Flatex Review 2019

4.1 4 stars · Mar 2019
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Flatex logo

Flatex is a German stockbroker established in 1999 and regulated by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin). It is listed on the Xetra stock exchange and has a bank parent, the Fintech Group Bank AG.

Flatex is considered safe because it has a long track record, is listed on stock exchange, has a banking background, discloses its financials, and is regulated by top-tier regulator.

Recommended for German speaking investors focusing mainly on ETFs and mutual funds.

Pros
  • Cheap ETF and fund trading
  • Listed on a stock exchange, strong parent company
  • Great educational tools
Cons
  • Complicated account opening for non-Germans
  • Only bank transfer is available for deposit and withdrawal
  • Services are only in German

Flatex pros and cons

Flatex offers cheap ETF and mutual fund trading, especially if you invest in ETF or fund saving plans. It holds a banking license, is listed on stocks exchanges and has a strong parent company. It also has a lot of high-quality educational tools.

The account opening for non-Germans is very complicated and takes several days. You can use only bank transfer for deposit and withdrawal. The majority of the services are only in German.

Compare to other brokers

Flatex review
Fees 3 stars

Flatex has average trading fees and low non-trading fees.

Pros
  • No withdrawal fee
  • No inactivity fee
  • Low fund fees
Cons
  • High financing rate
  • High US stock fee
  • High forex fees
Flatex Fees snapshot
AssetsFee levelFee terms
US stock feeHigh€15.9 per trade flat fee
EURUSD feeHighThe fees are built into spread, 1.1 pips is the spread cost
US tech fund feeLow€5.9 per trade flat fee
Inactivity feeLowNo inactivity fee

To get things rolling, let's go over some broker fee lingo. You need to keep an eye on trading fees, financing rates, and non-trading fees.

We compare Flatex fees with its peers, Comdirect and DEGIRO.

Let's start with the trading fees.

Trading fees

Flatex trading fees are average. 

The trading fees for German stocks and ETFs, funds, bonds, and CFDs are low. On the other hand, it has very high US stock and forex trading fees.

In this review, we tested Flatex's standard pricing.

Stock fees and ETF fees

Flatex has average stock trading fees. It has low fees for German stocks and ETFs, but high fees for the US stock markets.

Stock and ETF fees of a $2,000 trade
  Flatex Comdirect DEGIRO
USA $18.1 $14.7 $0.6
UK - $14.7 $5.4
Germany $9.4 $11.3 $5.7

You have to pay flat fees for the stock trading, which is quite unusual, since most of the European brokers apply a trading volume based pricing for stocks. The flat fee plan is great if you trade higher volumes.

Flatex stock fees
Exchange Commission
NASDAQ, Toronto €15.9 flat fee per trade
Germany €5.9 flat fee per trade
Eurnext Brussel, Eurnext Lisbon, Eurnext Paris, Eurnext Amsterdam, Milan, Vienna, Zurich €15.9 flat fee per trade

If you trade with ETF saving plans, the fee is €1.9 per trade or completely free for 350 selected ETFs.

Forex fees

Flatex has high forex fees if you compare it with the best forex brokers.

These high fees are mainly due to the high financing rates.

Forex fees of a $20,000 30:1 position open, 1-week-hold, and close
  Flatex Comdirect DEGIRO
EURUSD benchmark fee $28.9 $28.6 -
EURGBP benchmark fee $19.5 $26.1 -

Flatex does not charge any commission for forex trading. The fees are incorporated into the spread and the financing rate.

Fund fees

Flatex fund fees are low. It can even compete with discount brokers' fees, like DEGIRO's.

A $2,000 fund buy fees
  Flatex Comdirect DEGIRO
USA tech fund buy $6.7 $20.0 $10.6
Europe stock fund buy $6.7 $20.0 $10.6

Flatex applies a €5.9 flat fee per trade for funds. If you trade with fund saving plans, the fee is €1.9 per trade.

Bond fees

The bond fees are low. Similarly to fund fees, the bond fees are even lower than discount brokers', like DEGIRO.

Bond fees of a $10,000 trade
  Flatex Comdirect DEGIRO
USA $6.5 $34.0 -
Europe $6.7 $30.6 $11.5

Flatex bond fees are calculated as a €5.9 flat fee per trade.

CFD fees

Flatex has low CFD trading fees. We compared the commissions of stock CFDs.

The stock CFD fees are almost the same as at Comdirect.

CFD fees, commission of a $2,000 trade
  Flatex Comdirect DEGIRO
USA $5.7 $5.6 $0.7
UK $5.7 $5.6 $5.7
Germany $5.7 $5.6 $5.7

Flatex stock CFD fees are calculated as the 0.05% of the trade value and there is a €5 minimum amount per order.

Financing rates

Flatex financing rates are high.

If you want to trade on margin and prefer to hold your positions long, financing costs can be significant.

Flatex yearly financing rates
  Flatex Comdirect DEGIRO
Apple financing rate 7.1% 7.7% 4.3%
Vodafone financing rate 5.3% 5.9% 2.5%
EURUSD financing rate 7.3% 6.8% -
EURGBP financing rate 4.1% 5.2% -

Flatex charges a 3.5% premium over the benchmark rate for stock CFD trading. For example, for Apple CFD is 3.5% + USD LIBOR rate.

The financing rate for forex is calculated from the swap points. The value of the swap points changes every day. We used the values as of 05.03.2019.

Non-trading fees

Flatex non-trading fees are low.

There is no inactivity, custody, account, and withdrawal fees. This is great.

Flatex non-trading fees
  Flatex Comdirect DEGIRO
Account fee No No No
Inactivity fee No Yes No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0

On the other hand, if you trade with US penny stocks, you have to calculate with a €30 per month custody fee.

Flatex review
Account opening 2 stars

The account opening is easy and digital for German clients, but complicated and long for other citizens.

Pros
  • No minimum account balance
  • Fully digital account opening for German clients
Cons
  • Slow account opening
  • Not fully digital
  • Not user-friendly

Can you open an account?

It is not transparent from which countries you can open an account. We believe from most European countries it is possible to open an account. However, opening an account for a non-German/non-Austrian citizen is more complicated.

We do not recommend to open an account if you do not speak German since the account opening, web trading platform, telephone customer service, and a lot of other services are in German. This is very interesting since you can reach their website also in English. It is not full clear for this why do they maintain an English website as well.

Minimum deposit

There is no minimum deposit. This is great if you want to invest smaller amounts.

Account types

You can open different accounts: individual, joint, and corporate accounts. 

There are also different accounts based on tradable products and available trading platforms:

  Cash and securities account Forex account CFD account
Tradeable product Stocks, ETFs, funds, and bond Forex CFD
Trading platform Flatex Webfiliale and Flatex Trader 2.0 MetaTrader 4 CFD trading platform

When you open an account at Flatex, you will have a cash and a securities account by default. You have to activate the forex or CFD account for trading with forex or CFDs.

How to open your account

You can open your account conveniently via a video identification if you are from Germany. In this case the account opening is fully digital for you.

Account opening for other citizens is very complicated. As being non-German citizens, it took more than 2 weeks for us to open an account and the process was very complicated. After the online registration, we had to send our notarized documents via the post.

After the verification, Flatex sends by mail your login credentials and a so-called iTANCard. The iTANCard is a secuirty card and contains codes which are needed when you want to execute a transaction or you have forgotten your login credentials.

Flatex review - Account opening

Flatex review
Deposit and withdrawal 3 stars

Flatex offers free deposit and withdrawal. On the other hand, you can transfer money only by bank transfer and this takes a longer time.

Pros
  • Free withdrawal
  • No deposit fee
Cons
  • Credit/Debit card deposit and withdrawal not available
  • Only one account base currency
  • Slow funding and withdrawal - over 3 days

Account base currencies

At Flatex, you can hold your accounts only in EUR. This might be expensive since if you deposit from a non-EUR bank account or trade in other currencies you will be charged with a conversion fee.

A convenient way to save on the currency conversion fees can be to open a multi-currency bank account. Revolut or Transferwise both offer bank accounts in several currencies with great currency exchange rates as well as free or cheap international bank transfers. The account opening only takes a few minutes on your phone.

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Deposit fees and options

Flatex deposit fees are free of charge.

You can only deposit via a bank transfer. 

Flatex deposit options
  Flatex Comdirect DEGIRO
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/Debit card No No No
Electronic wallets No No Yes

The bank transfer is not instant, it takes more business days.

You can only deposit money from sources which are on your name.

Flatex review - Deposit and withdrawal - Withdrawal

Withdrawal fees and options

Flatex withdrawal fees are free of charge.

Flatex withdrawal fees and options
  Flatex Comdirect DEGIRO
Bank Transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/Debit card No No No
Electronic wallets No No No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0

You can only withdraw money to accounts on your name. We tested the bank transfer and it took 3 business days to get back our money.

Compare to other brokers

Flatex review
Web trading platform 3 stars

Flatex web trading platform is user-friendly and looks nice. You can also use several order types. On the flip side, it is not customizable, there are no price alerts, and it is available only in German.

Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Good search function
  • Good variety of order types
Cons
  • Limited customizability (for charts, workspace)
  • No price alerts
  • Only in German
Flatex Platforms to Choose From
Trading platformScoreAvailable
Web3 / 5 starsYes
Mobile4 / 5 starsYes
Desktop3 / 5 starsYes

At different account types, you can use different web trading platforms:

  • Flatex WebFiliale web trading platforms for cash and securities accounts
  • MetaTrader 4 web trading platform for FX account
  • CFD web trading platform for CFD account

We tested the WebFiliale, Flatex's own web trading platform.

The WebFiliale is available only in German.

Look and feel

Flatex's web trading platform is rather a simple one, but it is great for execution.

It is well designed and user-friendly but lacks customization. 

Flatex review - Web trading platform

Login and security

At the login you can use only one-step login. On the other hand, if you want to execute a transaction, you have to confirm that by typing a special code from your personal iTAN Card. This definitely increases your security.

Search functions

The search function works well.

When you type the product name, a relevant product list appears. If you click on the "Alle Egebnisse", you will have a product list separated by asset classes, like shares or bonds. Furthermore, you can also check the stock exchange and the currency of the searched products.

Flatex review - Web trading platform - Search

Placing orders

You can use the following order types which include some advanced ones as well:

  • Limit
  • Market
  • Stop loss
  • Trailing stop loss
  • OCO

It is very great feature that you can choose select the stock exchange you place an order. This is available only at a couple of brokers, like Comdirect or Interactive Brokers.

If you are not familiar with the basic order types, read this overview.

There are also different order terms for your trading convenience:

  • Good 'til time (GTT)
  • Fill or kill (FOK)
  • Immediate or cancel (IOC)
  • All or none (AON)

Flatex review - Web trading platform - Order panel

Alerts and notifications

You cannot set up alerts and notification.

Portfolio and fee reports

Flatex has clear portfolio report. When you go to the "Steuerbuchungen", you can see the profit/loss and the tax you have to pay.

On the other hand, you cannot see how much fees you paid for your tardes. This seriously decreases the transparency of the charged fees.

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Flatex review
Mobile trading platform 4 stars

Flatex mobile platform is the same in design and functionalities as the web trading platform.

Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Good search function
  • Good variety of order types
Cons
  • No price alerts
  • Only in German

At different account types, you can use different mobile trading platforms:

  • Flatex mobile trading platforms for cash and securities accounts
  • MetaTrader 4 mobile trading platform for FX account
  • CFD mobile trading platform for CFD account

Similarly to the web trading platform, we tested the mobile version of WebFiliale.

Flatex's mobile trading platform is available both on iOS and Android. We tested it on Android.

Flatex review - Mobile trading platform

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Flatex review
Desktop trading platform 3 stars

Flatex offers a desktop trading platform with advanced features and many customizable options. However, the platform is not user-friendly and is recommended only for advanced trader.

Pros
  • Good customizability (for charts, workspace)
  • Good variety of order types
  • Price alerts
Cons
  • Not user-friendly
  • Not free

At different account types, you can use different desktop trading platforms:

  • Flatex Trader 2.0 desktop trading platforms for cash and securities accounts
  • MetaTrader 4 desktop trading platform for FX account

We tested the Flatex Trader 2.0. It is available only in English and you will be charged a €15 monthly fee if you want to use it. This is quite unusual, since no other broker charges a fee for a trading platform.

Look and feel

Flatex desktop trading platform is not user-friendly and its design feels outdated.

As a plus, the platform is highly customizable. You can set up your own templates.Flatex review - Desktop trading platform

Login and security

It is the same as the the web trading platform.

Search functions

The search functions are mid-range. It is great that you can add the asset type, exchange, name etc. However, it does not show the most relevant results on the top. E.g. if you search for Apple, the Swiss stock exchange appears first and not the US NASDAQ.

Flatex review - Desktop trading platform - Search

Placing orders

You can use the same order types and order terms as at the web trading platform.

Alerts and notifications

In contrast with the web trading platform, you can set up price alerts and get notifications onthe  Flatex desktop trading platform.

Portfolio and fee reports

The Flatex desktop trading platform misses to have clear portfolio and fee reports.

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Flatex review
Markets and products 3 stars

Flatex gives you access to almost all asset classes, only options, futures, and cryptos are missing. Within the available asset classes, Flatex focuses mainly on EU markets.

  Flatex Comdirect DEGIRO
Stock Yes Yes Yes
ETF Yes Yes Yes
Forex Yes Yes No
Fund Yes Yes Yes
Bond Yes Yes Yes
Options No Yes Yes
Futures No Yes Yes
CFD Yes Yes Yes
Crypto No Yes Yes

Flatex has a good market and product coverage. You can trade with almost all asset classes. 

Flatex offers way more mutual funds than Comdirect and DEGIRO, however, lags behind in other asset classes.

It also offers a social trading service through Wikifolio.

Stock and ETF

Flatex stock and ETF offer are ok. It is in line with Comdirect but is worst than DEGIRO.

  Flatex Comdirect DEGIRO
Stock markets (#) 22 18 32
ETFs (#) 860 1,500 5,400

You will get access to the German, US, Canadian, French, Swiss, and some other EU stock exchanges. You can trade with penny stocks as well, but keep in mind that for the US penny stocks an additional fee is applied.

You can also invest into hundreds of ETF saving plans. This means that you invest a fixed amount in ETFs regularly and Flatex charges small or even zero fees.

Forex

The forex offering is great. You can trade as many currency pair as at Comdirect. DEGIRO does not provide forex trading.

  Flatex Comdirect DEGIRO
Currency pairs (#) 70 71 -

Fund

Flatex mutual fund offer is exceptionally wide compared to Comdirect and DEGIRO.

  Flatex Comdirect DEGIRO
Number of funds 3,800 1,600 581

Within this great fund offer, there are also fund saving plans. It is the same as the ETF saving plan, i.e. you can invest a fixed amount in funds regularly and Flatex charges favorable fees.

Bond

There is no information about how many bonds you can trade with, but the product list should be great since you can trade with both goverment and corporate bonds. Within the government bonds, you can even invest in the bonds of smaller countries, like Paraguay or Hungary.

CFD

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 79.51% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

At Flatex, you can trade with stock index CFDs, stock CFDs, and commodity CFDs. The number of CFDs is in line with Comdirect's offer and is greater than DEGIRO's offer.

  Flatex Comdirect DEGIRO
Stock index CFDs (#) 17 30 -
Stock CFDs (#) 2,000 1,200 900
Commodity CFDs (#) 13 15 -

Other assets

You can also trade with some other leveraged assets, like warrants or certificates. 

Flatex review
Research 3 stars

You can have an ok research at Flatex. The charting tools are advanced and fundamental data is also provided. On the other hand, the research tools are not user-friendly and there are no analyst recommendations.

Pros
  • Good interactive chart
  • Data on asset fundamentals
Cons
  • No analyst recommendations for stocks, bonds, etc.
  • Not user-friendly

The research functions are available at Flatex desktop trading platform, the Flatex Trader 2.0. This desktop trading platform has a monthly fee, so basically there are no research tools for free.

Recommendations

Flatex does not provide any analyst recommendations.

Fundamental data

Flatex offers fundamental data for equities. For example, you can check the income statement for 4 years, the main shareholders, and the valuation ratios as well.

Flatex review - Research - Fundamental data

It is not intuitive how you can find the fundamental data. To reach this, you should search with the "Symbol search" function and after finding your equity, right click and open the "Profile".

Charting

Flatex has an advanced charting with almost endless features. There are more than 200 technical indicators and editor tools.

You can easily edit and save the charts, which is a great function.

Flatex review - Research - Charting

News feed

The news feed has low quality. It has a outdated design which makes the news hardly readable. The news are feeded both in German and English languages, which makes quite unconvenient to pick the right one for you.

Flatex review - Research - News

Compare research pros and cons

Flatex review
Customer service 4 stars

Flatex customer support gives relevant answers, but there is no live chat and the telephone support is available only in German.

Pros
  • Relevant answers
  • Professional tone
Cons
  • No live chat
  • German only telephone support

You can contact Flatex via:

  • telephone
  • email

Flatex has great telephone support, but it is only in German. We could reach the support within a minute and the answers were helpful.

The email support gives relevant answers as well. The speed is also great as we got answers within 1 day.

The customer service is available from Monday to Friday 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM GMT+1 time zone. We missed the 24/7 availability.

Flatex review - Customer Service

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Flatex review
Education 4 stars

Flatex does a great job in education offering a lot of contents, but all of them is only in German.

Pros
  • Demo account
  • Trading platform tutorial videos
  • Educational videos
Cons
  • Only in German

At Flatex you can improve your financial knowledge in the following ways:

  • Demo account
  • Platform tutorial videos
  • General educational videos
  • Webinars

You can use demo account for Flatex trader 2.0, MetaTrader 4, and CFD trading platform, but cannot use the demo account for WebFiliale.

Flatex review - Education

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Flatex review
Safety

Flatex is regulated by the top-tier German regulator, is listed on the Xetra exchange, and has a banking background.

Pros
  • Regulated by top tier financial authority
  • Banking background
  • Listed on stock exchange
  • Negative balance protection
Cons
None

Flatex is the brand name of Fintech Group Bank AG. It is based in Germany and was established in 1999.

Is Flatex safe? To be certain, it is best to check two things: how you are protected if something goes south and what the background of the broker is.

How you are protected

Flatex serves its clients through one legal entity and all clients are eligible for the same investor protection.

Flatex legal entities
Country of clients Protection amount Regulator Legal entity
All countries

€20,000 for securities

€100,000 for cash

Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) Fintech Group Bank AG

Flatex provides negative balance protection for the CFD account.

Background

Flatex is the brand of Fintech Group AG. Fintech Group AG is listed on the Xetra exchange. This is a big plus for safety as Flatex releases financial statements regularly and transparently.

The company was established in 1999. The longer the track record of a broker, the more proof we have it had already managed previous financial crises.

Flatex also has a banking license, as such, it is facing tougher regulation than brokers. This is another advantage in terms of safety.

Having a banking license, being listed on stock exchange, providing financial statements, and regulated by a top-tier regulator are all great signs for Flatex's safety.

Filter the brokers by investor protection

Flatex review
Bottom line

Flatex is a great broker if you speak German and you focus on long-term investing.

It has cheap ETF and fund trading and its financial transparency is great thanks to its bank parent company and its stock exchange listing. You can also use many high-quality educational tools.

On the other hand, the account opening for non-German citizens is very complicated and you can only use bank transfer for deposit and withdrawal. The account opening process, the web and mobile trading platforms and the telephone customer support are only in German.

Feel free to try Flatex, since there is no minimum deposit and inactivity fee.

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Flatex logo

Flatex is a German stockbroker established in 1999 and regulated by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin). It is listed on the Xetra stock exchange and has a bank parent, the Fintech Group Bank AG.

Flatex is considered safe because it has a long track record, is listed on stock exchange, has a banking background, discloses its financials, and is regulated by top-tier regulator.

Recommended for German speaking investors focusing mainly on ETFs and mutual funds.

Compare to other brokers

Overall 4 stars

Pros
  • Cheap ETF and fund trading
  • Listed on a stock exchange, strong parent company
  • Great educational tools
Cons
  • Complicated account opening for non-Germans
  • Only bank transfer is available for deposit and withdrawal
  • Services are only in German

Fees 3 stars

Pros
  • No withdrawal fee
  • No inactivity fee
  • Low fund fees
Cons
  • High financing rate
  • High US stock fee
  • High forex fees

Account opening 2 stars

Pros
  • No minimum account balance
  • Fully digital account opening for German clients
Cons
  • Slow account opening
  • Not fully digital
  • Not user-friendly

Deposit and withdrawal 3 stars

Pros
  • Free withdrawal
  • No deposit fee
Cons
  • Credit/Debit card deposit and withdrawal not available
  • Only one account base currency
  • Slow funding and withdrawal - over 3 days

Web trading platform 3 stars

Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Good search function
  • Good variety of order types
Cons
  • Limited customizability (for charts, workspace)
  • No price alerts
  • Only in German

Mobile trading platform 4 stars

Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Good search function
  • Good variety of order types
Cons
  • No price alerts
  • Only in German

Desktop trading platform 3 stars

Pros
  • Good customizability (for charts, workspace)
  • Good variety of order types
  • Price alerts
Cons
  • Not user-friendly
  • Not free

Markets and products 3 stars

The available asset classes to trade:

  • Stock
  • ETF
  • Forex
  • Fund
  • Bond
  • CFD
  • Warrants
  • Certificate
  • Turbo

Research 3 stars

Pros
  • Good interactive chart
  • Data on asset fundamentals
Cons
  • No analyst recommendations for stocks, bonds, etc.
  • Not user-friendly

Customer service 4 stars

Pros
  • Relevant answers
  • Professional tone
Cons
  • No live chat
  • German only telephone support

Education 4 stars

Pros
  • Demo account
  • Trading platform tutorial videos
  • Educational videos
Cons
  • Only in German

Safety

Pros
  • Regulated by top tier financial authority
  • Banking background
  • Listed on stock exchange
  • Negative balance protection
Cons
None

AUTHOR OF THIS REVIEW

Gergely Korpos
Gergely Korpos
Co-founder, CPO
Gergely's aim is to bring more clarity into personal investing. He has 10 years of experience in financial markets with GE Money, KPMG and MOL. He concluded thousands of trades as a commodity trader and financial portfolio manager

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