flatex Review

flatex launched in 1999 as PRE.IPO AG. The Germany-based stockbroker acquired its banking and brokerage license in 2005 when the company subsequently changed its name and is regulated by top-tier regulator Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin).

The broker has a lengthy banking background with a strong track record, is available on a stock exchange, and discloses its financials.

In 2019, flatex AG obtained 100% of DEGIRO while subsequently strengthening DEGIRO’s regulatory backbone. However, the two companies currently operate as separate entities.

Currently, all of flatex’s trading services are only available in German.

Pros and cons

flatex offers low fees for popular asset classes like stocks and ETFs. The company holds a banking license, is available on a stock exchange, and is backed by a solid parent company. Its educational tools are also diverse and of excellent quality.

In contrast, forex fees and margin rates are high, while the account opening for non-German residents is overly complicated and may take a few weeks. Only bank transfers for deposits and withdrawals are allowed, and you will require a good understanding of German for its services.

  • Backed by a solid parent company
  • Low stock, ETF, fund and bond fees
  • Outstanding educational tools
  • Costly forex fees and margin rates
  • Complex account opening for non-German residents
  • Only bank transfer available for deposits and withdrawals

Main features

Country of regulation

Germany

Trading fees class

Average

Products offered

Stock, ETF, Forex, Fund, Bond, Warrants, Certificates, Turbos

Minimum deposit

€0

Deposit with bank card

Not available

Depositing with electronic wallet

Not available

Time to open an account

3 days

Number of base currencies supported

4

Demo account provided

Yes

Fees

We ranked flatex‘s fee levels as low, average or high based on how they compare to those of all reviewed brokers.

    In the section below, you will find the most relevant fees of flatex for each asset class. For example, in the case of stock investing the most important fees are commissions. To have a clear understanding of flatex, we’ll start with the trading fees.

    • Low non-trading fees
    • Low stock and ETF fees
    • Low fund fees
    • High forex fees
    • High margin rates
    flatex costs
    Assets Cost level Cost terms
    US stock Low € 5.9 + 0.00218% per order
    EUR/USD High The costs are built into the spread, 1 pip is the usual spread charge during peak trading hours.
    Mutual fund Low €5.9 per trade flat cost
    Inactivity cost Low No inactivity cost
    flatex costs
    Exchange  Commission
    Germany, NYSE, NASDAQ, Vienna, Zürich €5.9 flat fee + exchange costs
    Toronto, Euronext Brussels, Euronext Lisbon, Euronext Paris, Milan  €5.9 flat fee per trade
    flatex costs
    flatex annual margin rates
    EUR margin rate 7.9%
    flatex costs
    flatex forex benchmark cost of a $20,000 30:1 long position held for one week
    EUR/USD benchmark cost $17.2
    GBP/USD benchmark cost $18.2
    AUD/USD benchmark cost $22.2
    EUR/CHF benchmark cost $19.5
    EUR/GBP benchmark cost $22.1
    Mutual fund $7.1
    flatex costs
    flatex commission of a 10,000 government bond trade
    US Treasury bond €7.1
    EU government €7.1
    flatex costs
    flatex non-trading fees
    Account cost No
    Inactivity cost No
    Deposit cost $0
    Withdrawal cost $0

    Account Opening

     

    It is unclear which residents in countries outside of Germany are eligible to open an account at flatex, but assume that most European clients can open an account. The account opening process for clients who are not German or Austrian residents is highly complex.

    We recommend only opening an account if you speak German on at least an intermediate level as the account opening process and most of the trading platforms are in German. Customer support may also be challenging from time to time.

    • No minimum deposit
    • Fully online account opening for German / Austrian clients
    • Sluggish
    • Not fully online
    • Not user-friendly

    Account types

     

    Based on ownership, you can choose from three account types:

    Individual

    Joint

    Corporate account

    How to access your account

    Online application

    Approval process 

    Funding

    The account opening process is online and convenient through video identification for clients from Germany and Austria.

    The process is rather complicated for non-German and Austrian residents and involves notarial documents to be sent through authorized mail. After verification is complete, flatex will send login credentials and an iTANcard by mail. This security card consists of codes required for trade execution and logins.

    Using the flatexSecure app can replace the features of the iTANCard, though having both available is more secure.

    Deposit and withdrawal

    Deposits and withdrawals at flatex are free, though only bank transfer is available, which means the process can take a couple of days.

    You have four base currencies to choose from including, EUR, USD, CHF and, GBP. Importantly, you don’t pay a conversion fee if you fund your trading account in the same currency as your bank account or trade assets in the same currency as your trading account base currency.

    One way to save on currency conversion fees is to open a multi-currency bank account with a digital bank that offers excellent exchange rates and has free or inexpensive international bank transfers.

    Withdrawals take roughly three days to complete via bank transfer and can only be processed into accounts that are in your name.

    How to withdraw money from flatex:

    1. Using ‘Client Login’, log in to your flatex account.
    2. Click on ‘Konto & Depot’, and choose ‘Überweisung’ from the list.
    3. Choose your account (Aktuelles Konto), the recipient (Empfänger) and the withdrawal amount (Beitrag).
    4. Click ‘Eingaben übernehmen’ to send your request. You’ll need to validate your request with flateXSecure.

    Web trading platform

    WebFillale

    The web trading platform WebFiliale is well-designed with an excellent search engine and has several order types. It is, however, only available in German and has no price notifications.

    You will only require your username and password to log in to the platform, but for every transaction, you will be required to either use your physical iTAN card, or a one-time generated code through the flateXSecure app. It will also be required when logging in to the FX-Handelsplatform to trade FX.

    ‘Alle Egebnisse’ (All results) display all related products ordered by type, e.g. shares, bonds, etc., and also inform you of the stock exchange and currency of the product.

    You can also select between stock exchanges when placing an order, a unique feature that is not available with most other brokers.

    Mobile trading platform

    The mobile platform is similar to the web platform in design and functionality and is available on Android and iOS.

    flatex’s mobile app could be summarized as a miniaturized version of WebFiliale – it is the same as the web platform, which is great since many brokers limit this functionality off their mobile trading platforms.

    We gave the mobile trading platform a 4-star rating compared with the 3-star rating for WebFillale due to its user-friendliness.

    Desktop trading platform

    The desktop platform ‘flatex trader 20.0’ is complex, with multiple features and customizable options, and is only recommended for advanced traders.

    The poorly designed platform has more charting indicators and real-time and delayed data from overseas exchanges, while its search functions have room for improvement. The filter settings are excellent if you understand which asset type or specific exchange you are looking for.

    The login process is the same as WebFillale.

    Markets and Products

    Markets

    Instruments

    Jurisdictions

    Stocks and ETFs

    In addition to German exchanges, flatex provides access to multiple European and international stock markets.

    Forex

    flatex offers a great selection of tradeable currency pairs.

    Funds

    flatex’s mutual fund selection is relatively narrow. Similar to ETFs, flatex also offers fund savings planswhere you can invest a fixed amount in funds regularly for favorable fees. 

    Bonds

    There is no information about how many bonds can you trade at flatex, but both government and corporate bonds are available. Within government bonds, you can also buy bonds of smaller countries such as Paraguay and Hungary suggesting that there is a wide variety of bonds available.

    Other assets

    You can trade special assets distributed by global flatex partners, including investment banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. These are categorized as ‘Platin’, ‘Gold’ or ‘Silver’ partners and their offerings include special leveraged products such as warrants, turbos, and certificates with favorable fees. 

    Social Trading

    Its social trading service Wikifolio is a third-party online platform where traders publish and manage their trading ideas. You can acquire these trading ideas via WebFiliale, the web trading platform.

     

    Research

    Trading ideas

    flatex does not provide any analyst recommendations or trading ideas.

    Fundamental data

    Fundamental data is available for equity trading. You can check income statements dating back four years, info of the company’s main shareholders, and valuation ratios.

    However, sourcing this information is not easy. To access the search interface, you have to search with the ‘Symbol search’ feature. After finding the stock you are seeking, you have to right-click on the equity and open ‘Profile’.

    Charting

    flatex has advanced charting with almost unlimited features. 

    There are over 200 technical indicators and editor tools. You can easily edit and save the charts, which is an outstanding feature.

    Newsfeed

    The quality of the Newsfeed is low.

    The design is outdated, which makes the news difficult to read. Moreover, the newsfeed contains a mixture of German and English news, which is inconvenient.

    Customer Support

    flatex has great phone support, though the German language is required. Operators rarely speak English well, however, the overall customer support experience is decent, having queries resolved within a reasonable timeframe.

    Email support also provided meaningful answers with the response times being no longer than 24 hours.

    Customer service is available Monday to Friday between 8 am and 10 pm (GMT+1 time zone) if you are already a flatex customer, but only until 8 pm if you are not yet a client. flatex does not offer 24/7 availability or a live chat.

     

    Safety

    Since March 2019, flatex has provided its brokerage services under the institution flatex Bank AG. Through this German institution, all European clients are eligible for the same amount of investor protection under the BaFin regulation.

    flatex provides negative balance protection for forex spot trading only for retail clients from the European Union, while professional and non-EU clients are not provided for.

    The brokerage operates under its parent bank flatex Bank AG and as such, is subject to stricter regulations than regular brokers. The bank’s shares are available on the Stuttgart Stock Exchange under flatex AG.

     

    flatex is obligated to publish financial statements regularly and transparently.

    Having a banking license, being available on a stock exchange, providing financial statements, and being supervised by a top-class regulator are all great indications for flex’s safety.

    In December 2019, flatex AG acquired 100% of rival broker DEGIRO’s shares. Currently, the brokerages continue to operate separately, but with the acquisition, flatex has provided a banking regulatory backbone to DEGIRO.

     

    • Majority of clients belong to a top-class financial authority
    • Banking background
    • Available on stock exchange
    • None

    Bottom line

    For those seeking long-term investments and who have a good knowledge of German, flatex is a great brokerage option.

    The broker has additional savings and mutual fund plans for long-term investors and investing in stocks, funds, and ETFs is cheaper with flatex than its German competitors. flatex’s financials are transparent while offering superior-quality educational materials to understand trading with the broker’s services.

    Forex fees and margin rates are high. The account opening for non-German citizens is complex and you can only use bank transfer for deposits and withdrawals. Another drawback is the option to switch to English during account opening and on the web and mobile trading platforms. Despite this, customer service can assist the majority of the time.

    As there is no required minimum deposit or inactivity fee, feel free to try flatex.