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Trading Experience
Trading Conditions
Account Types
Trading Platforms
Regulators
Minimum Deposit
USD 10
TRADING INSTRUMENTS
  • Commodities
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Forex
  • Indicies
  • Metals
  • Equities
TYPE OF BROKER

ECN/STP

REGULATED BY
TRADING PLATFORMS
  • MetaTrader4
  • MetaTrader5
  • WebTrader
DEPOSIT METHODS
    Bank Transfer, Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, Skrill, Neteller, Bitcoin, Unionpay
Trading Conditions
  • Max. Leverage : Flexible
  • Min. Spread : 0.1 pips
  • Currency Pairs : 59
Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
Cent Account 1.5 pips None Instant USD 10 Account Details
Standard Account 1.3 pips None Instant USD 100 Account Details
ECN Zero Account 1.5 pips None Market USD 200 Account Details
ECN Account 0.1 pips $2.00 Market USD 500 Account Details
FXTM Pro Account 0.0 pips None Market USD 25000 Account Details
Minimum Deposit
USD 100
TRADING INSTRUMENTS
  • Commodities
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Forex
  • Indicies
  • Metals
  • Bonds
TYPE OF BROKER

Pure ECN

REGULATED BY
TRADING PLATFORMS
  • MetaTrader4
  • MetaTrader5
  • WebTrader
  • IRESS
DEPOSIT METHODS
    Bank Transfer, Visa, Mastercard, Skrill, Neteller, Fasapay, BPay, PaySec, POLi
Trading Conditions
  • Max. Leverage : 30:1
  • Min. Spread : 0.1 pips
  • Currency Pairs : 50+
Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
Standard 1.0 pips None STP USD 100 Account Details
ECN RAW 0.0 pips $3.50 ECN USD 200 Account Details
Minimum Deposit
USD 50
TRADING INSTRUMENTS
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Forex
  • Indicies
  • Metals
  • Equities
  • Bonds
  • WTIs
TYPE OF BROKER

Market Maker/STP

REGULATED BY
TRADING PLATFORMS
  • MetaTrader4
  • WebTrader
  • NinjaTrader
DEPOSIT METHODS
    Bank Transfer, Visa, Mastercard
Trading Conditions
  • Max. Leverage : 400:1
  • Min. Spread : Variable pips
  • Currency Pairs : 39
Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
Standard 1.3 pips None STP USD 50 Account Details
Active Trader Not Published pips Yes STP USD 25000 Account Details
Minimum Deposit
USD 100
TRADING INSTRUMENTS
  • Commodities
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Forex
  • Indicies
  • Equities
  • ETFs
TYPE OF BROKER

Market Maker

REGULATED BY
TRADING PLATFORMS
  • MetaTrader4
  • WebTrader
DEPOSIT METHODS
    Bank Transfer, Visa, Mastercard, Skrill, Neteller, Paypal
Trading Conditions
  • Max. Leverage : 30:1
  • Min. Spread : 0.7 pips
  • Currency Pairs : 50+
Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
Islamic 1.3 pips None Instant USD 100 Account Details
Professional 1.3 pips None Instant USD 100 Account Details
Retail 1.3 pips None Instant USD 100 Account Details
Minimum Deposit
USD 5
TRADING INSTRUMENTS
  • Commodities
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Forex
  • Indicies
  • Metals
  • Equities
  • Energies
TYPE OF BROKER

Market Maker

REGULATED BY
TRADING PLATFORMS
  • MetaTrader4
  • MetaTrader5
  • WebTrader
DEPOSIT METHODS
    Bank Transfer, Sofort Banking, Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, Skrill, Neteller, Bitcoin, Unionpay
Trading Conditions
  • Max. Leverage : 30:1
  • Min. Spread : 0.0 pips
  • Currency Pairs : 55+
Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
Micro 1.0 pips None Instant USD 5 Account Details
Standard 1.0 pips None Instant USD 5 Account Details
XM Ultra Low 0.6 pips None Instant USD 50 Account Details
XM Zero 0.6 pips None Instant USD 100 Account Details
Minimum Deposit
USD 5
TRADING INSTRUMENTS
  • Commodities
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Forex
  • Indicies
  • Metals
  • Equities
  • Energies
  • Bonds
TYPE OF BROKER

ECN/STP

REGULATED BY
TRADING PLATFORMS
  • MetaTrader4
  • WebTrader
DEPOSIT METHODS
    Bank Transfer, Visa, Mastercard, Skrill, Neteller, Bitcoin, Unionpay
Trading Conditions
  • Max. Leverage : 30:1
  • Min. Spread : 0.0 pips
  • Currency Pairs : 51
Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
Islamic 1.0 pips None Market USD 5 Account Details
Micro 1.0 pips None Market USD 5 Account Details
Premium 1.0 pips None Market USD 100 Account Details
Auto 1.0 pips None Market USD 200 Account Details
Zero 0.0 pips $3.00 Market USD 200 Account Details
Minimum Deposit
USD 100
TRADING INSTRUMENTS
TYPE OF BROKER

REGULATED BY
TRADING PLATFORMS
DEPOSIT METHODS
    Bank Transfer, Visa, Mastercard, Skrill, Paypal
Trading Conditions
  • Max. Leverage : 30:1
  • Min. Spread : 0.7 pips
  • Currency Pairs :
Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
Standard 0.0 pips None Instant USD 100 Account Details
Minimum Deposit
USD 100
TRADING INSTRUMENTS
  • Forex
  • Indicies
  • Metals
  • Equities
  • Energies
  • Futures
TYPE OF BROKER

NDD Intervention Market Maker

REGULATED BY
TRADING PLATFORMS
  • MetaTrader4
  • MetaTrader5
  • WebTrader
  • cTrader
  • Proprietary
DEPOSIT METHODS
    Bank Transfer, Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, Skrill, Neteller, Unionpay
Trading Conditions
  • Max. Leverage : 30:1
  • Min. Spread : 0.6 pips
  • Currency Pairs : 70+
Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
FxPro cTrader 0.45 pips $4.50 Market USD 100 Account Details
FxPro MT4 1.2 pips None Market USD 100 Account Details
FxPro MT5 1.52 pips None Market USD 100 Account Details
Islamic 1.2 pips Variable Market USD 100 Account Details
Minimum Deposit
USD 100
TRADING INSTRUMENTS
  • Commodities
  • Forex
TYPE OF BROKER

Pure STP

REGULATED BY
TRADING PLATFORMS
  • MetaTrader4
  • WebTrader
DEPOSIT METHODS
    Bank Transfer, Visa, Mastercard
Trading Conditions
  • Max. Leverage : 30:1
  • Min. Spread : 0.6 pips
  • Currency Pairs : 32
Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
Basic Normal pips None STP ZAR 2000 Account Details
Standard Competative pips None STP ZAR 15000 Account Details
Premier Tight pips None STP USD 30000 Account Details
VIP Institutional pips None STP ZAR 50000 Account Details
Minimum Deposit
USD 250
TRADING INSTRUMENTS
  • Commodities
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Forex
TYPE OF BROKER

Market Maker

REGULATED BY
TRADING PLATFORMS
  • MetaTrader4
  • WebTrader
  • Sirix
DEPOSIT METHODS
    Visa, Mastercard
Trading Conditions
  • Max. Leverage : 30:1
  • Min. Spread : 1.5 pips
  • Currency Pairs : 47
Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
Bronze 1.5 pips None Instant USD 250 Account Details
Silver Not Published pips None Instant USD 1000 Account Details
Gold Not Published pips None Instant USD 10000 Account Details
Premium Not Published pips None Instant USD 25000 Account Details
Minimum Deposit
USD 100
TRADING INSTRUMENTS
  • Commodities
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Forex
  • Indicies
  • Metals
  • Vanilla Options
TYPE OF BROKER

Market Maker

REGULATED BY
TRADING PLATFORMS
  • MetaTrader4
  • WebTrader
DEPOSIT METHODS
    Bank Transfer, Sofort Banking, Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, Skrill, Neteller, Astropay
Trading Conditions
  • Max. Leverage : 30:1
  • Min. Spread : 1.8 pips
  • Currency Pairs : 97
Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
Islamic 3 pips None Instant USD 100 Account Details
Standard 3 pips None Instant EUR 100 Account Details
Premium 2.5 pips None Instant USD 1000 Account Details
VIP 1.8 pips None Instant USD 2500 Account Details
Super VIP 1.2 pips None Instant USD 50000 Account Details
Minimum Deposit
USD 5
TRADING INSTRUMENTS
  • Commodities
  • Forex
  • Indicies
  • Metals
TYPE OF BROKER

Market Maker/NDD

REGULATED BY
TRADING PLATFORMS
  • xStation5
DEPOSIT METHODS
    Bank Transfer, Visa, Mastercard, Skrill, Neteller
Trading Conditions
  • Max. Leverage : 30:1
  • Min. Spread : 0.1 pips
  • Currency Pairs : 48
Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
Islamic 0.28 pips $10.00 Instant USD 5 Account Details
Pro 0.28 pips $4.00 Instant USD 5 Account Details
Standard 0.35 pips None Instant USD 5 Account Details

Critical Factors In Choosing a Forex Broker

  • Regulation is a critical factor when choosing a broker. Make sure your broker is regulated by either the FCA, CySEC or ASIC. FSCA regulation is also important as this means any complaints you have will be resolved through the South African legal system.
  • Consider the different Account Types on offer at your broker, most brokers offer swap-free Islamic accounts, and some offer unlimited demo accounts to practice with.
  • Think about whether you want a ZAR Account rather than a USD Account. Not many brokers offer ZAR accounts, but they do save you money in conversion fees and guarantee that your money is deposited with a local bank.
  • Choose a Trading Platform and find a broker that supports that platform. MetaTrader 4 is a safe choice as it’s the industry standard and there is a multitude of online tutorials.
  • Choose what Broker Type you want. Some brokers offer commission-free trading and are known as dealing desk brokers or market maker brokers. Some brokers charge commission but have tighter spreads, these are known as non-dealing desk brokers or direct market access brokers.
  • Always check for additional Broker Fees that may be charged. We always highlight these in our reviews, but common ones are deposit and withdrawal fees and currency conversion fees.
  • Find a broker with the Trading Conditions that will support your trading strategy. Think about how much Leverage you want to have available; keeping it low (100:1 or less) is a good idea if you are still learning how to trade.

How To Choose A Forex Broker

Forex brokers should be measured by regulation, account options, platform choice, trading conditions, and beginner friendliness. 

Regulation

Regulators ensure that brokers have a fair trading environment and anti-money laundering processes, all the while operating strict auditing oversight and ensuring client fund protection. Brokers that are regulated by more than one major regulator are considered more trustworthy.

The major regulators are:

These international regulators are respected for their commitment to consumer protection, strong oversight and swift enforcement of sanctions on fraudulent brokers.

The South African regulator is called the Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA) and is the most credible regulator on the African continent.

A trustworthy broker should be regulated by at least one of the major regulators or the FSCA. Brokers that are regulated by more than one regulator are considered more reliable.  

Be wary of brokers who are only regulated by small island states like St Vincent, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. These regulatory agencies are not as well regarded as the major international regulators as they give more leniency to brokers and less coverage for traders.

Also, be cautious of brokers who have just moved to South Africa. With the recent tightening of European and Australian regulations, several questionable brokers have moved into South Africa recruiting for traders.

Account Types

Each brokerage will have various account types, and there is a trend in the industry to have fewer account types available than in years past. The primary distinction between account types is between the Live accounts, Demo accounts, and Swap-free accounts. Managed accounts are available, but rare.

Live Accounts

These accounts use real money, and everything that you do in this type of account will affect your profit or loss.

Demo Accounts

These are accounts loaded with virtual money and do not expose a trader to any risk. Demo accounts allow traders to test the trading platform, customer service, research area, and trading conditions before committing real money. Most demo accounts are time-limited but are easy to reactivate. These are the best demo accounts.

Swap-Free (Islamic) Accounts

Islamic accounts, or swap-free accounts, are an optional trading account type which allows Forex traders to be compliant with the principles of Sharia law. In Sharia law, interest on loans is prohibited, so swap-free accounts don’t earn overnight interest on open positions.

Managed Accounts

Select brokers will operate a managed account for you, but it is rare. There are independent money managers who can manage your account while they are trading for themselves. It is vital that you read our article on managed accounts and understand the minimum deposit requirements and additional risks involved when trading CFDs.

Foreign currency (USD, EUR, GBP) or ZAR accounts?

Generally, having a ZAR account is a good thing; you will avoid any broker conversion fees and the currency conversions that banks and credit card companies charge when making a wire deposit or withdrawal. 

Brokers with ZAR accounts usually use South African bank accounts, where withdrawals and deposits are much faster and often happen instantly. With a USD account at an international broker, this will not always be the case.

Platform Choice

When it comes to choosing a broker to trade with, deciding on the right platform can make a substantial difference to a trading career. That said, your broker should support a platform you are comfortable using.

While a minority of brokers have proprietary platforms, others use mainstream trading platforms like MetaTrader and cTrader. 

MetaTrader 4 and 5 are the most common CFD trading platforms; however, MetaTrader’s older interface and complex setup make it less accessible to beginners. cTrader, on the other hand, has a more modern interface and is easier for beginner traders to set up.

If you are an experienced trader with a particular software choice in mind, or if you are a beginner seeking to learn more about platform options, we have put together a list of the best Forex trading platforms for traders and the brokers that support them.

All brokers have mobile trading apps, and some will have developed proprietary apps, but a vast majority rely on the MetaTrader software for IOS and Android.

Types of Forex Brokers

Forex brokers fall into two main categories – Direct Market Access (DMA) brokers and Market Maker brokers.  

Each broker category can be split into two subcategories. DMA brokers are divided into subcategories called ECN and ECN/STP, and market makers can have a dealing desk (DD) where the broker can alter trades before they are executed.  

Pure ECN Brokers

In the DMA category, a Pure ECN (or Electronic Communication Network) broker, will never interfere with your trade, and the only source of liquidity comes from other members of the network. ECN execution will mean that if there is no liquidity in the market, your trade will have slippage, and you may get a requote. 

Pure ECNs are entirely free of conflict of interest, but traders should expect requotes, and slower trade execution speeds. The top ECNs brokers are:

Broker Min. Deposit Min. Spread
FXTM USD 10 0.1 pips Visit Website
Read Review
FP Markets USD 100 0.1 pips Visit Website
Read Review
HotForex USD 5 0.0 pips Visit Website
Read Review
OctaFX USD 100 0.0 pips Visit Website
Read Review
IronFX USD 100 1.0 pips Visit Website
Read Review
XTB USD 5 0.1 pips Visit Website
Read Review

ECN (Electronic Communications Network) brokers usually place your orders directly through to third-party liquidity providers, usually large financial institutions or global banks. In a pure ECN environment, traders have direct access to interbank market prices and an accurate picture of the entire trading environment.

STP/ECN Brokers

An ECN/STP broker is an ECN broker using Straight Through Processing (STP) to place trades. With STP your order is sent directly to the counterparty through the Financial Information Exchange (FIX) protocol. The FIX protocol decreases trade execution time, reduces slippage and ensures that traders get the best available pricing. Some ECN/STP brokers will be counterparty to your trade to prevent requotes and reduce slippage.

Depending on the trader profile, or the trade itself, an ECN/STP broker will decide which execution method is in the best interest of the customer.

If there is liquidity available for a particular trade, then STP execution could be used.  But if it is better for liquidity to be taken from within the network, then ECN will be used.

This combination of execution types is intended to be able to help traders get liquidity and to execute trades faster. The top ECN/STPs are:

Broker Min. Deposit Min. Spread
Khwezi Trade USD 100 0.6 pips Visit Website
Read Review
TrioMarkets USD 300 0.0 pips Visit Website
Read Review
Capital Index GBP 100 0.0 pips Visit Website
Read Review

Market Makers

Market Makers, also called Dealing Desks, operate in a very different way. Instead of executing the trade on the market, market maker brokers are counterparty to the trade, and become, for all intents and purposes, the market. The top Market Makers are:

Broker Min. Deposit Min. Spread
FXCM USD 50 Variable pips Visit Website
Read Review
CM trading USD 250 1.5 pips Visit Website
Read Review
AvaTrade USD 100 0.7 pips Visit Website
Read Review
XM USD 5 0.0 pips Visit Website
Read Review

While this means that there will always be liquidity for any trade, being the counterparty implies that the broker is always trading against its client base and that it profits directly from the client’s losing trades. This opens up a direct conflict of interest.

Trading Conditions

Spreads

The spread, set by the broker and measured in pips, is the difference between the buy and sell price of a currency pair. This is the broker’s fee for providing access to the market and it gives traders and idea of how profitable their trades could be.

A trader can also tell from the spread if the buy and sell prices for a currency pair are far apart (wide) or close together (tight). If the spread is 15 pips, that is considered a wide spread, where a 0.4 pip spread is deemed to be tight.

Spreads on currency pairs differ between brokerages, so to maximise profits, a trader should always find a broker who has the tightest average spreads on the pairs they trade. If you are trading with market execution, remember that a per lot commission will be charged in conjunction with the spreads.

Leverage

Leverage is capital borrowed from a liquidity provider, via your broker, to amplify the volume of a Forex trade. Leverage is essential in Forex trading because the movements of the market are so small that if there were no way to increase the size of the trade, it would be near impossible for individual retail traders to profit from their trades.

Leverage is presented in a ratio format, e.g. 300:1 – in this case, a trader can increase the size of a trade by a maximum amount of 300 times. It’s important to remember that you will remain liable for all losses on the total leveraged amount of the trade.

Using high volumes of leverage dramatically increases the exposure of the trader to risk, which has led to some regulatory bodies like CySEC restricting leverage to 30:1 for retail traders. The maximum leverage offered varies among brokers, and some may also limit a client’s leverage based on their trading experience.

Trading Assets

A large broker will have many different assets available to trade, including Forex CFDs, cryptocurrencies, equities, commodities, precious metals and bonds. A good Forex broker should have 50+ FX pairs.

Scalping

A Forex scalping strategy is where a trader seeks to profit from sizeable rapid price changes in a short period. Scalping opportunities are usually created when significant unexpected news event happens, or when the equity markets open. A scalper, a trader who employs a scalping strategy, enters and exit trades several times a day, and closes all trades on the day they were opened.

Hedging

Hedging is protecting yourself against adverse price movements that would affect open trades and can be seen as a form of insurance. Direct hedging is a common hedging strategy, where a trader buys a currency pair and then sells the same pair at the same time. Not all brokers allow hedging on their platforms, but most DMA brokers do.

FAQs

I am a beginner trader, what should I look for in a broker?

As a beginner trader, choose a broker with an unlimited demo account, as this will give you the opportunity to practice before making a deposit. Limited demo accounts usually expire after 1-3 weeks, which is not enough time to learn how to profit from CFD trading.

Beginner traders should get educational support when starting, and each broker varies significantly in what material they provide. The minimum you should accept is some general videos and articles, but some brokers have invested in creating small trading universities that include video material as well as live webinars hosted by experts.

Each of our reviews has a section on the educational content to help beginner traders decide the best path forward.

How do I know I can trust a Forex broker?

Four things should be considered when determining if a broker may be trusted – regulation, trade execution method, client fund management, and industry recognition of their achievements.

The more major regulators the broker group is regulated by, the more oversight the group has. The number of regulators overseeing their processes gives a strong indication of the level of trust the government regulatory agencies have in them.

It is more of a concern if fewer major regulators regulate a market maker. Therefore, a heavily regulated market maker is considered more reputable than one with lesser regulation. It is noteworthy that some market makers have strong reputations and lots of client resources.

The execution method of trades is another component because if the broker profits from your loss – as is the case with market maker brokers – this can be seen as making the broker less trustworthy.

Most regulators require strict processes to keep client funds safe. This process includes placing client funds in segregated accounts at major banks in the local jurisdiction. Segregated bank accounts that are audited every evening means that client funds are protected against any bankruptcy.

Industry awards are given to brokers from journalists, financial watchdog organisations and their peers. While it can be argued that these award ceremonies are biased, they remain the best gauge industry recognition.

Do brokers trade against you?

If the broker is a market maker, then they are the market and will be trading against you by being the counterparty to your trade to create the liquidity you need. Since a vast majority of trades by retail traders are lost, a market maker is making money in most client trades. DMA brokers do not have any conflict of interest and do not trade against you.

How do brokers make money?

Market Makers will make money only from the spread – the difference between the buying and selling price of the currency pair. Since a Market Maker will become the counterparty to any trade, they will also make money when clients lose trades.

DMA brokers will make money from a tight spread and a commission, which is calculated on a per lot amount.

How to deposit with a broker?

Each broker is going to have different deposit methods, but all will have a deposit by credit/debit card and bank transfer option. Some will accept regional payment methods, but local deposit methods have not yet been adopted in South Africa. On occasion, brokers will accept Bitcoin deposits in additional to traditional currency.

Which broker should I choose?

Traders have different requirements of Forex brokers, and thus there is no single best choice. This is how we compare them, and we offer insight into your choices. At the top of this article, there is a list of those that we believe are the best brokers for traders based on their reputation, platform, trading conditions and resources available to beginners.

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Trading Forex and CFDs is not suitable for all investors and comes with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75-90% of retail investors lose money trading these products. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.