Securities account comparison 2021 - The best providers  test

Securities account
You have to open a securities account to be able to invest in shares and securities. Investors can open a securities account with house banks, online direct banks and online brokers.

Investors benefit from the meanwhile high competition among the providers, which has led to decreasing costs. Before choosing a provider, however, it is advisable to compare securities accounts.

What exactly is a securities account? What features and functions does it offer? How can you compare securities accounts? What are the costs and fees? Which providers are the best? We clarify all questions in the securities account comparison and present our test winner eToro.

What is a securities account?

  • A securities account is a type of account, except that official shares, securities and bonds are held here, whereby these must be identified by an ISIN/ASN number. A securities account can be set up at a house bank, custodian bank or online broker, who manage it in the name of the user.
  • Many custodian banks charge an annual custody account fee for maintaining a securities account, which is waived with online brokers such as our test winner eToro.
  • All types of available securities can be held in a securities account, in addition to shares or bonds also bonds or in many cases fund shares such as ETFs. For the purchase or sale of securities, a reference account is usually required at the broker or custodian bank, through which all transactions are processed. A possible dividend distribution associated with shares is also processed via the securities account.

The most important facts about securities accounts in brief

Our readers deserve a compact summary of the most important information about securities accounts:

  • Several providers: You can open a securities account with a house bank, a direct bank or an online broker.
    High fee differences: In particular, traditional house banks sometimes have horrendous fees, consisting of custody fees or high order and transaction fees.
  • Custody account comparison: To find the right provider, investors need to carry out a custody account comparison. In doing so, they should pay attention to criteria such as costs and fees, trading range, user-friendliness and customer service.
  • Several types of custody accounts: Different types of custody accounts such as share custody accounts, fund custody accounts or securities custody accounts must be distinguished.

The securities account is in the name of its owner. For legal reasons, too, it must be clear to outsiders which individual currently owns the corresponding shares or fund units, because subscription rights, etc. are also associated with them.

Because the number of providers, such as direct banks and online brokers, has risen sharply in recent years, investors should definitely compare securities accounts. In doing so, pay attention to criteria such as fees and costs, the available trading range, user-friendliness and trading apps.

What criteria should be used to compare a securities account?

A securities account comparison must be based on certain criteria. The most important criteria are costs and fees, trading range, user-friendliness and customer service. The specific cost & fee structure should in turn correspond to the trading goals of the user. Accordingly, particularly active traders must pay attention to minimal spreads and make a big leap around percentage commission fees.

  • Custody fee: How high is the custody fee or is one charged at all?
  • Fee model: Are order commissions or spreads charged? Are these fixed or variable, or are they set as a percentage?
  • Deposit insurance: A statutory deposit insurance must be offered. However, this can also differ in terms of its amount. Regulation by a competent financial supervisory authority is mandatory.
  • Trading venues: At which trading centres or stock exchanges can securities be traded or bought? Does this also include US shares or Chinese shares?
  • Customer service: How can the customer service be contacted in case of questions? At what times is it available?

Where can I open a securities account?

Securities accounts can generally be opened at branch banks, online direct banks and online brokers.

Branch banks

High customer proximity is financed here by mostly very high fees.

Online direct banks

You can open a securities account here directly via the Internet and also use online banking services for a current account.

Online brokers

Innovative and user-friendly mobile trading apps and a large trading range with complete waiver of custody fees is the strength of many online brokers.

Recommended securities accounts with online brokers

Has carried out an extensive comparison of securities accounts among the leading providers. We identified the best online brokers - our clear test winner is eToro. Our test winner eToro and other good brokers are presented in more detail below:


Rank 1: Test winner eToro

Our test winner is the CySec-regulated online trading platform eToro. The broker offers a free securities account with over 2,000 shares and ETFs on 18 international stock exchanges and trading venues. In addition, there are over 3,000 other financial instruments in the asset classes foreign exchange, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, commodities. eToro waives commissions and charges minimal spreads. Legal deposit protection is available.

etoro logo


Rank 2: is a young, innovative online broker with CySec regulation, which offers CFDs on foreign exchange, ETFs, cryptocurrencies and commodities in addition to hundreds of the most traded shares. The fee model does not include a custody fee; minimal commissions are charged. Statutory deposit insurance exists. logod


Rank 3: comdirect

The comdirect is the direct bank of the Commerzbank Group's online direct bank leading direct bank. Founded in 1994, it is BaFin-regulated. A low-cost securities account offers access to over 10,000 securities with trading venues all over the world. CFD trading is also possible.

Comdirect logo


Rank 4: consorsbank

The consorsbank is an online direct bank and a subsidiary of the BNP PARIBAS Group. Investors can open a free current account along with a free securities account, although custody fees are charged after the first year. The fee structure provides for acceptable but noticeable order and commission fees, which is why consorsbank is only ranked 4th.



Rank 5: Trading212

Trading212 is a young fintech company and online broker, which offers a free securities account and the purchase of partial shares. Regulated by BaFin, there is legal deposit protection and a user-friendly trading app, over 5,000 European and US stocks can be traded.



Rank 6: Plus500

Plus500 is a CFD and online broker originally based in London with EU headquarters in Cyprus (CySec regulation). Plus500 offers a free securities account and access to over 300 of the most traded stocks, as well as hundreds of CFDs on forex, ETFs, cryptocurrencies and commodities. Plus500 charges no order fees but minimal spreads.



Rank 7: Onvista

Onvista is a leading financial portal and online broker with BaFin regulation at the same time. Investors can open a free securities account and invest in over 5,000 European and US stocks. However, due to rather high transaction and order fees as well as a lack of user-friendliness, the broker only lands in 7th place.


Why is a comparison worthwhile?

Investors should definitely compare securities accounts before deciding on a provider. Such a comparison always pays off, because the costs and fees of direct banks and online brokers can differ dramatically. Otherwise, you might choose a broker whose fees not only reduce your returns, but who does not offer all the shares and securities you would like to invest in.

These mistakes can be avoided by carefully comparing securities accounts. It is important to select a few key features on the basis of which you compare the providers with each other. It is essential to consider the features of costs and fees, trading range, user-friendliness, regulation, security and trading apps.

How to open a securities account?

Our test winner for securities accounts is the CySec-regulated provider eToro. As the global market leader with over 20 million users, a broad trading range of over 5,000 financial instruments in 7 asset classes and a free securities account, the test winner is unrivalled. Opening a securities account with eToro is very easy and can be done in less than 10 minutes. To do this you need to follow these 4 steps.

Step 1: Open an account

The first step is to fill out the registration form, which requires your desired username, secure password, telephone number and email address. Then you have to activate the two checkboxes to agree to the terms of use and the DSGVO-compliant privacy policy.

Step 2: Verify account

Now, due to EU regulations, investors are required to confirm their identity and address. For proof of identity, upload a colour scan of your valid passport, for proof of address take a scan of a recent electricity or gas bill (less than 6 months old).

The data is usually verified by eToro customer service within 24 hours, after which the securities account is opened.

Step 3: Make a deposit

Now you can make a deposit into your trading account at eToro. There are numerous deposit methods available, popular ones are credit card, PayPal or Sofortüberweisung. There are no deposit fees.

Simply select the payment method, enter the deposit amount and complete the missing payment details. The money will be credited immediately after clicking on "Deposit" and is ready for investment.

Step 4: Buy securities

The invested money can be used to buy securities. We will show this using the Volkswagen share as an example. Simply enter "Volkswagen" in the search bar at the top of the screen and click on the search result that appears.

Click on "Trade" at the top right to open the buy menu. Now enter the investment amount, select "x1 leverage" to buy real shares and click on "Open trade" to complete the investment. It can be managed via the menu item "Portfolio".

What distinguishes a good custody account?

A securities account comparison is complete when you have found a good securities account for you. But how exactly can you recognise such a custody account? Here are five important characteristics of a great securities account:


  • The key to a custody account is a favourable and fair fee structure. Ideally, the custody account fee is waived completely, but it is the sum of all fees that can make a noticeable difference to the overall return. Online brokers are preferable here, because in many cases the custody fee is waived. However, attention should also be paid to low spreads and low commission fees.

Minimum investment

  • Some investors want to buy shares with small three-digit amounts and start investing regularly. Beginners in particular should look for a custody account that allows them to start with minimum amounts of EUR 100-200. Whether individual fund units or partial shares - anyone can start investing successfully.

Demo account

  • Best brokers and direct banks provide their investors with a so-called demo account or sample account. This should offer the full range of functions of the real custody account and thus enables free and risk-free testing of the investment strategy and trading platform.

Trade assortment

  • Investors may wish to invest not only in shares or bonds on European market, but also in the USA or, for example, Australia, Singapore or China. They may also want to build up a diversified portfolio that includes several asset classes such as shares, bonds, certificates or contracts for difference. The broader the trading assortment, the better the custody account.

Additional functions

  • In addition to the function of trading with or holding shares, bonds and certificates in the custody account, the broker could also offer other additional functions. Here, the offer of contracts for difference is particularly popular, e.g. with our test winner eToro. This allows you to bet on falling prices of an underlying asset through short selling or even trade with leverage between 1:2 - 1:10 (depending on the asset).

    Although many beginners will not use these functions at the beginning, some investors will soon want to expand their trading options. That is why it is advisable to choose the best and most flexible online broker right from the start.

What are the different types of securities accounts?

The term "securities account" is unfortunately somewhat imprecise and needs to be defined more precisely, because there are in fact 4 different types of securities accounts, with the securities account being the most common.

Fund custody account: A fund custody account is clearly distinguishable from a custody account, because it is only available at a fund company. A fund custody account is opened here in order to be able to trade and hold the company's fund units.
Securities account: The securities account is popular because it can be set up easily at house banks, direct banks and online brokers. With some online brokers it is even available without a custody account fee. All kinds of securities - i.e. shares, bonds and certificates - can be held in a securities account.
Share deposit: Investors often speak of a share deposit, but it is congruent with the securities deposit. In addition to shares, bonds and certificates can also be held in a share deposit account.
Online securities account: Online securities accounts are securities accounts that are set up with online brokers. Again, the name implies more peculiarity than given, because all kinds of securities can be stored here. Because online brokers are structured in a cost-effective way, online securities accounts are usually free of charge and can be held without custody fees compared to securities accounts at expensive branch banks.

What are the fees for a custody account?

Fees and costs are the most important criterion in a securities account comparison - we have already emphasised this point several times. But what fees are actually charged for a custody account? And how are they calculated and what do you have to bear in mind? Investors need to know and keep an eye on the following types of fees:

Custody account fee

The custody account fee is well known and can be charged at regular intervals for the management of the custody account at a custodian bank or a broker. It is common to charge an annual custody fee, but it can also be charged monthly or quarterly. Some online brokers, such as our test winner eToro, waive the custody account fee completely, which is an important factor especially for investors with low trading activity.

Order or transaction fee

This fee is charged when buying or selling securities, and its amount can vary between custody providers. If you trade a lot, you must pay attention to minimum order and transaction fees. A percentage calculation or a fixed price is possible, whereby the latter model is better for active traders with high volumes.

Stock exchange fee

The stock exchange fee consists of the so-called brokerage fee and the mostly flat-rate costs incurred at a trading venue for the execution of an order. This cost item is independent of the provider, but is charged or collected by the provider.


Some online brokers have introduced the spread fee model, whereby there is a surcharge on the buy and sell price of the security in question. Spreads are charged instead of transaction and order fees and can be the cheaper model in many cases.

Possible additional fees

With traditional house banks, you have to be particularly critical when reading the conditions, because here various additional fees are sometimes charged. Sometimes this concerns the setting up and execution of limit orders such as take profit or stop loss orders - an instrument available free of charge at online brokers such as eToro.

For a detailed comparison of securities accounts, investors can always open the list of prices and services, which must be published on the provider's website, and go through it in detail.

  • Branch banks like the Sparkasse also offer their customers a securities account. For a thinning branch network and advice, however, you pay an expensive surcharge and custody account fees that are hardly profitable for investors. If one really needs personal advice from a bank advisor on current investments, the branch bank remains an option.
  • Direct banks are online banks accessible solely via the internet, where users can use all the usual banking services and set up a securities account. Because no expensive branch network and high personnel costs have to be financed, the fees at direct banks are usually significantly lower.
  • Brokers are online providers specialising solely in brokering securities transactions on international financial markets. They can operate even more leanly than direct banks, but are characterised above all by high user-friendliness and a focus on trading apps. Unless you need extensive advice, trading via low-cost online brokers like eToro is the best choice for investors.

Sparkasse Munich

Direct bank (e.g. DKB)

Online broker (e.g. eToro)

Purchase of securities € 5,000

25 euros plus expenses

10 Euro

0 euros


45 euros per year

0 euros

0 euros

Costs for a 10-year holding period

475 euros

10 Euro

0 euros

Are there free securities accounts?

Competition among online direct banks and online brokers has continued to increase over the years, as many new providers have entered the highly competitive market. Free securities accounts without annual custody fees are now very common, which of course benefits investors.

A free securities account is therefore one for which no quarterly, semi-annual or annual custody fees are charged. It is important to note that no securities account is completely free, because if the custody fee is omitted, transaction fees or possibly commissions or spreads will still be incurred. This should be noted, because online brokers and direct banks ultimately also have to cover the costs of their business operations.

Stock exchange fees are incurred in particular when buying bonds and other fixed-income securities, as these cannot be purchased or traded over-the-counter.

How do I change and terminate a securities account?

What if you as an investor want to transfer your securities account to another provider? This decision can make sense in many cases: Perhaps the new provider has no custody account fees, a larger trading range, offers better customer service and user-friendliness or more.

The good news is: the process for transferring a securities account is legally regulated and providers of securities accounts must make a securities account transfer available to their users. According to a ruling by the Constitutional Court, no fees may be charged for this process. This process, which has been standardised by the legislator, proceeds as follows:

Change of securities account

First, you register with the new broker and open a securities account there. Brokers usually offer a "relocation service" or an option to "switch securities accounts", which you should take advantage of. To do this, you fill out a form from the broker authorising the broker to transfer the securities from the existing custodian bank to the new custody account in your name.

A complete or partial transfer is possible. In other words, investors can choose whether they want to transfer individual funds or securities or all the securities in their old custody account to the new custody account. In the case of a full transfer, the old custody account is usually closed completely and permanently; in the case of a partial transfer, it continues to exist.

Practically speaking, a change of securities account can nowadays usually be made online. The corresponding online forms can be found at the new custody account provider. You have to enter the securities account number and data, and then confirm the information with a digital signature.

Cancellation of the current securities account

If you want to close your current securities account because you no longer use it, you as an investor must terminate your existing securities account with your provider. We definitely recommend that you terminate your securities account in writing so that it is legally secure. Most providers provide their users with a PDF form for downloading. Simply download it, fill it out and send it to the provider (usually by e-mail).

Investors should also note in their e-mail that they would like the provider to confirm the termination of the securities account in writing by e-mail. To be on the safe side, you should also check with the provider whether there is a specific period of notice that must be observed.

At some direct banks, a clearing account has been set up together with the securities account - this is usually also closed when the securities account is terminated. If there is still a remaining balance, it is transferred to another bank account of the securities account holder.

How do you earn money with your securities account?

Earning money with shares or securities - this is the goal that usually lies behind opening a securities account. The most common way to earn money with a securities account is to buy shares. If you buy shares in companies, you can earn an ongoing income from the annual dividend payments. However, the payment of dividends is not compulsory, shareholders vote on this at the annual general meeting. There are reliable dividend shares, while high growth shares usually do not pay dividends.

However, you can also earn money with your portfolio in the medium and short term by trading. Especially with the purchase of contracts for difference at our test winner eToro you can speculate on short-term price changes and thus make profits. You can even trade with leverage and bet on a falling price by selling short.

It is essential that investors are aware of the risks of the respective investment and that they are explicitly informed about them by the broker or direct bank.

Which securities account suits you?

The ideal securities account should correspond to the investor's wishes and goals. To ensure that investors find the ideal securities account for them, they should proceed as follows:

  • Determine investment goals: What are the investment goals? How long should investors invest (investment horizon)? How often or intensively should you trade?
  • Determine comparison criteria: Based on the consideration of which criteria are most important for an investor with a custody account provider, a custody account comparison can be made between the providers corresponding to the criteria. What custody account fees and costs are charged? How high are they? At which stock exchanges and trading centres can one buy via the provider? If necessary, a look at the legally required list of prices and services, which must be published by the broker or direct bank on its website, can help. A small trading assortment or few asset classes outside of shares or ETFs can already be an exclusion criterion for some investors.
  • Consider the fee structure: Depending on the planned frequency of trading, investors should determine those providers where their costs and fees are minimised in the long term.
    Test demo accounts: If there are several providers to choose from, you can open a demo account here to test or check the online platform more closely.
  • Once investors have decided on a provider, they can proceed to opening the securities account. For this purpose, the personal details required by the provider must be submitted. In addition, a legally required proof of identity and address is required.The ideal securities account should correspond to the investor's wishes and goals. To ensure that investors find the ideal securities account for them, they should proceed as follows:

The best securities account providers in comparison

In the following, we have directly compared our test winner and other leading custody account providers with regard to the most important features and criteria:


Trade real cryptos and crypto CFDs
Licensed broker with deposit protection
Integrated wallet


Wide range of assets
Low fees


Broker fully regulated
Numerous awards
Libertex experience for more than twenty years

User-friendly platform
0% commissions
Deposit from 20€
avatrade logo

Good selection of cryptocurrencies
Regulated by CBI and MiFID in Europe
No commissions and low spreads

How safe is a securities account?

Some investors are concerned about the safety of their securities account. Of course, one would like to know one's money is in safe hands, but here all worries can be put to rest - thanks to the legal regulations. Even in the event of insolvency of the securities account provider - whether bank or broker - the user's securities are not affected; after all, these securities continue to be owned by the investor.


The clearing account, through which transactions, fees and dividend distributions are settled, is usually not affected either. If higher deposits are held here, they are covered by the statutory deposit insurance, for example, amounts to EUR 100,000.

Direct banks and online brokers are forced by law to keep customer deposits in segregated accounts, separate from business assets, or to do so via trustees. This ensures that customer deposits are safe at all times.

Advantages and disadvantages of securities accounts

If you want to invest in shares and securities, there is no getting around a securities account. However, in addition to all the advantages, there are a few disadvantages that can be associated with opening and holding investments in a securities account:


  • Investing in shares, bonds, securities
  • Short-term and long-term trading possible
  • Receipt of dividend payments
  • Free management with the test winner eToro


  • High custody fees with some providers
  • No trading with leverage possible
  • No anonymous trading possible


Conclusion of our securities account test

Opening a securities account is a prerequisite for trading shares, bonds or certificates. Investors can choose between traditional house banks, direct banks and online brokers. Investors should carry out a securities account comparison in the large field of providers and primarily pay attention to costs and fees, trading assortment, customer service and user-friendliness.

Ultimately, we recommend that investors choose online brokers because they usually have no custody account fee and offer a fair fee structure, low costs and a wide range of products.

Our recommendation is our test winner eToro. The CySec-regulated online broker offers a free securities account with legal deposit protection and minimal spreads. Investors can choose to invest in stocks and securities from 18 international exchanges, and there are also over 5,000 instruments available for investment in asset classes such as foreign exchange, ETFs, indices and cryptocurrencies.

etoro logo
  • Social trading function
  • Fair and transparent fee structure
  • State-regulated and licensed
  • Large number of shares and ETFs
  • Free demo account


What is a securities account?

A securities account is a type of account that is required for the purchase or safekeeping of shares, bonds and certificates. A securities account can be opened at house banks, direct banks or online brokers in the name of the investor.

What is a securities account comparison?

A securities account comparison is advisable before opening a securities account with a bank or online broker. Criteria such as costs and fees, trading range and regulation or user-friendliness must be taken into account. Then compare all providers according to these criteria and also take a look at the list of prices and services.

Which custodian bank is the best?

Investors can choose from many custodian banks and online brokers in Germany. Our test winner is eToro - a leading global online broker where investors can open a free securities account. There are over 2,000 financial instruments available for trading on 18 international exchanges, as well as a further 4,000 financial instruments in foreign exchange, ETFs, commodities, cryptocurrencies and more.

How safe is my securities account?

Deposits in a securities account are to be treated as separate assets, it is kept separately from the business assets of the broker or provider. The shares and securities in an investor's custody account are therefore safe because they remain the sole property of the investor himself.

About the author

Hi there, my name is Zalman Weinberg. I'm enthusiast with over 7 years of experience in cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Professional Trader providing Blockchain solutions to Startups and Enterprises. Expert in all cryptocurrency exchange APIs (BitMEX, Bittrex, Binance, Bitfinex, Kraken, Poloniex, Gdax etc.). I have also worked with multiple Forex broker APIs.

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