- Copy deal option for newbies
- Educational materials
- Low spreads
- $25 commission for withdrawals
- May (or may not) arrange difficulties upon withdrawal
- Complicated account verification process
- Glitchy platform
- Interface needs some time to get used to
eToro: Is Social Trading A Kick-Ass Way To Get Started On Forex Or An Infantilization Tool?
Today I’m reviewing eToro, a company claiming to be one of the largest investment networks where people share their investments in a social community. Basically, the broker attracts new clients by giving them an opportunity to follow other traders and copy their deals. The idea is performed as a custom “all-in-one” platform where you can view live rates, open positions and orders, edit Stop Loss and Take Profit orders, etc. Let’s test the water and see whether “crowd wisdom” is actually worth sharing.
The company has 2 branches: eToro (Europe) and eToro (UK). The European branch is regulated by SySEC under the number 109/10; the UK branch is regulated by the FCA under the firm reference # 583263. Both branches operate under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive or MiFID.
eToro is quite sophisticated when it comes to trading instruments – they offer to trade 48 currencies (as well as 6 cryptocurrencies), commodities, indices, ETFs, and a larger amount of stocks. Browsing their website in search of the list of available trading instruments brought me to an unpleasant discovery: I totally hated their website. They don’t reveal much info on the site which makes a search long and tiresome. Apparently, it was designed to keep the pages clean and inspire people to register and see the work in action. Although free, immediate registration is hardly the first thing a user wants to do these days. Plus, registration is tricky and requires several rounds of confirmation.
Accounts, Spreads, & Leverage
Trading with eToro comes with no commission due to quoting the customers a wider spread that starts from 2 pips (good enough, but my broker’s (FBS) spread starts from 0 pip). You can either have a Real or Virtual account (aka portfolio), so if you are looking for some variables, you’d better look somewhere else. Basically, you are supposed to build your reputation by trading (more like copying the top performing traders) to boost your account. Max spread is up to 1:400.
I want to add a couple of words about their deposit and withdrawal process. Both were flawless in my case, but I see A LOT of comments on traders boards saying they have massive problems upon withdrawal. It’s impossible for me to solve that classic: “scam comments or scam broker” dilemma, just wanted to share the info.
Available Trading Platforms
You are supposed to work with eToro “all-in-one” platform that looks nothing like the habitual platforms I traded on. It doubtlessly has its perks and flaws: to me, it feels a bit irrational sometimes – it took me some time to get used to the interface, and the problem wouldn’t go away. On the other hand, it’s quite convenient when it comes to tracking your progress and topics of interest. Particularly, you can create watchlists, follow the newsfeed, and kinda feel like home. However, “all-in-one” format seems to be way too ambitious – the platform goes glitchy when the market moves intensify or volatility is high. If you decide on day trading, you would likely end up struggling with a frozen platform, and we know that sometimes mere seconds can mean the difference between success and failure when you trade Forex. People say this issue only comes up when the deals get heavier, which is really upsetting.
The company also has an Android app, but considering the problems with the main platform, I wouldn’t take a risk. I might be wrong though, sometimes miracles do happen.
You can reach eToro via email and IM; if you are having a difficulty, you can open a ticket – they promise to get back to you within 48 hours. Since eToro is considered to be a social network and embraces a wide audience, networking here is easy. You never feel alone due to a never-ending newsfeed showing that someone’s there, alive and ready for discussion. Basically, I think this is the best thing about this company. To me, it feels like a cozy place for insecure newbies – if you’re not sure about your trading skills and need assistance every once in a while, eToro will give you that. At the same time, you can view it from the opposite point: if you don’t make your own decisions, or take a risk, or make your own research instead of relying on someone else’s experience, you can make some extra money, but will never metamorphose into a pro trader.
The only offer I found at eToro is the ‘Bring your friend”-type promo – you can get $20 for each referral once they have deposited $200+, and your friend also gets $20 on the first deposit. However, the maximum amount you can get from this promo is just $200, i.e. you can only bring 10 people a max. Not impressive enough to me, but still nice to have if you are okay with their service and ready to recommend it.
In my opinion, eToro isn’t seductive enough for traders with even minimal experience since their trading conditions are quite mediocre. However, the format of social trading is definitely very attractive to novice users that feel better about trusting their insecurities to confident-looking anonyms they see in the feed. The ability to comment, share thoughts, and reach real people is indeed very relaxing, but as I said, you won’t progress much in this case.
It’s still an okay broker with all the necessary licenses, active support team, decent education section on the website, etc., but it’s really nothing to write home about. So, if you want to save some money and learn form more experienced allies, eToro may be a good way to start.