eToro, Currency.com, Plus500 and Trading 212 are among the most popular international trading platforms. Here, we compare these four platforms according to five key parameters.
eToro is an Israeli broker founded in 2006. The platform is known for its social trading functionality (copy trading) and for having a large number of CFD instruments.
Deposits and withdrawals
eToro supports deposits and withdrawals via credit cards, bank transfer, cryptocurrencies, PayPal, Skrill, Neteller, Rapid Transfer, UnionPay, IDEAL, Sofort, Giropay and Rapid Transfer. The minimum amount of opening deposit depends on the country of the client: from $50 for USA and Australia to $10,000 for Israel. After an opening deposit a client may deposit $50 upwards (or $500 upwards in case of bank transfer). No deposit fee is charged.
The withdrawal fee is fixed at $5. The minimum withdrawal amount is $30. If you open a deposit or make a withdrawal in a currency other than USD, you will have to pay upward of 50 pips for currency conversion. Only 10 withdrawal currencies are supported: USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, IDR, RMB, THB, MYR, PHP and VND.
Tools for trading
eToro specialises in CFD (contracts for difference) and Forex trading, but users can also trade equities, cryptocurrencies and ETFs without leverage. All index and commodity trades and all leveraged trades are CFDs. In total, there are more than 2,000 instruments on the platform.
Among eToro’s innovations are CopyTrader (copying other users’ trades) and CopyPortfolio (investing in top traders’ portfolios).
When trading with leverage, the maximum leverage for retail clients in the Forex market is 30x, 10x for commodities, 5x for stocks and 2x for cryptocurrencies. Currency pairs trading is not available for clients from Russia.
Trading in equities (not CFDs) is free and commissions for CFDs are relatively low. However, eToro has relatively high commissions on Forex pairs. The cryptocurrency spread ranges from 0.75 per cent for VTS and up to five per cent for XTZ. There is a small fee for rollover (overnight).
In addition to trading commissions, eToro charges a fee for inactivity: $10 each month if you haven’t logged in for a year or more.
The Refer a Friend programme offers a $50-$100 bonus for each user who joins through a referral link. However, both the client and the referred client must live in one of 44 specific countries. Russia, Ukraine and CIS countries are unfortunately not on the list.
eToro is supervised by three financial regulators: Cyprus, UK and Australia. Depending on the client’s country of residence, the account is registered with one of the three subsidiaries and receives the appropriate protection:
- UK: £85,000
- Australia: no deposit insurance
- Other countries: €20,000
For EU retail clients, there is negative balance protection for forex pairs and CFDs. In addition, all investments (regardless of their country) are protected by an insurance deposit of up to $1m from Lloyd’s, but only should eToro’s become bankrupt. The broker can cancel the insurance at any time.
Trading 212 was launched in Bulgaria, but has now moved its headquarters to London. Trading 212 is the most popular mobile trading app in the UK (15 million downloads), although the tools available are limited compared to other brokers.
Deposits and withdrawals
Trading 212 allows deposits and withdrawals from $1 and for bank transfers from $10 with no fees. If you use a currency other than the base currency for your account (usually US dollar and local currency), you will need to pay a conversion fee. The system supports bank cards and transfers, as well as a number of e-wallets (PayPal, Giropay, etc, depending on the country). Withdrawal to your card takes on average one business day.
Tools for trading
The broker offers three types of accounts with different sets of available instruments. A CFD account allows you to trade CFDs only. For those registering an investment (Pro) account or ISA account (UK citizens only), stocks, cryptocurrencies and ETFs are available.
The maximum leverage for retail clients is 30x, but the specific leverage for each instrument is different. For Pro accounts, leverage is available up to 500x.
Trading 212 has fairly low commissions on CFD instruments, although they are higher than on eToro. Trading commissions on forex pairs range from medium to quite high. There are no commissions for trading stocks and ETFs, but these instruments are not available to everyone. The total number of instruments on Trading 212 is more than 2,500.
The currency conversion fee is 0.5 per cent. Unlike eToro and Plus500, Trading 212 does not charge for an inactive account.
If a new user joins using a client’s referral link and makes a deposit, both the new user and client receive one free share each. The maximum you can get is 20 shares worth no more than $100 each chosen at random. Unfortunately, the programme is available only in 12 countries: UK, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.
The broker is regulated in the UK and Cyprus. The same mandatory deposit protection applies as on eToro: £85,000 for UK users and €20,000 for all others. The insurance will protect you only in the case of Trading 212 going bankrupt.
Plus500 is an international CFD broker headquartered in Israel. Plus500’s shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange. The company was founded in 2008 and is registered with the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Israel Securities Authority (ISA), the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and others.
Deposits and withdrawals
Deposits can be made from a Visa/MasterCard, a bank account or an e-wallet: PayPal, Skrill and some regional systems are supported, depending on the residence country of the user. Minimum top-up amount: $100 by card, $300 by bank transfer. There are no commissions.
One of Plus500’s advantages is free withdrawal of funds. Keep in mind that one can withdraw money only five times a month for free. After that, a $10 withdrawal fee is applied. There may be an additional withdrawal fee of $6 for withdrawal to a bank account. Each withdrawal method has its own minimum limit, which on average is $100. If you wish to withdraw less than this, you will need to pay an additional $10 withdrawal fee.
Withdrawals take three to seven business days, with the first one to three days used for security checks.
Tools for trading
The CFD list on Plus500 includes around 70 currency pairs for forex trading, as well as more than 25 stock indices, around 20 commodities, 15 cryptocurrency pairs and numerous stocks, options and ETFs. In total, there are around 2,500 different CFD instruments available.
Plus500 also provides margin trading, with a maximum leverage of 30x for standard clients and 300x for professional traders.
Important: no scalping is allowed on the platform, which Plus500 defines as opening positions of less than two minutes in order to profit from short-term price movements.
Many transactions on Plus500 are technically free on particular deposits and withdrawals, but with restrictions. Opening and closing positions are also free of charge. Every transaction includes a spread, on which the broker earns money. Several types of transactions are subject to a separate commission: overnight, currency conversion and guaranteed stop order. There is a fee for inactivity: $10 per month if you have not logged into your account for more than three months.
To join the 500 Affiliates programme, you need to have your own website, and it must be approved by the platform. You attract traders by using a marketing toolkit for your website: banners, widgets, etc. Remuneration amounts range from $200 to $800 per referred trader, plus up to 10 per cent of commissions paid by referrals.
As Plus500 shares are traded on the LSE, its financial statements are publicly available. The broker is regulated by eight different regulators. The degree of protection of clients depends on their country of residence. For example, traders from the EU, Switzerland and Norway are covered by insurance for €20,000, clients from the UK are covered by £85,000. For EU retail clients, there is also protection against negative balances. Traders outside of these territories are not covered by insurance.
Currency.com is one of the few fully regulated crypto exchanges in the world and the largest regulated marketplace in the CIS. The main difference between Currency.com and other exchanges is the ability to trade tokenised assets. The company is registered in Belarus and is known for low spreads and transparent commissions.
Deposits and withdrawals
Deposits and withdrawals can be made by bank card, bank transfer, SEPA payment system for EU residents and Yandex.Money e-wallet. Given that Currency.com is a crypto exchange, deposits and withdrawals can be made in cryptocurrencies: BTC, ETH, XRP, LTC, BCH, USDT as well as DeFi tokens UNI, COMP and LINK. Available currencies for deposit are USD, EUR, GBP, RUB and BYN. The minimum deposit amount is $10. Most withdrawal requests are processed the same day and deposits are processed within 20 minutes.
Currency.com has a simple and transparent commissions system: 3.5 per cent for deposits from card and e-wallet, and 2.4 per cent + $3 for withdrawal to Visa and 1.9 per cent + $3 for withdrawal to MasterCard. Depositing from banks is absolutely free and withdrawal will cost 0.15 per cent (minimum $20, maximum $150). Withdrawals to an offshore bank account incur a 15 per cent surcharge.
Tools for trading
The platform supports more than 1,500 tokenised assets including top cryptocurrencies, stocks, commodities, currencies, ETFs, indices and corporate bonds. Tokenised assets are a safer and more affordable alternative to CFDs and real equities: thanks to Currency.com, any Bitcoin and Ethereum owner can earn from various tokenised financial markets.
Account holders can trade any instrument with leverage:
- up to 500x for tokenised currencies;
- up to 200x for tokenised commodities;
- up to 100x for tokenised indices and cryptocurrency pairs BTC/USD, BTC/EUR and ETH/USD, ETH/EUR;
- up to 20x for tokenised shares, other cryptocurrencies and ETFs.
Currency.com supports more countries than almost any other major trading platform. The services are not available to residents of only 21 jurisdictions. They are Albania, Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Cambodia, Ghana, Iceland, Jamaica, Mauritius, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Syria, Uganda, Yemen, Zimbabwe, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Iran and USA.
The fee charged by Currency.com depends on the type of transaction. Two modes are available on the platform:
Trading (spot market):
cryptocurrency: 0.2 per cent
- tokenised equities, indices, commodities and ETFs: 0.05 per cent
- tokenised bonds: 0.03 per cent
- tokenised currencies: 1 per cent
Trading with leverage:
- takers (crypto): 0.075 per cent
- makers (crypto): -0.025 per cent
Commission for makers and takers only applies to cryptocurrencies and DeFi tokens, leverage trading for 1,539 tokenised assets including stocks, commodities, ETFs, currencies, bonds and indices are currently commission free. This promotion is valid to January 31, 2021.
Currency.com has two programmes:
- Affiliate: for business owners with a website and anyone who has clients of their own. When you bring a client to Currency.com, you will earn 40 per cent of the commissions paid by them over 24 months and your referral partner will get a 12 per cent discount on commissions.
- Referral: for anyone. You will earn 50 per cent of your referrals’ commissions for six months. Your referral will also receive a 10 per cent discount on commissions for three months. The number of referrals is unlimited.
The programmes are open to Currency.com customers from all supported countries.
The platform is strictly regulated in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Belarus. Cryptocurrency legislation in Belarus is advanced, making it an extremely attractive jurisdiction for blockchain projects. It is the favourable regulatory regime that allows Currency.com to offer services in more countries than other platforms, as well as to offer faster and cheaper deposits and withdrawals.
The company conducts regular audits. Currency Com Limited is also DLT-licensed by the Gibraltar financial regulator.
All of the presented platforms have a good reputation and a high level of security and service.
Currency.com offers favourable trading conditions for customers. Tokenised assets, unlike CFDs, can be withdrawn to ERC-20 compliant crypto wallets, allowing assets to be safely stored on the Ethereum blockchain. No leverage fees on tokenised assets allows you to profitably hedge price risk and protect your investment portfolio. Low commissions, regulation and accessibility to citizens of almost all countries all make Currency.com an attractive investment platform compared to other brokers in the European and international market.