If you’re looking for a trading platform with low fees Degiro might be the answer. Degiro is a Dutch online broker founded in 2013. It provides traders access to stock markets in the US, UK, Europe, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and a few others.
You can trade stocks, ETFs, bonds, options, futures and CFD.
The company is regulated by The Netherlands Authority for Financial Markets (AFM), the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.
Opening an account in Degiro
I’ve opened my account on the Ireland branch of Degiro, mainly because it uses English as its language. It has about 18 different local websites among which are Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, UK, France, Italy, Spain.
Topping up your account
You can open an account from any country, but you’ll need an EU bank account in order to fund your account. Not only that, but the bank account needs to be in one of the countries they operate. And they don’t accept payments from providers like Revolut, Transferwise, because they’re not banks.
The bank account needs to be from Norway, Switzerland or an EU country except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Romania.
If you don’t live in one of the 18 countries they operate you could either
- Visit one of those countries and create a bank account there
- Find a bank that operates digitally and lets you create an account without going to a local branch of the bank
I chose the latter and created an account on BUNQ, an online Dutch bank that will provide you with an EUR IBAN for free. You can also choose to use their Maestro card for a 7 EUR monthly subscription. I didn’t really need that, so I only use the IBAN account they provided. So, it’s a bit of a mess the way I transfer money into my Degiro account: I’m moving money from my credit card into my Revolut account. I’m converting that money into EUR and then transfer it to BUNQ. From BUNQ, I can finally top-up my Degiro account. It takes around 2 days to do this dance, but hey, it works.
One cool feature Degiro has is that it links your Degiro account only to one bank account. This means that if your account details are stolen, your money will stay safe in your account. Of course, the attacker might mess up your trades really bad, so you’re still not 100% safe.
What to do while you wait for your account top-up
Degiro compensates for the fact that you need a few days to add money to your account by letting you trade with a credit line. Based on your current portfolio amount, and the risk level of the investments you made, you have a sort of a credit line to use.
For example, if you invested 10.000 EUR in your portfolio in some US stocks and you have no more cash available in your account, you’ll still have around 3000 EUR available to trade. I can’t find however anywhere on their website how that works and where is the money from. There’s some interest to be paid if you run on debt by the end of the month, but I can’t say for sure how is that calculated. I’ve run a few months with about 2000 EUR used from that credit line and paid at the end of the month some 5 EUR fees. In the months I covered that deficit in a few days I didn’t pay any fees though. Anyway, I’m still trying to find out what exactly are the rules with these extra funds.
The Degiro platform
Degiro has both a website and a mobile app that traders can use. The mobile app is a bit basic but is enough to view your investments and open or close trades.
Some of the stock prices are 15 minutes late, so I constantly need to check google or other websites about what the actual price a stock has.
There’s no notification if a trade was successful, so that’s not ideal. You put an order and then you’ll need to check and see if it’s still there or it was fulfilled and at what price.
There’s no educational content, news about stocks, a community where people discuss trades. No nothing. Degiro is just a platform that lets you trade at almost zero fees. They state that they don’t provide investment advice and they keep to it.
One thing that I don’t like is that on the portfolio page you don’t see the total result +- of your current trade. You see an aggregate total result on the total trades you made in a certain product. It doesn’t matter that I bought Apple stocks at 200 USD and now they’re worth 170 EUR. The total results would still show that I have a positive return because I did some trades 3 months ago where I bought Apple stocks at 160 USD and sold them at 220 USD. You either need to keep a separate list with your trades and the buying price or constantly check your transactions log to see what was the value of the stock when you bought it and if you’re really on the plus with the current trade or not.
Apparently, Degiro is planning to change the portfolio interface and show more relevant results (according to an email I received yesterday) but they didn’t give any timeline yet.
The funds you have on Degiro platform are protected by the Dutch Investor Protection Scheme up to 20.000 EUR. More about this you can find on this page.
There are also some technical details about how your money is not kept by Degiro, but they’re put in money market funds from Morgan Stanley. And that this is a safe way to keep a large amount of money and institutional investors like pension funds do this. You can read more about this on Degiro’s website.
Trading on the US markets costs less than 1 USD per trade. Trading on various European markets it usually costs more. You can read more about the exact fees on their website.
Besides the low fees, one reason why some people choose Degiro is because of their commission-free ETFs. Every month Degiro updates its list of ETFs for which you don’t pay commissions when you buy or sell them. If one of the ETFs you’re interested in is in that list, it might be a good reason to use Degiro.
On the other hand, my dividends were also heavily taxed with a 35% deducted tax, so for me, Degiro is not a great platform for dividend investing. It most likely has to do with me being a Romanian resident with a Dutch bank account. If my residence doesn’t match my bank account’s country, I get taxed twice, according to Degiro.
Conclusions on Degiro
I like the low fees (less than 1USD per trade). There’s no maintenance fee, so it’s a good platform for buying and holding stocks/bonds/ETFs for a long time.
The user interface is not great, and the delay in the stock price update sucks. But it’s still the cheapest platform on the market.
Some of the ETFs have no fees and Degiro keeps a list of them here. There’s no documentation about them though, and you’ll need to research them on other platforms.
If you found my review useful, you can also check out my thoughts on another platform I use, eToro.
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