One of our biggest gripes when it comes to online trading platforms is the absence of a demo or virtual account when researching a new broker. The functionality, experience and design are pretty fundamental to how a trader interacts with their chosen platform. It’s unlikely that we’ll commit our money here at The Armchair Trader to a trading platform that we’ve not been able to test out beforehand.
Choosing an online platform is exactly the same process as buying a car. It has to look right, feel right and perform the function that you need it for, whether that’s getting from 0-60 mph as quickly as possible, providing a secure journey for an army of children or offering enough space to fit in heavy commercial machinery. It’s a big decision – and one that we can’t afford to get wrong.
It’s a pretty crude analogy – but I think you get my point. Without a test drive, how can you make an informed decision?
The eToro Virtual Account
With that in mind, you can imagine my delight when I received an email yesterday from eToro letting me know that I can “Try Editor’s Choice with a FREE $100K Virtual Account!”. eToro tell me it’s been available since the launch of their original OpenBook platform but I hadn’t been aware of it until now. I don’t think they make enough noise about this feature.
My first thought was to set up a virtual account and spend some time getting used to the functionality.
Having set up an account – which took just a few minutes – I was able to start allocating my $100,000 virtual money to the range of markets available, and rather uniquely, the people whose trades I wanted to replicate within my own portfolio. I won’t go into details on how Copy Trading works within this article, but you can find out more about copy trading here.
Here’s what we think
You’ll be pleased to know that the platform is pretty straightforward to use. It’s intuitive to navigate and easy on the eye. If you are keen to go down the Copy Trading route, the filters available within the people search should ensure that you find traders that meet with your criteria in fairly specific terms.
I have always liked the methodology behind eToro’s social trading platform. In my opinion, it provides an alternative environment for beginners to learn about trading the financial markets. Now, having spent a few hours getting to grips with their Virtual Account, I see no reason to change my mind.
There is a drawback, however – and it is one that will affect some of you, but not all. While many of the most popular markets are available, eToro can’t match the range of markets offered by other CFD brokers. The Armchair Trader is aware that eToro are working hard to improve their selection and we’ll bring you news as we hear about it.
eToro provides a global market place for people to trade currencies, commodities, indices and CFD stocks online through their social investment network. The broker has over 4.5 million users in more than 170 countries worldwide who manage their funds through their innovative online investment platforms and active trading community.