Best Forex Brokers in South Africa
What to Look For in a Forex Broker
A forex (foreign exchange) broker is a business that provides a platform for you as an investor to buy and sell currency.
Some forex brokers have a proprietary platform where you can make trades, while others use popular third-party platforms such as MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5.
You need to choose a broker you can trust, as they will be handling your money. You want to know that your deposits and balances are safe and that you can simply and easily access your money.
The broker needs to provide an easy-to-use interface suitable for the trading you want to carry out, including tools and research that you can use to make decisions about which trades to place.
Whether you are a complete beginner or a professional trader, you will want a broker that offers a demo account where you can try new strategies without risking actual capital.
You’ll also want a good selection of educational tools, especially helpful if you are new to trading.
Forex brokers make their money by charging a commission on each trade, or through a higher spread cost.
There are sometimes account management charges (usually monthly), deposit or withdrawal fees, and some brokers charge an inactivity fee if you do not place a trade within a certain time frame.
How Can I Pick a Good Broker?
The regulation of forex brokers is done on a territory basis. There are several tiers of regulatory bodies that provide the industry standard of provision – in general, regulators like ASIC and FCA are the top tier and most trustworthy.
For South African forex traders, the regulatory body is the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), and a broker regulated by this body will often be based in South Africa.
There are costs involved with making trades on a forex platform, and some brokers are more transparent than others when it comes to providing details about the total cost.
Look at whether they charge a commission per trade, or if they make money through an inflated spread cost.
Find out if it will cost you anything to use the broker services too, such as paying to deposit your funds or being charged for a withdrawal. If you want to deposit ZAR, you might have to pay currency conversion fees.
Brokers usually offer access to third-party trading platforms, and MetaTrader 4 and 5 (MT4/5) are popular options used around the world. Both MT4 and 5 are available for mobile, with apps available on iOS and Android devices.
Some brokers have created their own trading platforms designed to be used with their tools and that suit their strategies – these are usually based on the broker’s interface and design, and tend to be available as a web platform, desktop download and mobile app.
The reputation of a broker is important – not only in terms of customer reviews but also in how well they have managed other people’s money in the past.
There are several ways you can ensure the reputation of the broker you are considering, over and above the regulatory bodies they are affiliated with, including:
Length of time they have been in operation – Generally, the longer they have been providing financial services, the safer they should be
Whether they are publicly traded on an exchange – Brokers (or their parent company) that are traded on a stock market must disclose financial information
Segregation of funds – Brokers should keep the funds that belong to investors in a separate account to ensure their safety even if the company is having liquidity issues
Reviews – Look for genuine consumer reviews to see how well the broker performs. Bear in mind that trading can be risky so customers may have lost money due to poor trading decisions, rather than the broker’s actions.
Whether you are a seasoned investor or brand new to trading, chances are you might need to contact the broker’s customer service team to get a question answered or find help for a technical issue.
Good customer service is as much about reliability and a prompt response as it is about accurate answers, so look out for the hours of operation and how you can get in contact.
As a rule, email tends to be the slowest method, and many brokers have a live chat service that offers a more immediate response.
If you are looking for phone service, then choose a broker with customer service numbers for South Africa, especially if there is a language barrier.
Most broker customer service teams tend to operate on normal trading days, but some are available 24/5 or even 24/7.
Prompt Withdrawal Processing
If you want to get your profits into your bank account or back onto your credit card, then you need to know what to expect from the broker.
Some brokers charge a token fee for withdrawals, while others are free to some destinations (local bank account, for example).
Remember, in most cases, withdrawals can only be made to accounts in your name.
The usual withdrawal time for forex brokers in South Africa is one to three business days, so be prepared for a wait.
Education and Research Materials Available
Research tools are useful when trading. Most brokers offer a range of different information sources that you can use to decide what trades to make.
These can include charting, trading ideas, analysis and even social or copy trading.
In terms of education, a good broker will offer demo accounts.
This type of account allows you to make trades and practice strategies with ‘fake’ money, so you are not risking your capital.
Demo accounts are also a great way to get used to the broker’s platform on your preferred device, so you understand the interface.
Most brokers offer educational materials like articles, how-to videos, tutorials and webinars.
However, some are better than others at introducing the world of forex trading to the complete beginner, whereas others offer more advanced learning for the experienced trader.
Trading Style Compatibility
Look at whether the broker allows you to trade in the way you prefer. Not all brokers are compatible with every trading style.
If you want to use the services of an expert advisor or some form of copy trading, make sure the broker you choose has the facility for that.
Can You Deposit in ZAR?
The base currency of the broker is an important factor, mostly in terms of cost but also for convenience.
Many brokers have several base currencies, but they tend to be the major international currencies like the US dollar, euro and GBP. The problem for traders in South Africa is that you might have to pay a currency conversion charge for your deposit if it is not in the same currency that the broker uses.
This does not have to be a deal-breaker though, as there are many multi-currency bank accounts and cards that you can use to minimize these costs by transferring the balances between different currencies before you make the deposit.
12 Best Forex Brokers in South Africa
eToro is known for social and copy trading and is a great broker for those who want to get into trading by copying the moves of professional traders. Launched in 2007 and based in Israel, eToro is regulated by CySEC, ASIC and FCA, so it is subject to top-tier scrutiny, making it comparatively safe.
Trading costs are built into the spread so there is no commission to pay on a lot. There are no account fees, but there is an inactivity fee of $10 per month after 12 months. Deposits are free, and withdrawals cost $5 each. The only base currency available is USD, so currency conversion costs might apply if you need to deposit ZAR. Withdrawals take about two business days.
eToro uses only proprietary platforms (CopyTrader and CopyPortfolio), so there is no access to MT4/5 or other third-party platforms. However, there is a great mobile app as well as a web-based trading platform where you can trade 47 forex pairs and a wide range of CFDs, ETFs, stocks and cryptocurrencies.
Customer service is a bit lacking in terms of coverage, as it is only available on weekdays through live chat or an email ticketing system.
The education on eToro includes video tutorials and webinars, with a demo account. Research is mostly about social trading and market sentiment, but there are charting tools and analysis available.
Pepperstone is an Australian-based forex broker established in 2010. It is well-respected and well-regulated by ASIC, FCA, DFSA, CySEC and CMA.
The trading fees for Pepperstone are built into the spread, and if you qualify for an Active Trader account, you can get a rebate on part of each spread when you buy.
There are nine base currencies available on Pepperstone, but ZAR is not one of them so be aware of the currency conversion fees that might apply to deposits and withdrawals, although there are no account fees. Withdrawals are completed the same day.
Pepperstone has a proprietary platform (cTrader) and provides access to MT4 and MT5 as well, where you can trade 61 forex pairs and more than 100 CFDs including cryptocurrency CFDs on either web, desktop or mobile.
Pepperstone has award-winning customer service available through phone, email and live chat 24/7.
Traders can take advantage of both third-party and in-house research, alongside a news feed and social sentiment. The education provided is via trading guides organized by experience level and comes in the form of articles and YouTube videos. A demo account is also available.
Capital.com is a new forex broker in comparison to the others on this list, established in 2016 with offices in London, Cyprus and Belarus. It is well regulated through FCA, CySEC and NBRB which makes it relatively safe.
There are no account, withdrawal, deposit or inactivity fees. Trading costs are built into the spread; spreads are from 0.6 pips to 2pips depending on currency pairs traded. Withdrawals take about one business day. ZAR is not a base currency, so there may be conversion charges on deposits and withdrawals.
Users can trade 142 forex pairs, CFDs and cryptocurrencies on either MetaTrader 4 or the proprietary platform on web, desktop and mobile. The proprietary platform is easier to navigate and use on mobile.
Customer service is available 24/7 through live chat, email and phone.
The research available is basic charting, a news feed, fundamental data, trading ideas and trading statistics.
Educational articles are grouped by asset, and there are also how-to videos and a demo account.
75.26% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
XTB is a well-established broker that is well-regulated and respected.
The proprietary trading platform (xStation) is powerful and fast, and users can trade 49 forex pairs as well as CFDs and cryptocurrencies with xStation or MetaTrader 4. It is available on web, desktop and mobile.
Founded in 2002 with headquarters in London and Warsaw, XTB is regulated by FCA, CySEC, KNF, CNMV and IFSC.
Standard account trading fees are built into the spread so there is no commission, and Pro accounts charge a commission of $4 per lot.
There are no account or deposit fees to pay, but ZAR is not a base currency – traders can choose between USD, EUR, GBP, HUF or PLN.
In the Standard account, there is no commission, and the trading costs are built into the spread.
In the Pro account, spreads are much tighter but there is a $4 commission per lot.
There are no account or deposit fees, but ZAR is not a base currency so consider currency conversion costs. Withdrawals for amounts over $100 are free and usually take one business day.
The customer service team can be contacted via live chat, email and phone, and is available 24/5.
Research on XTB includes trading ideas, news flow, charting, market sentiment and a heatmap, as well as limited fundamental data.
The education on XTB is excellent, with high-quality ebooks, educational articles and a Trading Academy organized by user ability. There is also a demo account available.
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 74% 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.
Founded in 2019, SwitchMarkets.com styles itself as 'the place traders come to trade', and with an enormous range of trading instruments available through MetaTrader 4 and a proprietary platform, SwitchMarkets.com has a lot to offer.
The parent company of SwitchMarkets.com (Royal ETP) is regulated by ASIC and CySEC as well as some other lower-tier jurisdictions, while client funds are segregated in Tier 1 banks – which makes it more secure.
With SwitchMarkets.com you can trade:
- 62 Forex pairs
- 8 metals
- 21 indices
- 86 share CFDs
- 4 cryptocurrencies
There are just two account types available, which makes getting started a breeze – you can decide to go for a Standard account that offers zero commission and spreads as low as 0.6 pips, or a Pro account which has spreads from 0.0 pips and a $7 per lot round turn commission instead. Each account has a minimum deposit of just $50.
For international traders, and those that want flexibility in both deposits and withdrawals, there are multiple options – from the usual credit and debit card to PayPal and eWallets like Neteller and Skrill, for example. Deposits and withdrawals are simple, fast and free.
The education available on the platform is also simple – several ‘cheat sheets’ covering all you need to know about trading, from terms to strategy, all in downloadable PDF formats and all for free.
There are several tools available on the platform to improve your trading strategy, including a Market Heat Map, lot size and Forex profit calculators, and even EA tools.
As a relatively new broker, traders will find many offers to entice them to sign up – from a free VPS to a credit bonus.
This broker is not available in the US or Japan but offers several options for international traders without hidden costs.
Risk warning: Trading OTC derivatives is risky; please read our PDS and disclaimer before trading with us. We encourage you to seek your own independent advice and to consider your own financial situation, needs and objectives prior to making any decisions.
This Irish broker is well regulated. It offers a reasonable range of trading instruments as well as forex pairs, and a proprietary mobile platform. Established in 2006, AvaTrade is based in Ireland and is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, ASIC, FSCA and FSA, among others.
There are no account, deposit or withdrawal fees, although there is a $50 fee for three months of inactivity, increasing to $100 after 12 more months. There is no commission charged, so trading fees are built into the spread, from about 0.6pips to 2pips total, depending on the account and currency pairing. Withdrawals can take up to three business days.
Currency conversion costs might apply as the base currencies are USD, EUR, GBP, CHF and AUD, not ZAR.
Through MT4 and 5, users can trade 55 forex pairs, CFDs and cryptocurrencies on the web and mobile, and AvaTradeGO is the proprietary platform that is designed for mobile trading.
AvaTrade offers trading tools, fundamental data, a news feed and charting as well as social trading through DupliTrade, ZuluTrade and AvaSocial.
Education options are videos and webinars, with a platform tutorial and demo accounts available.
Exness has been trading since 2008 and is headquartered in Cyprus. It is regulated by the FSCA, FCA and CySEC, and has perhaps the largest number of base currencies available from any broker, including ZAR.
Standard accounts charge no commission, but there is a higher spread cost to cover trading fees. Raw and Zero accounts charge a commission of $7 per lot.
There are no account, withdrawal, deposit or inactivity fees, and withdrawals are instant to local bank accounts and cards.
Using the MT4 or MT5 platform, users can trade more than 100 forex pairs and a limited number of CFDs, using Web Trader, a desktop download and a mobile app available on iOS and Android devices.
Research in the form of market news and trading insights can help traders make decisions on their next move.
The Exness Academy offers a full-scale learning experience built to guide beginners, and a demo account is created alongside your standard account.
Blackstone Futures is the only broker on this list that is based in South Africa. It has been trading since 2009 with regulation from FSCA, ASIC and SCB, so it is considered safe.
There is no commission on trades, and trading costs are built into the spread. There are no account fees and no charges for deposits or withdrawals. The base currencies available are USD and ZAR, so no currency conversion fees to worry about. Withdrawals can take up to two business days.
Trading on MT4 and CloudTrade (the proprietary platform) is available on web, desktop and mobile, and users can trade 32 forex pairs, cryptocurrencies, futures, indices, commodities and stocks.
Customer service is available via live chat, phone and email during normal working hours.
On the Blackstone Futures site and trading platform, there is limited research available. Tools include market sentiment and an economic calendar, but more are available if you choose to trade on the MT4 platform.
An introductory course on trading is available alongside detailed articles about trading tools, and there is a demo account available.
9. IC Markets
IC Markets is an Australian-based broker regulated by ASIC as well as CySEC and the FCA. Trading since 2007, it offers access to MT4/5 and cTrader to trade 61 forex pairs as well as CFDs and cryptocurrencies.
Standard accounts charge no commission, so the trading fees are built into the spread. A true electronic communications network (ECN) account charges $6 per lot in commission on cTrader and $7 per lot on MetaTrader. There are no account fees or charges for deposits, but ZAR is not a base currency so bear in mind currency conversion costs when depositing and withdrawing. Withdrawals cost A$20 and take two business days.
The IC Markets platform can be accessed on web, desktop and mobile.
The research is a bit limited, just trading ideas, news flow and charting. The educational resources are better, with videos, articles and tutorials as well as a demo account.
RoboForex specializes in automated trading, AI and expert advice, and was launched in 2009 with headquarters in Cyprus. It is regulated by CySEC and IFSC, offering access to MT4, MT5, cTrader and RTrader (proprietary platform) to trade 40 currency pairs and some CFDs on web, desktop and mobile.
The base currencies at RoboForex include USD, EUR, RUB, CNY, GOLD and BTC (Bitcoin). Standard accounts do not charge commission, so the trading costs are built into the spread. ECN accounts charge commission at 0.02%, making smaller trades cheaper than larger ones in terms of fees. There are no account or deposit fees, and withdrawals are also free and can be as quick as the same day if using a debit card.
Customer service at RoboForex is available 24/7 via live chat, phone and email.
In-house research includes market and technical analysis as well as a strategy builder, and there are numerous social trades that you can copy.
Video tutorials geared at beginners are free to access, but users need to sign up with a valid email address first.
11. FP Markets
FP Markets is another Australian forex broker, established in 2005 and regulated by both ASIC and CySEC.
There are no account, deposit or inactivity fees, and the trading costs are built into the spread for Standard accounts. ECN accounts charge a commission of $3 per lot.
The base currencies are EUR, CAD, NZD, GBP, SGD, CHF, USD, HKD, AUD and JPY, so ZAR deposits and withdrawals might be subject to currency conversion costs. If you are withdrawing to an international bank account (ZAR-based, for example), there is a A$10 fee per transaction.
With FP Markets, users can trade on either MetaTrader 4 or 5 and have access to 61 forex pairs as well as CFDs, cryptocurrencies and Australian stocks. Both MT4 and 5 are available on web, desktop and mobile.
Customer service is available on live chat, phone and email 24/7.
The research comes from Autochartist, and trading ideas, technical analysis and charting are all available to every account type. Traders who deposit $1,000, or equivalent in another currency, can access the Trader Toolbox with several other research tools and strategies.
In terms of education, there is a demo account as well as good ebooks and access to webinars.
12. CM Trading
CM Trading is one of the newer forex brokers on this list, and they are based in Africa. Regulated by the FSA and the FSCA, the base currency of the platform is EUR and USD.
There are no account, deposit or withdrawal fees. ECN accounts charge a commission that starts at $10 per lot, but the trading fees of other accounts are built into the spread. The minimum withdrawal is $20, and it takes up to two business days.
With CM Trading, users can trade 28 forex pairs and limited CFDs through MT4, Sirix and Copykat, CM Trading’s proprietary platform based on social trading. These can all be accessed either on the web or mobile devices.
Customer support is available 24/7 and each trader gets their personal account manager.
Technical analysis, an economic calendar and copy trading are available through Copykat, as well as Guardian Angel, a program that sends trading signals, stop-loss calculators and volatility indicators.
Education is provided through a series of training videos, webinars, ebooks and blogs, and there is personalized one-to-one help available from the dedicated account manager who can advise you before you make a trade.
The brokers mentioned in this list are not the only ones available to traders in South Africa, but they are a good place to start.
Trading can be financially risky, so being confident in your broker will help you make the best decisions on the forex market.
Good luck with your future trading.
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