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How to buy international stocks in Ireland

Compare brokers, fees and products to invest in global stocks online from Ireland.

Buy international stocks in 4 steps

  1. Compare brokers in Ireland with access to global stocks
  2. Open your account by providing an ID
  3. Fund your account by transferring money from your bank account
  4. Search and select the shares you want to invest in and start your Irish international trading

Investing in the global share market is a lot like investing in the Irish market, however, you’ll need to find the right stockbroker or online trading platform.

This guide will explain what to look for in an international stock trading account, how to open one and what to do with the account once you’ve opened it. Read on to learn more, or start with the basics of stock trading if it’s new to you. If you already know about Irish international trading, you can simply compare brokers in Ireland and open an account.

How to invest in international stocks

There are four main ways that you can access global stocks from Ireland. You can invest directly in stocks or shares listed overseas – such as Facebook and Apple – by using a broker with an international stock trading platform. You can also buy units in a global-themed exchange-traded fund (ETF) or managed fund. Lastly, you can consider contracts for difference (CFDs) that track global stocks (Note: this isn’t the same as buying stocks directly).

Trade international stocks in Ireland with one of these brokers

warning iconWarning: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74-89 % of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
1 - 6 of 6
Name Product Brokerage Fee Markets What you can trade?
eToro
IE stocks: No

US stocks: $0
Global
Stocks, ETFs, Currencies, CFDs, Indices, Commodities, Cryptocurrencies
Investing carries a risk of loss
Trade more than 1,000 stocks globally with eToro's social trading and investment platform
Saxo Markets
IE stocks: €12

US stocks: US$7
Global
Stocks, ETFs, Options, Futures, Bonds, Currencies, CFDs, Commodities, Cryptocurrencies
Investing carries a risk of loss
Saxo Markets provides an online platform for trading stocks, shares, CFDs, and forex around the world
DEGIRO
IE stocks: €2

US stocks: $0
Global
Stocks, ETFs, Funds, Options, Futures, Bonds, Cryptocurrencies
Investing carries a risk of loss
Degiro's platform can help new and seasoned investors access 50+ global exchanges with low fees
Zacks Trade
IE stocks: No

US stocks: US$1
Global
Stocks, ETFs, Funds, Options, Bonds
Investing carries a risk of loss
The Zachs Trade platform offers stocks, ETFs, bonds, options, and more with access to more than 90 exchanges worldwide
Freedom Finance
IE stocks: €2

US stocks: US$2
Global
Stocks, ETFs, Options, Futures, Bonds
Investing carries a risk of loss
Capital.com
IE stocks: No

US stocks: €0
Global
Stocks, ETFs, Currencies
Investing carries a risk of loss
Access thousands of the world's leading indices, commodities, cryptocurrencies and shares on a single platform.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Step 1: Compare options and choose a broker

If you want to buy stocks listed on overseas exchanges, you’ll need to find the right broker. There are many different account options to choose from in Ireland and it’s worth comparing them like you would any other financial product. Consider:

Brokerage fees

How much commission does the account charge for the execution of a trade? There may be flat rates, percentage rates or even no brokerage fees at all.

Access to markets

Which international markets does the account let you trade on? The big ones are the US markets like the NYSE and NASDAQ, which most providers will allow you to you access, but not every account will let you trade everywhere in Europe and Asia.

Speed

How long does it take for a transaction to be executed? Timeliness can be important when trading internationally.

Trading interface

How intuitive is the trading interface for users, especially beginners? Many feature-rich brokers in Ireland offer clunky trading platforms that are difficult to navigate.

Exchange rates

How much of a cut does your provider take? When converting currencies, the provider may take a cut in the form of a percentage fee on currency converted. Often brokers that charge €0 commission will charge a higher foreign exchange (FX) fee or non-commission fees.

Signup fees

Does the provider charge any fees for opening an account with them? The benefits they offer may not always be worth it.

Research tools

What investment research tools are available? Are you seeing real-time market information or is there a delay? Are the research tools free to use or do they cost extra? It’s a lot easier to buy low and sell high when you’ve done your research, rather than relying on luck alone.

Customer service and access

Does your provider have a stock trading mobile app, or desktop access only? Can you contact the provider outside of business hours? What are your options for getting in touch with them? Are they known for being helpful or not so much? When you open an international stock trading account you’re using a service and you should expect a certain level of customer assistance.

Limits

Do you have to spend more than you want, or not as much as you want? One of the main restrictions to look out for when choosing an account is the presence of limits, which may be minimums or maximums that apply. You may not be able to make trades above or below a certain euro value.

Step 2: Open your account

Once you’ve decided on an online broker in Ireland, you can open your stock trading account. If you already have a bank account with that provider then you can usually sign in via their online banking portal. If not, you will have to open a new account. To open an international stock trading account in Ireland you’ll generally need to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be 18 or over
  • Have tax residence and physical residence in Ireland or an accepted country within Europe
  • Have a mobile number
  • Hold a bank account with your name in the SEPA zone

As part of the application process you will typically need to provide:

  • Personal photographic identification (Passport or EU identity card)
  • Tax Identification Number
  • Geo-location

When opening the account you’ll be asked to choose whether you’ll be trading as an individual, with a joint account (for example, with your partner). Because stock trading has income and tax implications you must provide details of your income and occupation. Along with your personal information, you may be required to disclose the source of your income and the origin of your financial position.

After you’ve provided your personal details, you’re up to the account set-up stage. This involves providing the details of your linked bank account, setting up financing options if applicable and choosing from the various options that may be available. Once you’ve confirmed everything and double-checked your details, you’re ready to load your cash management account and start trading.

Already have a stock trading account?

Sometimes, providers will require that you open one account for local stocks and a separate account for international stocks. Since you’re already signed up to the broker, this should be a fairly simple process.

Step 3: Fund your account and start trading

If you want to start trading right away, you’ll need to make sure you have enough funds in your linked account to execute the trades, plus any broker fees that will apply. Remember that when you transfer funds into your linked foreign currency account, you’ll usually have to pay a currency conversion fee. It can take a few days for your funds to be loaded into the cash account, so keep this in mind when you decide you’d like to make a trade.

Once you’ve set everything up, you can trade online through your new international stock trading account. Expect to see a dashboard with features such as current stock prices and changes over time and options to buy, sell or research. With the big banks and other trading accounts geared towards beginners, you may find tutorials and introductory material to help acquaint you with the available features.

What’s the difference between Irish and international share trading?

When trading shares, you can choose to do it domestically or internationally.

Domestic

Trade shares listed on Euronext Dublin. You must trade within certain business hours and access only Irish investment options, which make up about 0.2% of the global market.

International

Trade shares from global markets around the world 24 hours a day, subject to local market hours, including big global brands and household names. Gain access to more options, but also experience new risks and challenges.

International stock exchanges include the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), London Stock Exchange (LSE), the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations System (NASDAQ) and many others.

Compared to domestic trading, there are both advantages and disadvantages to trading shares internationally.

Advantages of Irish international share trading:

  • Gain access to a wider variety of investment options.
  • An internationally diversified portfolio can help protect you from the downturns of the Irish and European markets.
  • You can trade 24 hours a day rather than only within set business hours.
  • More buyers: The actual value of your stocks depends on how much you can sell them for. When trading internationally, there may be a larger number of different interested buyers and you might find it’s easier finding a buyer.

Disadvantages of Irish international share trading:

  • Exchange rates can fluctuate and can significantly hurt (or help) your return on investment.
  • Foreign policy can affect your returns. It’s possible that changes to another country’s foreign policies, local instability or other issues can impact the value of your investment in ways beyond your control. This is a largely uncontrollable risk.
  • Taxation and related issues may be more complicated when trading international stocks.
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Some extra tips:

Making big trades? Look for lower exchange rates, research tools that allow you to make more reliable investments and flat broker fees rather than percentage rates. Where applicable, it may be worth accepting higher flat fees in exchange for lower percentage rates. Avoid low maximum limits which might constrain your trading.

Making a lot of small trades? You may want to avoid flat fees that take a big chunk out of the potential profits of each trade and stick to percentage rates that will cost you less. Low maximums are less of an issue, but high minimums might be a problem.

How will you diversify your portfolio? Not all accounts will give you the same options. Plan what kind of trades you want to make and consider whether a given account will let you trade CFDs, whether you can trade ETFs and if you are able to do forex trading through the same platform.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, CFDs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Trading CFDs and forex on leverage comes with a higher risk of losing money rapidly. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades.

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