eToro review: the genius social trading platform with room to grow
Rating as of based on a review of services April 18, 2022.
The U.S. edition of eToro offers a compelling social feature, CopyTrader™, and a large number of crypto options to choose from. These features alone give new and advanced traders alike reason to consider opening an account.
- Copying trades
- Social features
- Long-term HODLers
- Stock and ETF investors
In the dog-eat-dog world of online crypto brokers, the plucky, relatively-new eToro isn’t really an “underdog.” Rather, it’s a 4-month-old German Shepherd; it’s about to become big and intimidating, it just needs time to grow.
You see, eToro USA is the “lite” version of eToro international. The good folks behind the scenes are trying to bring it up to speed, but are presumably hitting regulatory hurdles. So, in the meantime, we get to enjoy a limited version of a much more fleshed-out online trading platform.
What is eToro?
eToro launched in Tel-Aviv in 2007 under the name RetailFX. A trio of Israeli entrepreneurs – David Ring and brothers Yoni and Ronen Assia – wanted to create a simplified trading platform that would feel:
“accessible to anyone, anywhere, and reduce dependency on traditional financial institutions.”
Case in point, one of the platform’s early innovations was CopyTrader™, which lets users monitor and even automatically mirror the trading activity of the platform’s most successful traders.
eToro currently offers crypto trading, stock, and ETF investing.
How does eToro work?
You can see eToro’s dedication to user-friendliness in every step of the account creation workflow.
From the homepage, you’ll see a pretty familiar registration page flanked by some comforting site copy about security, trust, etc.
Here’s where things get interesting – like a good robo-advisor, eToro will ask you about your trading experience, goals, and your investing horizon (i.e. when you might cash out).
Here is an example of what that will look like:
eToro will also ask about your overall risk tolerance. If you haven’t assessed your investing risk tolerance before, we can help with that here.
To their credit, eToro is more upfront than most about the staggering risks of investing in cryptocurrency.
Your penultimate step is to give eToro some personal data required by law.
Finally, you’ll be prompted to fund your account so you can start trading!
Remember, you can’t buy crypto with a credit card since the banks won’t allow it (not yet, at least). So you’ll need to share your debit or direct deposit information.
Now, to trade on eToro you’ll need to deposit at least $200 initially. CopyTrader™ and Smart Portfolios typically have higher deposit requirements starting at $500 so you have enough cash to buy into all of the necessary positions.
You can always skip the initial deposit and head straight to eToro’s main dashboard, where you’ll get a clean view of tickers, “Big Movers,” and a News Feed of users’ social posts:
And finally, you can head to the Watchlist to get an incredibly slick and dynamic view of how top cryptos are trading:
How much does eToro cost?
eToro wants to make things easier for crypto investors, which is why they charge a flat 1% fee for buying and selling crypto. They know crypto is complicated enough, you don’t need to worry about a bunch of fees on top of the constantly fluctuating price of crypto.
Features of eToro
CopyTrader™ and Smart Portfolio are genius features that easily serve as eToro’s main selling points.
In a nutshell, CopyTrader™ and Smart Portfolio let you directly copy the trades of eToro’s top-performing investors.
When they trade, you trade (cue ‘90s instrumental hip hop).
Here’s how it works. From your eToro dashboard, head to the Discover tab, where you’ll see a daily summary of the platform’s most copied investors:
Non-Spider-Man Tom Holland in the bottom left has nearly 1,800 copiers, so he must be doing something right. From his profile, you can see his overall risk portfolio, his detailed investing strategy, and comments from other users following his lead:
If you’re looking to start copying his trades, all you have to do is click “Copy” in the top right:
Note that eToro will require a minimum deposit of $10 to start copying Tom’s trades. Plus, as a safety net to hedge your potential losses, you can tell eToro to stop trading if your investment falls below a certain value threshold.
All in all, CopyTrader™ is a brilliant feature that’s not only educational and convenient, but could help you avoid costly mistakes.
Smart Portfolios let you invest in a big grab bag of cryptocurrencies all at once without having to buy each one separately.
They’re a convenient way to add a diverse crypto investment to your portfolio in a single click when you don’t have the time or patience to research a half-dozen individual cryptocurrencies.
Stock and ETF investing
Recently, eToro launched stock and ETF investing. With zero commissions, you won’t have to worry about budgeting for fees when you invest through eToro.
In addition, eToro has become a perfect place for younger investors because they offer fractional shares, meaning you can invest in small portions of big-name companies at a MUCH lower cost than you would have to pay for a whole share.
Plus, they offer a virtual account where you can practice investing for the first time. You’ll get a whopping $100k to practice, and you can learn from more experienced investors.
eToro Club is the platform’s tiered reward system based on how much USD you have invested through the platform.
At one point, Diamond status even included access to eToro’s VIP events.
That is, it did, until COVID-19. Understandable.
Anyways, eToro Club brings both good and less good news to potential traders.
The good news is that if you do plan to invest thousands of dollars through the platform, there are some extra perks waiting for you that you might not enjoy with other platforms (reports, swag bag, etc.)
The less good news is that you have to be an eToro Club member ($5,000) to access a live customer service rep. Anyone investing below $5k has to work with Help Desk tickets. More on that in a bit.
eToro Money (aka wallet)
By most user accounts, eToro’s proprietary wallet app – eToro Money – is a bit of a mixed bag. And to let you know right off the bat: eToro Money is only available in the UK currently.
On the plus side, eToro Money supports more functionality than your typical crypto wallet app. You can buy, store, receive, and transfer over 120 cryptos, change over 500 pairs (crypto to crypto), and even get access to your private key.
That last point is actually a big deal, since not all crypto exchanges will let you extract your private key to a cold wallet (aka physical storage like a USB stick).
Not that cold storage is entirely necessary in this case, since your “hot wallet” with eToro Money will be enshrouded in state-of-the-art security measures. Multi-signature facilities, DDoS protection, standardization protocols, and more will keep your keys safe from the bad guys.
So if tools and security are top-notch, what are users upset about?
Well, one common thread among unhappy reviewers is the slow/clunky withdrawal process. Dozens of users have complained about being unable to withdraw funds:
And a generally glitchy experience:
To their credit, eToro has directly responded to many of its most critical reviewers with decorum and offers of support. Plus, some users seem to have no issues with basic transfers to bank accounts:
Sometimes, a small gesture can be a sign of someone’s wholesome inner character: holding doors, helping the elderly with their groceries, etc.
In the crypto trading world, that gesture is offering virtual trading.
Virtual trading, or paper trading, is when a platform allows you to make trades with fake money. With virtual trading, you get to practice with a platform’s tools, experience the thrill of making your first trade, and endure the pain of a staggering loss – all within a no-risk sandbox.
eToro gets major points in my book for offering virtual trading. You can make as many fake trades as you’d like all day long and lose millions in Monopoly money, and the platform will never pressure you to switch back to reality.
eToro only really offers customer support to its eToro Club members, meaning you have to invest $5,000 with the platform before you can access live chat and an “account manager.”
“Account manager” is just fancy marketing speak for a customer service rep. This individual isn’t licensed or permitted to give you trading advice – just to help you through technical issues with your account.
If you invest under $5,000, your only lifeline to customer service is through Help Desk support tickets. According to Reddit, the lead time on these tickets can sometimes stretch to two weeks or more.
That can be a problem for amateur traders because it means if you run into technical issues with your account, your crypto assets could be illiquid until you hear back from a Help Desk ticket. And if they don’t answer your question the first time around, you could have to wait another two weeks to access your funds.
So while I give credit to eToro for having a customer service team at all (since not all crypto trading platforms do), the $5,000 paywall to access them seems high.
At the time of this writing, eToro has 55 cryptos for trade. That’s pretty competitive in today’s marketplace!
My personal take on eToro
I’ve actually had an eToro virtual trading account for months now (because hey, why not?), and my overall feelings on the platform are mixed, but mostly positive.
To start, I’m a fan of crisp, intuitive UI and the grey background, which lets me “trade” at night without my blue light glasses on. I also love, love the CopyTrader™ feature; it’s genius on so many levels that I’m genuinely surprised that more platforms haven’t emulated the idea.
I also appreciate their transparent fee structure and their thorough account creation process, which brings up risk, horizons, and other factors to remind you that your crypto investment should be part of your long-term planning.
But a few things worry me about the platform.
For one, eToro’s killer app, CopyTrader™, hinges on the platform’s ability to retain both veteran and newbie traders. If the platform can’t keep adding more cryptos and advanced trading features, I’m just not sure how long veteran traders will stick around.
But the good news is this: eToro is a well-established, well-respected global brand.
Who should use eToro?
Anyone who wants an “actively managed” crypto portfolio
If you’re eager to get in on the crypto action, but don’t have the time or risk tolerance to make your own trades, you’ll love having an eToro account just for the CopyTrader™ feature.
Veteran traders eager to share their strategy
Maybe you’re a crypto influencer and/or you’ve put together a massively successful trading strategy. In either case, eToro is the best place to share your trades since your fans can follow you, comment on your trades, and even copy you directly.
Who shouldn’t use eToro?
Newbies seeking an education platform
Although there’s value in tracking the activity of veteran traders, eToro isn’t the best place to learn about crypto from the ground up. Other platforms have a more extensive catalog of 101 materials
Crypto day traders
While security, private keys, and CopyTrader™ make eToro an easy rec for long-term HODLers, the lack of crypto variety and reportedly slow withdrawal process make it harder to recommend for fast-moving day traders.
Pros & cons
- CopyTrader™ — The compelling CopyTrader™ feature lets you automatically mirror the trades of eToro’s most successful traders.
- Community features — The ability to follow, ask questions, and share ideas with other traders helps lend a sense of community to crypto trading.
- Crisp, clean UI — eToro does an exceptional job of organizing and presenting critical data and information without overwhelming crypto newbies.
- Free virtual trading account — eToro lets you buy and trade crypto using monopoly money - an olive branch that’s massively helpful to novices.
- Stocks and ETF investing — You can now invest in ETFs and stocks through eToro.
- 55 crypto options — That's a nice number and gives you plenty of options.
- eToro club membership required for customer support — In order to gain access to a live customer service rep, you need to have at least $5,000 invested with the platform.
eToro vs. the competition
eToro Gemini™ Coinbase
Available cryptos 55 50+ 100+
Trade fees 0.75% to 4.9% 0.50% convenience fee plus $0.99 to $2.99 on trades <$200, 1.49% on trades >$200 0.50% spread fee + $0.99 - $2.99 Coinbase fee
Standout feature CopyTrader™ ActiveTrader Coinbase Learn
Rather appropriately for a platform founded by twins (the Winklevoss twins, no less), Gemini™ takes a dual-pronged approach.
Newbies will enjoy the beginner-friendly Gemini™ Basic, which includes an inviting UI and a basic, yet essential toolkit for successful early trades. Once they’re ready, they can toggle the advanced version of Gemini™, ActiveTrader, which triggers way more bells and whistles. Overall, Gemini™ is an excellent choice for aspiring advanced traders to grow into.
Now a publicly-traded company, Coinbase retains its reputation as the most beginner-friendly crypto trading platform. Not only does it offer reasonable fees and an incredibly intuitive UI, you’ll also get free access to Coinbase Learn; the only place where you’ll earn free crypto just for watching short videos about crypto.
There are lots of reasons to adopt a 4-month-old German Shepherd puppy. Even in their infancy, they have unique traits and characteristics that you simply won’t find with any other breed.
eToro USA is the same way. Even though it hasn’t reached its full form yet, eToro already offers unique tools like CopyTrader™ and Smart Portfolios that should make traders of all experience levels perk up. It may have some growing pains ahead fixing its app and expanding its coin menu, but it’s still a very worthy option today.