DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers for European Portfolio: Who is cheaper in 2022?

By Baptiste Wicht | Updated: | Investing

(Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links)

DEGIRO and Interactive Brokers are great brokers for European investors. But how do they compare exactly? Which one should you choose? Let’s find out!

In this article, I compare DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers in terms of price for a European ETF portfolio. I compare different scenarios that should cover the needs of most long-term investors.

We only compare the costs of both brokers, not the features and usability. If you are interested in the features, I have written reviews of both brokers.

And remember: Investing involves the risk of loss. Always do your research before you invest and know why you invest and what you invest in.

Our investment portfolios

For this comparison of brokers, we consider two different portfolios.

Since the fees do not change, we are not interested in the exact ETFs used. We are only interested in which exchange you purchase the ETFs.

For a choice of ETFs, I wrote about possible portfolios with European ETFs. To know why we have to invest in European ETFs, you can read about why we may be losing access to superior U.S. ETFs.

The first portfolio is for a Swiss investor. This investor has 25% of his portfolio in a Swiss ETF (from the SIX stock exchange). And the rest of the portfolio is from a European ETF (from the Euronext Paris stock exchange).

Our second portfolio, for a European investor, is even more straightforward. This investor has 100% of his portfolio in European ETFs (from the Euronext Paris Stock Exchange).

In both cases, each investor only invests once a month in one ETF. It is a perfect way to invest and with low fees. Some people are investing every quarter. But it barely reduces fees, and it makes you keep more cash. Investing every month is also an excellent way to build an investment habit. So monthly investments make more sense.

For these two investors, we compare the prices of two brokers: DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers. These two brokers are among the cheapest available in Europe. But who is more affordable for each scenario? Let’s find out!

DEGIRO Fees

First, we study the fees for each service. Let’s start with DEGIRO.

DEGIRO used to have two different accounts: Basic and Custody. There are a few others, but they do not matter to simple investors. In 2022, DEGIRO stopped offering the Custody account to new customers. However, existing customers with the Custody account can keep it. Therefore, I still compare the two account types.

The difference between the accounts is that DEGIRO can lend your shares if you have a Basic account. With a custody account, they cannot lend your shares. But you have to pay some extra fees.

Regardless of your account type, you have to pay a connectivity fee of 2.5 EUR (2.68 CHF) per year and per stock exchange on which you own shares. If you have an ETF on SIX and one on Euronext Paris, you pay 5 EUR per year. However, your local stock exchange is for free. So, if you are a Swiss investor, you get SIX for free.

If you convert currency on your account, you pay a fee of 0.25%. It can quickly become expensive once you invest a large amount of money. A currency exchange happens if your base currency is CHF, and you buy an ETF in EUR.

The fee system of DEGIRO is pretty simple. Unfortunately, it is slightly different for each country. I wish DEGIRO had the same prices regardless of which country you come from.

There is also a collection of Core ETFs, free of transaction costs with DEGIRO. You still have to pay currency exchange fees if necessary. But the other expenses are waived. We do not use that for this comparison since that would significantly restrain our choice. But if you choose ETFs in the free list, you can make it much cheaper.

Basic Account

With DEGIRO Basic, a Swiss investor pays 3 EUR (3 CHF) for each purchase of a Swiss ETF. And the price is also the same (3 EUR (3 CHF)) for a European ETF. 2 EUR goes to DEGIRO while the other 1 EUR covers the third-party (the stock exchange) costs.

Now, for the European investor case, I take the example of DEGIRO France. The fees are a bit different from country to country. So, if you are not in France, you can check out the prices on your DEGIRO website.

Interestingly, this investor only pays 1 EUR (1 CHF) for each purchase of a European ETF. DEGIRO has no fees for this transaction. There are only third-party costs. It would be the same price for a Swiss ETF. But European investors are unlikely to invest in Swiss ETFs. Interestingly, this is significantly cheaper than investing for a Swiss investor.

Custody Account

Update 2022: This account does not exist anymore

With DEGIRO custody, the transaction fees are the same as for Basic.

But you also have to pay a fee when you receive a dividend. You pay 1 EUR and 3% of the dividends for each dividend. In our simulation, we simulate a 1.8% dividend yield and quarterly dividends.

Again, remember that this account type is not available anymore.

Interactive Brokers Fees

Now, we also have to study the fees for Interactive Brokers. They do not have two account types, but they have two fee systems: Fixed and Tiered. So we compare these two. Other than the prices, there are no differences between the two pricing systems.

Regardless of where you live, you pay the same fees. This makes the fees a bit simpler. In both cases, there are no custody fees nor inactivity fees!

You pay 2 USD (2 CHF) for currency exchange for both account types. The Swiss investor must exchange some CHF into EUR to buy European ETFs.

Fixed Pricing

The Interactive Brokers Fixed pricing is straightforward.

For buying an ETF on the Swiss Stock Exchange, you pay 0.10% of the total transaction. The minimum fee is 10 CHF, and there is no maximum fee.

For purchasing an ETF on the European Stock Exchange, you pay 0.10% as well. But the minimum fee is only 4 EUR (4.28 CHF), and the maximum is 29 EUR (31.05 CHF).

In some cases, your order may use IB Smart Routing. In that case, the fees can be even lower. However, it is difficult to know which order uses which routing system. Therefore, I assume the higher fees. But it is good to know that fees can go even lower!

Tiered Pricing

The Interactive Brokers Tiered system is more complicated.

First, for each region, you must pay some transaction fees to IB. Then, based on the stock exchange, you must pay some extra fees. And they are entirely different based on which exchange.

For buying an ETF on the Swiss Stock Exchange (I took EBS), you pay 0.05% in transaction fees to IB (with a minimum of 1.50 CHF and a maximum of 49 CHF). You then pay a flat fee of 1.5 CHF for the exchange and an exchange fee of 0.02%. On top of that, you pay a 0.55 CHF clearing fee and a 1 CHF trade reporting fee.

For buying an ETF on the European Stock Exchange (Euronext Paris), you pay 0.05% in IB transaction fees with a minimum of 1.25 EUR (1.34 CHF) and a maximum of 29 EUR (31.06 CHF). You pay a 0.01% exchange fee (with a minimum of 0.8 EUR). And the clearing fee is 0.10 EUR.

We can observe that it is much cheaper to trade on Euronext than on SIX. Switzerland does have a reputation for being expensive!

As you can see, this is much more complicated than the Fixed system. But you do not have to worry about this; I do all the math for you!

Swiss Investor – DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers

Let’s start with our Swiss portfolio, with 25% of a Swiss ETF and 75% of a European ETF.

In this case, our example investor invests once every four months in the Swiss ETF and the other months in the European ETF. The Swiss Investor has CHF as its base currency. It means that buying the European ETF incurs a currency conversion.

It is the kind of portfolio that most Swiss invest in. If you do not want a Swiss ETF, skip to the next section for a complete Europe ETF Portfolio. However, the following section uses EUR as a base currency.

For this Swiss investor, we compare DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers for several scenarios.

Starting investor

Our first scenario is with a person starting investing.

The investor begins with 25’000 CHF and invests 1000 CHF every month. It is a typical scenario for someone just starting investing in the stock market. But this is only an example. There is no problem starting with zero CHF.

Here are the detailed results of this scenario:

DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers for a Standard Swiss Investor
DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers for a Standard Swiss Investor

And here are the total fees for each broker account:

  • DEGIRO Basic: 56.98 CHF
  • DEGIRO Custody: 78.42 CHF
  • Interactive Brokers Fixed: 86.52 CHF
  • Interactive Brokers Tiered: 52.35 CHF

In this case, Interactive Brokers Tiered is slightly cheaper than DEGIRO Basic, but it is not significantly different. We can see that even for a small portfolio, the Basic account of DEGIRO is already considerably cheaper than the Custody account.

So, in this particular case, Interactive Brokers Tiered and DEGIRO Basic are the best choices.

Standard Investor I

For the second scenario, we can take an investor who has 100’000 CHF and invests 2000 CHF every month. After a few years of investing, this is the state that many investors can reach.

This scenario yields the following results for the different brokers:

DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers for a Standard Swiss Investor
DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers for a Standard Swiss Investor

And here are again the total fees for each broker account:

  • DEGIRO Basic: 79 CHF
  • DEGIRO Custody:  146 CHF
  • Interactive Brokers Fixed: 87 CHF
  • Interactive Brokers Tiered: 53 CHF

Interactive Brokers Tiered is now significantly cheaper than DEGIRO Basic. We can also observe that the Custody account of DEGIRO starts to become expensive because we get more dividends.

So, in this particular case, Interactive Brokers Tiered is the best choice. However, it is only marginally cheaper than DEGIRO Basic. Both are excellent choices for this scenario.

Standard Investor II

Let’s see what happens if we invest 5000 CHF monthly instead of 2000 CHF. It is still a typical investing case.

DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers for a Standard Swiss Investor - 5000 CHF per month
DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers for a Standard Swiss Investor – 5000 CHF per month

This scenario would give us the following totals:

  • DEGIRO Basic: 147 CHF
  • DEGIRO Custody:  224 CHF
  • Interactive Brokers Fixed: 93 CHF
  • Interactive Brokers Tiered: 68 CHF

We can see that Interactive Brokers is the best option here. But we can also see that the gap between Tiered and Fixed pricing is no longer significant. DEGIRO Basic starts to get expensive because of the currency exchange fees. And the Custody account is starting to get expensive because of the fees on dividends. Interestingly, DEGIRO Basic is now even more expensive than IB Fixed.

Once again, in this particular case, Interactive Brokers Tiered would be the best choice.

    Advanced Investor

    Let’s check the last scenario for our Swiss investor. This time, our investor has 500’000 CHF and is investing 10’000 CHF every month. This scenario is not typical since this is a lot of money. But this is still possible.

    DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers for an Advanced Swiss Investor
    DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers for an Advanced Swiss Investor

    We get the following totals from this case:

    • DEGIRO Basic: 259 CHF
    • DEGIRO Custody:  571 CHF
    • Interactive Brokers Fixed: 138 CHF
    • Interactive Brokers Tiered: 100 CHF

    Not a lot of things have changed in this scenario. We can note that the gaps between the different options are increasing. The Tiered account is still the best option. Custody is too costly now, about two times more expensive than DEGIRO Basic.

    In this case, Interactive Brokers Tiered is the cheapest option.

    Conclusion Swiss Investor

    My top pick
    Interactive Brokers
    5.0
    No custody fees
    Pros:
    • Extremely affordable
    • Wide range of investing instruments

    We can draw several conclusions for Swiss investors:

    • Interactive Brokers Tiered is the cheapest account
    • The difference between Interactive Brokers Tiered and DEGIRO Basic is relatively small.
    • DEGIRO Custody account becomes expensive once your portfolio increases and generates more dividends. You may consider using Interactive Brokers if you do not want your broker to lend your shares.
    • Most of the fees of DEGIRO come from the currency exchanges.

    For Swiss investors, I recommend using Interactive Brokers.

    It does not mean that DEGIRO is a bad broker for Swiss investors. In the worst scenario, you would pay 159 CHF more per year. This is not a significant amount. DEGIRO is still a great broker, not just as cheap as IB. If you do not want a broker from the United States, go with DEGIRO!

    European Investor – DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers

    If you live in Europe, you likely have a portfolio with only European ETFs.

    In this case, the example investor invests every month in a European ETF. It is a simple scenario. Since a European investor has euros, there will be no currency conversion in this scenario. It makes a significant difference!

    This should be the case for most European Investors except for Swiss investors. It could also be different for people from the United Kingdom since they do not have euros.

    Some of the prices from DEGIRO vary from country to country. For this example, I took the prices from France. Interactive Brokers has no difference based on where you come from.

    For this European investor, we compare DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers for the same scenarios as before.

    Starting investor

    Our first scenario is for a person that is starting to invest. The investor begins with 25’000 EUR and invests 1000 EUR every month. This scenario is typical for a European investor just starting investing in the stock market.

    Here are the detailed results of this scenario:

    DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers for a Starting European Investor
    DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers for a Starting European Investor

    And here are the total fees for each broker account:

    • DEGIRO Basic: 6 EUR
    • DEGIRO Custody: 27.12 EUR
    • Interactive Brokers Fixed: 48 EUR
    • Interactive Brokers Tiered: 24.60 EUR

    In this case, DEGIRO Basic is significantly cheaper than Interactive Brokers. But both are affordable in this case.

    So, in this case, DEGIRO Basic is the best option. But IB is also very cheap.

    Standard investor I

    Our second scenario is with a person in the second stage of investing. The investor already has a portfolio of 100’000 EUR. This standard investor invests 2000 EUR each month.

    Here are the detailed results for this scenario:

    DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers for a Standard European Investor
    DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers for a Standard European Investor

    And here are the total fees for each broker account:

    • DEGIRO Basic: 6 EUR
    • DEGIRO Custody: 71.41 EUR
    • Interactive Brokers Fixed: 48 EUR
    • Interactive Brokers Tiered: 24.60 EUR

    Almost nothing changed in this scenario. DEGIRO Custody gets more expensive because of more dividends.

    So, in this case, DEGIRO Basic remains the best option. But IB is also very cheap.

    Standard Investor II

    Let’s see what would happen if this standard investor would invest 5000 EUR per month instead of 1000 EUR.

    DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers for a Standard European Investor - 5000 EUR per month
    DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers for a Standard European Investor – 5000 EUR per month

    This scenario would give us the following fees per broker account:

    • DEGIRO Basic: 6 EUR
    • DEGIRO Custody: 81.99 EUR
    • Interactive Brokers Fixed: 60 EUR
    • Interactive Brokers Tiered: 39.60 EUR

    Now that the investments increase, IB becomes more expensive while the prices for DEGIRO do not change. The gap is starting to be significant here.

    For this particular case, DEGIRO Basic is the best option.

    Advanced Investor

    Let’s check the final scenario for our European investor. Our last investor has 500’000 EUR and is investing 10’000 EUR every month. It is not a typical scenario since this is a lot of money. But this is still possible for dedicated investors or high-income earners.

    This scenario would give us these detailed results:

    DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers for an Advanced European Investor
    DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers for an Advanced European Investor

    Here are the prices for each broker account:

    • DEGIRO Basic: 6 EUR
    • DEGIRO Custody: 317 EUR
    • Interactive Brokers Fixed: 120 EUR
    • Interactive Brokers Tiered: 69.60 EUR

    Once again, DEGIRO Basic is the best option,  11 times cheaper than Interactive Brokers Tiered.

    Conclusion European Investor

    Great broker for Europe
    DEGIRO
    4.0
    Very affordable

    Everything you need to start investing in the stock market! Trade U.S. securities for as little as 0.50 CHF!

    Pros:
    • Great prices
    • Many investing instruments

    We can draw several conclusions for European investors:

    • DEGIRO Basic is the cheapest account
    • Interactive Brokers Tiered is a good option for small investors
    • DEGIRO Custody account becomes expensive once your portfolio increases and generates more dividends. You may consider using Interactive Brokers if you do not want your broker to lend your shares.
    • Investing without currency exchanges can save a lot of money.

    Most European Investors should go with DEGIRO.

    One advantage of IB is that you can move from country to country without changing your account to a new entity. With DEGIRO, the entity you use depends on where you live. So, if you move abroad, you may have to switch your account, which is not free. So, if you plan to move abroad or be a nomad, I recommend Interactive Brokers.

    Conclusion – DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers

    My top pick
    Interactive Brokers
    5.0
    No custody fees
    Pros:
    • Extremely affordable
    • Wide range of investing instruments

    There you have it! We now know the cheaper option between DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers for several scenarios. Interestingly, both broker accounts are competitive. There is no bad option between these two brokers.

    We can draw some conclusions from this comparison:

    • For a Swiss Investor, Interactive Brokers Tiered should be the most affordable broker.
    • DEGIRO Basic should be the most affordable broker option for a European investor.
    • There is very little difference in prices between DEGIRO Basic and Interactive Brokers Tiered. Both brokers are very affordable.
    • DEGIRO Custody is quickly becoming expensive as your portfolio grows in size.

    So which should you choose? Swiss investors should probably go with Interactive Brokers Tiered Account. If they do not want a US broker, they should go with DEGIRO.

    European investors, on the other hand, should probably go with DEGIRO. It is significantly cheaper for beginner investors.

    If you need more information on these brokers, you can read my reviews:

    What about you? Which broker do you use?

    Baptiste Wicht is the author behind thepoorswiss.com. In 2017, he realized that he was falling into the trap of lifestyle inflation. He decided to cut on his expenses and increase his income. This blog is relating his story and findings. In 2019, he is saving more than 50% of his income. He made it a goal to reach Financial Independence. You can send Mr. The Poor Swiss a message here.

    158 thoughts on “DEGIRO vs Interactive Brokers for European Portfolio: Who is cheaper in 2022?”

    1. Hello,

      Me again. I’m interested to know your opinion on the following.

      After my bills and savings for tax etc, I will have approx. 1,000CHF per month to invest, this is in addition to the money I pay into my 3a each month (In the process of moving from UBS to Finpension, 100% global).

      I’m keen to achieve the 80/20 split for international exposure and home bias however, when investing a relatively modest amount, the commission is going to be proportionally much larger (2*shares in CHSPI= 272CHF+ between 1.5 and 3CHF of commission (I believe the commission would be approximately the same for 20 of the same shares?)) this would add up over the course of a year if I did the same purchase each month.

      In this case would I be better off doing the following, every month for 3 months, buying exclusively VT. Then in month 4 buying only CHSPI?

      Or is it indeed the case that I shouldn’t be too concerned about the commission as above?

      Thanks,
      Jordan.

      1. OR indeed (just had a thought but not sure if it’s stupid), choose the Finpension 3a Switzerland 100 and only use IB to purchase VT? Then I will have home bias/ exposure in my pillar 3a and international exposure in IB.

        Your thoughts are much appreciated!

        Thanks.

        1. That’s another good strategy. You should always consider the big picture. If you want an 80/20 split and have your 3a only in Swiss stocks, you will need to have a portfolio at IB four times larger than your 3a. It may be slightly more difficult to keep a balance that way, but that’s a good strategy as well.

      2. Hi jordan,

        You are right that investing a few shares in the Swiss stock exchange is relatively expensive. It would be slightly more expensive for 20 shares, but only slightly so.
        You should do a rotation of 5 months (20% each = 80/20) and not four months (25% each = 75/25), but that’s exactly what I would do: buy VT, VT, VT, VT, CHSPI. I think it’s a great strategy to buy a single ETF each month.

    2. Thanks for this review! I lived in Germany until last year and I was using DEGIRO. Now I am living in Switzerland and want to open an IB account. I still have a lot of expenses in EUR and I wanted to ask about using IB as an exchange. Can I deposit CH to my IB account, exchange them for EUR and then send them to my EUR account? Thoughts?

    3. Shouldnt you take into account the stock lending program revenue for IB?
      Degiro forces you to lend stocks and does not share the revenue if you do not take the custodity account.
      Anyone has a answer?

      1. Hi

        That’s a good point. However, it’s very difficult to estimate how much you are going to make with the SYEP from IB. I did about 3-5 USD per month on my portfolio when I tried it. It would offset the costs of IB compared to DEGIRO, but how much will highly depend on the stocks you have.

    4. Hi Baptiste,
      Why don’t you convert CHF to USD/EUR BEFORE you send it to IB? For ex. I convert CHF to USD with my Revolut account and then send USD directly from Revolut to trade with US ETFs

      1. Hi,

        Conversion is MUCH cheaper on IB than on Revolut when you send significant amounts per month. If I convert 10’000 CHF to USD on IB, it cost me 2 USD. I would pay 50 USD with Revolut.

    5. Thanks for the excellent article.
      As for the the Custody account – is it still possible to open one? Anyone had some luck recently?

      I tried it a few weeks ago, but during registration it gives me no option, only the free Basic account (and its derivatives). I also sound some info on the internet that the Custody accounts are no longer being offered to new clients (people who already got them get to keep them).

      1. Hi Veja,

        You are right, they have removed the Custody account since late last year it seems. This is weird. There are still several references in the doc about the custody account, but it seems like not available anymore. And there has been no communications by DEGIRO about this.

        I will update my DEGIRO articles to reflect that.

    6. Hey man!
      Excellent blog my friend. Thanks a ton for all this info. That really helped a lot! Can I leave a tip, you really deserve it.
      What I wanted to annotate is that the fixed pricing on interactive brokers has changed. It is not at 0.10% anymore but at a rate of 0.05%.
      https://www.interactivebrokers.co.uk/en/index.php?f=39753&p=stocks1
      I understand that all these changes constantly happening make this stuff nightmareish to maintina. Still, it would be great if you could update the article for the ones coming after me.

      1. Hi Andreas

        Currently, there is no way to give me a tip, but thanks :)

        I just took a look at the updated fees and It’s actually more complicated than you outline. The new fixed fees are only with IB SmartRouting. And the fee is 5 CHF for trades up to CHF 10,000. So below 5000 CHF, it’s actually more expensive than before.

        I will have to look at what SmartRouting exactly entails. But once I do, I will plan another update of this article, which is indeed a nightmare to update.

        1. Hi just a comment, how can it be more expensive than before? If before there was a 0.1% fee with min of 10CHF and now its 0.05% fee with min of 5CHF.

          Before at 5000 CHF you would pay 10CHF, now 5CHF.

          However, if you go down to Switzerland, then the price becomes 6CHF and 0.1% if its “direct routed order”… This is getting complicated.

          I can tell you that my account is set to fixed and all things I have tested seem to be at 0.05%.

          I have changed my account to tiered to see If i can do some comparisons (since the best way is to really do some buy order tests). However, even though I did the change and the web shows I have tiered, it seems to not apply (maybe it takes some more time?).

          Kind regards,
          Richard

            1. Hi, no problem!

              The only thing I dont know what to do now is….
              – Pay high fees and worse TERs for EU ETFS
              – Buy the superior US-ETFs..

              After reading numerous of your (and mustachian) blog posts I can not still be convinced of what is the best.

              – Is it even legal? Can we have problems?
              – What happens if you own those ETFs and rules change?

              By the way, thanks for this very useful blog!

            2. hi Richard,

              We should not pay these fees too much. I recommend using US ETFs for the most part and a Swiss ETF for the home bias.
              It’s still allowed at IB and legal :)

              I have an article about US ETFs.

              If the rules change, we just won’t be permitted to buy more, but we will keep our shares and only be able to sell them.

    7. Hi, I saw that in your example you have different options with the starting value and then monthly investments. Would it be a good idea to start investing even if we start with 0 chf deposit and then 200 chf per month? Or is it not worth it? Sorry for the beginner question. Thank you

      1. Hi Kennyster

        I believe it’s always interesting to start investing. But it’s true that the fees of both DEGIRO and IB will not be that great if you invest only 200 CHF per month.
        Maybe to invest 200 CHF per month, a Robo-advisor is slightly better. On the other hand, with IB, you have no minimum, while most Robo-advisors services in Switzerland have a minimum.

        1. Thank you a lot for the explaining! Do you know if would be a better choice Raiffeisen Rio over IB? I mean as I understood, with IB the fixed fee of 10 chf in case of low investments for each month has dropped. So why should not be good to use IB? Is it because the ~4 chf over 200 chf? Many thanks and sorry for the beginner question

          1. I have not yet reviewed Raiffeisen Rio, so I can’t speak of that one particularly.

            But regarding robo-advisors against IB, it’s indeed about transaction fees, especially on CH ETFs. If you purchase 200 CHF of a CH ETF, you will pay about a 3 CHF fee, which is 1.5%. On the other hand, with a US ETF, you will pay 0.35 USD fee which is a good fee even on that amount.

            So, even with 200 CHF, I would recommend investing with IB, but only in US ETFs and start using CH ETFs once you have more per month. For CH ETFs to make sense, we should either not invest monthly or invest about 500 CHF monthly I would say.

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