Choosing a broker is an important step when investing. Yet there are many different options available in Belgium, so picking the right one for you can be challenging. We compare investing in ETFs through Bolero and Keytrade, two brokers available to Belgians. The goal of this article is to help you find out which broker is best for you for investing in ETFs. We’ll compare the brokers based on their fees, convenience, the ease of setting up an account and importantly the safety of your assets.

The overview

The table shows an overview of how Bolero compares to Keytrade for different criteria. Read on to get the full details!

Bolero

βœ… Pros of Bolero ❌ Cons of Bolero
Handles all taxes for you High fees
Integration with itsme No fractional shares
Cheaper fees for the ETF playlist Confusing interface
Not suited for monthly investing
No savings plans

Story of Bolero πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺ

Bolero's website is fairly traditional for a bank!

Bolero is one of the first online brokers in Belgium and launched in 1999. The name Bolero stands for Belgian OnLine Exchange Realtime Operated. It's owned and run by KBC Bank and allows Belgians to invest in many different types of assets. Note that you don't have to be a KBC customer to use Bolero. Bolero has a wide range of ETFs to choose from and continues to be one of the most popular brokers in Belgium although it also charges some of the highest fees.

Fees for ETFs

Although Bolero recently reduced their pricing, unfortunately it's still one of the most expensive brokers in Belgium. As part of their new pricing, they launched the Bolero ETF playlist. Essentially, it reduces the price for a specific list of ETFs. They inspired themselves from DEGIRO's core selection in order to be competitive for more Belgians. For example, buying €1,000 of the IWDA ETF will cost you €5.00 in transaction fees.

Convenience

Savings plan ❌ No
Fractional shares ❌ No
Customer Support βœ… FAQ, phone, email
❌ No chat
TOB βœ… Bolero handles it
Dividend tax βœ… Bolero handles it
Reynders tax βœ… Bolero handles it
Declare account to the NBB βœ… No need

Bolero handles the transaction tax (TOB). They also automatically withhold and declare the 30% dividend tax on shares and distributing funds, as well as the Reynders tax on ETF profits. However, Bolero does not offer automated savings plans or fractional shares, which, combined with high fees, makes regular investing less practical, potentially necessitating larger, less frequent investments.

Setting up an account

πŸ•°οΈ Time to open an account ❌ Process can take a few days
πŸ™‹ itsme βœ… Yes
πŸ“± Mobile app βœ… Yes
πŸ’» Web app βœ… Yes
πŸ™‚ Ease of use ⭐ 3/5
πŸ§’ Children accounts ❌ No
πŸ’‘ Joint accounts βœ… Yes

Creating a new account with Bolero is easy with itsme, but requires a Belgian phone number, and offers both individual and joint account options, with joint accounts only creatable via computer. Account approval can take a few days, but for KBC customers, this process is faster and allows easy linking of KBC current accounts for transactions. Bolero does not provide accounts for children.

Safety

Regulator FSMA
Past issues with the regulator βœ… None
Protection of financial assets €20,000
Cash safeguarded by deposit guarantee €100,000
Securities lending βœ… No
Payment for order flow βœ… No

Bolero, owned by Belgium's largest bank KBC, is regulated by the FSMA and has not had any known regulatory issues, providing a sense of safety for investors' assets. Bolero does not engage in securities lending or payment for order flow (PFOF).

The full review

Learn more about the pros and cons of Bolero in our review.

Keytrade

βœ… Pros of Keytrade ❌ Cons of Keytrade
Handles all taxes for you Long account opening times
Integration with itsme High fees
They reimburse incoming transfers No fractional shares
Confusing interface
Not suited for monthly investing
Fee for dormant accounts

Story of Keytrade πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡«πŸ‡·

Keytrade was started in 1998 and was one of the first online brokers in Belgium. Their offer has grown a lot since then, as they propose full banking services today. In 2005, Keytrade Bank was acquired by Groupe Crelan (formerly CrΓ©dit Agricole) and is now part of the CrΓ©dit Mutuel ArkΓ©a group.

Fees for ETFs

Buying €1,000 of the popular IWDA ETF will cost €14.95. As you pay this fee for every purchase, it will compound to a lot of money and missed returns on the long term. Keytrade is among the most expensive brokers available to us in Belgium.

Convenience

Savings plan ❌ (only through Keyplan)
Fractional shares ❌
Customer Support βœ… FAQ, phone, contact form, email
❌ No chat
TOB βœ… Keytrade handles it
Dividend tax βœ… Keytrade handles it
Reynders tax βœ… Keytrade handles it
Declare account to the NBB βœ… No need

Keytrade handles the stock transaction tax (TOB), automatically withholds and declars the 30% dividend tax, and handles the Reynders tax on ETF profits. However, Keytrade does not offer automated savings plans or fractional shares, making regular, smaller investments impractical due to high fees. Despite offering traditional support mechanisms like email and phone, Keytrade's customer service is not notably customer-centric, with potential delays in email responses.

Setting up an account

πŸ•°οΈ Time to open an account ❌ Process can take weeks
πŸ™‹ itsme βœ… Yes
πŸ“± Mobile app βœ… Yes
πŸ’» Web app βœ… Yes
πŸ™‚ Ease of use ⭐ 2/5
πŸ§’ Children accounts βœ… Yes
πŸ’‘ Joint accounts βœ… Yes

Creating a new Keytrade account is efficient thanks to itsme, as the traditional six-step process can be slow, with some users experiencing long waiting times for account approval. Account setup is only available on the web platform, not on mobile. Where Keytrade stands out is the ability to set up accounts for children and joint accounts.

Safety

Regulator FSMA
Past issues with the regulator βœ… None
Protection of financial assets €70,000
Cash safeguarded by deposit guarantee €100,000
Securities lending βœ… No
Payment for order flow βœ… No

Keytrade, regulated by the Belgian FSMA, has no known regulatory issues. As it's asubsidiary of the French ArkΓ©a, Keytrade's clients benefit from the French Fonds de Garantie des DΓ©pΓ΄ts et de RΓ©solution (FGDR), which protects assets up to €70,000. Keytrade does not engage in securities lending or payment for order flow (PFOF).

The full review

Learn more about the pros and cons of Keytrade in our review.

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Summary

In this article we highlighted the key differences between Bolero and Keytrade, two brokers accessible to Belgians. Bolero is slightly more cost-effective way to invest your savings as their fees are a bit lower than Keytrade. But cost is not the only factor to take in consideration when you’re putting your savings to work. For instance, should also take into account the app experience. We built Curvo to make good investing easy and accessible to all Belgians, and we explained its benefits. Feel free to explore Curvo's app if you wish to learn more.

Questions you may have

What's the best broker?

The answer is: it depends on what's important to you! Brokers vary in terms of convenience, safety and price. We suggest you go through our list of best brokers in Belgium for a complete comparison.

What is best to invest in as a beginner?

There are many ways to invest your money in Belgium. We think index investing, or investing in index funds or ETFs, is the best way for most people to grow their wealth. But if you're looking for other options, look at our list of investment apps in Belgium.

What you should do now

  • Determine if you're more of an active or passive investor. Our comparison can help you decide.
  • Consider if a broker is the right way for you to invest.
  • If you want to manage your investments through a broker, assess if Bolero or Keytrade suits you better based on the pros and cons we highlighted. Or explore one of the many other brokers available to Belgians.
  • But if you want to spend the least amount of time managing your investments, Curvo may be a fit!