Swissquote Review 2021 – A great Swiss Broker

By Baptiste Wicht | Updated: | Investing

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

In Switzerland, many people are more comfortable having a Swiss broker than having a foreign broker for their stock market investments. Swissquote is one of the most well-known Swiss brokers, and many investors are using Swissquote. But is it any good?

I will answer this question in this in-depth review. We will see what Swissquote is, what you can do with it, how much it costs, and much more!

By the end of this review, you will know whether Swissquote is a good broker for you or not!

Swissquote

Best Swiss Broker
Swissquote
4.0
Very affordable

Everything you need to start investing in the stock market! Open an account with Swissquote and get 100 CHF in trading credits with my code MKT_THEPOORSWISS

Pros:
  • Swiss broker
  • Easy to use
The code is only valid for Swiss residents.

The Swissquote broker is part of the Swissquote Group Holding SA company. It is a Swiss banking group operating in many countries. The Swissquote broker was already founded in 1996, making it a very well-established company. They have 722 employees at the time of this writing.

While the group itself offers services in many countries, this review will focus on the services they provide in Switzerland. This service is regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).

Swissquote has a banking license and is listed on the stock market. This listing makes Swissquote very transparent since they have to reveal detailed financial reports.

At the time of this writing, Swissquote has more than 400’000 users. It offers access to stocks, bonds, funds, Contracts For Difference (CFDs), and more. They have access to 60 stock exchanges over the world. If you are a simple passive investor like me, they have much more features than you would ever need.

They also offer some services outside of the stock market, like cryptocurrencies. But I do not cover this part in this review. Instead, I want to focus on their trading features.

So, let’s delve deeper into what Swissquote offers as a broker.

Swissquote Account Types

Swissquote has four different account types:

  1. Trading. This account is the one that interests us for this review since it offers access to trading in the stock market.
  2. Forex. An account for foreign exchange traders.
  3. Robo-Advisory. You can also use Swissquote as a Robo-Advisor.
  4. Crypto-Assets. A special account where you can trade many cryptocurrencies.

In this review, I focus solely on the Trading account type. As a passive investor in the stock market, this is the only account you need.

Swissquote Fees

In the long term, you need to reduce your fees. Investing fees are extremely important. Therefore, we must look at the fees of the Trading account at Swissquote.

You will pay 0.025% in custody fees for the account. This fee is charged each quarter, with a minimum fee of 15 CHF. Fortunately, there is a maximum of 50 CHF per quarter. So, the maximum fee you will pay is 200 CHF per year. As far as Swiss brokers go, this is a reasonable fee. But this is still not negligible. This custody fee is the only fee you will pay outside of trading fees. They have no extra account management fees or inactivity fees.

Let’s start with Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) since they are the best instrument for passive investors in Switzerland. With most brokers, ETFs have the same trading fees as stocks since they are traded in the same way. However, with Swissquote, there is a small difference. For some ETFs, called ETF Leaders, you will pay a flat fee of 9 CHF per trade on the Swiss Stock Exchange. If the ETF is listed in USD, you will pay 9 USD (and the same logic for GBP and EUR).

In the ETF leaders, you will find many good ETFs by Vanguard, iShares, UBS, etc. So, as long as you buy your ETF on the Swiss Stock Exchange, you should be okay with the flat fee. For ETFs on other stock exchanges, the fees will be the same as for stocks.

Then, for each stock exchange, you will pay a fee based on the transaction value. The fees are the same for buy and sell operations. For instance, here are the fees for the Swiss Stock Exchange (SWX):

  • 0 – 500: 9 CHF
  • 500.01 – 2000: 20 CHF
  • 2000.01 – 10’000: 30 CHF
  • 10’000.01 – 15’000: 55 CHF
  • 15’000.01 – 25’000: 80 CHF
  • 25’000.01 – 50’000: 135 CHF
  • From 50’000.01: 190 CHF

And here are the fees for American stock exchanges (NYSE or Nasdaq):

  • 0 – 500: 9 USD
  • 500.01 – 2000: 25 USD
  • 2000.01 – 10’000: 30 USD
  • 10’000.01 – 15’000: 55 USD
  • 15’000.01 – 25’000: 80 USD
  • 25’000.01 – 50’000: 135 USD
  • From 50’000.01: 190 USD

These fees are not cheap, especially for small transactions. For instance, if you buy 1000 CHF of shares, you will pay a 2% fee! 2% is a huge fee, and you have to be careful about it. But if you buy for 10’000 CHF, you will pay 0.3% in fees. 0.3%is still a considerable fee, but it is acceptable.

And when we compare Swissquote with other Swiss brokers, these fees are actually on the low side.

We also have to consider the currency conversion fee. At Swissquote, you will pay 0.95% of the exchange value if you convert CHF to another common currency like EUR and USD. The fees may change if you use other more exotic currencies. Once again, this is a significant fee. You need to be careful about this fee. Every time you buy or sell an ETF in EUR or USD, you will have to pay this fee. Over time, this can very quickly accumulate to be a significant amount of money lost to fees.

Finally, the last fee we will look at is the Swiss Stamp Tax Duty fee. Since Swissquote is a Swiss broker, you will have to pay this fee for each stock market operation. This fee is 0.075% for Swiss shares and 0.15% for foreign shares. This fee is the same for each Swiss broker.

Overall, Swissquote is not cheap. Several of its fees are relatively high, especially currency exchange fees and trading fees for small transactions. However, when we compare with other Swiss brokers, these fees are affordable. Indeed, Most Swiss brokers are even more expensive than Swissquote.

In fact, for transactions on the Swiss Stock exchange, Swissquote is among the cheapest Swiss brokers. The only place where it does not shine is for foreign currency exchange.

Opening an account at Swissquote

Let’s see what it takes to open an account at Swissquote.

Opening an account at Swissquote can be done entirely online. But you may have to wait until you get someone on call for the video identification, which can take a while (more than 10 minutes waiting) depending on when you call.

Other than that, the account opening process is very straightforward. You will have to give your personal information and answer questions about your financial knowledge. These are the same questions that every broker will ask you—nothing surprising here.

There is no minimum for opening an account. So, you can start trading with very little money. It is good, but be careful about the 60 CHF per year minimum custody fee if you invest with very little money, this could be expensive.

If you open an account, don’t forget to use my code MKT_THEPOORSWISS to get 100 CHF in trading credits (only for Swiss residents).

So, overall, opening an account at Swissquote should be pretty straightforward.

Trading with Swissquote

Swissquote offers several options to trade stocks:

  • The web interface can be directly used and has all the functions you need.
  • A mobile application on iOS and Android.
  • A desktop application, but primarily aimed at Forex trading.

Overall, there are enough options for everybody. The web interface should work for most people. And many people will also appreciate the mobile applications that will let you do everything you need to do.

The only downside is that the web interface is a little complicated to use because of all the features that are crammed together. But once you find the features you need, you should be fine to use them.

Is it safe?

If you invest a significant amount of money with a broker, you need to ensure it is safe.

Swissquote is regulated in Switzerland by FINMA. Its other entities are also regulated in other countries.

Swissquote being well-established since 1996 and turning a profit for several years in a row, its risks of going bankrupt are slim. But it is still important to know what would happen if your broker bankrupts. Since Swissquote has a banking license, your cash will be protected by Esisuisse for up to 100’00 CHF. Your securities should be fully guaranteed since they are supposed to be held in the custodian bank account in your name. It is a good level of protection.

As for technical security, you can opt-in for a second factor of authentication (2FA) for your account. I strongly recommend everybody to do that to improve the security of their account. I have not heard of any security issues that happened within Swissquote; a good sign.

So, overall, investing with Swissquote is safe. As for investing in general, keep in mind that investing involves risks of loss regardless of the platform.

Swissquote Reputation

It is essential to look at a broker’s reputation before investing in the stock market.

As a source of review, I always use TrustPilot. So, let’s look at the reviews of SQ on TrustPilot. On average, users are rating SQ at 3.2 stars, not a great result. So, let’s see what people are saying about this broker.

First, we should take a look at people complaining about the broker. We can group the complaints into several categories:

  • Very long account opening. Several people had to wait several days to get their accounts opened.
  • Very high fees. This is true, but people should look at this before they open their accounts. And when compared with other Swiss brokers, the fees are reasonable.
  • Poor customer service. Many people had issues fixing their issues with customer service.
  • Poor investing platform. Some investors are not satisfied with the features offered by the platform, especially on the cryptocurrencies side.

Overall, I am a little worried about the reviews on the customer service and account opening. The other complaints do not worry me since they come from people who have not done their research properly before opening an account at Swissquote. And we have to remember that most comments on the internet are coming from unsatisfied people. So, negative comments have to be taken with a pinch of salt even though they still come from some truth.

The good point is that the majority of reviews (36%) are rated at five-star. Overall, positive reviews are saying:

  • Simple to trade with the platform
  • A very stable platform and company

Interestingly, positive reviews are very strongly focused on the platform itself and its usability. It is good that many people report that the platform is easy to use.

Overall, I would say that the user reviews of Swissquote are good but not great.

Swissquote Pros

Let’s summarize the advantages of Swissquote:

  • Cheap compared to other Swiss brokers
  • Relatively fast account opening
  • A very vast range of investments
  • Long experience
  • Well-established company
  • Good security
  • Easy to use

Swissquote Cons

Let’s summarize the disadvantages of Swissquote:

  • Expensive currency exchange fees
  • Expensive when compared to foreign brokers
  • Video identification can take a while to complete

Swissquote vs Interactive Brokers

Now, keep in mind that I do not use Swissquote. Why is that? Simply because, as soon as you look at foreign brokers, there are much better alternatives out there. In my case, I invest with Interactive Brokers. So, we can compare both platforms.

Both brokers are very well established and regulated. The protection is good on both sides, with a small advantage for Interactive Brokers protected by U.S. SIPC.

Where everything starts to differ very strongly is in the fees.

Let’s start with the custody fees. Swissquote has a 200 CHF yearly custody fee for a large portfolio. If you have a large portfolio at IB, you will pay 0 CHF in custody fees! You can save 200 CHF per year with IB. If you have a small portfolio at IB (less than 100’000 CHF), you will pay 120 CHF per year, but this 120 CHF can count towards your trading fees. So, IB will always be cheaper in terms of custody fees.

For trading on the Swiss stock exchanges, Interactive Brokers is slightly cheaper than Swissquote, but not by a large margin. Where IB shines is for American stock exchanges. For instance, if I buy 10’000 USD of Microsoft shares, I will pay about 0.40 USD on IB (yes, 40 cents!). On Swissquote, this would cost 30 USD. In this example, IB is 75 times cheaper than Swissquote!

On top of that, since IB is a foreign broker, you will not pay the Swiss Stamp tax. With IB, you save 0.075% on each Swiss operation and 0.15% on each foreign operation.

Finally, currency exchange at IB costs about 2 USD while they cost 0.95% at Swissquote. So, unless you convert less than 200 USD, IB will be much better at converting money.

Overall, for me, all these advantages are just too good not to use Interactive Brokers. You can read my review of Interactive Brokers to know more.

Conclusion

Best Swiss Broker
Swissquote
4.0
Very affordable

Everything you need to start investing in the stock market! Open an account with Swissquote and get 100 CHF in trading credits with my code MKT_THEPOORSWISS

Pros:
  • Swiss broker
  • Easy to use
The code is only valid for Swiss residents.

Overall, Swissquote is a good, well-established, and affordable Swiss broker. They offer access to many stock exchanges and many investing instruments. And they compare well with other Swiss brokers.

So, Swissquote is the best Swiss broker. If you want to invest with a Swiss broker, I can only recommend going with Swissquote.  Swissquote will be a great platform to grow your money with the stock market.

If you use my code MKT_THEPOORSWISS when opening an account, you will get 100 CHF in trading credits (only for Swiss residents). So you are saving 100 CHF in fees! However, this code is only valid for Swiss residents.

If you are interested in Swiss brokers, in particular, I compared the best brokers. This article should help you choose, but you need to know the differences in costs between Swiss and foreign brokers.

If you also want to consider foreign brokers, I recommend Interactive Brokers as the best broker for Swiss investors.

What about you? What do you think of Swissquote?

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.

35 thoughts on “Swissquote Review 2021 – A great Swiss Broker”

  1. Hi,

    Nice overview, but to me it seems you are too biased with only one investment instrument (ETF funds) which by itself it nothing bad particularly if you want as simple as possible investing.
    However, there are two huge advantages of SQ compared to IB. Forex trading, and crypto trading where SQ really shines and IB is average at best (CDFs trading with too large spreads) or doesn’t offer it at all (FX and crypto).
    SQ has a really good FX platform and reasonable spreads. Offer of instruments is great. In addition to almost all possible currency pairs there are major stock indices (CFDs), most precious metals, a lot of commodities and even some bonds and equity CFDs. Fees for crypo transfers are quite small and offer of coins is very good.

    For FX trading in addition to endless possibilities to hedge currencies in your portfolio index CDFs are something that is far superior to any ETF trading. Buying and selling is instant (plus you can do it outside of trading hours), cost is negligible compared to buying actual ETFs (only spread), and if you are in a long position overnight fees are usually positive so you even earn money. Most importantly, you can trade with leverage and invest (and gain) much more than if you were actually buying ETF funds (ofc with increased risk).

    Cheers

    1. Hi,

      I would strongly encourage you to read about IB and FOREX. FOREX at IB is significantly better than at SQ.
      On the other hand, I completely agree that crypto is better at SQ.

      I am strongly against CFDs, I think they should be illegal in Europe just like they are in the US.

      It’s normal that I am biased on ETFs since I believe this is simply the best and safest way to invest in the long-term for 99% of investors. But if you are a CFD investor, then obviously you should not use IB. But in that case, my blog is not really for you :)

  2. Hi ThePoorSwiss, I’m still hesitating between SQ and IB, and I wish you had covered the Robot-Advisory tool that SQ offers. On paper I find this option quite interesting, at least for part of my portfolio. Any thoughts you can share on this ? Do you see it as less performing/interesting ? for a “passive investor”, it still looks interesting, doesn’t it ?
    Thank you !

    1. Hi Christophe,

      For me, it’s simply too expensive. They start at 1.25% fee per year. This is just bad. I would not recommend even trying them out with such a fee. Using True Wealth instead (or Selma or even Inyova) would be significantly cheaper.
      For me, they have to lower their fees to be interesting.
      But I could still do a in-depth review if many people are interested.

  3. Hey guys do you know if i can receive dividends when investing on etfs on swissquote? Or can it be automatically reinvested in the stock?
    Thanks
    D

    1. Hi Derek,

      Of course, you can receive dividends if you invest in ETFs that distribute them.
      To the best of my knowledge, I do not think that Swissquote has any automatic dividend reinvesting plan. But you could choose an accumulating ETF instead.

  4. Hi Mr. Swiss
    Hope all is well on your side!

    I’m probably getting the math wrong here, but would investing CHF 10k via SwissQuote in VT means (roughly) paying CHF 140 in fees?

    Exchange value (0.95%) = 95 CHF
    Transaction fees = 30 CHF
    Swiss stamp tax duty free (0.15%) = 15 CHF
    Total = CHF 140

    And I would get another 0.15% Swiss stamp tax duty free when selling.

    Is this correct?

    Many thanks for your time and all your advice!

    Cheers

    Florent

    1. Hi Florent,

      Your math is almost correct :)

      You would actually pay 55 USD in transaction fees since 10’000 CHF is more than 10’001 USD and you would end up in the next fee level.
      But other than that, you are spot on.

      And you would also probably pay 0.95% if you want to get back the money in CHF.

  5. The currency fee point is not fully valid for me. I don’t think anyone should you an internal broker currency exchange if there are high fees – just use services like TransferWise. In example for USD ETFs, you should exchange currency from CHF into USD through TransferWise and let it transfer it onto your USD account in swissquote (or any other broker). That way the fees are marginal.

    1. Hi Kuba,

      Can you transfer USD to Swissquote? I am really not sure about that.
      If you can, then it would divide your fees by about two (depending on the amount) by using Wise to do the conversion.
      But then, why not use IB directly?

      1. You can transfer and store CHF/EUR/USD separately in Swissqoute. The same is for postfinance. I am using postfinance and the moment and have never used their currency converter – just went through TransferWise. I think it is worth mentioning this tip in the reviews of Postfinance/Swissqoute.

        Btw. what is the gotcha with IB currency conversion? If they charge only 2CHF, i could use their platform just for currency exchange similiar as TransferWise. Transfer CHF, exchange in USD for 2CHF fee and then withdraw USD. So i assume the above scenario ia not possible, but how does it work then? What are the rules/limits?

        1. Or maybe IB exchange rates are just not that good? So there is 2CHF fee but the exchange rate would be worse than what i.e. TransferWise making it in the end a worse deal? Otherwise people could just abuse IB for currency exchanges (without actually inevsting anything) instead of using portals like TransferWise. So i.e. i make now a 100k CHF change to USD in TransferWise i would get 108270.26 USD after the fees (rate 1.08737). How much would be that through IB?

        2. Hi Kuba,

          Thanks for sharing, I did not know you could hold USD in your account at Swissquote, this is interesting.

          Regarding IB, exchange rates are great. And yes, you could totally use it for that. Send CHF to it, convert to USD (or EUR) and send that foreign currency to an account. However, the account needs to be in your name.
          I am sure many people use IB for that. Especially since they have no more custody fees.

          1. Out of curiosity, could you check what IB propose you now if you tried exchanging 100 000 CHF into USD? What rate do they give?

          2. So i checked this morning and TransferWise gives 108,594.86. IB is clear on top but the difference is not that much, in area of 0.11%. Could be a good tip for those who are using swiss brokers.

  6. Hi… Since the fees are a topic… The SQ fee is only one side, what about the fund fee, which seems to be high? When do they appear, and how/when they get charged?

    1. Hi Raphael,

      The fund fees have nothing to do with Swissquote. These fees of the funds are the same regardless of which broker you are using. If you invest in fund X or ETF X on IB or on Swissquote, the fees will be exactly the same.
      The fund fees never appear in your account, they are charged inside the fund. So the fund just loses some value when fees are exercised.

  7. Swissquote can execute virtually any stock trade on any exchange. They will accept even the most unusual order by phone and route it through third-party brokers. This is an incredible service that is not easily available from any other Swiss bank I know. IB and Degiro are more limited. IB cannot access Czech Republic or Greece or Norwegian small-caps, Degiro cannot access South Africa. If you maintain accounts with several brokers even with higher fee expense, you are always ready to trade any stock at the lowest-possible fee. It also reduces your operational dependence on a single provider. Banks and brokers can also freeze your accounts or kick you out for no reason. You need to be prepared for this and not just focus on lowest-possible fees.

    The view that Swiss banks or brokers are somehow better or more reliable than foreign brokers is stupid. Typical Swiss ignorance and hybris. I am Swiss myself and can observe this from afar. It is a really bad case of home bias. Irrational. My experience is that IB and DG are superior to that of any Swiss bank or broker, with the notable exception of Swissquote’s market access.

  8. hi, would’nt it be better to buy etf’s and securitys on an other broker like degiro or ib and then if you’re going to retire and don’t buy any more transfer everything to swissquote? i mean for people who say they want to be sure that their money is in switzerland and so on.
    thanks.

    1. Hi Mikey,

      That’s indeed a possibility. But people that are afraid of foreign brokers would still be afraid of losing money during the accumulation phase, hence delaying their retirement.
      And there is a non-negligible cost to transferring a portfolio.

  9. What do you mean by “your securities are secured up to 20000 CHF”? I thought that securities are ring-fenced so if the bank goes down, all your securities belong to you and are kept separate from the bank’s assets.

    1. Hi M,

      Securities are indeed segregated. So, if SQ goes down and if they did their job properly (no fraud), your securities should be entirely safe indeed.
      Regarding this protection, I do not find the source anymore. So I have removed this part for now, I will keep looking.
      But some brokers, like Interactive Brokers (or EU brokers) have extra protection for securities. This would cover events where asset segregation did not work.

  10. I just finished comparing IB with Swissquote and ended up with Swissquote. Indeed there are many ETFs and Funds (index funds included) that have a flat fee of 9.-. If you go with Funds domiciled in CH you won’t pay the stamp duty. So it is really a good deal especially for larger amounts. I’m also happy with the maximum 50.- custody fee.
    Interestingly, there are some very good indexed funds in Switzerland if I compare the performance of those available on Interactive Brokers. As for Swissquote customer service, I haven’t talked to them that much, they seem efficient but probably a bit impatient and not that willing to go the extra mile.

    1. Hi Nick,
      interesting comment and I also invest on Swissquote since a bit more than 3 years now. Fees for stocks in USD are very expensive and the currency exchange fees, well, lets not talk about it.

      Which funds on Swissquote do you like? I am looking for a reasonable ETF in CHF on Swissquote but it is a huge territory.

      1. You can try the ETF or Fund Finder as a source. For Funds, some of them are indexed, meaning they are like ETFs but you would invest through subscription instead of buying on the Swiss Market. Look for the prime partners where you get a flat 9.- fee.
        You are right on the FX rate, it’s not as high as the 2 big banks but still high. Depending on the amount, you can always call them and negotiate a better FX rate.

        As for the funds, at the moment I use:
        CSIF (CH) WORLD EX CH INDEX FA CHF (34802664) which is an index fund, and 2 for Switzerland:
        CSIF (CH) SPI MULTI PREMIA INDEX BLUE FA (33403120) Index fund.
        PS CH-SWISS HIGH DIVIDEND-P DY CHF (not an index fund but has a quite good performance. They got the same with dividends reinvested.
        What I did is that I compared their performance with iShares and other ETFs available on Interactive brokers over 5 years. The TER is a bit higher but the performance (calculated after TER) is better.

    2. Hi Nick,

      Thanks for sharing!
      Could you expand on why you chose SQ over IB?
      Regarding the stamp duty, I think you are wrong. All their conditions mention that prices do not include the federal stamp duty. I believe it is not included in the 9 CHF flat fee for ETF.

      1. Hi Mister The Poor Swiss,
        I chose SQ for several reasons:
        1. I admit I feel safer having all my money in Gland rather than somewhere in UK or US. It’s purely psychological of course as we know that the money is with the ETFs or Funds when invested.
        2. I compared VTI and the iShares Core SPI with the funds I mentioned in another post on this page. The performance since 2017 was better (after TER) and I made sure I selected those called ETF leaders or Funds Prime partners. Their normal brokerage is too expensive. Important to note that these Swiss Based funds have a withholding tax incorporated, so you need to declare them to recover it once a year.

        As for the stamp duty, I have used these funds for years, subscriptions do not have any stamp duty (ISIN starting with CH and not IE or LU). I must stress that I’m talking about index funds, not ETFs.

        Thanks for everything you share on this website it’s quite helpful. I just started with ValuePension :)

        1. Hi nick,

          It’s a good point that Swiss funds have no Swiss stamp tax, contrary to Swiss ETFs.

          Thanks for sharing your points. It’s good to know that there are some interesting funds available. Just be careful that comparison only since 2017 is basically pointless since returns are averaged over decades.
          You should also be careful that many CS funds have load fees that will not be seen in the performance.

          1. Yeah I know I looked at various times periods. I’m actually financial advisor 😅
            What do you mean by load fees ?

          2. By load fees, I mean subscription fees. These are the fees that you pay to buy into a fund. If you invest 100 CHF into a fund with a load fee of 1%, only 99 CHF will go into the fund.

      2. one more reason I use SQ is that sometimes I invest in standard mutual funds. In my experience in the banking industry, we generally acknowledge that Bond Funds can generate some alpha with good managers, which is more difficult with Stocks. I have a high yield fund (USD) and a corp bond fund hedged in CHF.
        Those don’t give a huge return at the moment but better than cash and help reduce the standard deviation of my portfolio.

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