Tiger Brokers Fees & Review (2022): Is Tiger Brokers Safe?

Tiger Brokers Fees & Review (2022): Is Tiger Brokers Safe?

None of us will be getting on a Tiger Airways flight anytime soon (psst, they closed down). Well, that gives us more time to sit at home and try to get rich by trading stocks on the similarly-named Tiger Brokers.

Although one of the less established investment brokerage platforms available in Singapore, Tiger Brokers is very popular thanks to its Comfort taxi advertisements all over Singapore and low commission fees.

Interestingly, it’s backed by Chinese giant Xiaomi, which has revolutionised the electronics world with high quality at unbeatable prices. Does Tiger Brokers offer the same low cost proposition? Let’s find out.

Tiger Brokers logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
Min. Commission Fee US Stocks
US$1*
Min. Commission Fee SG Stocks
0.03% of Trade Value*
Min. Funding
$0
Receive up to 1 Grab Share, S$20 stock voucher, S$88 cash PLUS commission free trades* when you choose Tiger Brokers! T&Cs apply.
Valid until 06 Dec 2022

What is Tiger Brokers?

Tiger Brokers is a Chinese company that is listed on NASDAQ. It’s backed by several big names including Xiaomi and US-based brokerage Interactive Brokers. Other than Singapore, they operate in many companies including the US, China and Australia.

Tiger Brokers officially entered the Singapore market with their Tiger Trade app in February 2020, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. With everyone staying home and investing, this was excellent timing.

Their investing platform lets you trade Singapore, US, Hong Kong, China and Australia stocks, Singapore ETFs and REITs, and US ETFs. Other securities you can trade include indices, metals, treasury securities and energy futures, with more to come.

All this is pretty standard. But the area in which Tiger Brokers shines is their fees: their fees used to be considered low and pretty attractive to hobby and retail traders. However, Tiger Brokers’ fees took the limelight on 23 May 2022 when Mothership reported that a 29-year-old man was charged US$16,000 worth of transaction fees.

What happened? We’ll cover below.

Tiger Brokers saga on Mothership

What happened to Tiger Brokers? On 23 May 2022, Mothership reported that in April 2022, a 29-year-old man named Kong Weng Hong sold US$5,000 of US stocks he had. Only after the trade was cleared that he found out he was charged approximately US$16,000 in settlement fees. Later on 25 May 2022, it was revealed that 26 other Tiger Brokers customers suffered a similar fate and ended up with a negative account balance due to these exorbitant fees.

Wait, so the fees were 3x the price of his trade? Yes, the fees were a whooping 320% of his trade value.

How did he end up like that? Let’s try to do the math.

Kong sold 5 million shares of a US-listed penny stock that were priced at US$0.001 each. The total trade value was US$5,000.

If we were to go down Tiger Brokers’ list of US-listed fees, here are the total fees that he may have incurred. Note that Tiger Broker waives custody fees, withdrawal fees, currency exchange fees, inactivity, and account maintenance fees.

Settlement Fee: US$0.003 per share x 5 million shares = US$15,000
Commission Fee: US$5,000 trade value x 0.5% = US$2,500
Platform Fee: US$5,000 trade value x 0.5% = US$2,500
SEC Membership Fee (for sell orders): US$5,000 trade value x 0.0000229 = US$0.1145
Trading Activity Fee (for sell orders): US$6.49
ADR (American Depositary Receipt) Fee: US$0.01 to US$0.03

Singapore government 7% GST: US$20,006.60 x 7% = US$1,400.46 (just for example’s sake, don’t come at us please)

Total: US$21,407.08

After much complaints, Kong managed to get Tiger Brokers to revise their settlement fee rubrics for US-listed stocks. Tiger Brokers has since imposed a settlement fee cap at 7% of trade value, which has since been stated on their website.

Are Tiger Brokers’ fees always so expensive?

No, not really. Tiger Brokers’ fees are actually pretty affordable. Imagine if you only bought 2 Tesla shares at approx. US$1,300 at one go (considered one order), your fees would have been:

Commission Fee: US$0.99 (minimum already)
Platform Fee: US$1 (minimum already also)
Settlement Fee: US$0.006

Singapore 7% GST: US$1.996 x 7% = US$0.1397

Total: US$2.13572

Ok right, US$2 is not that bad if you were just with Tiger Brokers for the 1 free Tesla, Apple, or Nio stock. (Although other brokerages like TD Ameritrade and Moomoo Futu can get you $0 commission for US trades).

Tiger Brokers fees & charges

Trading products

Stocks, ETFs, REITs, indices, metals, treasury, energy futures

Commission fee (SG stocks)

0.03% (min. S$0.99)

Platform fee (SG stocks)

0.03% (min. S$1)

Commission fee (US stocks)

US$0.005 per share (min. US$0.99)

Platform fee (US stocks)

US$0.005 per share (min. US$1)

Minimum funding amount

None

Stock Holding Type

CDP

Trading platforms

Tiger Brokers Desktop App and Mobile App

Payment method

Direct Debit Authentication (DBS/POSB), bank transfer (DBS/POSB), FAST Transfer, Telegraphic Transfer

Inactivity fee

None

Tiger Brokers review — the pros

For investors trading on SGX, the 0.06% commission and platform fee is attractive and comparable to what competitors like Saxo Markets and Interactive Brokers are charging. But Tiger Brokers beats the competition by imposing no minimum order.

Another factor that sets Tiger Brokers apart is the fact that they don’t have any minimum funding amount, inactivity fees or maintenance fees. Most platforms impose at least one.

Besides the fees you pay for a trade, you don’t have to worry about too many hidden costs, although you should of course still watch out for things like bank transfer fees when topping up your account.

In addition, Tiger Brokers is quite generous with its various offers and perks, with stock voucher welcome gifts and a rewards programme, which is a nice touch in the otherwise cheerless trading landscape.

Read more: How to Buy Stocks in Singapore: Start Investing in 5 Easy Steps

Tiger Brokers review — the cons

If you are planning to trade mainly on SGX, Tiger Brokers is one of the most value-for-money options available at the moment with its competitive 0.06% fee.

For US stocks, however, Tiger Brokers isn’t necessarily the cheapest, considering there are some platforms like Moomoo Futu and TD Ameritrade that offer $0 commission for US stocks.

Read more: How to Buy US Stocks in Singapore: 3 Best Investment Brokerages

It’s a minor quibble, but Tiger Brokers has a split fee structure where there’s a commission fee and a platform fee. That makes it more troublesome to compare fees against other brokerages.

Is Tiger Brokers safe?

You might be concerned about depositing your money in a relatively new online brokerage platform.

However, Tiger Brokers is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, so it is quite unlikely to be a scam or a fly-by-night company.

Tiger Brokers no longer holds your stocks in a custodian account with the DBS bank. Instead, they became a Clearing Member of the Central Depository (CDP) in Nov 2021.

What are the alternatives to Tiger Brokers?

Tiger Brokers’ closest competitors are online brokerages like Saxo, Moomoo and Interactive Brokers, to name a few. All offer low-cost trades and a fully-digital experience.

For Singapore stocks, Moomoo charges almost the same fees with its 0.06% commission + platform fee.

moomoo (by FUTU) logo
Low commission fees
Min. Commission Fee US Stocks
US$0
Min. Commission Fee SG Stocks
S$0.99
Min. Funding
$0

If your focus is US stocks, you might want to consider a US-centric brokerage like TD Ameritrade, which don’t charge commissions when you trade on US exchanges.

TD Ameritrade logo
Commission Fee US Stocks
US$0
Options Commission Fee Per Trade
US$ 0.70
Min. Funding
US$3,500

If you’re concerned about track record, you could go with Saxo — the Danish investment bank has been around since 1992 and is well-known in the western world, yet charges affordable fees.

Saxo logo
Flexible pricing plans
Min. Commission Fee US Stocks
US$1
Min. Commission Fee SG Stocks
S$1
Min. Funding
S$0

Still can’t decide? Try out a few online brokerages for size and see which app/platform you like best.

How to open a Tiger Brokers account

All you digital natives should have no problem figuring out how to open an account, but let’s go through the process anyway.

First, click on the apply button below:

Tiger Brokers logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
Min. Commission Fee US Stocks
US$1*
Min. Commission Fee SG Stocks
0.03% of Trade Value*
Min. Funding
$0
Receive up to 1 Grab Share, S$20 stock voucher, S$88 cash PLUS commission free trades* when you choose Tiger Brokers! T&Cs apply.
Valid until 06 Dec 2022

This will take you to the Tiger Brokers’ website. You’ll then be prompted to enter either a working phone number or email address at which to receive a verification code.

After that, the easiest way to proceed is to select “Open account with MyInfo” and then log in with your SingPass. Your personal and income details will automatically be filled in.

Complete the form, click submit and then wait for your account to be approved. This usually takes about one day.

How to invest with Tiger Brokers

Unlike some brokerages which have multiple trading platforms to choose from, Tiger Brokers keeps it simple with just the one desktop app and mobile app.

Before you can trade on Tiger Brokers, you need to transfer money to your account. You do this by clicking the “My Account” tab, where you will find information on the details you need to deposit cash through Internet Banking.

Once you have transferred the funds, you will need to check on the platform that the money has been received before you can start trading.

Tip: Tiger Brokers gives you stock vouchers when you deposit funds, transfer shares, or refer friends to join Tiger Brokers. Be sure to check the denominations for stock vouchers so you can maximise your voucher amounts.

Now you are ready to open the app and start trading. Search and bookmark stocks, set your parameters and click “Buy” to execute your first trade.

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