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This is our list of the best Forex brokers in South Africa. These brokers are all trustworthy, have low fees and provide good trading education for new traders. To create this list we tested 160+ Forex brokers accepting South Africans traders, including all the FSCA-regulated brokers based here in SA.

To test a broker, we verify that they are regulated and make sure that their trading costs are not too high, as lower trading costs provide greater opportunity to profit. We also assess the quality of their educational section and market analysis to make sure that new traders are well catered for.

Below the list are reviews of each broker highlighting their features and explaining why they are on the list. We also share our expert knowledge on how to compare Forex brokers. These are the best Forex brokers and best trading platforms in South Africa in 2021.

English

Best Forex Brokers in SA

Last updated on 23 Sep 2021
Updated 23 Sep 2021
by Editorial Director Jeffrey Cammackby Jeffrey Cammack
Jeffrey Cammack
All Brokers Regulated
All Brokers Regulated
by Trusted Authoritiesby Trusted Authorities
Trusted
1
AvaTrade
Min. Deposit
USD 100
4.484.48
Min. Spread
0.90 pips
Fx Pairs
50+
REGULATED BY
Overall Rating
11110.54.48/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.90 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 400:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. AvaTrade Group regulated by ASIC, FSCA, B.V.I FSC & FSA.
2
FXTM
Min. Deposit
USD 10
4.334.33
Min. Spread
0.10 pips
Fx Pairs
59
REGULATED BY
Overall Rating
11110.54.33/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.50 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage Flexible. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. Leverage offered can vary depending on country of residence, and your trading knowledge and experience. FXTM is regulated by CySEC, FCA, FSCA, and the FSC.
3
IronFX
Min. Deposit
USD 50
3.743.74
Min. Spread
0 pips
Fx Pairs
85
REGULATED BY
Overall Rating
1110.503.74/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.2 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 500:1. Islamic account available. Only MT4 platform supported. IronFX is regulated by CySEC, FCA, ASIC, and the FSCA - FSP:45276.
4
XM
Min. Deposit
USD 5
4.254.25
Min. Spread
0.10 pips
Fx Pairs
57
REGULATED BY
Overall Rating
11110.54.25/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.60 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 500:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. XM Group regulated by CySEC, ASIC, and the IFSC.
5
HotForex
Min. Deposit
ZAR 70
4.494.49
Min. Spread
0 pips
Fx Pairs
51
REGULATED BY
Overall Rating
11110.54.49/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 1000:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. HF Markets Group regulated by the FSCA, FCA, FSC, CySEC and the DFSA.
6
FBS
Min. Deposit
USD 1
4.034.03
Min. Spread
0 pips
Fx Pairs
37
REGULATED BY
Overall Rating
11110.54.03/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 4 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 3000:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. FBS is regulated by CySEC, ASIC, FSCA, and the IFSC.
7
Exness
Min. Deposit
USD 1
4.124.12
Min. Spread
0.10 pips
Fx Pairs
120
REGULATED BY
Overall Rating
11110.54.12/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.70 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 2000:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. Exness is regulated by CySEC, FCA, and the FSC.
8
CM Trading
Min. Deposit
USD 250
3.243.24
Min. Spread
1.50 pips
Fx Pairs
47
REGULATED BY
Overall Rating
1110.503.24/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.5 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 200:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & Sirix platforms supported. CM Trading is regulated by the FSCA.
9
Axi
Min. Deposit
USD 5
4.344.34
Min. Spread
0 pips
Fx Pairs
80+
REGULATED BY
Overall Rating
11110.54.34/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.20 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 500:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. Axi Group is regulated by the FCA, ASIC and the DFSA.
10
BDSwiss
Min. Deposit
USD 100
4.324.32
Min. Spread
1.40 pips
Fx Pairs
50+
REGULATED BY
Overall Rating
11110.54.32/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.50 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 500:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. BDSwiss is regulated by CySEC, BaFin, the FSC, and the FSA-Seychelles.
11
Plus500
Min. Deposit
ZAR 1500
4.094.09
Min. Spread
0 pips
Fx Pairs
70+
REGULATED BY
Overall Rating
11110.54.09/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Plus500 does not publish their spreads, and thus a cost of trading can not be established. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. Only Plus500 proprietary trading platform supported. Plus500 is regulated by FCA, CySEC, ASIC, and MAS.All information presented is verified as of the date of the review.Most retail CFD accounts lose money. Your capital is at risk.

How We Determine Who is Best

To test each Forex broker’s trading platform, we opened an account, set up the trading software, read through the educational material, and deposited and traded R4000 of our money. We also created all kinds of trouble for the customer service teams and tested how long it took to withdraw our money. In our test we investigated:

Broker Regulation: Regulators keep an eye on Forex brokers to make sure they’re behaving legally and ethically. Some regulators, such as ASIC, the FCA, and CySEC, are better at keeping brokers honest than others. The FSCA in South Africa is getting better at regulating brokers all the time and South African’s should feel safe trading with an FSCA regulated broker.

Broker Trading Conditions and Costs: Forex brokers should charge traders as little as possible. Spreads should be narrow and minimum deposits should be low. Trading execution should be lightning-fast and with little or no intervention. Forex brokers should also publish their spreads, execution policy, and a list of all CFD assets available. 

Broker Education and Analysis: Brokers should offer beginner traders a coherent and well-structured trading course alongside a demo account. Brokers should supply detailed market analysis to highlight trading opportunities and provide a complete learning experience.

Broker Trading Platform: Brokers will have their own trading platform or provide support for a third-party platform, such as MT4, MT5, or cTrader. Some brokers will do both. Most Forex traders generally have a platform preference, so brokers with multiple platforms are more likely to have the platform a trader wants to use.


These are best Forex brokers in South Africa for 2021

  • AvaTrade - Best Mobile Trading Experience
  • FXTM - Best Forex Broker for Beginners in SA
  • IronFX - Best Account Options
  • XM - South African Broker with the Lowest Spreads
  • HotForex - Highest Leverage for Market Execution
  • FBS - Highest Leverage MT4 Account
  • Exness - Best Trading Account Conditions for Beginners
  • CM Trading - Largest South African Broker by Client Volume
  • Axi - Best ECN broker on MT4
  • BDSwiss - Best Market Research Provider
  • Plus500 - Unlimited Demo Account

AvaTrade – Best Mobile Trading Experience

Founded in 2006 and regulated by the FSCA since 2016, AvaTrade is a beginner-friendly CFD broker offering trading on Forex, cryptocurrencies, commodities, indices, stocks, bonds, vanilla options, and ETFs.

Winner of the award for the best Forex broker of 2020, AvaTrade’s AvaTradeGo mobile app offers South African Forex traders an easy and intuitive mobile trading experience. Avatrade spreads are some of the tightest for a commission-free account with a 100 USD minimum deposit – as low as 0.9 pips on the EUR/USD.

AVATRADE FEATURES

  • Maximum leverage of 400:1
  • Both MT4 and MT5 trading platforms are available
  • Integrated Trading Central dashboard for both platforms
  • AvaProtect tool, which allows traders to purchase temporary loss protection. Losses are refunded, but profits are the traders to keep
Pros
  • Good for beginners
  • Well regulated
  • Low minimum deposit
Cons
  • Dealing desk
  • Limited market analysis
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.90 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 400:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. AvaTrade Group regulated by ASIC, FSCA, B.V.I FSC & FSA.

FXTM – Best Forex Broker for Beginners in SA

Founded in 2011 and regulated by the UK’s FCA and the FSC in Mauritius, FXTM is an established Forex and CFD broker offering trading on Forex, commodities, metals, stocks, and indices. While FXTM’s Advantage Account has a minimum deposit of 500 USD with spreads starting at 0.10 pips and a 4 USD commission, FXTM also offers a Micro Account with a 10 USD minimum deposit but with wider spreads (starting at 1.5 pips) that may be more appealing to beginners.

FXTM FEATURES

  • FXTM Invest CopyTrading scheme: Clients can copy the trades of Strategy Managers whose risk profile matches their own.
  • FXTM has a large volume of training material, including videos, webinars, and a searchable glossary of new vocabulary to help new traders get started.
  • FXTM also offer videos covering analysis topics and advanced chart reading techniques for experienced traders.
  • FXTM are one of the few brokers with weekend support, allowing new traders to get set up outside of the working week.
Pros
  • Good for beginners
  • Excellent education
  • Well regulated
  • Low minimum deposit
Cons
  • Expensive withdrawals
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.50 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage Flexible. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. Leverage offered can vary depending on country of residence, and your trading knowledge and experience. FXTM is regulated by CySEC, FCA, FSCA, and the FSC.

IronFX – Best Account Options

Founded in 2010, IronFX has been regulated by the FSCA since 2014 and offers trading on commodities, indices, metals, futures, shares, and over 80 Forex pairs, a larger range than is typically seen at other brokers. Also well-regulated internationally, IronFX has both instant and market execution accounts, offers the MT4 trading platform and award-winning education and research material.

IRONFX FEATURES

  •  

Five accounts with both instant and market execution options

  • Leverage of up to 1:1000.
  • Instant execution accounts have a low minimum deposit of just 50 USD.
  • Educational videos on strategy, market analysis, social trading, cryptocurrency trading and trading psychology.
  • Daily market analysis

 

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Tight spreads
  • Wide range of assets
Cons
  • Expensive withdrawals
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.2 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 500:1. Islamic account available. Only MT4 platform supported. IronFX is regulated by CySEC, FCA, ASIC, and the FSCA - FSP:45276.

XM – South African Broker with the Lowest Spreads

Founded in 2009, XM is one of the most well-regulated brokers in the Forex industry and offers CFD trading on Forex, stock CFDs, commodities, equities, precious metals, energies, and shares. XM are well known for its low trading fees, wide account choice, ZAR accounts, execution speed and a wide range of CFD assets available on both the MT4 and MT5 platforms. Hedging, scalping and algorithmic trading are all permitted.

XM FEATURES

  • ZAR Accounts for South African traders, no conversion fees from a ZAR bank account
  • Both MT4 and the MT5 trading platforms are supported
  • The XM Ultra-Low account: A minimum deposit of 50 USD and spreads start at 0.6 pips with no commission.
  • All accounts have a no-requotes execution policy and 99.35% of XM orders are executed in less than one second.
Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Excellent education
  • Wide range of assets
  • Fast and free withdrawals
Cons
  • Dealing desk
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.60 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 500:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. XM Group regulated by CySEC, ASIC, and the IFSC.

HotForex – Highest Leverage for Market Execution

Founded in 2009 and headquartered in Cyprus, HotForex is the global brand name of HF Markets Group. Regulated by the FCA, CySEC and the FSCA, HotForex provides trading on Forex, commodities, indices, shares, bonds, and ETFs – though it recently stopped offering crypto CFDs. With No-Dealing Desk STP execution for all trades, client’s trades are posted directly to the market, and leverage is available up to 1000:1 on the Micro Account where the minimum deposit is 70 ZAR.

HOTFOREX FEATURES

  • FSCA regulation and low-cost ZAR Accounts
  • Tight spreads, starting at 1 pip on the Micro Account.
  • Detailed market analysis for beginners and professionals, including daily market news, trade analysis, and outlooks.
  • Customer support available 24/5 from a toll-free local phone number to assist.
Pros
  • Low minimum deposit
  • Tight spreads
  • Well regulated
  • Good range of accounts
Cons
  • Limited base currencies
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 1000:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. HF Markets Group regulated by the FSCA, FCA, FSC, CySEC and the DFSA.

FBS – Highest Leverage MT4 Account

Founded in 2009, FBS is a well-regulated hybrid STP/ECN broker offering trading on Forex, commodities, cryptocurrencies, metals, and equities on the MT4 platform.  With five live accounts and a minimum deposit of 1 USD on its smallest account, clients can access leverage of up to 3000:1.  FBS also allows all trading strategies on the MT4 platform, including hedging, scalping, and copy trading. 

FBS FEATURES

  • Three commission-free MT4 accounts, a Zero Spread account, and an ECN Account.
  • Low minimum deposits for beginner traders; spreads between 0.5 pips and 3 pips on the EUR/USD. 
  • ECN and Zero Spread accounts for professional traders, with spreads starting at 1 pip and 0 pips + commission
Pros
  • Tight spreads
  • Low minimum deposit
  • Excellent education
  • Excellent market analysis
Cons
  • Limited range of assets
  • Extreme leverage
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 4 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 3000:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. FBS is regulated by CySEC, ASIC, FSCA, and the IFSC.

Exness – Best Trading Account Conditions for Beginners

Founded in Russia in 2008, Exness Group has over 200,000 clients worldwide and offers trading on 100+ Forex pairs, a small range of cryptocurrencies, 70+ stock CFDs, indices and commodities. Exness has nine account types on the MT4 and MT5 platforms – many more than most brokers.  The Standard Cent Account is aimed at beginners who want low fees and a low minimum deposit with a 1 USD minimum deposit, micro-lots unlocked, and spreads as low as 0.3 pips. The only disadvantages to this account are that traders will only be able to trade currency and metals and MT5 is not supported. 

EXNESS FEATURES

  • Nine accounts on the MT4 and MT5 trading platforms
  • ZAR Accounts for South African traders, no conversions fees from Rand bank accounts
  • ECN Accounts for experienced traders with raw spreads and 7 USD commission
  • Automated instant withdrawal system, with free withdrawals to e-wallets.
  • 24/7 customer service
Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Tight spreads
  • Wide range of assets
  • 24/7 customer service
Cons
  • Limited education
  • Limited market analysis
  • Unavailable in Europe
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.70 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 2000:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. Exness is regulated by CySEC, FCA, and the FSC.

CM Trading – Largest South African Broker by Client Volume

Founded in 2012 in Sandton and now with over 1 million clients worldwide, CM Trading is the largest South African broker and offers trading on Forex, indices, cryptocurrencies, commodities, oil, and metals. A. minimum deposit of 250 USD, negative balance protection, personalised customer service, and fixed spreads on a range of assets with EURUSD spreads from 1.5 pips.

CM TRADING FEATURES

  • FSCA-regulated since 2012
  • 6 account types on MT4 and Sirix Webtrader
  • CopyKat copy trading system
  • Guardian Angel automated feedback tool to optimise strategy and prevent errors
Pros
  • Good for beginners
  • Great customer support
  • Copy trading accounts
Cons
  • Expensive withdrawals
  • Local regulation only
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.5 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 200:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & Sirix platforms supported. CM Trading is regulated by the FSCA.

Axi – Best ECN broker on MT4

Founded in Australia in 2007, Axi is an ECN broker offering trading on Forex, metals, commodities, cryptocurrencies, and indices – a smaller group of assets than most brokers but with a good selection of 70+ Forex pairs. Axi only provides support for the MT4 trading platform, but with the MT4 NexGen plugin it has the best ECN MT4 trading experience. The MT4 NexGen plugin includes an advanced sentiment indicator, a correlation trader, a more intuitive terminal window, and an automated trade journal.

AXI FEATURES

  • ECN trading conditions, 20 liquidity providers so less slippage and requotes
  • Pro Account with spreads starting at 0 pips and 7 USD per lot commission
  • Max Leverage of 1:500
  • Trading tools include Autochartist, Pysquation (an AI trade diagnostic) and VPS hosting
Pros
  • Low minimum deposit
  • Wide range of assets
  • Well regulated
  • Tight spreads
Cons
  • Poor customer service
  • Limited demo account
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.20 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 500:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. Axi Group is regulated by the FCA, ASIC and the DFSA.

BDSwiss – Best Market Research Provider

Founded in 2012, BDSwiss is a European CFD broker offering trading on multiple instruments, including Forex, commodities, shares, indices, and over 26 cryptocurrencies, a much wider range than is available at other brokers.  

Winner of the Award for Best Market Research Provider of 2020, BDSwiss is recognised for its financial commentary, and BDSwiss’ clients benefit from detailed and accurate market analysis for traders of all experience levels. The financial commentary at BDSwiss helps traders make better decisions and it also offers structured Forex education for traders of all experience levels, with free webinars and a library of all its educational videos. 

BDSWISS FEATURES

  • Account types for both beginners and more experienced traders, including a Raw Account with spreads down to 0 pips.
  • Fast execution speeds, with 97.5% of all trades executed in less than 0.2 seconds.
  • Accounts are available on both MT4 and MT5 trading platform 
  • Also available: The BDSwiss webtrader with an intuitive and user-friendly trading interface.
Pros
  • Tight spreads
  • Good for beginners
  • Wide range of assets
Cons
  • Expensive withdrawals
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 1.50 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage 500:1. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. BDSwiss is regulated by CySEC, BaFin, the FSC, and the FSA-Seychelles.

Plus 500 – Unlimited Demo Account

Founded in 2008, Plus500 is a well-regulated and publicly listed market maker with FSCA-regulation and ZAR trading accounts.  It offers trading on 70+ Forex pairs, cryptocurrencies, indices, commodities, shares, options, and ETFs.

The Plus500 demo account is unlimited, meaning it will never expire and is available using the mobile app and the web browser. Mobile trading apps are often poor compared to desktop trading platforms but the Plus500 app has the same functionality as the web platform, meaning traders can use the app’s advanced order types, sentiment indicators and price alerts on the move.

PLUS500 FEATURES

  • FSCA Regulation and ZAR Accounts, no conversion fees from Rand bank accounts
  • A fixed 0.8 pip spread* on the EUR/USD and no commission.
  • Deposits and withdrawals are free, and there are zero fees for rolling over your position.
  • Customer service team is available 24/7 via WhatsApp and Live Chat.
    *spread correct as of 17:40 on 02/09/21
Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Wide range of assets
Cons
  • Limited education
  • Limited account options
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Plus500 does not publish their spreads, and thus a cost of trading can not be established. Max leverage 30:1. Islamic account available. Only Plus500 proprietary trading platform supported. Plus500 is regulated by FCA, CySEC, ASIC, and MAS.All information presented is verified as of the date of the review.Most retail CFD accounts lose money. Your capital is at risk.

How to Compare Forex Brokers

Though Forex brokers might appear to be similar, they are quite different once you dig a little deeper. To make an effective comparison, our research team judges every Forex broker by the same standards:

If you have any questions after reading through this guide, please get in touch with us in the comments at the bottom of the page or via our contact page.

Forex Broker Fees and Trading Costs

Forex brokers always charge fees for their services. The most obvious fee is the spread (the difference between the buy and sell price of a Forex pair) and some brokers also charge a commission per trade. But brokers also charge rollover fees, and some charge deposit and withdrawal fees. Finally, there is also the minimum deposit to consider. To find out your trading costs you will need a clear understanding of these fees.

Spreads

The spread is the difference between the buy and sell price of a currency pair and is measured in pips (the smallest amount by which a currency can change). The lower (or “tighter”) the spread, the less of your own money you will be spending when you trade.

Brokers with wide spreads or unpublished spreads are marked down in our reviews. Good brokers will publish their spreads for all the currency pairs they offer. When researching a broker, be sure that they publish their spreads and that the spreads are “tight” for the currency pairs you want to trade. If you find a broker that does not publish its spreads you should be cautious.

Some brokers have fixed spreads, meaning that they never change. Other brokers will have floating spreads which means that they can get lower or higher (“tighter” or “wider”), depending on market movements.

Commission

Some brokers may also charge a trading commission in addition to the spread. Brokers that charge a commission are known as ECN brokers; they provide “direct market access” and will have tighter floating spreads down to 0 pips. Commission varies between brokers, but the cost is usually between 4 USD – 7 USD per 100,000 USD traded.

ECN brokers who charge more than 7 USD total commission and have average spreads over 0.3 pips should be avoided and we mark them down in our reviews.

Some brokers will offer both standard accounts (with no commission and a wider spread) and ECN accounts (with a commission and a tight spread). If you decide to trade with an ECN account, you will want a low commission and an average spread close to 0 pips.

Rollover Fees

The rollover fee is a small fee charged by brokers for holding a trading position overnight. It is usually charged at 17:00 EST (New York time). This fee is based on the interbank interest rate for each currency in a currency pair. Sometimes these interest rates can work in your favour and you will gain interest on your position rather than be charged by the broker.

All brokers will charge rollover fees. This fee can only be avoided by opening and closing your trades on the same day.

Deposit and Withdrawal Fees

Better brokers will charge no fees for deposits and withdrawals, and the worst brokers will have very high fees and delayed payouts. Brokers that charge high fees or take a long time to process withdrawals are marked down in our reviews. When you are looking for a new broker, always make sure to check the fees for deposits and withdrawals for your preferred payment method. Just because a broker charges fees does not mean that they are bad, but it is always something to be aware of.

Most brokers will charge no fees for transactions via online payment systems like Skrill, Neteller or Ozow. Credit and debit card transactions are also often free, but bank wires will usually be charged by your bank for both deposits and withdrawals. Some brokers will charge a percentage of the deposit or withdrawal, which can get expensive if you make large deposits and withdrawals.

Minimum Deposit

Most brokers will require a minimum deposit to open a trading account. For some brokers this will be R70, for others, it may be R1500 or even R3000.  Larger deposits usually unlock improved trading conditions and other perks. We do not mark down brokers for having accounts with higher minimum deposits, but we do think it is important for beginner traders to have an account that is not too expensive to open. 

What level of minimum deposit you are comfortable with depends on your financial situation.  But, brokers who expect beginner traders to spend a lot of money to open an account are being unfair.

Broker Trading Conditions

Forex brokers all have different trading conditions and they will affect your trading experience and trading costs.

Apart from the spread, there are several other important trading conditions to consider. One of the most important is the leverage offered by a Forex broker. Other trading conditions are a broker’s execution method and execution speed, the base currency of your trading account, what assets are available to trade and whether scalping and hedging are allowed.

Leverage

Leverage is money borrowed from your Forex broker to increase the size of a Forex trade. Leverage is essential in Forex trading because the movements of the market are too small to make a decent profit unless you place thousands of dollars on each trade. Brokers will always advertise the maximum leverage they offer in a ratio format, such as 30:1, 100:1, 300:1, etc. The maximum leverage varies between brokers.

Leverage can be used to make large profits with little of your own money, but you can also quickly lose more than your original investment. If the trader opened a position with 10 USD and 300:1 leverage, the traders would borrow 300 times their capital from the broker making the actual trading capital in the trade 3000 USD.

As leverage is borrowed money, the trader is responsible for the full amount of your trade. Should the trader be unable to cover the losses, the broker will use trading account funds to settle the debt. If this is still not enough to cover your losses, you may end up owing your Forex broker money, unless they offer negative balance protection

When comparing brokers, you want to see that they offer enough leverage to make Forex trading profitable. In South Africa there are no restrictions on leverage and negative balance protection is not required. Always check that your broker as provide negative balance protection before you start trading.

Execution Speed and Execution Method

Execution speed is how fast a broker will open your trade and is linked to a broker’s execution method. We do not mark brokers down in our reviews for their execution method, but we will always mention it as we know that some traders have a strong preference.

Market maker brokers will offer instant execution, thus preventing changes in price while your trade order is processed (slippage) or the rejection and return of your trade order (requotes). When you trade with a market maker broker, they do not place your trade on the Forex market, but instead, act as counterparty to your trade. While there is a conflict of interest in this business model, because when a trader loses the broker profits, most market makers take their prices from the large banks and regulation prevents them from manipulating market data.

Brokers who offer market execution are either ECN brokers or STP brokers. ECN brokers operate as a hub for a network of liquidity providers and will automatically find the best price for your trade from the members of their network. STP brokers have more control over which liquidity provider to use and generally have faster execution speeds. Some market execution brokers are hybrid ECN/STP brokers.

Base Currencies

A broker will let traders choose the base currency with money will be held in. The most common base currency is the US Dollar (USD). The majority of brokers will also offer Euro (EUR) or Pound Sterling (GBP) accounts and in South Africa, many brokers offer Rand (ZAR) as a base currency. We do not mark brokers down in our reviews for not having ZAR accounts, but it is something we will highlight as we know how important it is for South African traders.

The advantages of having ZAR as base currency in South Africa are:

  • Traders will not have to pay any broker conversion fees when sending money from your local account.
  • Traders will not have to pay any conversion fees that your bank or credit card may charge when making a fund transfer or withdrawal.
  • Brokers with ZAR accounts will most likely use South African bank accounts, so withdrawals and deposits are much faster and often happen instantly.

Trading Assets

Better Forex brokers will offer 50+ currency pairs to trade. Many Forex brokers are also multi-asset brokers, especially the larger ones, which means that you can also trade other financial instruments such as cryptocurrencies, equities, commodities, precious metals, indices, and bonds. Brokers that have fewer currency pairs to trade will be marked down in our reviews. We also mark down brokers who do not offer at least a few other financial instruments to trade.

Hedging and Scalping

Not all Forex brokers allow scalping. A Forex scalping strategy is where a trader seeks to profit from rapid price changes in a short period. 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. 

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

Broker Regulation

Broker regulation keeps your money safe. It protects Forex traders from broker fraud, broker dishonesty, and broker bankruptcy.Simply put, you must trade with a regulated broker.

Regulators ensure that brokers abide by the law and don’t cheat their clients. They ensure that brokers keep company money and trader’s money in separate accounts. They also ensure that brokers have enough money to keep going even if they make heavy losses.

Some traders believe that unregulated brokers are rare, but this is not the case. Unregulated brokers will often claim to be regulated, so you should always check.

Checking if a broker is regulated is easy and only takes a couple of minutes (and could save you a lot of money and heartache!) Once you are finished reading this section you will be able to check if a broker is licensed with all the following regulators:

We have a separate article which will guide you in verifying broker regulation

Broker Customer Support

Better Forex brokers have customer support available 24 hours a day (Monday-Friday) via live chat, telephone, messaging services and email. It is also important that a broker has great IT support, as setting up a trading platform can be tricky for new traders.

Some South African brokers have local customer support teams who can assist in Xhosa, Zulu, and Afrikaans, but aside from local customer support, we also highly rate brokers that offer 24-hour support and weekend support.

Forex Trading Platforms

Brokers will always offer you a trading platform to access the Forex market. While a select few brokers have proprietary software unique to their brokerage, many use independent trading programs like MT4MT5 or cTrader. We know that Forex traders value choice and brokers with a range of platforms will be rated higher in our reviews.

If you are a beginner seeking to learn more about platform options, we have put together a guide to the best Forex trading platforms 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 app for IOS and Android.

Brokers for Beginners

Some brokers are better than others for beginners. The best brokers for beginners will have clear and practical educational material, insightful market analysis and top-notch customer support. Some brokers will also offer one-on-one training, live webinars and real-world seminars.

Demo Accounts

All brokers will offer a demo account. It is important for beginner Forex traders to have a demo account that will not expire, so you can be completely comfortable with the market and the trading platform before you start trading with your own money.

Swap-Free (Islamic) Accounts

Islamic accounts, or swap-free accounts, are an optional trading account type that allows Forex traders to be compliant with the principles of Sharia law. In Sharia law, interest is prohibited, so swap-free accounts do not pay or earn overnight interest (rollover fees) on open positions.

Managed Accounts

Some brokers will operate a managed account for you, but this 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.

FAQs

What is the best Forex broker in South Africa?

The best brokers in South Africa are AvaTrade, FXTM and BlackStone Futures. AvaTrade is a great all-round broker with low fees and tight spreads. FXTM is trusted by thousands of traders across Africa and has a great range of account types. BlackStone Futures is the best local broker, with great customer support and education for new traders.

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.

Which is the best Forex brokers for beginners?

The Forex broker for beginners is XTB.  Customer service is available 24/7 with both one-on-one mentoring and dedicated account managers provided for new traders. Educational material is excellent and is presented via XTB’s Trading Academy, which is both well-structured and clear. Finally, minimum deposit requirements are low, and spreads are tight.

How do you trade Forex in South Africa?

To trade Forex in South Africa you will need a trustworthy Forex broker, which you can find here at TradeForexSA. Before you start trading, you should open a demo account with the broker so you can gain experience with the Forex market and with the broker’s trading platform. Once you have gained enough experience you will need to deposit funds with the broker via bank transfer or a payment system like Ozow or Neteller. Once your live account is funded, you will be able to start trading.

Is Forex trading legal in South Africa?

Yes, Forex trading is legal in South Africa and you can trade with any Forex broker in the world.

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 funds 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.

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.

This 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.

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. Most brokers will also accept Neteller or Skrill, which are favoured by many traders because deposits and withdrawals are instant and usually free.

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, and PayPal in addition to standard 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.

How can I report scam brokers?

If you believe you have been scammed by your broker, the first thing to do is warn others and tell your story.  We have a report a scam broker form which we use to gather information so that we get the word out.  If you have been scammed, please complete the form.

Forex Risk Disclaimer

Trading Forex and CFDs is not suitable for all investors as it carries a high degree of risk to your capital: 75-90% of retail investors lose money trading these products. 

Forex and CFD transactions involve high risk due to the following factors: Over-leveraging, unpredictable market volatility, slippage arising from a lack of liquidity, inadequate trading knowledge or experience, and a lack of regulatory protection for clients.

Traders should not deposit any money that is not disposable. Regardless of how much research you have done, or how confident you are in your trade, there is always a substantial risk of loss. (Learn more from the FCA or from ASIC)

Our Rating & Review Methodology

Our State of the Market Report and Broker Directory are the result of extensive research on over 100 Forex brokers. The explicit goal of these resources is to help traders find the best Forex brokers – and steer them away from the worst ones – with the benefit of accurate and up-to-date information.

With over 150 data points on each broker and over 3000 hours of research and review writing, we believe we have succeeded in our goal. 

In a world where trading conditions and customer support can vary based on where you live, our broker reviews focus on the local trader and give you information about these brokers from your perspective.

All research has been conducted by our in-house team of researchers and writers, gathering information from various company representatives, websites and by sifting through the fine print. Learn more about how we rank brokers

References

These documents were used in the inspiration, research and data collection for this article.

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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.

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