eToro Review 2019

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The most comprehensive guide and review for eToro trading platform.

eToro Review 2019
4.7 (93.91%) 46 votes

Summary

eToro is a well-known fintech startup, an Israeli social trading broker established in 2007. eToro serves UK clients by an FCA regulated entity and Australians by an Australian entity. All other customers are served by a Cypriot entity. eToro is not listed on any exchange, does not disclose its annual report on its site and does not have a bank parent.

eToro is considered safe, because it’s UK arm is regulated by a top tier regulator and it is a well known fintech startup.

eToro is primarily a CFD broker. CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 65% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

  • eToro has a fun, easy-to-use trading platform. It has innovative features: social trading lets you copy others and CopyFunds allows thematic investing. eToro trading fees are low. Account opening and funding your account are quick and seamless.
  • eToro has an unreliable customer service, and its trading platform freezes sometimes. Also, most of its products are through CFDs only, and not real assets.

How to open an
eToro Account

Can you open an account?

Most likely yes. eToro serves almost all countries except a couple listed by eToro:

  • USA
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Brazil
  • Turkey
  • North-Korea
  • Iran
  • Cuba
  • Sudan
  • Syria

Minimum deposit

The minimum first-time deposit is $200 for all countries, except for Israeli residents ($10.000). It is not clear for us what happens if you go below that level later on.

Account types

eToro makes it account types simple. There is only one live account type. There is also a demo account to try the platform with play money.

How to open your account

The account opening process is enjoyable, very fast, and fully digital. We could open the account within one day. eToro already had a good account opening process, but this was even improved in 2018.

You start by registering with your email account or with your Facebook or Google+ account. And boom, you can immediately access the trading platform and can start to trade with a $100,000 demo account.

PROS

  • Fast account opening
  • No minimum account balance
  • User-friendly

CONS

  • None

If you want to go further and fund it with real money, you have a two-tiered customer identification. Either you just fill a customer profiling test and you can deposit money up to $2,000 or you should electronically prove your identity and residency and can deposit more.

The customer profiling is superb. It has a lot of pictures, fun to fill and really straightforward. It also asks trading questions to test your knowledge.

If you want to deposit more than $2,000, you should go through customer data identification. This also happens 100% digitally. You will need to verify your mobile number and upload copies or digital photos of your documents.

  • For customer identification, you need to upload the copy of passport or personal ID
  • For customer residency, you upload the copy of your utility bill with the address on.

This is it, you are done. Now you can deposit more than $2,000 to eToro.

Fees

PROS

  • Low trading fees
  • Transparent fee structure

CONS

  • High non-trading fees
  • Withdrawal fee
  • Inactivity fee
  • High financing rate

To get things rolling, let’s go over some broker fee lingo. You need to keep an eye on trading fees, financing rate, and non-trading fees.

Trading fees occur when you trade. This can be commissions and spreads.
Financing rates or overnight rates are charged when you hold your leveraged positions for more than a day. Leveraged position means you borrow money from the broker to trade.
Non-trading fees are like withdrawal fee or inactivity fee.
We compare eToro fees with its peers, Plus500 and Markets.com.

Let’s start with the trading fees.

Trading fees

Does eToro worth it? eToro has low trading fees. It is not just low, but also straight-forward. There is no commission, everything is included in the spread, the difference between the ask and the bid prices.

It is super hard to compare trading fees for CFD brokers. What we did at Brokerchooser? Instead of quoting long fee tables, we compare brokers by calculating all fees of a typical trade for three assets.

eToro’s trading fees are low, while non-trading fees are high.

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For the assets we chose cleverly and arbitrarily:

  • Apple, a large US stock
  • Vodafone, a large European stock
  • EUR/USD, a popular currency pair

The typical trade means buying a position, holding for one week, and selling it. For the volume, we chose a $2,000 position for the stocks and $20,000 for the EURUSD.

This super catch-all benchmark includes eToro commission, spreads, and financing costs for all brokers.

Making this calculation, it is clear that eToro is low for stocks and average for FX.

For cryptocurrencies, there are no additional eToro bitcoin fees, nor for any other cryptocurrencies, as such.

Financing rates

Brokers charge financing rates if you hold a leveraged position for more than one day. This can influence your trading fees very much if you tend to hold positions for longer. eToro’s yearly financing rates are high compared to other brokers.

Non-trading fees

eToro’s non-trading fees are high. Inactivity fee exists, but it is ok. There are no account, deposit, and custody fees. Etoro withdrawal fees and currency conversion are quite expensive. eToro charges a conversion when you deposit or withdraw money from your account in a currency other than USD.

Deposits & Withdrawals

Account base currencies

eToro only allows USD accounts. This means your funding will be converted by eToro to USD. For example, if you deposit EUR a 0.025% fee will be applied at funding and it will also be applied when you want to withdraw EUR. Alternatively, you can deposit e.g. your credit card in USD, in that case your bank will convert it on its fees.

Bank transfer takes 3-5 business days, and there is a no maximum deposit. Credit/debit card and electronic wallet deposit are instant, but there is a $20,000 and $10,000 maximum on the funding respectively.

You can only deposit money from sources which are on your name.

Deposit fee and options

  • eToro deposit fees are zero. They provide free deposit.

As at other CFD brokers, there are a lot of transfer options at eToro.

  • Bank transfer
  • Credit/Debit card
  • Paypal
  • Skrill
  • Neteller
  • Webmoney

It is easy to deposit with a lot of options, including credit cards. However, there is a withdrawal fee, and only USD accounts are available.

Withdrawal fee and options

eToro withdrawal fee is $25 per withdrawal, which is not competitive. eToro applies a $50 minimum withdrawal amount. Withdrawal options are the same as the funding options. There are bank transfer, credit/debit card, and electronic wallet in line with other CFD brokers.

eToro states the typical time per payment method. It is up to 8 working days for credit and debit card and 1-2 working days for electronic wallets, like Paypal.

In the heat of the 2017 crypto bubble, eToro had operational problems because of the great customer interest it received. This also had an effect on withdrawal. We tested eToro that time. We received our money, but it took 4 business days.

We have tested eToro withdrawal again in the 2019 update and this time everything was according to its disclosed terms.

You can only withdraw money to accounts on your name.

PROS

  • Credit/Debit card deposit and withdrawal available
  • Free deposit
  • User-friendly

CONS

  • High withdrawal fee
  • Only one account base currency

Trading Platform

At the end of 2017, eToro trading platform had a lot of problems because investors went crazy about crypto and eToro could not catch up with the demand. This is now behind eToro. During the 2019 review, we did not experience any problems.

PROS

  • User-friendly
  • Looks nice
  • Social trading

CONS

  • No clear fee report available
  • Cannot be customized

eToro’s web trading platform is nice looking and easy-to-use. Getting your fee report is a bit of a pain.

Look and feel

eToro’s is a pleasure for the eye. With its clean design and great functions, eToro did a great job with combining good design with functionality. The menus and buttons are where you expect them to be, everything is labeled correctly, and the colour scheme is pleasing.

It can hardly be customized though, the panels are fixed. One exception is the watchlist which is easy to configure.

Login and security

eToro has an optional two-step login system. This can keep it easy to login, but leaves you without advanced security.

Search functions

The built-in search is predictive and easy to use. Type in a company or a product name and you see the results. Also, search via tickers.

Placing Orders

You can do only “market”, “limit”, or “stop loss” orders. It is very self-explanatory how to do it. A great feature: you can set leverage size when opening the position.

Indicative prices; current market price is shown on the eToro trading platform.

Alerts and Notifications

eToro alert function lets you know when an asset reaches a price target. You also get a notification when your order gets fulfilled. On the web platform, this is an icon update or browser notification. On the mobile, it is a push notification. You can set the alerts and notifications very well.

Portfolio and Fee Reports

You surely want to know how your portfolio performed and how much fee you paid. Portfolio reports are relatively easy with eToro. Have your assets lined up or have a pie chart on your exposures.

When it comes to fee reports, it is not the easiest to find it at first. At Portfolio / History / Top right circle thing / Account Statement lets you download a well-structured .pdf showing all your cash flows including fees. When you are following someone you will see all trades individually. However, fees are not consolidated, but listed per fee deduction.

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Markets & Products

eToro is primarily a CFD and forex broker. However, you can also trade with real stocksETFs, and a lot of different cryptos. eToro also has some funky features, such as social trading (CopyPeople) and CFD funds (CopyFunds). Even experienced investors can get confused. 

So, let’s break down eToro’s markets and products. 

All non-leveraged buy positions for equities, ETFs and cryptocurrencies are traded as real assets. This means when you buy stocks, ETFs or cryptos without leverage (one leverage), you will buy real stocks, ETFs and cryptos, not CFDs. 

All the other positions are CFDs:

  • leveraged buy positions and all sell positions of stocks, ETFs and cryptos
  • all positions of forex, commodities and indices.

Within CFDs, you can also 

  • follow and copy other traders’ trading with a CFD.
  • invest in a CFD portfolio compiled by professionals.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 65% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

At eToro, you can trade with an okay number of products. For example, stock CFDs are less than at Plus500, another CFD broker. This is the same for currency pairs or commodities. However, eToro offers a wide range of cryptocurrencies.

When trading CFDs and forex leverage, it is important to have control on leverage. Setting leverage eToro is super easy. When you do the trade, you can select the leverage level. The default leverage is set by eToro. It is, for example, X5 for stock CFDs. The 2018 ESMA regulation set the maximum leverage level for all CFD brokers.

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CopyTrades

eToro has two distinctive innovations, both being great features, CopyTrades and CopyFunds.

CopyTrades is the so-called social trading feature. What is eToro really good at? Well, this is it! You can copy one by one the portfolio of a professional trader who also trades with eToro. This can be quite useful. At first glance, you can browse through funny looking guys and gals. Luckily, there is far more information about these traders than their pictures. When selecting a trader to follow you can see their previous performance on a yearly and monthly breakdown. Their portfolio is also public information. Additionally, an eToro risk metric is also given. There are tons of more stats, like trades per week, average holding time, performance on charts, a profile description, their news feed comments. Imagine Facebook profiles with fewer inspirational but more market quotes.

The minimum amount you can invest in one trade is $200, while the maximum is $500,000. Furthermore, you can copy simultaneously maximum 100 traders.  

There is one drawback of CopyTrades. You cannot close part of your position, only the full amount.

CopyFunds

Copy funds are practically investment funds, but under the hood, they are CFD portfolios. While with Copy Trades you were following one trader, with CopyFunds you can invest either in a theme or in an eToro traders portfolio.

  • Investing in themes means for example investing in a portfolio of big banks or cryptocurrencies. Practically, “Big Banks Copy Fund” consists CFDs of largest investment banks like Citi, Bank of America, HSBC, and others.  
  • The other way of Copy Funds is to invest in multiple “star” traders parallelly. 
  • There is also a crypto CopyFund

The proportion of CFDs in the specific Copy Fund is well described. You can check performance, asset distribution and read the investment strategy of the fund. CopyFunds are built around a theme by eToro’s algorithms or by eToro external partners. This all might sound complicated, but at the end of the day, this means you can easily invest in a quasi-fund.  There is a high $5000 minimum investment requirement for CopyFunds, and eToro also checks your profile data, whether CopyFunds are appropriate for you. 

Stock and ETF

If you buy non-leveraged stock or ETF, you buy the real asset. Usually, this feature is not offered by other CFD and forex brokers. eToro’s 12 stock market access in that sense is great. If you compare it to stockbrokers, like Saxo Bank (36), or Interactive Brokers (74), it is poor.  There are also risks you should take into account when you choose stocks. Your capital is at risk.

Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies can fluctuate widely in prices and are, therefore, not appropriate for all investors. Trading cryptocurrencies are not supervised by any EU regulatory framework, including MiFID. Therefore when using eToro’s Cryptocurrencies Trading Service you will not get any investor protection. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Trading history presented is less than 5 years old and may not suffice as basis for investment decision. Your capital is at risk. 

Stock and ETF Markets

Exchange Access

  • NYSE
  • New York Tech
  • Frankfurt
  • London
  • Paris
  • Madrid
  • Milan
  • Zurich
  • Oslo
  • Stockholm
  • Copenhagen
  • Helsinki
  • Hong Kong

eToro offers a wide variety of crypto coin types, 14. This is far more, than at other brokers. 

  • Bitcoin
  • Bitcoin Cash
  • Bitcoin/Euro
  • Ethereum
  • Ethereum Classic
  • Ethereum/Euro
  • Ripple
  • Litecoin
  • Dash
  • Stellar
  • EOS
  • NEO
  • YEC
  • BNB

Technically, when you go long in any crypto, you will own the real coin. When you go short it is a CFD. At the moment, crypto trading at eToro is non-leveraged. 

It is the real coin for all long crypto positions. However, eToro crypto wallets allowing to send and receive is available for four coins:

    • Bitcoin
    • Ethereum
    • Litecoin
    • Bitcoin Cash

Research

The research is available in a lot of languages, English, German, Spanish, Italian, French, Russian, Dutch, Norwegian, Portuguese, Slovenian, Polish, Chinese and Arabic.

Recommendations

For some popular stocks, you can find recommendations, like analyst consensus (buy/hold/sell), average price target, hedge fund sentiment and insider trading sentiment. In some cases, you can also read the analyst reports. Unfortunately, these research features are available only for a very limited number of stocks.

Fundamental data

You can find some basic fundamental data on eToro’s platform. In case of stocks, this is the profile of the company and some very basic, actual ratios like P/E, EPS, dividend yield and beta. No fundamental data is available for asset classes other than stocks.

Charting

The charting tool is good and you can use a lot, ~70 indicators. We at Brokerchooser liked that charts are automatically saved, so you don’t have to waste your time with setting up your indicators repeatedly. 

News feed

The news feed is not really an official news feed, e.g. not like an integrated Bloomberg feed. But, rather like a market-themed twitter. eToro users and eToro analysts post messages and this is the news feed. Hashtags for themes and $ signs for assets. We were not a huge fan of this feature, but this is a taste issue, you might like it.

Please note that due to market volatility, some of the prices may have already been reached and scenarios played out.

PROS

  • Good interactive chart
  • User-friendly
  • Analyst recommendation

CONS

  • Limited fundamental data
  • Limited news flow

eToro has good technical analysis tools. There are some analyst recommendations and market sentiments, but no deeper fundamental data.

PROS

  • Professional tone

CONS

  • No phone support
  • No live chat

Customer Service

eToro customer service was very bad at the crypto bubble, end of 2017. For now, it at least works, but still does not do very well

There is no live chat or telephone support, just a web based ticketing system. You get your answer per mail. This is practically no support, when you need something instantly.

eToro customer service, in theory, is reachable in English, Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, French, Polish, Chinese and Arabic. We only tested it in English.

When we tested the e-mail support, the ticketing system, we received our answers between a few minutes and three hours. The quality of the answers was in a professional tone, but in a lot of cases we did not get the the whole answer.

To give you a few examples. We asked eToro what they charge when you trade an Apple stock? The answer listed all correct fee types, but failed to answer how fees are calculated or charged. In another case we asked how we can change the leverage level. In the answer it was not described how we can do it, but what is needed to increase the leverage level.

eToro’s customer service is hard to reach, there is no live chat or phone support. The email support can be slow and does not give fully relevant answers.

Education

For practice, you can use a demo account. Other education tools are not really strong at eToro. No tutoring videos on how to use the platform, but there are some basic educational videos about investing and the financial markets. You can also take part in webinars.

The content that discussed is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice. 

PROS

  • Demo account
  • Intro guide to the platform

CONS

  • No educational videos

Safety

eToro is an Israeli broker established in 2007. Is eToro safe? To be certain, it is best to check two things. How you are protected if something goes south, and what the background of the broker is.

How you are protected

eToro operates three legal entities and serves customer based on your residency. This matters because the entity you are a client at, defines amount of protection you get.

  • Citizens of the United Kingdom can open an account at eToro (UK) Limited and thus be protected by the FCA. If eToro turns to be insolvent, eToro UK clients can expect to be compensated by the maximum amount of £50,000 guaranteed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (the “FSCS”).
  • Australian clients are served by eToro Australia which is regulated by AISC, the Australian regulator.
  • Other investors can have their live trading accounts with eToro (Europe) Limited, regulated by the Cypriot watchdog, CySECAt eToro Europe branch the covered amount is maximum of €20,000. This threshold is set by the Cypriot Investors Compensation Fund.

Here is a handy summary table for easy comparison

For cryptos, there is no investor protection.

eToro provides negative balance protection.

For more details, check eToro’s description of its regulation and license.

Background

eToro was founded in 2007. So, it already survived one crisis, which is a good sign. As eToro is a fintech startup, it is privately owned, partly by venture capital funds, like Commerz Ventures Gmbh, the VC of Commerzbank, and there are also Israeli, US, and Chinese investors among the owners. eToro is lead by Yoni Assia, the well-known founder and CEO of eToro.

eToro is still a startup. It is not listed on any stock exchange and it also does not provide regular financial statements to the public. Hence, it is hard to look into its financials. It also does not have a bank parent, which could help eToro on rainy days.

Being regulated by the FCA is a great sign for eToro’s safety.

PROS

  • Regulated by top tier financial authority
  • Negative balance protection available
  • Well-known fintech startup

CONS

  • Does not hold a banking license
  • Not listed on stock exchange
  • Limited disclosed financial information

eToro is regulated by top-tier regulators, the FCA and the AISC, and also by Cysec. However, it is not listed on any exchange, does not disclose financial information and does not have a bank parent.

Frequently Asked Questions

eToro work primarily as a CFD and forex broker, but you can also trade with real stocks, ETFs, and a lot of cryptocurrencies. It is well-known for social trading. Using the social trading function you can follow and copy the portfolio of a professional trader who also trades with eToro. 

During the time of this eToro review, it is a privately held company, therefore they are not required to publish their ownership structure. What we know is that eToro does not have any banking parent company (little chance for a bailout in case of bankruptcy), and it is currently operating under two legal names. The well-known founder and CEO of eToro is Yoni Assia.

eToro is funded by venture capitalist funds. Here are a few of them:

  • Anthemis Group, UK
  • BRM Capital, Israel
  • CommerzVentures GmbH, Germany
  • Cubit Investments, Israel
  • MoneyTime Ventures, USA
  • Ping An, China
  • Spark Capital, USA

eToro is regulated by Cyprus and UK regulators, eToro operates under three entities:

  • eToro (Europe) Ltd. – Cyprus – is regulated by CySEC (Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission) under license # 109/10, for servicing EEA (European Economic Area) member states, and countries outside it.
  • eToro (UK) Ltd – UK – is regulated by the UK regulator: FCA (Financial Conduct Authority).
  • eToro (AUS) Capital Pty Ltd – is regulated by the Australian regulator: AISC (Australian Securities and Investments Comission)

eToro makes money through several fees, and trading services they provide on their website. Although eToro does not make its financial statements public, the main source of funds for eToro is likely to be:

  • Spreads: Spreads are the gap between the price you buy/sell and what the broker buys/sells for. To put it simply, if an Apple stock costs 100 USD at market price, eToro will charge 100.1 USD for it. The difference of 0.1 USD / CFD is kept by eToro. For further info read how CFDs work.
  • eTtoro overnight fee: For this, you need to understand two things: Leveraged trades and loans. Leveraged means that you can trade with more funds than you actually have. Let’s say you want to trade Apple with 1:10 leverage and you have 10 dollars, this means that you can buy 100 USD worth of Apple with your 10 bucks. The missing 90 dollars eToro fronts for you. eToro finances the remaining 90 USD by providing a loan and charging you for it.
  • Other non-trading fees: eToro charges fees for several services on their website, these are fees not directly related to trading, also known as non-trading fees. Some examples of non-trading fees are:
  • Withdrawal fees (25 USD/transaction): pay to withdraw your money
  • Conversion fees: pay when eToro converts money to fund your account

eToro is regulated by CySEC in Cyprus, AISC in Australia, and the FCA in the UK. This is a good thing. eToro is not listed on any stock exchange, nor does it publishes its financial data. As a summary of the aforementioned, Brokerchooser feels that eToro is not a scam, but it is not a fully transparent broker.

eToro copy, a.k.a. CopyTrade, is a tool for social trading, it works by you copying the trading decisions of other people, or other people copying your trades. You can search for traders and other users, and see how their portfolio has done historically. Once you have found a trader of your liking, you can copy their every trading decision, which is managed automatically by the platform. You can decide how much money you want to invest in copying another trader, and you can close it whenever you wish. If you want, you can also make money by having other traders copy you.

If you make profits on eToro they can be subject to taxation laws and regulations. This always depends on the country of your origin. For further information, about etoro tax we recommend contacting your local tax authority.

Currently, people from the USA can not use eToro because SEC regulation does not allow brokers to provide CFD (eToro is a CFD broker) instruments for US residents. This means no regulated broker will accept retail clients from the USA to trade CFDs so in this sense it is not only eToro that cannot serve US residents.

eToro cannot be used by the residents of the following countries:

  • United States of America (residents and citizens, including its incorporated and unincorporated territories)
  • Belgium
  • Canada (including Quebec & Ontario)
  • the Republic of Turkey
  • Japan
  • Brazil
  • the Islamic Republic of Iran
  • Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)
  • Cuba
  • Sudan
  • Syria

Otherwise, eToro has a registered entity in the States but it is a dormant company and probably it will stay so. eToro USA

The US SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) does not allow CFD instruments to be sold to US citizens. Until this law does not change, eToro will not be allowed to operate in the US under its current business model.