eToro vs Trading 212 Comparison: Fees, Spreads, Pros & Cons

Brokers and biased reviewers will use vague and complex language on purpose, to confuse you into thinking what they want to think. However, even though the topic is serious as you can lose or gain money, it is not as complex as they want it to seem to you. This eToro vs Trading 212 comparison will show you what is the actual meat and bones when it comes to assessing a good broker platform.

Both eToro and Trading 212 are geared towards small, retail investors that are looking to invest in popular stocks and ETFs or try their luck in a much riskier but also profitable CFD trading.

If you want to read more about how legit is eToro and other benchmarks of this broker like fees, pros & cons etc – click here.

Let’s quickly go over what are the benchmarks and gauges you should use when comparing brokers like eToro or Trading 212.



It all boils down to these things:

is broker regulated? If yes, by whom?

Does the financial watchdog require the broker to have an insurance fund to protect the users in case of insolvency or other trouble. If yes, how much do these protection funds amount to?

Another important aspect, a caveat the shady brokers gloss over – what assets are included in the protection fund? They often offer only fragmented protection for certain asset type. For example, since crypto is not regulated in most countries of the world, there is no protection for traders who trade crypto CFDs.

Then we come to fees. This is a hotbed of all misunderstanding and trouble for newcomers. There are two types of fees most brokers charge you (even those that market their platforms as feeless): trading and non-trading fees.

Trading fees occur when you trade – from opening position, leveraging it, keeping it open for certain time and closing it; any of these actions can be charged by the broker. Then there is a guaranteed stop protection fees.

Also depositing and withdrawing is often billed by the broker, usually a fixed fee. If the broker allows only certain currencies for deposits, there are conversion fees as well. These are all non-trading fees.

It is also crucial to know if the broker is a market maker or ECN or STP. If the broker is the market maker, there is a potential conflict of interest as it often acts as the counterparty for your position, meaning it would benefit if your trade goes in the wrong direction for you.

Market maker brokers can act against your interests with SL hunting, high slippage, requotes and delays – all methods bucket shop brokers employ to suck the money out of your account.

With all that in mind, let’s jump into the meat and potatoes (I must be hungry when I keep using food idioms to express myself).

eToro vs Trading 212: Overview

Trading212eToro
Instruments Stocks, CFD, Forex, CryptoStocks, CFD, Forex, Crypto
Demo Account YesYes
Minimum Deposit €/£/$10$200 ($50 in US) / $25 for Crypto
Minimum Trade0.01 Lots$1
RegulatorFCA, FSCFCA, CySec, ASIC
MT4 IntegrationNoYes
Mobile appsiOS, Android and WindowsiOS, Android and Windows
ScalpingNoNo
Base currencyGBP, USD, EURUSD
Withdrawal fee0$5
Social TradingNoAutomate your trades via Copy Trading – Follow profitable traders. Open and close trades automatically when they do.
Trade SignalsNovia Copy Trading
Assets3350+
CryptocurrencyOffers only Crypto CFDs with tight spreads, ideal for speculatorsOffers both real coins and CFDs, with their own wallet and exchange plus free crypto tax calculator.
Spread on Crypto CFDsBTC 0.5%, ETH 0.5%BTC <1%, ETH 2%
CoinsBCH, BTC, ETH, LTC, XRP, MON, DASH,BTC, ETH, BCH, XRP, DASH, LTC, ETC, ADA, MIOTA, XLM, EOS, NEO, ZEC, BNB

General info

Since its launch in 2006, eToro has become a multinational sensation and is now active in over 140 countries.

eToro is a well established financial platform offering a wide range of financial trading services. They have expanded their offering to include crypto currencies with some unique benefits such as fee-less trading and margin trading. It is also one of the rare services where you can buy crypto with PayPal.

CFDs are complex financial instruments and come with a high risk of losing money quickly due to leverage. 62% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should stop and think through whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

One important note: eToro sells you both CFDs and actual coins. With CFDs, it allows you to speculate on their price by giving you IOUs instead of real coin. So in that case, if you want to withdraw bitcoin from eToro, you need to sell it for fiat currency, withdraw that fiat money and go to some other crypto exchange to buy “the real bitcoin”. If you choose to buy actual coins, then same rules of withdrawal apply like with any other exchange. Another important note: only Gold eToro accounts (that have $10k+ equity on their balances) can buy and withdraw actual coins.

Trading 212 was founded in Bulgaria back in 2004 under the name Avus Capital and was regulated nationally by the Bulgarian financial watchdog called Financial Supervision Commission (FSC).

In 2013, Trading 212 received regulatory license in UK through its London-based entity, Trading 212 UK Ltd, that is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.

The company operates under these two licenses and allows trading of stocks, currencies, indices, cryptocurrencies and CFDs.

Citizens of 11 EUR countries can use Trading 212 through its FCA license under MiFiD regulation. The rest of the world and EU can open an account with the broker’s Bulgarian entity.

Trading 212 is a private company owned by Ivan Ashminov and his business partner and despite offering zero-fee trading on some assets, they report hefty revenues and profits each year.

Fees & Spreads

eToro charges different fees for each asset class they list. The fees are usually built into the asset price via the so called spread (difference between bid and ask price).

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Spread fees occur when you buy anything on eToro, stocks, cryptos, and so on, however they are built into the buying price that you see in eToro.

And fees are really specific to what you want to trade.

Commodities and currencies are represented in pips. Whereas stock and crypto coins are shown in percentages.

Generally, brokers can charge you two types of fees: trading fees and non-trading fees.

  • Trading fees – they are charged by the broker when you trade in the form of commissions, spreads, financing rates and conversion fees.
  • Non-trading fees occur outside of trading activities – like withdrawal fees or inactivity fees.

Fees vary, depending on the asset and trader’s region (for example, eToro offers feeless trading of ETF to EU traders).

Stock fees and ETF fees

eToro charges low fees for these asset classes.

NOTE: if you trade without leverage, you can buy actual stocks and ETFs on eToro. When you use leverage, then you trade CFDs.

For EU traders, there is no commission whatsoever. For non-EU, fees charged are low in comparison to direct competitors like Plus500, AvaTrade, IQ Options or City Index.

AssetsFee levelFee terms
S&P 500 CFDLowThe fees are built into spread, 0.75 is the average spread cost.
Europe 50 CFDLowThe fees are built into spread, 3 is the average spread cost.
EURUSDHighThe fees are built into spread, 3 pips is the average spread cost.
Inactivity feeLow$10 per month after one year inactivity

Cryptocurrency fees on eToro

Although eToro does not charge any fees for opening or closing trades, it does charge a spread that varies depending on the instrument, e.g. 0.75% for Bitcoin (BTC) and up to 3.45% for certain trading pairs, such as ZEC/ZHF.

In addition to this eToro charges a flat $5 payout fee while deposits are free.

Overnight fees

These are fees that eToro charges for your leveraged positions. It is essentially an interest rate you pay them for loaning you money so you can trade with leverage and on your margin.

These fees are also asset-specific and are paid on the borrowed amount. For example, if you have $1000 margin and you went a 3x leverage on stocks – that means that you have a position of $3000 and pay overnight fees for the $2000 that is borrowed to you from eToro.

Just like mentioned before, all fees on this platform can be separated into two buckets: trading and non-trading fees. Below is a breakdown of fees on Trading212.

Fees on Trading Invest are zero. You can buy shares/stocks and ETFs and trade them with no commissions paid to the broker.

CFD
FTSE Spread1.3 pt
GBPUSD Spread2 pips
Oil Spread5 pips
Stocks Spread0.2% Var
Forex
GBPUSD Spread2 pips
EURUSD Spread1.2 pips
EURGBP Spread1.2 pips
Cryptocurrencies BTC 0.5%, ETH 0.5%

Trading fees on Trading212 CFDs product is a whole new ballgame. First fees you pay after depositing your money are currency conversion fees which are 0.5%. Trading212 accepts GBP, USD and EUR so there is a big chance you will not have to pay this fee if you use any of these major world currencies.

Non-trading fees charged by Trading212 include inactivity fees and overnight fees.

Inactivity fee is paid on accounts that were dormant for six months or more. The fee is 9 USD/GBP/EUR.

Overnight/swap fee is paid for your open positions on CFD instruments. These can be positive or negative and depend on your position: long or short and the underlying asset you are trading. See more here.

Minimum Deposit and Buying Limits

There are no upper limits how much you can deposit if you use bank wires as a deposit method. There are maximum amounts you can deposit with other methods: $40,000 in the case of credit/debit cards, and either $10,000 or $20,000 in the case of electronic wallets.

There is a minimum deposit amount you need to put in on eToro.

You must have $200 to participate in CopyTrading and make a minimum investment of $5,000 for CopyPortfolios. The minimum quantities for manual positions are based on the instrument.

For currencies (such as cryptocurrencies) and commodities, it is just $25. For stocks, it is $50. Finally, for ETFs and indices, it is $200.

Minimum deposit on Trading212 is only €/£/$10. That is a fixed minimum deposit no matter what you plan to trade. Upper limits are, similarly to other brokers, limited by the depositing methods themselves: $40,000 in the case of credit/debit cards, and either $10,000 or $20,000 in the case of electronic wallets.

Deposit and Withdrawal methods

Among crypto currency platforms, eToro stands out as one of the few platforms that offer users the ability to purchase crypto currencies via PayPal in combination with various other payment options.

eToro charges a $5 withdrawal fee while deposits are free.

Other deposit and withdrawal options include:

  • wire transfer (Swift and SEPA)
  • Giropay
  • Skrill
  • Neteller
  • Credit Card
  • PayPal
  • WebMoney

Trading212 supports numerous deposit and withdrawal methods ranging from: bank transfers, credit and debit card payments, Skrill, Dotpay, Giropay, Carte Bleue, Direct eBanking, Google Pay, Apple Pay and iDEAL.

Fastest deposit methods are credit cards or e-wallets (like Skrill, Dotpay etc) that take less than 10 minutes to process while bank transfers take longer, anywhere from 2 to 5 days.

There are no deposit or withdrawal fees on Trading212.

You have to use the same method you used for depositing for the withdrawals as well. Also, you can only fund your account from your own bank account or credit card under your name.

eToro vs Trading212: Leverages

For EU traders, ESMA has put an upper limit for leverages to 30:1 and only 2:1 for crypto CFDs. Whenever you trade with leverage, you are trading CFDs and not real assets. Below are allowed leverages on eToro.


CySEC/FCA
CFTCASIC
Forex (major)30:1market not available400:1
Forex (non-major)20:1market not available100:1
Commodities CFDs10:1market not available20:1
Stocks CFDs5:1market not available10:1
Cryptos CFDs2:11:12:1

Leverages on Trading212 are identical to what eToro offers (due to regulation requirements all brokers have to comply with these numbers):

  • Forex – For major currency pairs – 30:1; For non-major currency pairs -20:1
  • Commodities: Gold – 20:1; Other commodities – 10:1
  • Stocks: 5:1
  • Indices: Base indices -20:1; Non-major indices – 10:1
  • Crypto: 2:1

Accepted countries on eToro and Trading212

eToro is available in the majority of the globe, with the exemption of Canada, Cuba, Japan, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Serbia, Albania, and Sudan.

Trading212 accepts traders from Australia, Thailand, United Kingdom, South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Denmark, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Qatar and most other countries. Traders can not use Trading212 from United States, Canada.

Who has a better customer support: eToro or Trading212

eToro has a thorough help center that provides basic information about trading as well as answers to the most common user problems. In addition, eToro only offers a simple ticket system for the majority of its user complaints and the answers are often slow.

Beyond the traditional support lines, eToro also answers customer queries via social media. As a beginner-friendly platform, eToro also offers a variety of training materials and customer support for users, ensuring that help is at hand when it’s needed.

Trading 212 have a solid customer service team that can be reached via chat or email or via various social media accounts. Customer support is available 24 hours in 16 different languages.

Who enjoys better reputation between eToro and Trading212?

As a regulated platform, eToro is governed by the highest standards of accountability and transparency and is licensed to offer its services to large parts of the world. Currently eToro is regulated by the Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission (CySEC).

In terms of cyber-security, eToro platform is extremely safe and never had any issues with hacking attacks or user fund losses. eToro also takes precautions to ensure the funds and personal information of clients are safe. Traditional funds remain secure in European banks of tier 1.

To make an informed judgement call, we highly advise that you inspect the platform for two criterias:

  • how you are protected if something goes wrong
  • what the background of the broker is

How you are protected

eToro operates three legal entities and serves customers based on their residency. This matters because the entity you belong to defines the amount of protection you get.

  • Citizens of the United Kingdom can open an account at eToro (UK) Limited and be protected by the FCA. If eToro runs into trouble and becomes insolvent, eToro UK clients can expect to be compensated by the maximum amount of £85,000 guaranteed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
  • Australian traders are served by eToro Australia, which is under the regulation of ASIC, the Australian financial authority. ASIC however does not provide any obligatory investor protection for a pre-set amount
  • Other investors will have their live trading accounts with eToro (Europe) Limited, which is regulated by the Cypriot financial authority, CySEC. The amount of investment protection coverage at eToro Europe is a maximum of €20,000. This threshold is set by the Cypriot Investors Compensation Fund.

Here is a tabular summary for quick comparison:

Country of clientsProtection amountRegulatorLegal entity
United Kingdom£85,000Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)eToro (UK) Ltd.
AustraliaNo protectionAustralian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)eToro AUS Capital Pty Ltd.
Other clients€20,000Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC)eToro (Europe) Ltd.

With all that in mind, you should remember that there are no regulations for cryptocurrencies. Because of this, if you engage in cryptocurrency trading or other crypto-related investments, there is no insurance from the investor compensation schemes within the UK or Cyprus. The lack of regulations also means that if you have a complaint, you cannot file it with your financial ombudsman service.

There is no investor protection for cryptos. There is also no negative balance protection for traders from non-EU countries.

Despite this, eToro takes pride in working to resolve issues as seamlessly as possible. In addition, there are numerous social platforms where you can register complaints, which may influence other users.

The Trading 212 mobile app has been downloaded over 14 million times and boasts a rating of 4.5 stars in the Apple App Store as of June 2019. As of September 2018, Trading 212 reportedly had around 50,000 active clients.

Trading212 keeps all clients’ funds separately in segregated bank accounts and are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, FSCS (Trading 212 UK Ltd.) and the Investors Compensation Fund, ICF Bulgaria (Trading 212 Ltd).

In the event of broker insolvency, the FSCS compensation is up to GBP 85 000 and the ICF Bulgaria compensation is up to 90% (but limited to EUR 20 000) of the client’s funds.

Trading212 also has a mandatory negative balance protection.

Similar to eToro, there are no protections for crypto traders.

Education and Research

Research is not the strongest point for either of these platforms. The bare minimum is provided, with the bulk of research being an economic calendar, news headlines, and market analysis from staff.

While both brokers have help centers with video tutorials, most of the material is covering the basics and can be found in much better quality for free on the internet. They do provide daily market analysis and post content on their YT channels almost regularly, but there is still a lot of to be wished for in this segment.

Social Trading

eToro’s next generation investment product CopyPortfolio is also a feature not found on any other crypto currency platform. CopyPortfolios allows eToro users to easily invest in top trader portfolios so they can copy the trades of the best traders on the website. eToro users who invest in a CopyPortfolio let eToro manage their capital professionally and avoid the guesswork of trading.

In addition, eToro also offers a unique social feature known as CopyTrading which allows users to automatically copy the trades of other successful traders based on specific conditions.

Trading212 has no social dimension to their platform, perhaps its biggest defficiency when compared to eToro.



eToro vs Trading212: Who is better in the end?

Very similar brokers from the standpoint of their offerings, regulatory status and overall reputation and client base.

However, eToro clearly beats Trading212 with its social trading component which is a great feature for new and less experienced traders. eToro also puts much more focus on cryptocurrencies with their dedicated wallet, exchange and crypto tax calculator.

eToro also allows purchase of actual crypto through their platform.

Read more about eToro fares against other cryptocurrency brokers and exchanges:

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CaptainAltcoin's writers and guest post authors may or may not have a vested interest in any of the mentioned projects and businesses. None of the content on CaptainAltcoin is investment advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified financial planner. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CaptainAltcoin.com

Rene Peters is editor-in-chief of CaptainAltcoin and is responsible for editorial planning and business development. After his training as an accountant, he studied diplomacy and economics and held various positions in one of the management consultancies and in couple of digital marketing agencies. He is particularly interested in the long-term implications of blockchain technology for politics, society and the economy.

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