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Best International Brokers for Stock Trading in April 2024

April 02, 2024

It’s not difficult for U.S. citizens to invest internationally, whether you’re an expat living outside the United States or you live in the U.S. and just want to add foreign exposure to your portfolio. First, get to know the different ways you can invest. Then, find a broker who can accept your business, trades what you’re interested in, and provides features, user experience, and pricing that appeals to you.

We rated the top three brokerage firms that allow U.S. citizens to trade foreign stocks. I considered availability of services, the number of countries U.S. clients can reside in and open an account, the overall user experience, and, of course, cost.

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Best International Brokers for Stock Trading

  • Interactive Brokers
    - Best overall for international trading
  • Charles Schwab - Best for long-term investing
  • Fidelity
    - All-around leading broker
Interactive Brokers
4.5/5 Stars 4.5 Overall

Best overall for international trading

Minimum Deposit$0.00
Stock Trades$0.00
Options (Per Contract)$0.65

Interactive Brokers is in a class of its own regarding foreign stock investing, offering more than 90 market centers and a smorgasbord of analytical tools. The broker’s Global Trader mobile app is stellar, and costs are low. Read full review

Pros
  • Astounding array of customizable tools
  • Allows trading in foreign markets
  • Convenient apps for individual investors
Cons
  • Restrictive trading permissions
  • Main platforms might feel cold
Visit Site

New clients, special margin rates.

Charles Schwab
5/5 Stars 5.0 Overall

Best for long-term investing

Minimum Deposit$0.00
Stock Trades$0.00
Options (Per Contract)$0.65

Charles Schwab’s long-term approach to investing is appealing, though international trading is clearly a feature, not a priority . Trading is facilitated in 12 countries and the broker charges less than rival Fidelity for trade commissions. Read full review

Pros
  • TD Ameritrade’s excellent thinkorswim trading platforms now available
  • Trading-friendly app and browser enhancements
  • Exceptional high net worth services
Cons
  • No cryptocurrency trading
  • Mutual fund fees are complex
Fidelity
5/5 Stars 5.0 Overall

All-around leading broker

Minimum Deposit$0.00
Stock Trades$0.00
Options (Per Contract)$0.65

Fidelity is an all-around winner for investors and is a strong choice if global investing is not your top priority when selecting a broker. It offers access to 25 countries and the ability to trade international equities. Commissions vary by country. Read full review

Pros
  • Excellent research and mobile app
  • Top-notch education
  • Decades of reliable client service
Cons
  • No dedicated mobile app for active trading
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Trade at Fidelity. 1

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Winners Summary

Best overall for international trading - Interactive Brokers

Company Minimum Deposit Stock Trades Options (Per Contract) Offers Visit Site
Interactive Brokers logoInteractive Brokers $0.00 $0.00 $0.65 New clients, special margin rates. Visit Site

Interactive Brokers reliably comes up as Best in Class in many of our StockBrokers.com scoring categories. But, when I key in on international stock trading, Interactive Brokers is simply in a class of its own. Clients can trade stocks in over 90 market centers and have access to a smorgasbord of analytical tools, including GlobalAnalyst, which screens stocks across the globe and allows comparisons in one currency. Nice. I also found getting my account approved for international trading painless.

Commissions vary by the country traded, but my test trade of buying one share of Air Canada in Canadian dollars cost a minimum ticket size of $1 and a foreign exchange spread of 20 basis points (one-fifth of a percent). That’s dirt cheap.

Though many of IBKR’s services and tools are designed to appeal to institutional investors, the broker’s Global Trader mobile app is a game-changer for beginning global investors. I found it easy to buy Canadian stock and see our Canadian dollar-denominated holdings right alongside our U.S. dollar holdings. It was seamless. I like Global Trader for beginning U.S.-focused investors, too.

If you are a U.S. citizen interested in opening an account outside the United States, you can apply for an account with your legal domicile and see if it is accepted. There isn’t a minimum deposit or monthly charge (other than the data feeds you select), so there’s no risk to trying. Read review.

Interactive Brokers mobile app gallery

Interactive Brokers trading platform gallery

Best for long-term investing- Charles Schwab

Company Minimum Deposit Stock Trades Options (Per Contract) Offers Visit Site
Charles Schwab logoCharles Schwab $0.00 $0.00 $0.65 Read Review

Charles Schwab charges less than Fidelity for trade commissions, which of course we like, and the same 1% currency spread as Fidelity. On the downside, it requires opening a separate Schwab Global Account via paper application (do you remember those?). Schwab facilitates trading in 12 countries.

Here’s a helpful tip: if you have any questions about using Schwab for international trading or opening an account from a foreign country, skip calling the U.S. helpline. When I called Schwab’s general support line, the reps weren’t trained to answer questions about international trading. Use their specialized call line (800-992-4685) to reach their international account specialists. They were better equipped to answer the questions I had. Read review.

Charles Schwab mobile gallery

Charles Schwab trading platform gallery

All-around leading broker - Fidelity

Company Minimum Deposit Stock Trades Options (Per Contract) Offers Visit Site
Fidelity logoFidelity $0.00 $0.00 $0.65 Trade at Fidelity. 1 Visit Site

For those who don’t have global investing as the top priority of their broker search, we recommend Fidelity Investments. It took the Best Overall Broker medal in our 2024 Annual Awards, and it has the ability to trade international stocks.

Fidelity offers trading in 25 countries and 16 currencies. The commission charged varies by country and currency conversion incurs a 1 percent spread for each side of the trade, which can get pricey. I entered a test trade of a share of Air Canada stock and the charge was $19 CAD plus a currency conversion spread of 1 percent each way. That’s multiples of what IBKR charges.

Existing clients who have moved out of the U.S. should contact Fidelity and discuss their situation. Read review.

Fidelity Mobile gallery

Fidelity trading platform gallery

map Are you a citizen of Australia, Canada, or the United Kingdom?

Check out our reviews of top-rated brokers in your country:

FAQs

How to invest in foreign stocks

Five choices are available to U.S. investors who want to increase their international stock exposure:

U.S. multinational stocks

Many blue-chip domestic companies get most of their revenue outside the U.S. It’s usually easy to find that info in a company’s financial reports. Two advantages to choosing U.S. multinationals are, first, you don’t have to exchange dollars for foreign currency, and, second, U.S. markets are tightly regulated, meaning there’s less opportunity for fraud.

American Depository Receipts

If you want to invest in a foreign company, look to see if there’s an American Depository Receipt (ADR) available for that company. ADRs are receipts for foreign shares that can be traded in the United States. They’re also dollar denominated like U.S. stocks. Some examples of ADRs are AstraZeneca (AZN), Nokia (NOK), and Toyota (TM).

Buy cross-listed shares of a foreign company

Cross-listed stocks are simply shares of the same company listed on multiple exchanges, often in different countries. Companies cross-list to increase demand for their stocks. Cross-listed stocks include Carnival Cruise Lines (United Kingdom) and Barrick Gold (Canada).

Buy an international or global fund

If you don’t want to pick stocks yourself, you can buy an international or global stock fund. “Global” funds usually include U.S. stocks along with international stocks. “International” funds usually exclude or minimize investing in U.S. stocks. There are international index funds and ETFs that can be less expensive than actively managed international funds.

Buy international stock on a foreign exchange

Investing directly in foreign stock is a bit more complicated than buying a fund and letting a portfolio manager do all the work, but you’ll also have many more choices. Keep in mind that your total return will also depend on how the foreign currency trades against the U.S. dollar. If the foreign currency falls compared to the U.S. dollar, you could have a loss even if the stock went up in its own currency.

euro Forex trading

Are you interested in trading foreign exchange instead of stock? Check out our sister site, ForexBrokers.com.

What is an international broker?

Any brokerage firm that accepts clients from more than one country and offers trading access to global stock exchanges is considered an international broker.

How do you open an international trading account?

To open an international trading account, you need to find a broker that:

  • Will accept clients from your country.
  • Can trade in the countries you want to trade in.
  • Is able to execute orders in the instruments you prefer to trade in.
  • Has the features you want.

Then, follow the steps specified by the broker to open the account.

How do I buy stocks internationally?

To buy foreign stocks, you must first open a brokerage account with a broker that can trade in the country where you want to invest. Then, after funding your account, you may need to request access (including price data) for the exchange you want to trade.

Alternatively, simply search for the specific symbol to see if it is available to trade from within your account. A symbol that works for one broker may not work for another.

Example: A trader who wants to buy British Petroleum PLC (LSE: BP) would enter the symbol BP on the trading platform. If you enter this on the Interactive Brokers platform, BP will yield a few results, but the correct one if you want to buy it on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) is “BP PLC – LSE.”

Companies can have multiple results because one company may have several securities and/or symbols. A foreign stock may be dually listed or trade as an American Deposit Receipt (ADR). There may also be derivatives such as contracts for difference (CFD) or options. Bottom line: you should know the exchange and symbol to buy an international stock.

Can a citizen of another country open an account with a U.S. broker?

If you reside outside of the United States and are not a U.S. citizen, you may still be able to open a U.S. brokerage account. As long as the online broker accepts applications from your country of residence, you may proceed.

Can a non-citizen resident open a U.S. broker account?

In many cases, if you are a legal resident in the U.S. but not a U.S. citizen, then proper identification may be enough to open a U.S. brokerage account. Expect the broker to ask for a Social Security number. When in doubt, call the broker.

Can a non-U.S. resident invest in U.S. stocks?

Yes, you can, and you may not need to open an account with a U.S. broker if you are living in a foreign country. Brokers in many countries are able to trade U.S. stocks. For example, while testing brokers in Canada, Australia and in the U.K., we found U.S. markets to be easily accessible.

Which broker is best for international trading?

Interactive Brokers is the best U.S.-based international stockbroker because it provides you access to the most exchanges and supports clients from the widest variety of countries. Its Global Trader mobile app makes international investing easy for beginners, but its Trader Workstation is sophisticated enough to be an international trading platform for institutional investors.

Our Research

Why you should trust us

Sam Levine, CFA, CMT, the lead writer for StockBrokers.com, has over 30 years of investing experience and actively trades stocks, ETFs, options, futures, and options on futures. He's held roles as a portfolio manager, financial consultant, investment strategist and journalist. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and the Chartered Market Technician (CMT) designations and served on the board of directors of the CMT Association.

Blain Reinkensmeyer, head of research at StockBrokers.com, has been investing and trading for over 25 years. After having placed over 2,000 trades in his late teens and early 20s, he became one of the first in digital media to review online brokerages. Blain created the original scoring rubric for StockBrokers.com and oversees all testing and rating methodologies.

For this guide:

  • Whenever possible, we used our own brokerage accounts for testing. For several brokers, we used a test account that was provided to us.
  • We traded international stock from the U.S.
  • We compared brokers' access to international stock markets.

How we tested

The key criterion for inclusion in this guide is access to international stock markets for U.S. investors. We also thoroughly tested and/or evaluated essential features and ease of use for everyday investors and casual traders, including watch lists, charting, availability of real-time and streaming quotes, stock alerts, and educational resources, among other variables.

StockBrokers.com uses a variety of computing devices to evaluate trading platforms. Our reviews were conducted using the following devices: iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max, MacBook Pro M1 with 8 GB RAM running the current MacOS, and a Dell Vostro 5402 laptop i5 with 8 GB RAM running Windows 11 Pro. In testing platforms and apps, our reviewers place actual trades for a variety of instruments.

Trading platforms tested

We tested 17 online trading platforms for this guide:

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About the Editorial Team

Sam Levine, CFA, CMT
Sam Levine, CFA, CMT

Sam Levine has over 30 years of experience in the investing field as a portfolio manager, financial consultant, investment strategist and writer. He also taught investing as an adjunct professor of finance at Wayne State University. Sam holds the Chartered Financial Analyst and the Chartered Market Technician designations and is pursuing a master's in personal financial planning at the College for Financial Planning. Previously, he was a contributing editor at BetterInvesting Magazine and a contributor to The Penny Hoarder and other media outlets.

Blain Reinkensmeyer
Blain Reinkensmeyer

Blain Reinkensmeyer has 20 years of trading experience with over 2,500 trades placed during that time. He heads research for all U.S.-based brokerages on StockBrokers.com and is respected by executives as the leading expert covering the online broker industry. Blain’s insights have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and the Chicago Tribune, among other media outlets.

Carolyn Kimball
Carolyn Kimball

Carolyn Kimball is managing editor for Reink Media and the lead editor for the StockBrokers.com Annual Review. Carolyn has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at major media outlets including NerdWallet, the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News. She specializes in coverage of personal financial products and services, wielding her editing skills to clarify complex (some might say befuddling) topics to help consumers make informed decisions about their money.

Steven Hatzakis
Steven Hatzakis

Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for ForexBrokers.com. Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Steven is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher and advises blockchain companies at the board level. Over the past 20 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.

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