Online trading platforms
Do you want to trade stocks, bonds or other assets? The best trading platforms make it easy to start investing money in anything, including the international stock markets and cryptocurrency. These investment platforms are aimed at first-time investors and offer easy-to-use trading tools at a low cost.
- Popular traders in Europe
- Trading with banks versus on an online platform
- How does a platform work?
- Costs of an online trader
- How to find the best platform for you?
- Frequently asked questions
Please note: investing in financial markets involves significant risk, you can lose money when trading.
Best trading platforms in Europe
To start investing in shares or other assets you need a trading account at an online broker. There are many interactive brokers out there. Below, you will find a selection of the biggest and best trading platforms active in Europe.
A top 3 of stocks trading platforms
Below, you will find a list of the most popular platforms to trade stocks or bonds:
The online broker of Freedom24 is known for offering a lot of IPOs. From $2,000 in deposit, it offered shares of Facebook, Airbnb, Gitlab, Rivian and hundreds of other companies before their IPO. Through this trading platform you can also invest in exchanges such as the Nasdaq, NYSE, CME, AMEX LSE, Deutsche Börse, MOEX and via HKEX in Asian companies.
Via Bitpanda you can easily invest in well-known stocks such as Apple, Microsoft, or Tesla or invest in the larger ETFs. In addition, it offers many cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, ethereum and solana and you can invest in commodities such as gold and silver via the platform. It is headquartered in Vienna and was Austria's first unicorn in 2021.
Just like eToro, NAGA is an international investment platform where you can invest in shares, bonds, but also in commodities or currencies. NAGA distinguishes itself because you can share or view tips from others. You can invest according to templates from other investors. People who are copied a lot earn extra points.
A top 3 of crypto brokers
Here, you can find a list of popular cryptocurrency brokers in Europe:
If you want to trade and invest all by yourself eToro is currently Europe’s online brokerage champion. eToro is a large international platform with millions of users from over a hundred countries. You can trade in stocks, but also in commodities, crypto or currencies. Templates also allow you to invest directly in a variety of sectors.
Bitvavo started in 2018 and is the leading crypto exchange platform in the Netherlands. The platform is very popular due to the low trading fees and the easy-to-use staking program. You can invest in more than 175+ cryptocurrencies. Bitvavo now has more than 1 million users and is active in 27 European countries.
Founded in Slovenia in 2011 and now located in the UK, Luxembourg, Singapore and the US, Bitstamp is one of the largest and oldest crypto brokers worldwide. It offers only well-known cryptos but trading is cheap and professional. The platform has more than 4 million clients, from private investors to institutional investors.
Top 3 of peer-to-peer investing platforms in Europe
Below, you will find a top 3 of peer-to-peer investing platforms:
Nibble is an online broker for investing in loans based in Estonia. Investments are fully automated with 3 strategies to pick from. To date, more than 1 million euros has been funded by over 6 thousand registered investors. Depending on your auto-invest strategy, annual interest is 8 to 14,5 percent. Loans have a duration of 1 to 60 months.
Bondora is a P2P lending service based in Estonia, where the majority of its business also takes place. Between 2007 and 2022, over 580 million euros has been invested on the platform. The average interest is around 27 percent, with average returns landing around 7 percent. According to the broker, the average loan amount is 2600 euros for a duration of 53 months.
Peerberry is a marketplace for P2P loans located in Croatia. Between 2017 and 2022, over 1 billion euros was invested on the peer-to-peer lending platform. The broker has over 50 thousand investors from more than 70 countries, with an average annual return of 10,9 percent.
Top 3 popular crowdfunding platforms in Europe
For a top 3 of popular crowdfunding platforms in Europe, look here:
CrowdedHero is a global marketplace for growing, non-listed companies' equity offers. It provides Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) checks and has a strong focus on promising early-stage startups that already have a clear exit strategy with an aim on return on equity of 16-20% per year.
Max Crowdfund is a real estate investment platform from the Netherlands. On the crowdfunding site you can invest in different property assets around the world starting from 100 euros. The platform is active in the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
EvoEstate is an online peer-to-peer real estate crowdfunding platform. On the site you can invest in loans, rent and equity real estate projects across Europe. You can start investing from 100 euros. The company is located in Estonia and started operations in 2019.
Top 3 popular real estate crowdfunding platforms
Here, you can find a list of popular real estate crowdfunding platforms:
Reinvest24 was founded in 2018 by a team that's active since 2005 in real estate investing and IT. It mostly offers projects in real estate in Riga, Talinn and Moldova. As of February 2021, it's also active in Spain. The average gross return is over 14%, investments are covered by a mortgage through a Collateral Agent, and it has a secondary market.
Real estate investment platform Brickstarter was founded in 2017 and specializes in vacation rental properties. You can invest on the platform with a minimum amount of 50 euros. With funds from different investors the platform renovates and manages property, eventually renting and reselling it for profits.
Estateguru is a real estate investment platform from Estonia that was founded in 2014. You can invest in short-term real estate loans across Europe. Investors can fund projects starting from 50 euros.
The European market for trading apps
The European stock market is evolving and constantly growing. In most European countries, up to 35 percent of household assets are put into stock trades, according to the OECD. Estonia is the global frontrunner with over 50 percent of household funds in stocks, followed by Finland, Lithuania and Sweden. These four countries even surpass the United States, where stock-trading is famously widespread among consumers.
In most European countries, up to 35 percent of household assets are put into stocks.
The majority of new traders invest money via a trading app. The most popular trading platform is eToro with around 20 million retail investor accounts of which around 70 percent are located in Europe. eToro is followed by interactive brokers like Flatex, which also owns DEGIRO.
Banks versus investment platforms
When you start investing money, you can go the old fashioned way and make all trades via your bank’s own trading services. This is an easy option, but certainly not as popular anymore.
For retail investor accounts, the trading or subscription costs of a bank are higher than those of a brokerage account, in part because they usually provide investment advice in addition to asset management. Besides, banks might not offer direct access to assets that some investment platforms do offer, such as startup companies, crypto’s or IPO stocks.
Why choose an online trader?
First of all, investment platforms are generally more cost-effective than trading assets through the bank. These stock brokerage firms are specifically aimed at new investors: the process to start trading is made easy, accessible and relatively cheap online.
For investors who want to be actively involved, online platforms are also the better choice. For example, a platform will usually offer an advanced mobile app with trading tools. With a mobile app you can trade or look at investment results on the go.
Making your own investment decisions on the global markets comes with its own risks, of course. However, there are also more passive ways to invest with a trading account, like through investing in exchange traded funds (ETFs).
A platform will usually offer an advanced mobile app.
Another advantage of a platform is that it can offer assets that a bank can often not. Buying shares of the top 500 companies on the stock market will be no problem. But if you want to invest money in new assets like cryptocurrency or new companies that recently did their IPO on a smaller stock exchange, you have better chances with interactive brokers.
How investment platforms work
If you want to start investing, choosing a platform is usually your first step. You will need a trader to buy stocks, bonds, ETFs or funds. On these platforms you can trade with other users and buy company shares on the stock exchange, for example. Usually a platform also offers insight into different investment products and their market rates. This includes historic rates as well as current rates. A trader can also store your funds in an account before you choose to withdraw or exchange it.
Some platforms specialize in one type of asset.
In the list above you can find overarching websites and apps that offer a wide selection of investment products, from stock trades and bonds to blockchain. There are also investment platforms that specialize in one type of asset, like a real estate platform, stock trading platform or a cryptocurrency trader. Of course, you can choose to open an account with several investment platforms. This has the benefit of trying out different traders and seeing which one you like best.
What does an online broker platform cost?
When choosing your platform you should compare the costs.
Since a platform’s costs will eat at your returns, the price should be a deciding factor. The lower the costs, the higher your returns will effectively be. A fee of 1 percent may seem very little at first. But with an annual return rate of 5 percent, this is already one fifth of your yearly profits.
There is usually an upfront fee as well as a cost per transaction. If the first one is cheap, the transaction fees may be higher and vice versa. Depending on whether you make investment decisions yourself or let the platform do this for you, there may also be additional service fees.
Since a platform’s costs will eat at your returns, the price should be a deciding factor.
The fees mentioned above are made public on the platform’s website. But there may be indirect costs as well, usually charged by mutual funds, ETFs and trackers. Like for example management fees, accountancy fees and legal costs. If a trader also pays out dividends, saves securities and offers additional market rate information, these services may be charged as well. These fees will be incorporated in the market price. You can find them in the terms and conditions. So take a good look, because the indirect costs can vary a lot.
Choosing a trader that suits your investment style
Another way to determine which website is the best for you, is by looking at your investing style and investment horizon.
Most investing platforms are suited for low-cost investing for the long term. This means you will put in money for at least five years. Are you a long-term investor? Then you are better off with a trader that has low upfront costs and high transaction fees. Since you will not buy and sell a lot, this will be more profitable for you.
To determine the best trading platform you have to decide your investing style and investment horizon.
When long-term investing such as in shares or bonds, online brokers will issue a monthly payment in addition to a transaction fee. Some interactive brokers may offer to make investment decisions for you as well. This saves time and effort, as you will not have to follow market developments yourself. And as a starting investor you may not know what to invest in anyway. If you outsource this to the online brokers, you will be paying a service fee instead of a transaction fee.
A short-term investor will have an investment horizon of under five years. For advanced traders the investment horizon sometimes only spans months or days. Short-term investments are usually more risky, since they profit off highly volatile markets. If you want to invest in the short-term, you will want a platform with low transaction fees. This means the upfront fees may be higher, though.
Frequently asked questions
Some frequently asked questions about online investment platforms from Europe are:
What is an online trading platform?
Online trading platforms are websites where you can start investing. Users can buy stocks or company shares. They usually also offer other financial assets, such as crypto or ETF trades.
Shares of companies are traded continuously. The companies do not arrange this themselves, but through marketplaces. To trade on this marketplaces, you need an online stock trading account on an investment platform to buy and trade shares or other products.
Which are the best investing platforms in Europe?
Which is the right investment platform for you depends on what you’re looking for in a broker. Do you only want to invest via mobile apps? Or only in shares, or also in bonds and internationally tradable investments?
For some, the best platform means the one with the lowest rates, the best ease of use is most important for others, while there are also investors who mainly look at the most investment options.