Should you switch online brokers?
The common advice is to look for online brokers instead of banks as their fees are lower. These costs have a significant impact on your overall returns, so making sure you understand the fee structure is crucial. I have personally used Nordnet when I was living in Norway and have been using Bolero a Belgian broker for almost 3 years. I am pretty satisfied with both platforms but out of all the possible choices in Europe, one platform that stands out is DEGIRO mainly thanks to their low fees.
Since DEGIRO has many “supporters”, I wanted to try the platform for myself and share my experience with you. So I went on to their website to register and open an account, I transferred a small amount and was ready to get started. I unfortunately quickly learned from their customer support that although they were active in many European countries (Belgium, Norway, France, The Netherlands, Switzerland,…) they do not accept Luxembourg fiscal residents 😢 (D’oh!).
I usually prefer to test products/services myself before writing a review here but since I cannot try the service myself, my friend Meer of Mynder kindly accepted to share his experience with DEGIRO on the blog for us.
Guest post by Meer of Mynder
Whether you’re just now starting out with investing or have been a veteran of the space, you have a lot of options. Nowadays there are a plethora of platforms to choose from. Whether it’s going for the option via your own bank, a Robo-advisor, fancy smartphone app or one of the more traditional investment entities.
This endless sea of possible options might be overwhelming for someone just starting out and you might be tempted to just go for the investment offer via your own bank. This is by far the easiest way to invest and you don’t need to be particularly skilled to get started. The bank and your investment account do the work for you.
But as soon as you want to have some more control over what you invest your hard-earned money in, you need a “broker”; a platform where you can buy shares yourself.
For years now, DEGIRO has been my favorite platform due to the broad selection of shares offered and it’s low-cost setup.
DEGIRO is a Dutch online broker that has been around since 2013 and currently operates in more than 18 countries. It has quickly become one of the largest brokers in Europe. Through DEGIRO, investors have access to over fifty stock exchanges worldwide.
Not only European markets but major stock exchanges like those in the USA (ie S&P500, DOW, NASDAQ), Australia and Japan are also part of DEGIRO’s extensive selection.
Low costs at DEGIRO
Unlike with many other investment platforms, DEGIRO has very low costs. And this is important, because – especially for smaller investors – costs can really eat away at the potential gains. With low costs, there’s more of your money at work for you and you ultimately (possibly) have the prospect of more profit.
For example, you invest 100 euros every month, for which you’d have to pay 10 euros in transaction costs each time you buy new stock, you immediately lose 10% in fees. At DEGIRO, buying 100 euros worth of shares on the Dutch Stock Exchange (AEX), on average around € 2.04. Now that’s nice!
If you want to actively invest in shares yourself, you pick and choose the companies in which you want to invest. And as previously said, at DEGIRO the choice is huge.
Consider, for example, popular stocks such as Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, Google or Apple. Or well-known Dutch companies such as Shell, Heineken and ING. They are all available through DEGIRO.
Passive investing in ETFs
One of the most popular ways of investing in recent years has been to buy ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds). They are also called “trackers” because these index funds track a wide selection of stocks in a market.
There’s ETFs that follow hundreds or even thousands of companies. With buying that ETF, you’ve essentially purchased a share in all the companies represented by that ETF.
With an ETF you’re not buying individual shares, but a basket of companies. An ETF that I have been investing in for years is the “Vanguard All-World” ETF, with the code/ticker VWRL.
This ETF tracks the performance of more than 3,000 companies worldwide and as such you have effectively bought a piece of all those companies. On auto-pilot.
But it’s not just Vanguard’s VWRL All-World ETF. There are many more ETFs to choose from. ETFs that follow the US or Asian markets. Or ETFs that follow specific sectors, like precious metals or eSports. There are literally hundreds of index trackers at DEGIRO.
Tip: the VWRL ETF is part of DEGIRO’s so-called “core selection”. This means that you are allowed to buy it once a month without transaction costs (please note the conditions for your country, before you proceed to purchase).
So if, for example, you buy this ETF as soon as your salary is paid and you do this once every month. This way, you’ll never pay any transaction fees. Ka-Ching!
How to start investing at DEGIRO?
Starting out with DEGIRO is easy and straight forward. First, setup your free account on their website. Verify your personal details, your bank account and wire money into your investment account. And you’re off to the races!
Ease of use
The platform itself is very easy to use, both the app and the web version. DEGIRO’s platform offers features that are somewhere in between the clean and simplistic look & feel of Robo-advisors and the more advanced or sophisticated platforms for professional investors. There are some basic charting tools included and most order-types (limit order, market order, stop-loss order etc) are available.
But most of all they’ve tried to make it a one-size-fits-all. Which normally would potentially give a horrible experience with a lot of trade-offs, but not in this case. Newbie investors have an easy time getting to know the platform and will find that it caters to all their basic and more medium-advanced needs.
Conclusion: Investing with DEGIRO
So, should you invest with a broker like DEGIRO? If you intend to give investing a try and would like to do it yourself, instead of using your bank or Robo-advisor, give DEGIRO a Go. As mentioned, there are many providers/brokers in Europe.
But I can highly recommend starting out with DEGIRO, for their low costs and wide range of individual shares and ETFs to choose from. Their interface is clean, easy to use and they also have a neat smartphone app to keep all your investments at your fingertips.
I’ve been with them for years and so far, never had any reason to switch brokers. And of course, none of this is financial advice (no, really, do your own research before trusting some guy on the internet). But, if I could give my younger self some advice, I would recommend starting my DIY investment journey with DEGIRO 😉
About the Author
Meer of Mynder is a blogger from The Netherlands, aiming for financial independence. After 10 years of digging into different money-topics online, he started his blog in 2019 and writes (in Dutch) weekly on topics about investing, habits, saving and the road to financial freedom.
Just one more thing that has been pointed out to me (thanks @sigur_trader): If you are looking at shorting stocks (which I do not do myself and do recommend at all for beginning investors), DeGiro is not the right choice for you. Their risk department can simply halt the operation without explanation. I am a “buy and hold” (lazy 😉?) investor and in it for the long haul so as such most platforms like DEGIRO will offer sufficient possibilities. This is a mention I wanted to make in order to offer an even more complete review of the platform, nothing more, nothing less.
I would like to thank Meer of Mynder once again for this excellent review of DEGIRO and I hope it was helpful to you! And tell me, what about you, amigos? Have you tried the platform? Or are you currently using another one? Let me know in the comments below.
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Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. That means Meer of Mynder may make a small commission (at no cost to you) if you make a purchase. This will help to support his website!