eToro is perhaps one of the best known online trading platforms. We’ll see in our eToro review whether it’s lived up to their own self-proclamation – “that of being a pioneering platform, that has brought financial trading from the confined cliques of the stock exchange to the laptops and mobile phones of everyone all over the world”.
For a while there, trading laws meant that eToro was unavailable in the US, despite being one of the most popular online trading platforms in Europe and the rest of the world. We’re now pleased to say that eToro is once again available in over 40 US states, albeit with limited functions, which is why we’re bringing you this eToro USA review.
In our eToro review, we’ll take an in-depth look at their trading platform and what they currently offer US customers by testing all of the capabilities we can. We’ll also provide a step by step guide on how you can create your own eToro open account.
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When testing their website for this eToro review, it’s hard not to be aware of their open desirability to be the ‘social media of financial trading’. It’s certainly fair to say that eToro’s website resembles a social media site, however, it also manages to retain its own identity and character – not to mention the fact it’s sleek, clever, and extremely easy to navigate.
The design follows a green and white colour scheme that’s pleasing to the eye without being too bland or boring. In terms of getting around the website, everything is where you want it to be, with a button for everything you seemingly need on each page managing to appear as if by magic.
The eToro open account process is quick, easy and safe with a secure two-step login system. Once you’ve created your account and are inside, making deposits can be done quickly and seamlessly. Withdrawals are equally as easy to do, however, withdrawal times can be slow.
Overall, this is just what a modern financial trading website should look like – much better than the dated look and feel of some of their competitors as discussed in our Fortress Capital and Autoshares review.
As this is an eToro review USA, we’ll be focusing upon the parts of the website and trading platform that are available to US accounts holders.
Our eToro review noted that eToro operates in numerous countries throughout the world, the different types of eToro open account clients can have depends strictly on the laws and regulations of each country. Rather than being dictated by what type of account you have, it’s the country you open your account in that has a bigger influence on what you can and can’t do with your eToro open account.
Worldwide, there are 2 different types of eToro open account: Retail and Professional.
A retail client is essentially an individual, private and non-professional client. Retail clients have access to all of the eToro trading functions and platforms that are available in their country of residence. Retail clients do have restricted leverage, however, their funds are still protected by regulatory bodies depending on their country and they receive negative balance protection and margin closeout restrictions.
To become a professional client with eToro, you’ll have to successfully pass a suitability test to verify that you qualify as a professional trader. Professional clients with eToro still have negative balance protection and can open positions with a leverage of up to 1:400 for certain instruments. Professional clients do, however, have to forego certain asset protections such as the Investor Compensation Fund.
If you’re completely new to the complex world of trading, then you can get to grips with it and practice without investing any real money thanks to the eToro demo account. The eToro demo account allows you to do absolutely everything you can do with an eToro Retail Client Account, only with virtual money so it involves zero risk. The eToro demo account is easy to open: simply register with your email, Google+ or Facebook account and you’re off!
Before we go any further, only customers from the following states are eligible for an eToro open account in the USA:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.*
*As the laws and regulations are ever evolving and changing, it’s highly likely that the states allowed to open eToro accounts will be updated, as will the capabilities for US customers. We hope (and are confident) that these changes will be for the better, however we always recommend reading through EToro’s updated T&Cs before opening an account.
Opening an account with eToro USA is quick and can be done within a day.
You can register your eToro open account by signing up with your email, Google+ or Facebook account and entering a couple of extra details. At this stage, you’ll already be able to use your eToro demo account with virtual money. If you want to go on to create a proper account and invest real money, move onto step 2.
To open a fully functional eToro open account in the USA you’ll have to provide the following documents to prove your identity and residence:
It shouldn’t take eToro USA more than 24 hours to verify your documents and open your account providing there aren’t any problems, however it can take longer.
You just need to make your first deposit of at least $50 before you get started. You can find out more about how to make your first deposit in the payments section of this eToro review.
Much like their website, eToro’s trading platforms are sleek, easy on the eye and extremely user friendly, which is why we’ve scored them so highly in this part of our eToro review. If there’s one tiny negative we can get out of the way early on here, it’s eToro’s lack of a downloadable desktop trading platform. However, we have to say that it’s not really missed or needed as their web-based platform as quick and well – just as an online trading platform should in this modern age we live in!
eToro Web Platform
eToro’s web-based platform is creative, innovative and super user friendly; beginners will find it extremely easy to navigate and get to grips with while experienced traders shouldn’t find it very restrictive. All of the buttons are in the right place and, should you ever have trouble finding anything, their search function and help guides are very useful. If we had to pick out a negative here, it’s that everything in the platform is pretty much fixed in place, so it’s not easily customisable to suit the individual user. There is no 3rd party software provided and no downloadable desktop version, however, as we mentioned before, you don’t really need it.
eToro Mobile Platform
Replicating an impressive web or desktop trading platform for the small screen is a hard feat to pull off, and many big online trading companies have failed. eToro have managed to bring their platform to mobile excellently. There are some things missing on the mobile version, such as less charting features and even more limited customization options, but that’s to be expected when reducing such a large scale and highly functioning platform. When testing the mobile platform for our eToro review, we experienced no bugs or lagging. The eToro mobile trading platform is available for both iOS and Android.
Making payments with eToro is quick and easy, with numerous payment options available. Rather strangely, given that eToro was unavailable to US customers for a number of years, the only base currency permitted with eToro is USD. This shouldn’t restrict any readers of this eToro review.
We found in our eToro review Depositing money with eToro USA is super easy and can be done with a variety of payment options including Bank transfer, Credit/Debit card, PayPal, Skrill, Neteller, China UnionPay, and Klarna / Sofort Banking. The minimum deposit amount required for US clients is $50 and the maximum deposit amount is $10,000 for credit/debit cards and eWallets, $30,000 for Klarna and unlimited for bank transfers.
Transaction times for credit/debit cards are instant, while bank transfers can take between 4-7 business days. You can strictly only deposit money from accounts that are in your name as eToro doesn’t allow 3rd party payments.
The good news is that eToro USA doesn’t charge any transaction fees, just currency conversion fees, which is absolutely no problem at all for US customers as the base currency is USD.
Let’s start off with positives here; there are no withdrawal fees with eToro USA and the minimum withdrawal is low, at just $30 USD with no maximum limit that we could find. Now for the first really negative part of your eToro review; the withdrawal times can be really long. There’s a 7-day holding period before your withdrawals even start getting processed, then there’s the eToro process, after that the processing times for the actual payment depend on your withdrawal methods.
The eToro withdrawal period is up to 2 days, but that depends on them already having the correct information, so it could be longer. Once that’s done, your actual bank or eWallet should take 3 days or less to process your payment, but can sometimes take more. If you’re withdrawing via bank transfer, that can take up to 7 days. Once all is said and done, even the quickest withdrawals can take up to 2 weeks, which is quite lengthy.
eToro’s FAQs, help tools and educational tools are extremely helpful and work efficiently, which is just as well as their customer service leaves a lot to be desired, unfortunately. For a website that we’ve otherwise lauded for being super slick, easy to navigate and efficient, the customer 24/7 live chat is extremely difficult to locate. In the end, what we had to do was type “Customer Service” into the search bar in order to find it.
During our eToro review it’s easy to see why eToro USA might want to keep their customer support live chat hidden; it’s not very good and they’re often unavailable. They claim to be 24/7, but we had difficulty getting through on evenings and weekends. When we did get answers they were, for the most part, useful, however sometimes answers appeared to be simply copied and pasted from the FAQs. If you’d like compare service support with another platform, check out our Tastyworks review, a great option for active traders.
If you do want to get in touch with eToro USA, we’d recommend doing so via email or their phone line, where you’ll get dealt with on a more personal level. The good news for US customers here is that they are contactable via a toll-free phone line with an American number.
Our overall experience with eToro’s customer service was a decidedly average one, as they could never strike the right balance; either the response times were slow but the answers were good, or the response times were fairly quick but the answers were either copy and pasted, not useful or impersonal. When we looked into other customers’ experiences, we found similar results, with many citing saying they had to go through bad experiences until they found the right service agent to help them. From this, it seems that eToro need to work on their customer service staffing and their live chat’s functionality.
Let’s start off here by answering the first question everyone wants to know when researching a trading platform or broker, is eToro legit?
The answer, is of course yes – eToro is a completely legit brokerage that’s licensed by the Cypriot Investment Firm (CIF) and they’re regulated by Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).
In the US, things get a little bit more complicated, as eToro is not operational in all states so there’s no nationwide or federal regulation to speak of here, unfortunately. At the time of writing, eToro is fully licensed in over 40 states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
You can see a full list of the state regulators on eToro’s website, alongside contact details, what account holders are entitled to and how their funds are protected.
Customers in the UK are protected up to the sum of £85,000 thanks to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and European clients are protected up to €20,000 by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).
Again, deposit protection is more complicated in the US as it’s done on a state by state basis, if your state was listed in the states eToro is available in but not in the list of regulated states above then, unfortunately, your deposits are unprotected.
All US customers also, unfortunately, don’t have investor protection, as only crypto trading is available to US customers, which isn’t protected by any state or international regulatory body.
If you refer a friend to eToro and they successfully sign up and create a real money account, then eToro will offer each of you $50; you will get a $50 referral bonus and your newly signed up friend will get a $50 welcome bonus. What’s better is that you can claim as many referral bonuses as you like – good news if you’re popular and in with a crowd that’s interested in online trading! The offer is subject to strict terms and conditions which can be found on eToro’s website. Already know someone who’s an eToro account holder? Then why not get in touch with them and get the chance to grab yourselves $50 each!
If you’re completely new to the world of online trading, or simply fancy testing out eToro before you fully sign up and make a real money deposit into your account, then you can try before you buy with the eToro demo account. The eToro demo account is completely free, and all you need to do is sign up with your email, Facebook or Google+ and you can start using your demo account for free, trading and investing with virtual money so there’s no risk to your own capital. It may be virtual money, but you’re playing on the market as it is in real life, making it excellent hands-on practice for new traders.
Crypto trading is the only trading type that’s available to eToro US customers. With eToro customers can trade in 16 cryptocurrencies, with the top choices being Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Ripple (XRP), and all of the possible pairs that can be made between these currencies. International customers can trade cryptocurrencies with a range of forex currencies, totalling 93 pairs. It’s important to note that eToro is unavailable in certain US states. These include American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Northern Marianas, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, and the US Virgin Islands.
eToro’s social trading means that you can check the moves of other more experienced crypto traders and copy their moves with the eToro. How it works is that you can take a look at what other traders are doing and if you like what they’re doing you can begin automatically mirroring their position with the click of a button. The minimum deposit amount to trade when copying another trader is significantly higher, at $200.
The fees on trading crypto vary from currency to currency with eToro, but in general, they’re pretty high. The Bitcoin fee when exiting a position is 0.75%, which is pretty high compared to a lot of other trading platforms on the market. The trading fees on other cryptocurrencies all sit between 2%-5% which we have to say is really quite high. The coins with the higher fees are Tezos (XTZ) at 5%, closely followed by MIOTA (IOTA) at 4.5%.
EToro doesn’t charge and send and receive transaction fees, but blockchain fees will be applicable here. eToro’s crypto conversion fee is set at a reasonable 0.1%, with the rates set in accordance with eToro market rates.
eToro provides a free eWallet for all account holders to store cryptocurrencies in. The eToro Wallet is available to mobile users in both iOS and Android. The wallet itself might be free, however, the cost to convert cryptocurrency into USD and the other way around is a staggeringly high 5%, with a minimum transaction of $125 and a maximum of $10,000.
Overall crypto trading with eToro isn’t bad, but is still a long way from being the best around and has higher fees than some of eToro’s other trading options which are sadly not available to US account holders.
However, let’s start this summary by going over the positives. The platform on which you can conduct your trades is second to none in our opinion; it’s sleek, easy to use for traders of all levels and it doesn’t half look good. The addition of the CopyTrader is also a nice touch that can help increase the more inexperienced trader’s chance of turning a profit.
eToro’s crypto offerings are still growing, however, but still aren’t on a par with some other brokerages put there, as found in our Forex.com review.
To conclude our eToro review, we think this is an excellent and modern online trader with a whole lot of promise. If you’re European, Australian or from anywhere else where you can access the full extent of eToro’s trading platform, then we can’t recommend them highly enough. As is the case in our IG Broker review.
However, for users in the US, being restricted only to the crypto exchange is a huge drawback as eToro is still behind a few other key players here. Forex trading is still by far what eToro does best, it’s just a shame that these options aren’t available to US customers.
eToro is a fantastic and modern global platform, and we wait in hope for the day that legislation changes to allow US traders to enjoy the platform’s full capabilities. All that being said, if crypto trading really is your thing and you work with enough volume to make the fees worthwhile, then we wouldn’t argue against the idea of signing up with eToro.
Trading financial products carries a high risk to your capital, especially trading leverage products such as CFDs. 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.
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