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 MEXEM and DEGIRO, two brokers available to Belgians. We also look at the difficulties of investing through a broker, and see how Curvo solves them. By the end, you'll be able to determine which option suits you best to invest your savings.

Why a broker

For many making their first steps into the world of investing, their bank is the one-stop shop for anything related to finance. Unfortunately, they are likely not your best partner when it comes to investing.

First, they try to sell their expensive actively managed funds to you. In an active fund, the fund managers try to outsmart other investors in search for a higher return. But the European finance regulators found out that the majority of them don't succeed in beating the average. On top of that, the bank charges hefty fees to invest in the fund. Good for the bank, bad for you. You're better off investing through another means.

Through a broker, you gain access to the financial markets, where you can buy stocks, ETFs, bonds and even some more complex products like derivatives. It's more cost-effective than investing in an active fund offered by a bank.

Most banks offer brokerage services. Yet again, it's the most expensive option. Specialised brokers, such as MEXEM and DEGIRO, offer a better experience at a cheaper cost. So let's compare two popular brokers for Belgians: MEXEM and DEGIRO. More specifically, we are going to see how they differ on cost, trust, and ease of use.

Summary of MEXEM vs DEGIRO

Before we dive into the details, let's have a high-level look of the comparison.

  • Costs. Both MEXEM and DEGIRO are considered discount brokers and are among the cheapest on the market. But DEGIRO is slightly cheaper, especially when buying ETFs in their core selection.
  • Ease of use. We have to say that both MEXEM and DEGIRO are hard to use. Especially for beginners, the number of possibilities and overload of information that's displayed can be intimidating.
  • Taxes. Both brokers declare the Belgian transaction tax and domestic dividend tax. However, you are left on your own to declare and pay the other taxes like the Reynders tax.
  • Administration. For both MEXEM and DEGIRO, you will have to declare your foreign investment account to the Belgian authorities.
  • Safety. MEXEM is backed by Interactive Brokers, one of the largest brokers in the world. On the other hand, DEGIRO has had a difficult past with the Dutch regulator and have been fined in the past.


MEXEM has a branch in Belgium but their EU headquarters is based in Cyprus. They have been active in Israel and South Africa for over 30 years and are now focusing more on growing in Europe. They are powered by Interactive Brokers and offer fairly competitive pricing for Belgian investors.

Screenshot of MEXEM's website
MEXEM's website is targeted for traders


MEXEM is one of the cheapest options for Belgian investors. For instance, buying €1,000 of the popular ETF IWDA by iShares, that tracks the MSCI World index, would cost only €2.40. This makes it an attractive proposition for putting your savings to work.

You can use our broker comparison tool to find out the fee on MEXEM for different ETFs that you're interested in.

Handling of taxes

MEXEM handles the Belgian transaction tax (also known as the TOB or “beurstaks” or “taxe boursière”). Every time you buy or sell anything, you have to pay this tax which ranges from 0.12% to 1.32%. MEXEM makes sure the tax is paid and declared for you.

MEXEM also handles the following two taxes for you as a Belgian investor:

  • Tax on capital gains on bond funds (also known as the Reynders tax). There’s a 30% tax on the profits you make when you sell a fund of bonds.
  • Tax on dividends (“roerende voorheffing” or “précompte mobilier”). A 30% tax on the dividends you perceive through the shares that you hold.

However, they will not handle foreign dividends that you receive through MEXEM. They will provide you with the instructions for you to report them to the tax authorities but you'll have to do it yourself as they don't withhold the amounts. This is a bit of a cumbersome administrative task that you'll be required to do every year.

Run by Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers was one of the first online brokers in the United States and has a solid reputation in the industry. They offer transparent and low-cost trading options for its customers. MEXEM functions as a front-end to Interactive Brokers, meaning that Interactive Brokers powers the underlying brokerage service. Note that Lynx is another broker active in Belgium that is set up in the same way.

Targeted to traders

MEXEM supports 60 different types of orders. You can run complicated orders like limit, market, stop, stop limit, market if touched, limit if touched, trail, relative, etc... This means it's a powerful broker, but it also makes it a lot more complex in use. It's clear that MEXEM that targets the experienced trader rather than the beginning investor.

Fractional shares

MEXEM is one of the only brokers in Belgium to provide fractional shares. No need to leave the cash on the side, everything is invested for you. This is a big benefit!

Declaration of the MEXEM account to the Belgian National Bank

Although they have an office in Belgium, MEXEM is a foreign broker. So you have to declare your foreign MEXEM account to the Belgian National Bank. It’s a simple enough process that you only need to do once, and it takes a couple of minutes. You will also have to mention the account every year when filing your taxes!

👍 of MEXEM

  • Cheap: they have some of the lowest fees of almost all brokers available in Belgium.
  • They handle the Belgian transaction tax: this is a large time saver as an investor.
  • Large selection of ETFs: they have such a large variety of options available for Belgian investors.
  • They handle the domestic dividend tax: if you are to receive dividends, MEXEM withholds it for you.
  • Fractional shares: this makes monthly investing much more doable than having to buy whole shares.
  • Minimal deposit is low at €100: this makes trading with MEXEM accessible to most Belgians.
  • Backed by Interactive Brokers: IB is one the largest brokers in the world, and they have a good reputation.

👎 of MEXEM

  • Not beginner-friendly: their service really focuses on traders. You can not only trade stocks and ETFs, but also options, warrants, futures, shorting, purchase on margin... Beyond being intimidating to first-time investors, these are risky instruments that you need to understand well before investing with them.
  • They don't handle the foreign dividend tax: If you are to receive dividends from abroad, you have to declare and pay them yourself. Although MEXEM will provide you with the instructions, this is an annoying administrative task for most.
  • Declaration of the foreign account: you have to declare your MEXEM account to the Belgian National Bank and also on your yearly tax declarations.
  • Confusing interface of the app: the app is intimidating to use if you're new to investing as you’ll encounter some technical terminology and features. MEXEM offers many types of securities: turbos, warrants, stocks, ETFs… And when you place an order, you also have to choose between a market order, a limit order, a stop-loss order, amongst others.


The founders of DEGIRO were former employees of BinckBank and launched their online trading platform in 2013. It is now part of the German Flatex bank. It has thousands of ETFs and stocks to choose from and it’s one of the brokers on the market that offers the best value.

A first frustration of DEGIRO appears when trying to sign up: they don't have a local website. You have to choose either the Netherlands ( or France ( to set up your account.

Screenshot of DEGIRO's website chooser
Unfortunately there's no option to choose Belgium


DEGIRO charges some of the lowest fees on the market. They even have a large selection of ETFs as part of their core selection that cost only €1 for each trade. IWDA, a popular ETF offered by iShares, is one of those. Every month, the first transaction of IWDA on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange will cost just €1. Subsequent transactions for IWDA that same month will also cost just €1 provided:

  • the transaction is in the same direction (i.e. buy/sell) as the first transaction
  • the value of the transaction is at least €1,000

For ETFs that are not part of the free selection, DEGIRO charges a €3 fee. Read more about the costs of investing with DEGIRO.

Handling of taxes

DEGIRO provides some comfort to Belgian investors as they handle the Belgian transaction tax (also known as the TOB or “beurstaks” or “taxe boursière”). Every time you buy or sell anything, you have to pay this tax which ranges from 0.12% to 1.32%. DEGIRO makes sure the tax is paid and declared for you.

However, they do not handle the following:

  • Tax on dividends (“roerende voorheffing” or “précompte mobilier”). A 30% tax on the dividends you perceive through the shares that you hold. You need to make sure that you calculate and declare them in your yearly tax declaration.
  • Tax on capital gains on bond funds (also known as the Reynders tax). There’s a 30% tax on the profits you make when you choose to sell the bonds in your portfolio. Again, DEGIRO pushes the responsibility to you for declaring the right amounts in your tax declaration.

Depending on the makeup of your portfolio, these are important considerations to take in mind when choosing a broker. It's an infrequent but cumbersome administrative task. Not declaring a tax can also be costly for you. We’ve written extensively about taxes Belgian investors should know if you wish to dig deeper into the topic.

Declaration of your DEGIRO account to the Belgian National Bank

As DEGIRO is a foreign broker, you have to declare your foreign account to the Belgian authorities. It’s a simple enough process that you only need to do once, and it takes a couple of minutes.

Issues with the Dutch regulator

Throughout its existence, DEGIRO has had numerous run-ins with the AFM, the Dutch regulator for the finance industry. For example, they were fined in 2018 because they did not implement an adequate policy for conducting their business with integrity. As we’re dealing with our long-term savings, safety and trust is vital.

You can only buy whole shares

A popular investment strategy is euro-cost averaging, where you invest periodically instead of investing large lump sums in one go. You invest at fixed times, for instance every month, regardless of how the markets are performing. Most people are paid monthly, so it makes sense for their investments to follow the same pattern.

Unfortunately you can’t buy fractional shares with DEGIRO. This means you need to buy whole units. Following a euro-cost averaging strategy can then become tedious and expensive.

Let’s take the IWDA ETF as an example again. At the time of writing, it’s sold at €72.70. If you contribute €200 towards your savings, you’re only able to buy 2 whole units for €145.40. The rest of the money is sitting on a cash account not working for you. Due to this, many investors have lots of cash sitting around waiting to be invested.


  • Cheap: they have some of the lowest fees of almost all brokers available to us in Belgium.
  • They handle the TOB: this is a large time saver as an investor.
  • Large selection of ETFs: they have such a large variety of options available for Belgian investors.


  • No handling of the dividend tax: you're responsible to declare and pay the tax on dividends.
  • No handling of the Reynders tax: you have to declare and pay the Reynders tax yourself.
  • Declaration of the foreign account: you have to declare your DEGIRO account to the Belgian National Bank and also on your yearly tax declarations.
  • Issues with the regulator: they've regularly had problems with the Dutch financial authorities (AFM) over the years which doesn’t fill you with confidence.
  • No fractional shares: this can be frustrating as you have to purchase whole units of shares. Essentially, we’re leaving money on the side not doing anything.
  • Transfer fees: transferring your assets away from DEGIRO to another brokerage costs €10 per position and “external costs” that are unclear.

The easier way: Curvo

When you choose a broker, you then have to figure out what to buy, when to buy, understand the tax implications of your decisions, rebalance your investments and make sure they stay in line with your goals and risk tolerance.

We realised the difficulties of investing through brokers like MEXEM and DEGIRO. So our approach is different and that's why we created Curvo: the right investment decisions are made for you so you don't have to worry, where we rely on NNEK, a Dutch investment firm supervised by the AFM.

Based on index investing

We are convinced index investing through ETFs are the best way for most people to invest and grow their savings. Rather than picking individual stocks such as Amazon or Tesla, index funds are a way to buy the whole market, across all sectors and regions of the world. Essentially, you own a small portion of thousands of companies throughout the world. Instead of betting on a particular company, you are placing a bet on the global economy.

There are many benefits to index investing:

  • Low-cost. ETFs and index funds are inexpensive to run and are therefore cheap for investors.
  • Diversified. One of the goals of index investing is to diversify as much as possible. By diversifying across many countries and sectors, you eliminate unnecessary risk.
  • Rooted in the real economy. Most index funds and ETFs invest either in stocks or bonds. Those are backed by real companies, with real factories, employees, intellectual property, and so on. This is unlike, for example, the crypto industry, where the value of a currency or token is mostly determined by its potential rather than by concrete applications.
  • Tax-efficient. Capital gains on stocks are not taxed in Belgium.
  • Start investing with low amounts. You don't need a large sum upfront to start investing in ETFs, making it accessible to anyone (for instance for young people).

The challenges of investing through a broker

You can invest in ETFs through a broker. But that comes with challenges:

  • The allocation of your portfolio is in your hands: you need to figure out how to build the right allocation that meets your long-term goals.
  • You need to do your own homework: figuring out how to start and understanding the intricacies of investing in ETFs takes an effort. Yet it's important, because in investing the devil is often in the details.
  • It takes time: send money to your broker monthly and then make the purchases.
  • Costly for monthly contributions: if you wish to invest on a monthly basis, you’ll have to pay a lot in broker fees. Also, as you buy units and can’t buy fractions, you’ll always be left with cash on your account.
  • Learn how to rebalance: if you have multiple funds in your portfolio, how will you rebalance? Quarterly or yearly? How do you decide?
  • Keep track of your portfolio: you may have to set up a spreadsheet to stay on top of things!
  • Understand taxes: this can be complicated and they also often change.
  • Discipline: it requires self-confidence and discipline to stay the course.
  • Brokers want you to trade: the majority of brokers make money on you trading. So as a buy-and-holders, you are not a good customer to them.

Curvo solves all the complexities of good investing

Rather than having to pick the right stocks or ETFs among the thousands available through these brokers, through the Curvo app you invest in a portfolio that is tailored to you and your goals. The portfolios are secure and managed by NNEK, a Dutch investment firm licensed by the Dutch regulator (AFM). They are composed of globally diversified index funds, meaning you earn a piece of the growth of the global economy, and they're best suited to make the most of your savings long term.

We believe that investing is an important tool for our generation to improve our financial well-being and to prepare for our future. We are building Curvo to fulfil that vision, by making good investing easy and accessible to all.

Curvo logo which is animated
Curvo is one of the fastest growing investment apps in Belgium

👍 of Curvo

  • Diversified portfolio set up for you: the best portfolio for you is built based on your time horizon and financial goals. Simply answer a short questionnaire and you’ll get everything set up for you. The point is that you don't need to decide which ETFs to buy. All portfolios are managed by NNEK, a Dutch investment firm supervised by the Dutch regulator (AFM).
  • Automated savings plans: through Curvo’s app you can set up a monthly contribution from €50. That means that money is automatically invested for you in your portfolio. Put everything on autopilot.
  • Fractional shares: all the money you send towards your portfolio is fully invested. No need to leave the cash on the side, everything is invested for you.
  • No TOB: significant savings as the portfolios aren’t liable for the Belgian transaction tax (or "TOB"). This saves you between 0.12 and 1.32% for every time you buy or sell!
  • Sustainable investments: Your investments focus on one guiding principle: don’t invest in companies that are considered destructive to the planet. This means that sectors like non-renewable energy, vice products, weapons and controversial companies are all excluded.
  • Withdraw at any time: there’s no long-term contract or exit fees if you wish to stop investing.
  • Project yourself into the future: through Curvo you can see how much your portfolio is expected to be worth in the future. You can answer questions like “how will increasing my monthly contribution by €50, €100 or €200 affect my long-term savings?” to give a concrete idea for the “future you”.
  • Business model aligned with your goals: brokers want you to trade, yet buy-and-hold works best for most people.
  • Partnership with itsme: your data is safe and secure through our partnership with itsme.

👎 of Curvo

  • Price: it’s more expensive than investing yourself through a broker. As you pay a yearly fee on your assets, it’s more expensive in the long run than managing the investments yourself.
  • You can’t choose what to invest in: Each portfolio invests in over 7,500 companies, and you'll invest in the right portfolio tailored to you. But you can’t select the stocks or particular ETFs that you want to invest in.
  • You have to declare your account: as your account is held in the Netherlands, you’ll have to declare your account to the National Bank of Belgium. We provide clear step-by-step instructions to do so. And don’t worry, there’s no extra tax to pay or anything like that.

Comparison of MEXEM vs DEGIRO vs Curvo

Automated investments
Choose the companies you love to invest in
Portfolio set up for you
Ease of use
Taxes taken care of
Suited for regular investments
Fractional shares
No withdrawal fees


In this article we highlighted the key differences between MEXEM and DEGIRO, two foreign brokers accessible to Belgians. DEGIRO is slightly more cost-effective than MEXEM if you invest in ETFs from their core selection of free ETFs. But cost is not the only factor to take in consideration when you’re putting your savings to work. For instance, you should also take into account the ease of use of the app, or the difficulty of investing your savings on a monthly basis.

We also highlighted the challenges of investing yourself through a broker. 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 is the best investment platform?

The answer is: it depends on what's important to you and your investment goals! Apps all vary in terms of convenience, returns, safety and price. We suggest you go through our list of best investment apps in Belgium for a more complete comparison.

Can I trust MEXEM?

We think you most likely can. Although they are headquartered in Cyprus (which frankly doesn't provide that much confidence), it helps that they are powered by Interactive Brokers and have an office in Belgium. And as far as we know, they haven't had any issues with the regulators, unlike DEGIRO.

What is an alternative to DEGIRO in Europe?

There are a few alternatives available for European investors. These include:

  • BUX
  • Lynx
  • Trade Republic
  • MeDirect
  • Saxo Bank

We suggest you go through our list of best brokers for in-depth comparison of the options.

What you should do now

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