South Africa is a hub for forex trading with local regulation by the Financial Services Conduct Authority. To determine the best FSCA South African forex broker, the team compared fees, platforms and the features that impact fx trading the most.
Here are the May 2021 best forex brokers in South Africa by fx trading category
Established in 2008, Markets.com is an FSCA regulated dealing desk broker. Markets.com offers clients commission-free trading for CFDs such as forex, commodities and indices on the Marketsx accounts and share dealing with low commissions on its Marketsi account. One of the key features that differentiate Markets.com from their competitors is the range of trading tools on their Marketsx and Marketsi trading platforms.
Some of the key features of Markets.com include:
The Marketsx account is a standard account, meaning there are no commission charges as the trading fees are included in the spreads. With this account you can access all CFDs Markets.com offers including:
Using this account gives you access to Markets.com proprietary trading multi-asset trading platform ‘Marketsx. Using this platform means you will get access to Marketsx comprehensive range of powerful fundamental, technical, and sentiment-based trading tools when trading CFDs.
In addition to the default Marketsx trading platform, you will also have the option to trade using the MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms. Using MetaTrader trading platforms offers several key benefits:
While Marketsx does allow share trading. Marketsi is built to help you get the most out of your share trading. Marketsi account means you will get access to the Marketsi share dealing platform contains helpful tools such as innovative Investment Strategy Builder to help you make the right trading choices. 7000 stocks on 19 global exchanges on this high-tech platform for small commission fees starting from:
Markets.com charges zero commission for the first three months when you sign up.
Markets.com offers some of the best and innovative CFD trading tools available. With a strong range of market sentiment, technical, and fundamental tools built into the markets and market trading platform, Markets.com can offer a distinct point of difference to their competitors.
Sentiment tools measure market sentiment to provide you with an overall indication of how traders feel about a particular asset. Sentiment tools include:
Technical tools help you to make trading decisions with post-market data and mathematical models.
Fundamental tools explore the macro-economic and micro-economic factors that are likely to affect your trading decisions.
If you prefer to share deal, then Marketsi offers a useful feature called the Investment Strategy Builder that is designed to assist you in managing your stock portfolio with data and algorithms. This quantitative investment tool allows you to build your own trading system based on index, sector, market capitalization, and average daily volume. Hedge funds and other financial investment corporations utilize this kind of technology for their own operations, meaning this tool can help you develop a professional standard investment portfolio.
Markets.com also provides a Knowledge Centre to help with your trading education and research, which includes:
Markets.com only offers standard (spread-only) accounts. Spread are slightly higher in comparison to other STP / ECN brokers however there is no commission cost, so this should be kept in mind. The table below summarises the minimum spreads on the most popular of the 57 minor, minor, and exotic currency pairs available through Markets.com.
Execution statistics provided by Markets.com showed that in 2019 an impressive 71.25% of all order has no slippage, 14.96% received positive slippage, and 13.79% received negative slippage. The transparency of these statistics awarded Markets.com as Europe’s most transparent broker for 2019.
Markets.com is a suitable broker for traders in South Africa. Although they perform well across the board, the provision of CFD trading tools including sentiment, technical, and fundamental analysis is second to none. These tools provide you with greater insight, better decision-making, and more opportunities.
View Markets.com Review >>Visit Markets.com
The overall rating is based on review by our experts
The fastest growing broker worldwide is Pepperstone based on their:
Pepperstone is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, as well as in Kenya (CMA), Germany (BaFin), Europe (CySEC), Dubai (DFSA) and the Bahamas (SCB). Below are the five key reasons why Pepperstone is recommended for those considering the MT4, which is the most used forex trading platform worldwide.
Pepperstone has a razor online trading account offering spreads similar to a true ECN broker with EUR/USD spreads from 0.0 pips. Below compared 2021 average spreads of leading brokers offering ECN broker spreads with Pepperstone having the lowest across major currency pairs. These major currency pair spreads include 0.13 for the EURO/US Dollar, 0.14 for the Australian Dollar / US Dollar, 0.22 for the Euro/Japanese Yen, 0.41 for the Euro/British Pound, 0.44 for the Pound/US Dollar.
Data taken from broker website. Accurate as at 07/05/2021
You can compare view more MetaTrader 4 Pepperstone spreads on our full comparison page.
Compare MT4 Spreads >>
Pepperstone offers two main account types, standard and razor. The Razor online trading account is the most popular. The razor account also charges a commission of $3.50 AUD per lot when the Australian Dollar online trading account currency is chosen. There are other rates as shown below with options from the British Pound (GBP), US Dollar (USD) or Euro (EUR) base currency are chosen. It should be noted that like most global CFD brokers, there is no ZAR account option.
There are also further commission discounts (rebates) available for active traders with three tires:
The result of low spread and commissions is the overall lowest costs as shown by the live calculator below.
Pepperstone offer over 60 currency pairs from the majors such as EUR/USD to minors, including ZAR/USD. Up to 500:1 leverage is offered on the forex market and the Pepperstone EDGE environment ensures fast execution speeds. In addition to currency pairs, there is the ability of trading CFDs including:
Pepperstone has one of the lowest minimum deposit requirements of AUD $200. The fx broker also offers fee-free funding methods from Debit Card, Credit Card, Direct Transfer, Paypal to Skrill.
Over the past decades, Pepperstone has won multiple awards for its customer service. This includes the Investment Trends customer support award, Professional Traders client relationship manager service award and the Global Forex best forex trading support award. The CFD provider offers South African traders with a 24/5 live chat, contact centre (phone) and e-mail customer support. Active traders also are provided with an account manager to tailor the support given for their needs. Read more…
Pepperstone’s low brokerage (spreads/fees), choice of forex trading platform and support are the three pillars making them the best broker. With a strong reputation worldwide and top-tier regulation, they are the ideal choice for South African forex traders.
View Pepperstone Review >>Visit Pepperstone >>
Compare Forex Brokers’ top pick for high leverage trading is ForexTime (FXTM). Founded in 2011, FXTM has the know-how expertise to offer South African traders top-notch technological solutions. Additionally, forex traders can benefit trading on the upgraded MetaTrader 5 (MT5) with an online broker that holds trading licenses from the world’s top regulatory agencies, including:
Below our team of industry experts will highlight all FXTM MetaTrader 5 features including functionality, range of markets, total costs and the trade execution speed.
ForexTime offers South African FX traders the choice to use MetaTrader 4 or MetaTrader 5 across three different account types. The diverse selection of trading accounts allows FX traders to opt for an account that suits his trading requirements. Without further ado, SA traders can open three trading accounts as follows:
Note* FXTM offers the ECN technology across all of its MT5 account offerings.
On the downside, we should note that the Swap-free trading account is not available through the MT5 platform. You can download the MetaTrader 5 for desktop and Mac versions as well as mobile trading (iPhone and Android). Additionally, there is a browser-based trading platform FXTM MT5 WebTrader, which is supported across 6 different browsers.
ForexTime offerings of financial instruments are extremely low when compared to other forex trading platforms. The range of currency pairs (major, minor and exotic) and asset classes offered by FXTM is on the low side. Currency trading can be done on 33 currency pairs and additionally, there are two CFD spot metals (XAUUSD and XAGUSD).
However, on the plus side, South African Forex traders can magnify their returns by having access to whopping maximum leverage of 1,000:1.
ForexTime can offer through its proprietary price engine technology fast execution speeds of 52 milliseconds (according to data compiled in April 2019). FXTM can also access a deep network of liquidity providers that ensures you will benefit from tight spreads. Additionally, the MetaTrader 5 platform can boost the following performances:
South African residents can explore all MetaTrader 5 features and performances in a risk-free environment by opting for opening a demo account. You can access the forex market and practice your trading skills under live market conditions.
View FXTM Review >>Visit FXTM>>
FxPro headquarters are in the UK and have offices across the world offering no dealing desk allowing fast execution speeds and low brokerage for automated trading. This FSB (FSCA) regulated broker offers MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 and the cTrader forex trading platforms.
After evaluating all the features that come with a FxPro live account, we concluded that the best cTrader forex broker is the London-based FX broker FxPro. Below, our team of industry experts will try to outline all the aspects of FxPro’s software solution.
The FxPro cTrader platform is equipped with full depth of market DOM. This feature lets forex traders visualize the best bid and ask prices coupled with the total amount of available liquidity. Compared to other trading platforms, cTrader offers 3 convenient ways to display the data inside the DOM:
Note* FxPro’s order execution engine on the cTrader platform only uses the volume-weighted average price (VWAP) to execute orders.
The FxPro cTrader trading platform can boost ultra-fast order execution speeds of:
While FxPro is not a true ECN forex broker, it runs a No Dealing Desk execution model (NDD). FxPro’s NDD model gives South African traders the chance to execute their orders without any human intervention. The no dealing desk forex brokers have the advantage of offering direct market access and a transparent way to trade. Our team of industry experts has assessed FxPro’s order execution policy and found the following advantages:
South African traders will have restricted access to the available financial markets. The range of markets available on the cTrader platform includes 4 asset classes:
Compared to other South African forex brokers, FxPro has a poor selection of financial instruments. The cTrader platform can only give traders access to a total of 104 instruments. However, trading CFDs on shares and futures can be accessed via the FxPro MetaTrader 4 terminal.
The award-winning cTrader trading platform offered by FxPro can be downloaded as a Desktop or MAC application. Additionally, SA traders can have direct access to the cTrader account directly from your browser via the cTrader Web Platform. On-the-go trading is also available via mobile trading (iOS and Android). If you’re a high volume trader, the FxPro cTrader platform can be a good fit for your needs.
View FxPro Review >>Visit FxPro >>
Compare Forex Broker’s top pick for the best South African CFD provider is Plus500. Plus500 is a leading CFD provider that offers a 2000+ range of financial instruments. Below, our team of experts list some of the essential features that make Plus500 so great:
Note* On the negative side, Plus500 doesn’t offer its clients access to a desktop trading platform. Plus500 offers a WebTrader platform and mobile trading via CFD trading apps (iOS and Android).
The Plus500 trading platform offers access to the most traded markets in the world, including shares, indices, Forex, commodities, options, ETFs and cryptocurrencies. Compared to other forex brokers, Plus500 has a wide range of asset classes, but IG Markets and CMC Markets can offer their clients more markets and subsequently more trading opportunities.
Due to the zero-commission policy, Plus500 is not able to offer low spreads. For example, the EUR/USD spread offered by Plus500 is 0.6 pips and the USD/ZAR spread is 85 pips.
Our team of industry experts conducted a deep review of South African forex brokers and their spread offering on the most traded currency pairs and the ZAR crosses. See the table below.
Plus500 holds an Authorized Financial Service provider licence with the Financial Services Board of South Africa. The global CFD Provider is suitable for all investors with strengths in customer service and easy-to-use Forex trading platform and a range of markets from Shares, Indices, Cryptocurrencies and Forex with an assortment of currency pairs.
View Plus500 Review >>Visit Plus500 >>
*Your capital is at risk ‘76.4% of retail CFD accounts lose money’
HotForex is the best broker for those looking for a deposit bonus with:
HotForex offers the best bonuses for South African traders. There are three offers in 2021 including the super charged bonus which is available for the Premium and Islamic account only. HotForex will match the account deposit to a maximum determined amount.
South African traders that prefer forex trading via trading accounts that are denominated in ZAR have a plethora of options to satisfy their needs if they opt for opening a live trading account with HotForex. No matter of the trading strategy used and level of risk with HotForex, clients can open a maximum of 5 live accounts and additional 3 demo accounts.
In the table below, our team of experts assessed the main features that come with each different account type.
Note* HotForex Zero Spread Account type comes with raw spreads and 0 markups, but it charges the following commission structure:
HotForex offers a wide range of deposit and withdrawal methods catering to the needs of a wide base of clients. The minimum deposit to fund the most basic HotForex account is $50 or equivalent in South African Rand. Opening a live trading account with HotForex is simple and straightforward. Check out below the available payment methods via HotForex:
Note* the only negative point scored by HF Markets is that it doesn’t support PayPal the world’s largest online payment portal.
South African residents can speculate on the exchange rates with a maximum leverage of 2000:1 on a total of 49 currency pairs, including:
Compared to other forex brokers, only Pepperstone, IC Markets and FxPro can boost decent forex leverage of 500:1. For a full comparison of the leverage offerings among South African forex brokers, please study the table below.
Like all the best forex brokers operating in South Africa, HotForex abides by the standards imposed by the FSCA and other tier-one financial institutions (CySEC, FCA, DFSA and FSA). Client funds are secured and held in segregated accounts. With HF Markets enforces the negative balance protection policy, which means that SA traders can’t lose more than their account balance. HotForex offers free account funding with zero deposit fees and fast transaction times.
Open a demo account >>Visit HotForex >>
Based on our proprietary star scoring system, FXCM is the best forex broker offering no commission on FX trading. South African residents can enjoy trading on the foreign exchange market with a proprietary trading platform, spreads as low as 1.2 pips on EUR/USD and 57.6 pips on USD/ZAR and leverage as high as 400:1 (and 200:1 for CFD trading). The average spreads are calculated from April 1, 2019 – April 31, 2019.
Note* The default forex leverage is 400:1 but for deposits over $20,000 the leverage will be limited to 100:1.
Another aspect that makes FXCM offerings of financial services so attractive is their exclusive bonuses and promotions. Currently, SA traders can enjoy the following bonuses for forex trading:
Note: SA traders need to make a minimum deposit of $50 (or Rand 749) to be eligible for FXCM’s bonuses and promotions.
In terms of forex trading platform options, FXCM offers three featured trading platforms:
Note: Additionally, to the main trading platforms, FXCM offers third-party platforms that can be fully blended with FXCM’s financial services. There are a total of 7 third-party trading platforms, including QuantConnect, MotiveWave, AgenaTrader, Sierra Chart, SeerTrading, NeuroShell Trader and StrategyQuant.
Each of FXCM’s trading platforms has unique trading features and providing market access for all types of traders. Regardless of your preferred trading platform, FXCM can boost the following advantages*:
As per the July 2020 Slippage Statistic Report
Overall, FXCM has the best no commission forex trading accounts dedicated to South African traders. Pepperstone came in second place in the same category. One thing to mention is that the FXCM trading accounts offer variable spreads plus mark-up pricing. The zero-commission trading feature couple with a solid range of trading platforms and enhanced execution speed makes FXCM the best forex broker with no commission.
Compare Forex Brokers noted that FXCM lack diversity when it comes to the currency pairs for trading. In total, FXCM offers only 39 forex currency pairs (major, minor and exotic pairs). Some traders may consider this a negative.
*FXCM receives compensation for their spread only products by adding a mark-up to the spreads that have been provided from liquidity providers and in some circumstances, adding a mark-up to rollover etc. Commissions will be applied to Active Trader account types.
View FXCM Review >>Visit FXCM >>
Compare Forex Broker’s top pick for the best CFD broker with the lowest spreads is international broker AvaTrade. Regulated across five continents, including on the African continent by the local watchdog FSCA, AvaTrade gives SA traders access to over 784 financial instruments, including:
It’s important to note that AvaTrade offers different levels of leverage conditions as follows:
AvaTrade has access to a deep pool of liquidity providers which promises CFD trading with competitive spreads. AvaTrade ZA also has numerous trading platforms, including the iconic MT4 and MT5 platforms, a browser-based trading platform and proprietary trading platforms, AvaTradeGO and AvaOptions. Across all trading platforms, AvaTrade offers fixed spreads.
AvaTrade offers competitive fixed spreads across its range of financial instruments. Unlike variable spreads, fixed spreads remain constant and aren’t impacted by the changes in the market conditions. However, it’s important to note that AvaTrade fix spreads are over the market. This means that the spread will fluctuate as per the market price, and they stop moving, once the position is open.
Below you can overview the fix spreads offered by AvaTrade under normal trading conditions on some of the most traded currency pairs:
Additionally, AvaTrade may offer spreads as a percentage of the position for some CFD instruments as follows:
Like Plus500, AvaTrade is a global Forex broker that also has a SA subsidiary (Ava Capital Markets Pty) meaning it is regulated by the South African Financial Services Board. They have over 200,000 Forex traders using the fx broker and have won the ‘best customer service award’ in past years. They offer a web trader, MT4, MT5 or the proprietary platform AvaTrade Go as a mobile trading app.
Visit AvaTrade >>
ThinkMarkets has ranked as the best forex broker with no minimum deposit requirements that offer FX and CFD trading. This South African-based forex broker has only recently opened up (May 2019) its business in the African continent. The legal entity under which ThinkMarkets offers its financial services to South African traders is TF Global Markets (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd. ThinkMarkets is regulated by the local financial watchdog Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) and is an Authorized Financial Services provider with FSP No 49835.
Offering financial services to forex traders in South Africa has become extremely competitive for the brokerage trading firms. However, ThinkMarkets has managed in a relatively short period of time to make a name for oneself.
Below, our team of experts will outline the main factors that weighted the most into our proprietary scoring system.
ThinkMarkets offer a variety of trading account types suitable for all types of traders. Setting up an account with this FSCA regulated FX broker requires no initial deposits (exception is the ThinkZero account). The types of forex accounts offered by ThinkMarkets are listed below:
See below a quick comparison between the two most popular ThinkMarkets accounts:
Note* The maximum leverage offered by ThinkMarkets is 500:1 if you qualify as a professional trader. Retail traders can only get maximum leverage of 30:1.
South African traders can safely deposit money with ThinkMarkets. The additional $1 million client fund insurance offered by ThinkMarkets aims to safeguard your fund in an unlikely event of insolvency. Forex insurance coverage has the following advantages:
Additionally, ThinkMarkets offer several payment options for deposits and withdrawals, including:
Note* ThinkMarkets clients can manage the deposits and withdrawals through the secure client area ThinkPortal. SA traders can fund their account using the most popular currencies (ZAR, USD, EUR, CHF, GBP, JPY, AUD and more).
Overall, ThinkMarkets is among the best South African Forex brokers due to their no minimum deposit requirements, a wide range of payment methods, and fund protection. Following our extensive review process, we concluded that it’s safe to trade with ThinkMarkets.
View Trader’s Way >>Visit Trader’s Way >>
IG.com ranks as the lowest spread forex broker in South Africa for the standard account. Established in the UK in 1974, IG is the world’s biggest CFD provider. IG Markets South Africa Limited is part of IG Group Holdings Plc and regulated by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) FSP No. 41393. We assessed all aspects of IG trading spreads along with evaluating all its trading features and found the following advantages:
Discover below the CFD spreads charged by IG South Africa.
At IG, the average standard spreads are considered to be the lowest among all forex brokers operating in South Africa. IG pricing technology streams its quotes from a wide pool of liquidity providers, which reduces the spreads charged to SA traders. IG’s average trade spreads can go as low as:
Note* IG charges the spreads across all its markets with the exception of share trading which is commission-based (USD 25 on the US share trading).
The typical average standard spreads for the most traded currency pairs can be studied below:
Additionally, the IG’s order management software comes with the following advantages:
Our FX expertise revealed that IG has the lowest forex trading standard spreads among South African FX brokers. IG forex spreads oscillate in accordance with the market liquidity while CFD spreads remain unchanged excluding stock spreads. South African residents can open a live trading account with IG with a minimum deposit of Rand 4,000.
View IG Markets Review >>Visit IG Markets >>
Used by millions of traders worldwide, eToro is the world’s largest social trading broker that is favoured among South African residents due to its copy trading feature. Our team of experts assessed all social trading networks, but eToro came at the top of our proprietary scoring system due to the following reasons:
Note* the minimum deposit required to invest in CopyPortfolio is higher. SA traders need to put down $5,000 to access eToro’s premium products.
Based on the data compiled since inception and ended in April 2018, eToro generates 73% success rate on over 124 million copied trades. In other words, 73% of the 124 million trades copied on the social trading platform closed in profit. The most popular social trading markets available on eToro include Forex, stock, indices, commodities, ETFs and cryptocurrencies.
eToro Popular Investor program is dedicated towards the skilled traders that have a profitable trading strategy and want to earn an additional income. If you become a Popular Investor on eToro copy trading platforms, you can earn up to 2% in annual fees.
For example, if the total funds under management (funds that follow you) are $1 million, you’ll earn an additional $20,000 regardless of your success rate.
Note* The 2% annual fee is credited to your eToro account every month (by the 10th of the month) and the funds will be available for withdrawal right away.
The eToro’s Popular Investor program is structured into 4 levels (Cadet, Rising Star, Champion and Elite) that come with their own requirements and different levels of assets under management. In conclusion, the more assets under management you manage to attract, the bigger your payment will be. The table below will highlight the 4 levels of the Popular Investor program.
Overall, eToro came ahead of its competitors due to its large clients base of over 6 million traders. South African residents that lack the trading experience to generate a profit have a chance to use eToro copy trading feature and start earning a passive income. The financial services offered by eToro comply with the standard and rules imposed by the top financial institution including:
Note* while your funds are safe and secure, eToro will charge you a withdrawal fee of $25. The second negative point is eToro’s high spreads (typical EUR/USD spread of 3 pips and USD/ZAR spread of 50 pips) and the high overnight rollover fees.
Pepperstone was awarded the best forex broker for South African traders based on five key factors:
For more details, you can view the Pepperstone review.
To find the best fx broker for your needs, you should be looking for a regulated fx broker that has low brokerage (spreads/commissions), a solid forex trading platform, strong customer service and easy deposit/withdrawal methods.
View our best forex broker section to see a list of the leading CFD providers.
Beginner forex traders should be looking for a CFD broker that an easy-to-use forex trading platform, strong customer support and risk management features such as negative balance protection and guaranteed stop-loss orders.
Our recommendation is Plus500, which has the components a beginner trader needs.
The lowest spreads are available from providers that have ECN broker accounts. Our review of Pepperstone found they had the lowest spreads with some 2021 examples:
South African forex trading success is partially dictated by the fx broker chosen, and five criteria should be considered:
1) Spread and Commission Fees are the forms of brokerage that apply to a forex broker in South Africa. Some brokers will only have a spread while others may have narrower spreads but also charge a commission. Some other fees may apply to advanced features such as guaranteed spreads, an overnight holding of a position or licencing fees. Fees can also be reduced by choosing a South African Rand ZAR account.
2) Forex Platforms are the way online brokers allow South African forex traders to trade with currency markets. These have different interfaces, features and integrations. On the South African forex broker table above you can view how MetaTrader (MT4) is offered by most brokers giving the flexibility to change brokers if you choose this fx platform. Other platforms may have unique features not available on MT4 such as share trading on MT5 and C# programming on cTrader. Another popular platform is NinjaTrader offered by FXCM and Forex.com.
3) Leverage is critical when currency trading in SA. As currency market movement is modest compared to other markets, leverage makes these more substantial to make real profits or losses. A trader needs to afford to take the high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Therefore, leverage needs to be aligned to a South African forex traders’ risk profile and trading strategy. Remember, losing your money is a real possibility on currency markets, so it’s critical to understand the risks of forex trading.
4) Risk Management features take into account how trading CFDs are complex instruments. They help control risk such as determining when a trader exits a trade (eg a guaranteed stop) or to prevent a trader from not only losing your money but also from going negative through negative balance protection. Even with risk management, you can lose money when trading, so the amount put into a deposit is critical. You can check with each fx broker what percentage of retail investors lose their money on retail investor accounts.
5) Regulatory Bodies: The South African local regulatory body is the FSCA, this is also referred to as the FSB (Financial Services Board). This regulator reviews the financial services industry, excluding the banks. This regulator works towards protecting South African investors including forex traders and has powers to enforce their policies. They also work with the Ombudsman to investigate customer concerns in regards to forex trading brokers. View more on our FSB regulated page. Global financial institutions such as eToro, IC Markets and Axi were not considered as part of this comparison as they were not FSCA certified but can be compared on this SA trader page.
Disclaimer: If the broker you choose is not regulated by the FSCA and instead the FCA in the UK, you will not be able to trade cryptocurrencies.
Justin Grossbard has been investing for the past 20 years and writing for the past 10. He co-founded Compare Forex Brokers in 2014 after working with the foreign exchange trading industry for several years. He also founded a number of FinTech and digital startups including Innovate Online and SMS Comparison. Justin holds a Masters Degree and an Honours in Commerce from Monash University. He and his wife Paula live in Melbourne, Australia with his son and Siberian cat. In his spare time, he watches Australian Rules Football and invests on global markets.