Germany, the heartbeat and financial center of the European Union, is one of the world’s best places to reside for professional investors and traders. Options trading is no exception, with Germany’s DAX index making a full recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic by December 2020!
That means Germany is one of the most proactive and lucrative nations for options trading, whether retail or institutionally. The country’s regulation favors both eurozone- and US-based trading, with access to all the industry’s best names.
We saw the need for a clear guide on options trading in Germany: to summarize its leading brokers, their merits, and where they fall short. This article delves into our top five picks and why. Let’s get to it.
What Makes a Good Broker for Options Trading in Germany?
Options brokers in Germany keep up with the global standards set by the US, the world’s most active financial marketplace. Good brokers in Germany have these seven virtues in common:
- Low account or trading minimums
- Competitive and transparent fees
- Many product options
- Multiple trading and analytic tools
- Support for news alerts
- Ample learning material
- The ability to trade real options and not CFDs on options (more about it on the differences between CFDs vs real shares)
Not every options broker will make our list, but it helps us determine the truly best brokers out there.
The Best Options Brokers in Germany
Interactive Brokers | The globe’s award-winning default broker
With a history spanning more than 40 years, IBKR remains one of the most trustworthy brokers available and is unofficially the globe’s default broker, including Germany. For options, there are per contract fees varying by country, but generally capped at EUR 3. Interactive Brokers also launched IBKR GlobalTrader, a modern mobile trading app to trade options, stocks, and ETFs, ideal for novice investors.
Saxo Bank | Premium online broker providing incredibly research and tools
While a Danish online broker, Saxo Bank has prepared an incredible offering for residents of Germany inclusive of listed options, forex options, commodities, futures, and more. They provide a tiered pricing system that balances monthly fees and trading commissions.
DEGIRO | Reliable low-cost options broker for global access
DEGIRO stands out as an options broker for the knowledgeable trader who knows what they’re doing and wants the right tools for succeeding across international markets. They provide a solid range of ETFs, stocks, bonds, futures, options, commodities, and more, while keeping to a per contract option fee of EUR 0.75.
Disclaimer: Investing involves risk of loss.
tastytrade | Excellent discount broker, but US-focused
Tastytrade, formerly known as Tastyworks, stands out as an up-and-coming options broker focusing on the retail trader who truly wants to hone their craft. They provide options trading in addition to futures, stocks, indices, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies while keeping to USD 1 per options contract (0 to close).
1# Interactive Brokers
IB at a glance
Subsidiary to the Nasdaq-listed IBKR and serving German residents, Interactive Brokers Ireland echoes its parent’s world-leading strength, offering, and product range–options included. They earned the trust of options traders and the top spot on our list of the best options brokers in Germany through their commitment to global access and risk management.
The platform serves both institutions and individuals, beginners and professionals, by marrying global access to nearly all available asset classes–options included–with an accessible web platform and streamlined mobile apps. In particular, IBKR GlobalTrader leads the global industry in simplified stock and options, including Germany.
They charge a leading commission rate of USD 0.65 per contract for American markets and GBP 1.70 for stock and index options based in the UK. They provide zero account opening fees and no minimum activity fees.
Interested? Read our comprehensive IBKR review.
2# Saxo Bank
Saxo at a glance
Our runner-up, Saxo Bank is a deeply research-oriented broker with a track record, like IBKR, spanning decades. They cater to all levels of experience with a variety of different platforms, but their focus on premium perks and design works best for intermediate to advanced options traders.
We find that SaxoTraderGO will work best for most traders, while those who operate professionally or daily could do even better with SaxoTraderPRO. The former is an award-winning platform that blends the sophistication of desktop-based trading alongside a powerful mobile app for 24/7 coverage.
Their pricing structure feels somewhat convoluted with three possible options, but fortunately, they explain the key details well. The basic “Classic” choice requires a minimum of EUR 2,000 and charges EUR 3 per European stock option contract, while the “VIP” choice provides the cheapest commission rate at EUR 1.
Investing involves risk of loss.
DEGIRO at a glance
There’s a lot to love about DEGIRO. We would rank this broker first place for options trading in Germany if the main priority was cost. DEGIRO is Europe’s leading broker for low-cost options trading through an advanced desktop platform, or streamlined mobile app, providing access to European and American options.
The platform operates an extensive blog catering to beginners and intermediate traders, or anyone who wishes to brush up on the basics before diving into options trading. You can immediately feel that DEGIRO, while championing the “do-it-yourself” ethos, also has “safety first” in mind. This is not a discount brokerage that sees you as a number and wants you to succeed.
From a cost perspective, it’s extremely competitive at EUR 0.75 plus a flat EUR 5 for “connecting” to relevant options exchanges. The broker does cover the necessities for active trading, such as charting, news alerts, and analyst views, but the research may not be deep enough for value- or fundamentals-based investors. A solid third place entry.
Interested? Read our comprehensive DEGIRO review.
tastytrade at a glance
Based in the US, tastytrade is a relatively new options trading firm that caters to “do-it-yourself” traders who avoid algorithms or robo-advisors. They offer access to stocks, options, futures, indices, commodities, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies. In fact, their trading platform was built by the same engineers who devised TD Ameritrade’s “thinkorswim.”
Tastytrade provides a comprehensive trading platform across both desktop and mobile interfaces. However, there is a learning curve wherein beginners should learn the basics of delta, gamma, and so on, before diving into tastytrade. Once you’re past that, they allow you to follow leading or popular options traders.
For stock options, they charge USD 1 per contract for opening a position and nothing to close. They also offer complete transparency by detailing each possible fee. They are competitive but lack the research and educational material of IBKR.
The bottom line
Options trading is robust and extremely competitive in Germany, with world-leading providers and low fees. Selecting the best options broker as a German resident is still going to be a difficult choice as interest in retail trading continues to grow. We’ve narrowed down the selection to five leading choices based on our criteria.
Each of our recommended options brokers in Germany excels at certain aspects. Do you value research in addition to options trading? Saxo. Do you prefer an established, global platform known for its reliability and low fees? IBKR.
Need more recommendations? Check out our platform finder.
Can you buy options in Germany?
Absolutely! Germany is one of the world’s leading economies and financial centres. However, a few brokers may be limited to US stocks and stock options. US-based options brokers such as TD Ameritrade and Robinhood do not work in Germany.
What is an options broker?
Usually related to “full-service brokers” that try to provide all the necessary tools for an intermediate or professional trader, an options broker is an online intermediary between you and the exchanges that enables the trading of options. The best options brokers in Germany offer stock options, futures, and options on futures.
Does eToro offer options trading?
How do you open an options trading account?
While the process changes per options broker, it remains relatively straightforward. Simply be ready to provide digital copies of official IDs (i.e., passport, driving license, etc.) and proof of address, and transfer an opening sum through ACH or wire, for example. The options broker, like IBKR, may want to verify your age as well.
How do you buy options?
Thanks to advances in web and mobile trading platforms, trading options remains largely intuitive. Almost all mobile apps guide you through the purchase (opening) process and the selling (closing) process. Web platforms may have a learning curve and require an introductory tutorial. This is the case for some users who use IBKR, for example.
However, we recommend at least a beginner options course to walk you through calls, puts, strategies, opening, closing, and margin trading.
What are the risks of buying, trading, and selling options?
Since options trading almost always includes the use of margin or borrowed funds, the risks generally are much greater than trading stocks or commodities with only the cash you own. This is referred to as leverage. Again, we recommend completing a basic course in options trading, which is almost always provided by brokers serving Germany.