Novice South African traders should select a regulated forex broker that offers training, risk protection, and a forex trading platform suitable for beginners. Based on these criteria, the top beginner forex brokers in South Africa were compared.
View our best forex trading platforms for beginners: South Africa below.
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Here are our top recommended trading platforms for beginner traders in South Africa:
Pepperstone is an online broker that originates from Australia and accepts South African traders. Pepperstone is popular among the forex community as the regulated broker is overseen by top tier financial authorities – ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission), and the UK’s FCA (Financial Conduct Authority), Europe’s CySEC based in Cyprus, as well as the CMA in Kenya, SCB in the Bahamas and the DFSA in Dubai. Similar to an ECN-style (electronic communications network) forex broker, Pepperstone provides retail investor accounts access to forex and CFD markets as well as an excellent choice of trading platform options. As discussed in detail below, Pepperstone is the best broker overall for beginner South African Traders because of the following reasons:
The forex broker offers three trading platform options depending on the account type a trader is signed up to, and the financial instruments they want to trade. Each platform offered by Pepperstone provides a range of trading tools to assist those new to forex trading. Along with inbuilt charting and risk management tools, South African traders can access large trading communities and automate trading with trading robots and social-copy trading services.
As Pepperstone customer, traders have a choice between MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 and cTrader trading platforms. For those wanting to trade on the go, MT4, MT5 and cTrader are offered as mobile apps compatible with Android and iOS devices. Below compares the features available when trading CFDs and forex with Pepperstone on either MetaTrader 4 (MT4), MetaTrader 5 (MT5) or cTrader.
Automated trading is an excellent way for beginner traders to build confidence and learn from more experienced traders. While algorithmic trading via trading robots (Expert Advisors and cBots) may be daunting, social-copy trading tools are more accessible and useful for those starting out.
Compared to other top brokers, Pepperstone offers a much greater range of third-party social trading platforms. The different account mirroring services allow users to copy the trading strategies of experienced, proven investors with similar risk profiles and investment objectives. As conducting technical analysis and developing trading strategies can be complicated, social trading platforms allow users to save time while learning from the best. To start social trading, Pepperstone clients can choose between Myfxbook, ZuluTrade, Mirror Trader, MetaTrader Signals and DupliTrade.
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Pepperstone customers can choose between a Standard Account and a Razor Account Type. The main differences between the account types are the commission fee structure, average spreads, and trading platform options.
Beginner traders wanting a simple pricing structure may suit Pepperstone’s standard account available on MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5. Commission fees are included in forex spreads, with no flat rate commission fee charged when trading. As spreads are all-inclusive of commission fees, they are wider than Pepperstone’s Razor account, yet still very competitive when compared to the best forex brokers around the world. For the most commonly traded currency pair, the EUR/USD, standard account holders can trade average spreads of 1.0-1.3 pips, with no additional commission fee.
Although designed for high-volume traders, beginners can also sign up to Pepperstone’s Razor Account that is offered on MT4, MT5 and cTrader. The ECN-like account type provides forex traders access to ultra-tight spreads as low as 0.0 pips on major currency pairs such as the EUR/USD. As the narrow spreads do not include commission, Razor account holders pay a flat rate round turn commission fee of AUD $7 per $100,000 traded.
The spread difference between Standard and Razor account is 1 pip. 1 pip is equal to $10. This pip replaces the commission fee.
You will find the Pepperstone razor account offers some of the most competitive or tightest spreads on the market.
Data taken from broker website. Accurate as at 04/06/2021
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For those wanting to trade the South African Rand, three different currency pairs are offered by Pepperstone, with customers gaining access to the EUR/ZAR, USD/ZAR and JPY/ZAR forex markets. The below image shows the minimum and average spreads for both razor and standard account types for the EUR/USD, along with the South African Rand fx pairs.
The online brokers offer access to more than just forex markets. As well as currency pairs, South African traders can incorporate a range of Contracts for Difference (CFDs) into their trading strategies. Financial instruments available when trading CFDs with Pepperstone include:
To open a trading account with Pepperstone, prospective traders can easily apply online. Before you can start trading, customers are required to choose a base currency and make an initial minimum deposit.
Pepperstone is well-suited to beginner South African traders wanting an online broker with great customer service and educational resources. To learn more about online trading, the broker offers a wide range of resources designed for beginners covering topics from technical analysis and trading strategies to trading platforms with an 11-part MetaTrader 4 course. As well as online trading tutorials, Pepperstone provides access to regular articles and webinars.
For any other queries, traders may have, Pepperstone’s customer support representatives are available 24 hours, 5 days a week via live chat, email or phone.
As a beginner trader, demo accounts are a great tool to learn your way around a trading platform before placing orders with real money. Forex and CFD trading is a high-risk investment activity, therefore those new to trading can utilise the demo account until they are comfortable with the trading platform they are using.
Designed specifically for beginner traders, AvaTrade’s web trader platform is ideal for those starting out. No complex downloads or installations are required to access the trading platform, with the software reachable from any computer (Mac or PC) or location with the internet. While the trading platform does not offer the advanced trading tools that platforms such as MT5 or cTrader provide, AvaTrade’s web trader offers a simple and easy-to-use interface.
The highly customisable platform creates a user-friendly trading experience for those new to trading. The web-based platform is presented in an intuitive and logical format, meaning those with little experience can easily place orders and explore financial markets.
The web trader platform provides useful tools for novice traders, including client sentiment data where users can see the percentage of market participants buying or selling a certain currency pair or CFD. To manage the high risk of CFD trading, AvaTrade customers can place market orders and pending orders such as take profits and stop losses. Unfortunately, a downside is that the risk management tools provided do not include price alerts or notifications.
As well as using trading platform risk management tools, forex traders should be aware of the regulatory bodies a broker is overseen by, and the investor protection they provide.
AvaTrade is an online broker authorised to facilitate foreign exchange trading in South Africa. Overseen by the country’s regulatory bodies, the FSCA and FSB (Financial Sector Conduct Authority and Financial Services Board), AvaTrade is allowed to accept both domestic and international clients. As well as FSCA regulation, additional AvaTrade subsidiaries are regulated in Europe, Australia, Japan, Abu Dhabi and the British Virgin Islands.
Those registered with AvaTrade’s South African subsidiary receive investor protection in the form of segregated client funds and negative balance protection. The FSCA’s requirement for client funds to be segregated from operational company funds ensures traders’ account balances are protected in case a broker comes into financial trouble. Negative balance protection, on the other hand, means traders cannot lose more than what they have deposited into their trading account.
Most brokers offer variable spreads. This means the spreads are constantly changing. As there is always a lag between the time you execute your order and the time your order is completed, slippage may occur when a broker uses variable spreads.
AvaTrade, unlike most brokers, offers fixed spreads. This can be good if you’re a beginner trader, as you don’t need to worry about slippage. AvaTrader offers some of the most competitive fixed spreads in the industry.
Compare Fixed Commission Spreads >>
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ThinkMarkets is a regulated broker that accepts South African traders. As well as oversight from South African regulatory bodies (FSCA and FSB), the online broker adheres to top-tier financial regulation set by the ASIC, and the FCA (formally FSA) and therefore viewed as trustworthy by the global forex community.
To trade forex and CFDs with ThinkMarkets customers can access the broker’s proprietary trading platform, ThinkTrader, via a desktop trading platform or mobile trading app. Compatible with iOS and Android devices, the mobile trading app is fully functional with a user-friendly design and a range of charting and analysis tools.
With 4.8 stars on Apples App Store, ThinkTrader’s mobile app is one of the best forex trading apps currently available. With an easy-to-use interface, basic risk management tools and a market scanner, ThinkTrader is an excellent choice for beginner traders wanting a user-friendly but fully functional trading app.
Traders can use the mobile apps, 50+ drawing tools and 80+ technical indicators to analyse markets and develop trading strategies on their mobile phones. Unlike many basic trading apps, ThinkTrader allows users to view four different financial instruments on one screen.
To manage the high risk of forex trading, beginner traders may find ThinkTrader’s cloud-based alerts useful. Even when a user is offline alerts and notifications are delivered to the traders’ preferred device, allowing customers to keep up to date with market movements and current trading conditions at all times.
When trading CFDs on ThinkTrader, customers can utilise the trading platforms with different order types as a risk management tool. As well as placing orders at the current available market price via a market order, pending orders such as stop orders and limit orders are available on the mobile app.
In addition to order types, ThinkMarkets offers order management tools exclusive to ThinkTrader. Using the platform’s multiple order closure features, a customer can close all open positions with one click.
ThinkTrader’s TrendRisk Scanner automatically analyses different financial markets searching for potential trading opportunities. As well as saving time by automating the technical analysis required, the market scanner also provides risk management features. When TrendRisk suggests an investment opportunity, risk management tools are automatically applied to the trading strategy.
View ThinkMarkets Review >>Visit ThinkMarkets >>
South African traders wanting to automate investment strategies via a social trading service may utilise eToro’s huge forex trading community. With millions of members, customers can connect with experienced traders and copy their strategies.
The online brokers’ proprietary trading platform and copy trading features are incredibly user-friendly. Users simply seek out successful traders within the social trading platform they want to copy. After deciding the amount they wish to invest, the trading strategies and orders of the followed investor will begin to be automatically copied and carried out.
Trading strategies created by top investors can include a range of asset classes, including forex, cryptocurrencies, stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), commodities and indices.
As well as individual financial instruments, eToro traders can invest ‘CopyPortfolios’. The portfolio management service simplifies the CFD trading process even further, with the eToro team managing investments and capital. Two different types of CopyPortfolios are available. Market portfolios are diversified with different asset classes, while Top Trader Portfolios are a basket of eToro’s best performing, most successful traders.
When trading forex with Plus500’s South African subsidiary, customers have no choice of account types and pricing structures. Only a standard, no-commission account is available, with no ECN-style or VIP account types offered to traders. Similarly, Plus500 customers are required to execute trades using the CFD providers proprietary trading platform. Although Plus500 provides limited account types and trading platform options, an excellent range of risk management features is offered through order types, top-tier financial oversight and platform feature such as alerts and an economic calendar. The proprietary trading platform can be accessed as a web trader or desktop platform or through trading apps compatible with iPhone, iPad, Windows and Android devices.
Utilising different order types allows beginner traders to limit their losses and maximise their gains when trading forex and CFDs. Plus500 offers free standard market and pending order types, as well as guaranteed stop-loss orders that traders can enlist at a premium. When developing trading strategies, order types enable Plus500 customers to pre-define price levels where positions are automatically opened or closed, depending on whether market prices are moving in favourable or unfavourable directions.
A cost is incurred when placing a guaranteed stop-loss order, as there is no risk of slippage. Slippage occurs when markets are volatile and the actual price order is executed does not match the predetermined price set by the trader when the order is originally placed. A GSLO eliminates the risk of slippage for a premium which may occur with stop limit, stop loss or trailing stop orders where no order fees are charged.
As well as FSCA supervision, Plus500 subsidiaries are overseen by a number of top-tier regulatory bodies, including MAS Monetary Authority of Singapore), FMA (Financial Markets Authority, NZ), CySEC (Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission) and the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority, UK).
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*Your capital is at risk ‘76.4% of retail CFD accounts lose money’
For those wanting access to institutional-grade trading conditions, FxPro’s cTrader offering is an option for traders of all levels of experience. With no dealing desk (NDD) interference, FxPro customers can trade at competitive bid and ask prices similar to an ECN environment.
Getting started on one of FxPro’s cTrader trading platforms is easy. While the desktop platform is not available to Mac users, a web trader platform is accessible from any browser. Lastly, cTrader’s mobile trading app is compatible with both iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices.
cTrader is a popular trading platform as it provides a range of advanced trading and analysis tools. Although many tools are designed for experienced, high-volume traders, those new to trading can benefit from the following features as they gain confidence participating in forex markets:
As a cTrader user, FxPro customers are not able to sign up to the broker’s Standard, all-inclusive account type and are restricted to paying a flat rate commission fee structure. While traders are charged a round turn commission fee of $4.5 per 100,000 traded, they gain access to ultra-tight ECN-style spreads as low as 0.0 pips on major currency pairs.
To assist beginner traders with complex commission fee calculations, FxPro offers a commission calculator tool on its website. To calculate commission fees for different orders, customers can simply enter the currency pair being traded, along with the account currency and position size. As well as commission fees, the fx calculator provides information on margin requirements when trading forex and CFDs with leverage.
If traders want even tighter spreads and lower commission fees, FxPro offers a VIP account type. Yet, traders are required to make a minimum deposit of $50,000 to qualify as VIP customer.
View FxPro Review >>Visit FxPro >>
FXCM is an FCA and ASIC regulated broker that offers customers MetaTrader 4 (MT4) as a trading platform option for South African traders. To start trading with FXCM and MT4, users have a choice between downloading the desktop platform or using the web trader and mobile apps. When using the popular forex platform, traders gain access to a sufficient range of financial markets, with 39 currency pairs available to trade along with CFD products.
MetaTrader 4 is well-known for its automated trading features with comprehensive algorithmic and social-copy tools available on the platform. As well as creating custom indicators and Expert advisors using the MQL4 programming language, traders can download and purchase thousands of different automated trading tools from the MetaTrader marketplace online. You can view other beginner brokers that offer automated trading on the international beginner provider page.
For beginner traders who prefer to automate trading using social-copy tools rather than Expert Advisors can utilise MT4 trading signals. As beginner traders can copy the trades of proven, successful investors, FXCM’s forex signals allow the human emotion to be removed from trading. Users can view a wide range of statistics to find trading signals to incorporate into trading strategies, with information such as the number of subscribers and % of successful trades available to view. As an FXCM customer, traders can access a free 14-day trading signals demo account.
View FXCM Review >>Visit FXCM >>
ForexTime is a forex broker and trading platform that provides social-copy services to retail traders via FXTM Invest. ForexTime is authorised to operate in South Africa with FSB and FSCA oversight, while the broker’s other subsidiaries are regulated by CySEC in Cyprus, the FCA in the UK and IFSC in Belize.
FXTM Invest is a user-friendly copy trading platform for those new to forex trading. Customers can choose from hundreds of different strategy managers, automating trading via FXTM’s account mirroring services and platform. To access ForexTime’s social-copy trading features, customers can sign up online to the broker’s web-based myFXTM account type where a $100 USD, GBP or EUR minimum deposit is required to start trading.
When choosing which of FXTM’s strategy managers to follow, customers can view the investor’s profits/losses, history, and risk levels to ensure they copy traders with similar investment objectives. Strategy managers can include a wide range of asset classes in their trading strategies, with 250 financial instruments offered by FXTM including:
View FXTM Review >>Visit FXTM>>
Markets.com is a top forex broker that offers a unique selection of trading tools on the broker’s proprietary platforms, Marketsx and Marketsi.
As well as a great range of features to help you develop sophisticated trading strategies, Markets.com is seen by beginner traders as a trusted broker for the following reasons:
Marketsx is the broker’s CFD and forex trading platform that offers a selection of unique trading tools. As well as technical and fundamental analysis tools that are available on most trading platforms, Marketsx comes with proprietary sentiment tools that are not offered elsewhere.
Sentiment Tools: provides data showing the current sentiment and attitude towards different financial markets, and whether the majority of traders are buying or selling. Examples of Marketsx sentiment tools include:
Technical Analysis: Marketsx comes with inbuilt charting tools that allow you to conduct advanced analysis using a range of technical indicators and oscillators.
A unique technical analysis tool included on the platform is the Related Instrument feature that shows the correlation between two financial instruments.
Fundamental Analysis: To help you keep up with major economic events that affect asset prices, Marketsx offers fundamental analysis tools like:
The broker’s second proprietary platform, Marketsi, was developed with share trading in mind. While you still get access to thousands of CFDs from a diverse range of asset classes, the platforms trading tools are designed for stock market analysis.
View Markets.com Review >>Visit Markets.com >>
When comparing trading platforms, account types, automated trading features and financial instruments offered by online brokers accepting South African clients, Pepperstone is the best broker overall for beginner traders. When trading forex and CFDs with Pepperstone, customers can place orders using MT4, MT5 and cTrader while trading at ECN-style spreads as low as 0.0 pips. As well as low spreads and fees, beginner traders can utilise the wide range of trading tools available on the Pepperstone platforms. To develop and automate trading strategies, customers can access Expert Advisors (or cBots) and third-party social trading providers such as Myfxbook and ZuluTrade. To start trading with Pepperstone, prospective traders can sign up to a Razor or Standard account type online, or explore forex and CFD markets using the broker’s 30-day demo account.
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.