eToro`s OpenBook software aims to revolutionize Forex trading by adding a social element to what is fundamentally a good program. What exactly can traders expect from the software?

Cost

Many traders are concerned about the upfront and ongoing costs of utilizing Forex software, which is perhaps why more than 20.5 million trades (as of January 2012) have taken place using eToro`s OpenBook software. Unlike certain other programs, registration for OpenBook is free. Traders need not spend a dime on testing the software.

There are also no ongoing costs associated with OpenBook. No commission is charged, but eToro does charge a spread of up to 3 pips.

Account Types

eToro supports four main kinds of trading account: bronze, silver, gold and VIP. The Bronze Trading Account supports traders who deposit less than $1,000 (the minimum deposit is $50). In contrast, the VIP Trading Account imposes a minimum deposit of $20,000. Other accounts exist for specialist traders. Benefits vary from one account type to the next.

Service

Other than the small spread, there is no charge to use OpenBook, but traders who maintain accounts with other brokers might be disappointed to learn that the software is only supported by eToro. Limited compatibility may dissuade some investors from abandoning their existing platforms in favor of eToro. Notwithstanding, eToro does provide a number of superb features.

eToro`s OpenBook software benefits from 24/7 support, so even when Forex trading has closed for the weekend traders can seek help and advice from the customer service team via live chat, e-mail or phone. A comprehensive help section called eToroPedia is also available, while international telephone numbers are available for foreign traders. OpenBook supports nine languages, including English, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Russian. The software accepts payments from all major credit cards and via PayPal, Netteller, MoneyGram, Webmoney and Western Union.

Features

eToro`s OpenBook describes itself as the “world`s leading social investment network,” which does not necessarily make it the best or the biggest. OpenBook encourages the sharing of trade-related information between users. The software focuses on a system that uses high profile traders, or `gurus,` to set an example for less experienced or successful traders, who can follow or copy their trading strategies. As of the time of writing, eToro`s top guru traded under the name, `Malsolo` and had 37,915 followers, of whom 5,427 had copied his trades.

Some of the benefits of using OpenBook include real-time trading, relatively low spreads, a low minimum deposit ($50), mobile trading, extremely high leverage ratio (400:1), demo account, responsible trading and social networking. The software is also renowned for its reliability and security, suffering very few bugs.

Cons

eToro`s OpenBook software is by no means perfect. The program does not include any indices and it does not support CFD (contracts for difference) trading. No scalping is a disadvantage, but perhaps the most notable downside to using OpenBook is that eToro does not accept checks or telephone orders. People who trade Forex online often prefer to have the opportunity to pay by check or discuss special orders and transactions with brokers over the phone.

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