab alternatives in Switzerland

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

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

Interactive Brokers | Best overall trading platform

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.

eToro | Best for commission-free investing, beginners, and social trading

The leading social trading platform with 30M+ users worldwide. Copy other traders/investors, invest in one of the pre-built portfolios, or trade for yourself with 0% commissions on 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.

XTB | Best for Forex and CFDs trading

It offers low commission in stock and trading and low spreads on hundreds of markets through Forex, Indices, Commodities, and Cryptocurrencies. Awarded multiple times as the best Forex and CFD broker.

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.

DEGIRO | Best European Discount Broker

One of the leading online brokers in Europe due to its low-cost structure. It offers commission-free ETF trading (external fees apply) and a wide product portfolio.
Disclaimer: Investing involves risk of loss.

Broker Fees for US stocks Minimum Deposit
Interactive Brokers $0.0005-$0.0035 per share (min $0.35 per order) CHF 0 0 (USD 2,000 for margin accounts)
eToro 0% (other fees apply) $50
DEGIRO €/£1 (+ €/£1 handling fee) CHF 0.01
XTB $0 (for CFD on US stocks) $0
Saxo Bank Classic Acc: 0.08% (min. $1); Platinum Acc: 0.05% (min. $1); VIP Acc: 0.03% (min. $1) CHF 0 for classic; CHF 250,000 for Platinum and CHF 1,000,000 for VIP

#1 Interactive Brokers

Is Charles Schwab available in Switzerland? Alternatives in 2024 2
Visit Interactive BrokersIs Charles Schwab available in Switzerland? Alternatives in 2024 3

Interactive Brokers at a glance

Products availableStocks, futures, options, Forex, commodities, bonds, mutual funds, hedge funds, ETFs, CFDs
Minimum deposit0 CHF (USD 2,000 for margin accounts)
Deposit methodsBank Transfer, Transfer from Wise Balance
Fees and commissionsBetween $0.0005 and $0.0035 per US share (min. $0.35 per trade); Between 0.01% and 0.08% for other markets

Interactive Brokers, founded by Thomas Peterffy in the late 1970s, revolutionised finance with automated trading. It’s now a global leader, known for advanced technology and low-cost trading services, offering a wide range of financial instruments to traders and investors worldwide.

Interactive Brokers provides a wide array of financial instruments, encompassing stocks, ETFs, options, futures, and forex across global markets. This extensive selection facilitates precise portfolio diversification and efficient risk control. 

Upheld by top-tier regulatory bodies such as the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA)), the platform guarantees a safe trading environment. Its competitive fee structure and transparent pricing model make it a preferred choice for investors looking to maximise returns through leveraged trading.

All of which makes it a great alternative to Charles Schwab for investors in Switzerland. Take a look at our full Interactive Brokers review and visit Interactive Brokers’ website for more details.

#2 eToro

Is Charles Schwab available in Switzerland? Alternatives in 2024 4
Visit eToroIs Charles Schwab available in Switzerland? Alternatives in 2024 3

51% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

eToro at a glance

Products availableStocks, ETFs, Cryptos, and CFDs on Stocks, ETFs, Commodities, Forex, Indices, and Cryptocurrencies
Minimum deposit$50
Deposit methodsInstant Bank Transfer, SEPA, Swiss PostFinance Card, Maestro, Credit Cards, Debit Cards, and PayPal
Fees and commissions$0 for stocks and ETFs (other fees apply)

eToro solidifies its position as Switzerland’s premier stock trading platform, providing investors with unparalleled access to over 3,000 equities, ETFs, commodities, and more. Trusted by a community of over 30 million investors, the platform holds authorisation from FCA, CySEC and ASIC, establishing eToro as one of Switzerland’s most dependable investment brokers.

eToro distinguishes itself through innovative social trading features such as Copy Trading and a Virtual Account, allowing users to enhance their skills with a CHF 100K demo fund. They consistently receive recognition for their cost-effective fees, competitive spreads, and user-friendly Swiss Francs (CHF) deposit options.

eToro’s investment platform, accessible through web and mobile platforms, is a social trading hub. Here, investors can discuss investments, speculations, and market news with fellow investors. eToro also allows users to replicate trading strategies (CopyTrader™) and invest in ready-made investment portfolios (Smart Portfolios) based on thematic investment strategies.

For more details, visit our eToro review and check eToro’s website directly.

#3 XTB

Is Charles Schwab available in Switzerland? Alternatives in 2024 6
Visit XTBIs Charles Schwab available in Switzerland? Alternatives in 2024 3

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 methodsBank transfers, credit and debit cards, Paypal, and Paysafe
Fees and commissions0% commissions on stocks (other fees apply)

Founded in 2002, XTB presents itself as a market player with extensive worldwide experience. Even though XTB is not regulated by FINMA, it is overseen by top-tier regulators: FCA, KNF, CySEC and FSC.

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, in Switzerland, you can only buy CFDs on stocks, Forex, indices, commodities, and cryptocurrencies. Therefore, you will not have direct exposure to stocks, only indirect exposure via the derivative. We must note that this is a complex and risky financial instrument in which most investors lose money when trading on the platform.

On the 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. 

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

#4 Saxo Bank

Saxo-logo
Visit Saxo BankIs Charles Schwab available in Switzerland? Alternatives in 2024 3

62% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

Saxo Bank at a glance

Products availableStocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds, crypto ETPs, options, futures, Forex, commodities, CFDs and managed portfolios
Minimum depositCHF 0 for Classic; CHF 250,000 for Platinum and CHF 1,000,000 for VIP
Deposit methodsBank Transfer, Credit Card
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).

Saxo Bank provides a vast selection of trading instruments, encompassing stocks, ETFs, treasuries, futures, options, forex, and bonds. This diversity, along with advanced trading tools, comprehensive market research, and real-time news feeds, contributes to a profound trading experience. 

Saxo Bank maintains regulation by esteemed authorities such as FINMA, guaranteeing a secure trading environment for Swiss investors.

In a nutshell, the broker offers low prices, great educational resources, an impressive range of tradable assets, and user-friendly trading applications, making it an excellent alternative to investors in Switzerland thinking about using Charles Schwab.

Want to know more about Saxo? Check our Saxo review and visit Saxo’s website.

#5 DEGIRO

Is Charles Schwab available in Switzerland? Alternatives in 2024 9
Visit DEGIROIs Charles Schwab available in Switzerland? Alternatives in 2024 3

Investing involves risk of loss.

DEGIRO at a glance

Products availableStocks, funds, ETFs, futures, leveraged products, bonds, and warrants
Minimum depositCHF 0.01
Deposit methodsBank Transfer
Fees and commissions€/£1 (+ €/£1 handling fee) and CHF 5 (+CHF 1) for Swiss stocks

DEGIRO was founded in 2008 and provides services to over 2.5 million European clients. DEGIRO is recognised as the top choice for beginners in Switzerland. Its user-friendly design simplifies stock trading, making it easily accessible to new investors.

DEGIRO offers a wide range of investment options, including stocks, ETFs, bonds, options, and futures across global markets. This allows investors to build diversified portfolios aligned with their unique investment objectives and risk tolerance.

While DEGIRO is licensed by the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) and the Dutch Central Bank, it is also available to investors in Switzerland. 

Notably, DEGIRO stands out with its industry-leading low fees, making it an attractive option for savvy investors. The platform’s commitment to transparency and its extensive educational resources provide a solid foundation for beginners to grasp the intricacies of stock trading.

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 Swiss investors. For further details, you can read our full DEGIRO review and check DEGIRO’s website directly.

The bottom line on Charles Schwab in Switzerland

In conclusion, Charles Schwab is available in Switzerland, but there are some important things to consider. Swiss residents can access the ‘Schwab One International’ brokerage account, but it comes with strict criteria, including a $25,000 minimum deposit, trading only in US dollars, and limited investment choices.

For Swiss investors seeking alternatives, there are several options to explore. Interactive Brokers stands out with its wide range of financial instruments, competitive fees, and transparency. DEGIRO is a user-friendly platform with low fees and commission-free ETF trading (handling fees apply) (handling fees apply). eToro offers social trading features and a demo fund for learning. XTB provides extensive experience in global markets with a low minimum deposit. Saxo Bank is favoured by institutional investors, offering a diverse range of trading instruments.

Ultimately, the choice depends on your specific needs and preferences. Charles Schwab may work for some, but these alternatives offer more flexibility and potentially better-suited options for investors in Switzerland. It’s essential to evaluate your goals and requirements before selecting the right platform for your stock trading journey.

Minho Investment Association
Contributor

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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