eToro vs Hargreaves Lansdown – Which Is Better For Trading & Investing?

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The Generation Money Guarantee

At Generation Money our purpose is to help you make better financial decisions. All of our articles are independently written and/or edited by finance professionals and adhere to strict editorial guidelines. This post may contain links which, if clicked, could result in a payment to the site. These links never impact our editorial policy and all rankings and product recommendations remain unbiased. For more details, read how this site is financed.

Offer: Welcome Bonus of up to £50 when you invest at least £100 with InvestEngine (Ts&Cs apply)

For this investment platform comparison, I’ll be looking at eToro* vs Hargreaves Lansdown.  

eToro is best known as a trading platform, while Hargreaves Lansdown is a broader investment platform.

I’ll be comparing eToro and Hargreaves Lansdown against a number of metrics to see which comes out on top. This includes investment options, ethical offerings, products and, of course, fees.

Whether you’re a trader or investing for the long term, expensive fees can eat into your returns over time. So, as an experienced investor and a Chartered Accountant I know how important it is to balance costs against returns!

Read on for my full eToro vs Hargreaves Lansdown comparison, or use the links below to jump straight to a particular section.

For more on eToro, read our detailed eToro review. You may also be interested in:

eToro vs Hargreaves Lansdown: At A Glance

Here’s my overview of eToro vs Hargreaves Lansdown in case you don’t want to read the whole comparison. 

The table below looks at the key features compared against each other.

eToroHargreaves Lansdown
Fees / Platform ChargesNo subscriptions or platform fees. Instead, following fees apply:

Market spread on all trades (difference between bid and ask price), varies by asset being traded

Daily financing fees on all CFD trades kept open overnight (inc. weekends), exact fee depends on asset being traded

Withdrawal fee of $5 on all withdrawals (deposits are free)

FX conversion fee on all non-US dollar withdrawals & deposits. This fee is in pips and depends on the method of transaction, e.g. bank transfer is 50 pips mark up on the spot FX rate

Inactivity fee of $10 per month if no login after 12 months
Holding funds:
Up to £250,000: 0.45%
£250,000 – £1m: 0.25%
£1m – £2m: 0.10%
£2m+: 0%

Holding shares:
Fund & Share Account: no charge
Stocks & Shares ISA: 0.45% (capped at £45)

SIPP: 0.45% (capped at £200)

See Fees section below for more, inc. dealing fees
Minimum InvestmentMinimum first time deposit of $50. Minimum deposit after this is $10

Minimum investment of $500 for Smart Portfolios
£1 to open Fund & Share Account (GIA), £100 minimum investment for funds

£100 for ISA & SIPP, unless regularly depositing £25+ per month
Products / AccountsTrading Account
Pro Account
eToro Money Account
Demo Account
eToro does not offer ISAs or SIPPs
Stocks & Shares: ISA, JISA, LISA

Fund & Share Account / GIA

SIPP (Pension), Junior SIPP

Cash ISA, Active Savings

Personal Financial Advice

Foreign Currency Exchange
Ready-Made Portfolios65+ Smart Portfolios based on different themes4
Ready-Made Portfolio FeesNo additional fees for Smart Portfolios. Above fees apply when investing, e.g. spread0.92%-0.99% 
Platform fees above apply on top
Ethical Portfolios/FundsESG-Leaders fund Access to ESG ETFs
Other Portfolios/FundsCopyTraderHL Select
Wealth Shortlist
DIY PortfolioYesYes
Investment OptionsShares
ETFs
Cryptocurrencies
Commodities
FX
CFDs on all of the above
Shares
Over 3,000 funds including ETFs and Investment Trusts
Corporate Bonds & Gilts
FSCS ProtectionYes (except funds outside the UK)Yes (except funds outside the UK)
Trustpilot reviews4.34.2

What You Need To Know

Best For:
  • eToro is geared towards trading and is the better platform if you want to trade frequently
  • It’s also better suited if you want to trade using leverage through CFDs*, including short-selling, which you cannot do with HL
  • Buying shares is commission-free and there are no charges for holding shares, although you cannot hold them in an ISA
Best For:
  • Hargreaves Lansdown is the better platform for longer term investors who do not buy and sell assets frequently 
  • It’s also the better option for tax-efficient investing as it offers a range of ISAs
  • If you want to invest in bonds and investment trusts, as you’re unable to do so with eToro

What You Need To Know

Best For:
  • eToro is geared towards trading and is the better platform if you want to trade frequently
  • It’s also better suited if you want to trade using leverage through CFDs, including short-selling, which you cannot do with HL
  • Buying shares is commission-free and there are no charges for holding shares, although you cannot hold them in an ISA
Best For:
  • Hargreaves Lansdown is the better platform for longer term investors who do not buy and sell assets frequently 
  • It’s also the better option for tax-efficient investing as it offers a range of ISAs
  • If you want to invest in bonds and investment trusts, as you’re unable to do so with eToro

*CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

What is eToro?

Founded in 2007 in Israel, eToro has become one of the most popular trading platforms in the world.

It now has over 20 million users across the globe and is popular with full-time traders. eToro was one of the pioneers of commission-free trading and app-based trading. 

eToro is also well-known for its CopyTrading service, where you can copy the trades of popular traders through the eToro community. 

What is Hargreaves Lansdown?

Established in 1981, Hargreaves Lansdown is one of the largest retail investment platforms in the UK. 

It styles itself as the UK’s No.1 investment platform for private investors, and has over 1.6 million investors managing £135.5bn in investments.

eToro vs Hargreaves Lansdown: Fees

Let’s look in more detail at the all-important costs for eToro vs Hargreaves Lansdown.

eToro does not charge subscription or platform fees. Instead it charges a range of transaction fees. By contrast, Hargreaves Lansdown has a tiered fee structure based on how much you have invested and the type of assets you invest in:

eToroHargreaves Lansdown
Platform FeesNo subscription or platform fees. Instead, following fees apply:

Withdrawal fee of $5 on all withdrawals (deposits are free)

FX conversion fee on all non-US dollar withdrawals & deposits. This fee is in pips and depends on the method of transaction, e.g. bank transfer is 50 pips mark up on the spot FX rate

$10 monthly inactivity fee if no login after 12 months
Holding funds:
Up to £250,000: 0.45%
£250,000 – £1m: 0.25%
£1m – £2m: 0.10%
£2m+: 0%

Holding shares:
Fund & Share Account: no charge
Stocks & Shares ISA: 0.45% (capped at £45)

SIPP: 0.45% (capped at £200)
Actively Managed Portfolio Management FeesNo additional charge for investing in ready-made Smart Portfolios.

Fees below apply on building the portfolios for you, e.g. market spread
0.92%-0.99% 

Platform fees above apply on top
Individual Stocks & Shares / Share DealingMarket spread on all trades (difference between bid and ask price), varies by asset being traded

Additional eToro broker spread applies on CFD trades, varies by asset

Daily financing fees on all CFD trades kept open overnight (inc. weekends), exact fee depends on asset being traded
Fee based on number of deals in prior month:
0 – 9: £11.95
10 – 20: £8.95
20+: £5.95

FX charge also applies on overseas shares
Regulated Financial AdviceN/AInvestment advice: 
Up to £1m: 1%
£1m+: 0%

Financial Planning:
Up to £200k: 2%
£200k – 1m+: 1%
Over £1m: 0%

Both subject to min. charge of £495 for advice over the phone, £1,495 for in-person. VAT in addition

Hargreaves Lansdown and eToro have fundamentally different pricing for the most part. 

Unlike Hargreaves Lansdown, eToro does not charge a fee based on the assets you hold with them nor does it charge management fees. Instead it charges transaction fees on withdrawals, FX conversions and trading CFDs (contracts for difference).

Trading / Dealing Fees

eToro is well-known for its commission-free share trading, but this doesn’t mean it’s totally free to buy stocks and shares. You will pay the spread (difference between the buy and sell price quoted for an asset) on each buy or sell transaction instead. 

By contrast, Hargreaves Lansdown charges dealing fees for buying and selling shares (but not funds) of between £5.95 and £11.95 each trade. 

This makes it the more expensive option vs eToro, especially if you’re a frequent trader. This is because the spread paid on shares is typically a lot lower than the dealing fees with Hargreaves Lansdown.

With eToro you can trade CFDs which are leveraged instruments. These offer much greater risk (and potential reward) than directly buying assets.

If trading in CFDs, you will be charged daily financing costs (essentially interest on the leveraged financing that eToro is providing to you) for every trade kept open overnight. You will also be charged an additional spread set by eToro in addition to the market spread.

CFDs are highly risky instruments and the majority of traders lose money when trading CFDs with almost all CFD brokers in the UK. With eToro, 67% of retail investors lose money when trading CFDs with them (it’s an FCA requirement for eToro to disclose this information). 

Hargreaves Lansdown’s platform charges depend on the type of account you open and the type of assets you hold. You cannot open any type of ISA with eToro, whereas Hargreaves Lansdown offers a wide range to choose from. 

Ready-Made Portfolios

Hargreaves Lansdown offers 4 ready-made portfolios based on risk appetite: Adventurous, Moderately Adventurous, Balanced and Cautious.

These have higher fund fees than you would typically get with ready-made portfolios by specialist robo-advisors such as Moneyfarm and &me, as well as InvestEngine

By contrast, eToro provides a range of what it calls Smart Portfolios. These are ready-made portfolios based around specific themes. More on how these work below.

There are no ongoing management or fund charges for holding Smart Portfolios. Instead you will pay market spread on the trades required to build the portfolio you choose.

eToro vs Hargreaves Lansdown: Products & Accounts

With Hargreaves Lansdown you’ll have access to a full set of ISA options, including a Stocks & Shares ISA, LISA and JISA as well as a Cash ISA. In addition, you can open a SIPP and a Junior SIPP. 

Aside from these, you can also open a Fund and Share Account (General Investment Account) which is outside of a tax wrapper. 

On the other hand, eToro offers no tax-efficient products to invest through. It does not offer ISAs or SIPPS at all. You can only open a Trading Account (or a Pro Trading account for experienced traders), so any gains made in this account may be subject to tax.

More recently, eToro launched eToro Money which is its version of a digital banking style service. You can get an eToro Money debit card to spend with and make international payments. 

With an eToro Money Account you can also avoid a lot of the withdrawal and FX conversion charges if you use it to fund your Trading Account.

Aside from account types, with Hargreaves Lansdown you can also purchase Personal Financial Advice if you want a professional to guide you through your investment and financial planning options.

Overall, Hargreaves Lansdown is the winner if you want to invest using your tax-free ISA allowance or tax-efficient pension accounts. However, if you want to be able to trade CFDs and cryptocurrencies then you will prefer eToro’s Trading Account.

Hargreaves Lansdown – Switch Your Money On

ISAs, Pensions, Funds and Shares.

Thousands of stocks, bonds & funds to choose from with the UK’s largest platform for private investors.

ISAs, Pensions, Funds and Shares.
Thousands of stocks, bonds & funds to choose from with the UK’s largest platform for private investors.

eToro vs Hargreaves Lansdown: Investment Options & Services

Fundamentally, eToro caters to traders rather than longer term investors. Unlike Hargreaves Lansdown, it offers trading with leverage via CFDs and the ability to short, or sell, stocks without owning them. 

By contrast, Hargreaves Lansdown is a more traditional investment platform with an extensive range of funds and bonds to invest in, alongside shares. You cannot trade with leverage through Hargreaves Lansdown.

There are, however, thousands of shares, bonds and funds to invest in through Hargreaves Lansdown. Unlike with eToro, you can invest in mutual funds and investment trusts as well as ETFs.

Both Hargreaves Lansdown and eToro offer ready-made funds. Each of Hargreaves Lansdown’s are based on risk appetite: Adventurous, Moderately Adventurous, Balanced and Cautious.

These are actively managed funds which are rebalanced over time by professional fund managers.

On the other hand, eToro’s ready-made funds – called Smart Portfolios – are more innovative. Some are built around specific industries or sectors, while others are designed to copy the investments of well-known investors such as Warren Buffett and Carl Icahn.

In addition, eToro is famous for its CopyTrader service, part of an increasing trend of ‘social trading’ where groups of people often share trade ideas. 

The CopyTrader service allows you to follow and automatically copy the trades of other traders on the eToro platform. This is an interesting feature that I’ve followed for a while now. 

eToro's CopyTrader for eToro vs Hargreaves Lansdown

There are a small number of traders who are relatively consistent in their performance, however some popular traders quickly go into the red after initially posting good gains. I’d suggest you exercise caution if considering using the CopyTrader feature. 

Aside from ready-made portfolios, Hargreaves Lansdown offers its Wealth Shortlist, which is a list of funds picked by Hargreaves Lansdown based on various criteria, which you can choose to invest in. 

In addition, there are also HL Select portfolios which are also managed by Hargreaves Lansdown fund managers. These are actively managed funds. 

As you can see, both platforms offer quite different investment options and services. Which one is right for you will depend on your investment goals and whether you want to invest through an ISA. 

eToro vs Hargreaves Lansdown: Research, Tools and Advice

Hargreaves Lansdown offers a range of tools, research and guides on its website. Beginner and more experienced investors alike will probably find them of some use. 

You can download Hargreaves Lansdown’s free investing guide here:

With Hargreaves Lansdown you can also get personal financial advice from a regulated professional. 

If you have a more complex financial situation, or simply want the advice of a professional, this could be a good option for you. eToro does not offer financial advice.

eToro has its own Academy where it has a wide range of investing and trading guides, covering all of the asset classes you can trade on its platform. 

I’ve been through a lot of the lessons there and they provide a good overview of the basics to prepare you for investing in a range of assets. They are by no means enough on their own to turn a novice trader into a professional, though.

eToro’s platform also has more sophisticated trading tools available, as you would expect from a trading platform.

eToro vs Hargreaves Lansdown: Which Has The Better App?

Both eToro and Hargreaves Lansdown have an app alongside their online platform. I tested both apps against each other for this comparison, although I’ve used both apps for a number of years now.

Both apps allow you to see your investments and portfolios, as well as fund your account. Market news and updates are also regularly provided in-app with each provider.

Here’s a snapshot of each app:

Hargreaves Lansdown app for eToro vs Hargreaves Lansdown
Hargreaves Lansdown’s app

eToro app screen for eToro vs Hargreaves Lansdown
eToro’s app

However, their designs are quite different. eToro is clearly oriented towards more frequent traders. 

You can easily place trades from the eToro app, including limit orders and stop losses.

When browsing assets to invest in, you can see a range of stats and analysis for each asset. This includes a social feed where you can view what other traders are saying about a particular stock or asset:

In addition, you can add a range of chart tools and analyses as you would typically get with CFD brokers. You may be familiar with this sort of chart analysis if you’ve ever traded FX, where you can add indicators such as bollinger bands and moving averages directly onto the price chart:

Which app you prefer will again depend on how you want to invest. For frequent traders, eToro’s app is the winner as it comes with lots of tools and features that you’d expect from a trading app. 

However, there’s a lot of competition among trading apps right now, so you may want to consider alternatives such as Plum and Lightyear which have some innovative features.

For longer term investors, you may prefer Hargreaves Lansdown. It comes with market research and news, alongside the ability to invest in assets directly through the app. However, it lacks the chart tools available with eToro.

Hargreaves Lansdown – Switch Your Money On

ISAs, Pensions, Funds and Shares.

Thousands of stocks, bonds & funds to choose from with the UK’s largest platform for private investors.

ISAs, Pensions, Funds and Shares.
Thousands of stocks, bonds & funds to choose from with the UK’s largest platform for private investors.

eToro vs Hargreaves Lansdown: Is My Money Safe?

Both eToro and Hargreaves Lansdown are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and have Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protection.

This means that if either company were to go bust, your money would be protected up to the value of £85,000 by the regulator.

It should be noted that some of the funds offered by Hargreaves Lansdown are located outside of the UK and therefore may not be covered by FSCS protection. This information is made clear in the Key Investor Information Document available online with both platforms.

Both Hargreaves Lansdown and eToro segregate client money from their own using custodian accounts held with secure 3rd parties. These also fall under FSCS protection.

Hargreaves Lansdown is a well-established investment platform and has decades of experience managing investments and client assets. 

eToro is a newer platform and operates at the higher risk end of the investment market, but its FCA regulation and FSCS protection should give you some peace of mind.

eToro vs Hargreaves Lansdown: Pros & Cons

To summarise my comparison of eToro vs Hargreaves Lansdown, I’ve outlined below what I believe are the main pros and cons of each investment platform.

eToro Pros & Cons

eToro Pros

  • Commission-free when buying stocks and shares
  • No monthly subscription costs or annual fees
  • Wide range of assets to trade, including shares, commodities, FX, ETFs and – unlike Hargreaves Lansdown – cryptocurrencies
  • Trade using leverage with CFDs, but comes with much greater risk
  • Fractional shares – you can invest in high price shares in fractions starting with just $1
  • CopyTrader service allows you to automatically copy the trades of other eToro traders after assessing their historical performance
  • Over 65 Smart Portfolios which allow you to invest in ready made funds based around specific themes, at no extra charge (transaction fees apply)
  • Option to short stocks (otherwise known as short-selling) using CFDs, essentially betting that a stock will go down in price without needing to own the stock. Comes with high risk and should only be considered by more experienced investors
  • Huge range of chart tools and analysis 
  • User friendly app packed with features and in-app analysis
  • eToro Academy provides a good range of investing and trading lessons for less experienced investors
  • FCA regulated and FSCS protection

eToro Cons

  • No ISA products to invest through, so tax charges may apply to any gains made
  • No pension products such as a SIPP, unlike Hargreaves Lansdown
  • Higher minimum investment of $500 for Smart Portfolios
  • Holding a CFD position can become expensive if held for a long time as daily financing charges apply
  • Transactions fees can add up if regularly depositing and withdrawing money
  • Does not offer bonds to invest in, unlike Hargreaves Lansdown
  • For investing in funds, eToro only offers ETFs so you cannot invest in other types of funds such as investment trusts like you can with Hargreaves Lansdown
  • Does not offer regulated financial advice, unlike Hargreaves Lansdown

Hargreaves Lansdown Pros & Cons

Hargreaves Lansdown Pros

  • Huge range of thousands of funds, shares and bonds to invest in
  • Caters to wide range of users with an extensive mix of ready-made, actively managed and passive portfolios
  • Extensive investment research and useful tools, good for experienced investors
  • Offers regulated personal financial advice, good for those seeking guidance with their investments
  • Low minimum investment of £1 when opening a Fund & Share account (GIA)
  • Lower minimum investment of £100 for its ready-made portfolios compared to eToro
  • Foreign exchange services available
  • Active Savings account brings together the best savings rates from a range of providers
  • Log in to your account online and through the app
  • Offers more products than eToro, including a wide range of ISAs for tax-efficient investing
  • Offers pension products, including a SIPP and Junior SIPP
  • FCA regulated and FSCS protection

Hargreaves Lansdown Cons

  • Ready-made portfolios are expensive compared to other providers
  • Does not allow trading with leverage or short-selling
  • Dealing fees of up to £11.95 per transaction make it an expensive platform for frequent traders 
  • Annual platform charges for holding funds, and for holding shares in an ISA
  • Lack of ethical or ESG options beyond funds provided by others

eToro vs Hargreaves Lansdown: Final Verdict

Both eToro* and Hargreaves Lansdown are good choices for more experienced investors, and those who want to pick their own investments. 

However, they cater to different types of investors. 

eToro is best for traders who trade regularly and like to use leverage. It also allows you to trade in higher risk assets such as cryptocurrencies. Neither of these options are available with Hargreaves Lansdown. 

As with other CFD brokers, eToro offers a range of analytical tools you can apply to charts. I prefer trading on fundamentals, with chart analysis only used for timing trades. However, if you’re a technical or chart trader you will be familiar with the tools that eToro provides.

If you do not want to use leverage, then eToro is a low-cost platform for buying and holding shares and is cheaper than Hargreaves Lansdown to do so. 

On the downside, you cannot open an ISA with eToro, as you can with Hargeaves Lansdown, so any investment gains made may be subject to tax.

Hargreaves Lansdown is more suited for longer term investors who want to use tax-efficient ISA products to hold their investments.

You can also invest in bonds and investment trusts with Hargreaves Lansdown, which you cannot do with eToro. 

For the lowest-cost method of investing in ETFs, though, you should consider InvestEngine.

Hargreaves Lansdown – Switch Your Money On

ISAs, Pensions, Funds and Shares.

Thousands of stocks, bonds & funds to choose from with the UK’s largest platform for private investors.

ISAs, Pensions, Funds and Shares.
Thousands of stocks, bonds & funds to choose from with the UK’s largest platform for private investors.

*CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Cryptocurrencies markets are high risk. Don’t invest unless you’re prepared to lose all the money you invest. This is a high-risk investment, and you should not expect to be protected if something goes wrong. Take 2 minutes to learn more.

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