By Chris Cammack Author Information Updated: June 25, 2020

Since 2011, the cTrader platform has grown to become one of the most popular platforms in the world and is supported by most ECN Forex brokers. Because cTrader is a market-execution only platform, brokers will not charge a fee in the spread and will always charge a commission on trades.

Here are the best cTrader brokers in South Africa.

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cTrader Platforms

cTrader offers three versions of its trading platform and while the same indicators, objects, layouts and themes are present across all three versions, there are minor changes to functionality:

cTrader Download: The desktop version is the most feature-complete version of cTrader, download the application for any Windows PC or laptop. Unfortunately, for Mac users, there is no native application and you will have to rely on cTrader Web or create a system partition to run Windows applications. It’s important to note that cTrader Copy will only run in the Web version,

cTrader Web: The cTrader Web version is almost as feature-complete as the desktop version except for a few changes. Charts are locked, so they cannot move up and down and cTrader Automate is unavailable.

cTrader Mobile: Available on iOS and Android, the cTrader mobile app is perfect for traders on the go and has 26 timeframes and over 50 indicators available. Charts have been redesigned for mobile with features such as pinch-to-zoom, fling to scroll forward or backwards, and double-tap to re-centre.

What is cTrader?

Before we launch into a discussion of cTrader, I want to mention a little-known fact: 35% more cTrader users are profitable compared to the industry average. This amazing statistic comes from Spotware’s internal calculations and highlights why cTrader has become MetaTrader’s main competitor. But what is it about cTrader that makes traders more profitable?

How is cTrader different?

Unlike MetaTrader and most other broker-owned platforms, cTrader only functions as an ECN (Electronic Communication Network) platform. This means that it will only connect traders direct to the global Forex market and won’t allow for any dealing desk intervention, whether automated or not. This is because all the infrastructure behind cTrader is managed by Spotware themselves and the interface you download from your broker, is just that, an interface. The broker can alter commission and spreads, but the price feed and market data cannot be modified.

It’s important to note that because cTrader is an ECN only platform, traders will invariably have to pay a commission on their trades when using it. Because cTrader posts trades to market, brokers do not have an opportunity to charge a fee in the spread and will always charge a commission instead for their service.

Because cTrader’s infrastructure is managed by Spotware, the cTrader ID you receive when you first log in to the application will never change. This is especially useful as you won’t have to remember new passwords or account numbers, even if you change brokers.

cTrader is also offered to brokers on a platform-as-a-service basis and brokers pay Spotware based on volume traded, meaning that the more traders succeed with cTrader, the more Spotware profits. The result is that Spotware has a real incentive to provide traders with the best chance to trade profitably.

These differences are all enshrined in Spotware’s founding motto: Trader’s First. This guiding mindset has led Spotware to not only ensure that cTrader is an intervention-free platform but also forced them to make transparency and community focus an integral part of cTrader’s business model.

cTrader Forum

The cTrader forum is a place for all cTrader users to post suggestions to the developers for new features for the platform, get support from the community and stay on top of any product announcements and other news. Spotware continuously improves the cTrader with enhancements stemming mostly from community feedback, this regular interaction with traders results in several platform updates and upgrades a year.

cTrader ID Site

The cTrader ID Site is a personalised toolbox for anyone holding a cTrader ID and provides traders with several tools to control their accounts and connect to other traders, apps, and resources.

Standout features include:

  • Credential management: traders can view a list of demo and live trading accounts they own with each broker under the same cTrader ID.
  • Push Notifications: Traders can alter email and mobile push notifications regarding changes and events on their trading accounts.
  • Security: Allows traders to view and revoke active sessions and control which devices are authorised to use cTrader.

cTrader vs MT4

Advocates of cTrader will tell you that it is more beginner-friendly than MT4 and offers high-speed execution with a cleaner user interface. Those who have used both platforms will probably agree with this statement, but in the interest of balance, here are some of the main advantages and disadvantages

cTrader Advantages

  • Your platform needn’t be open and connected to your broker to keep a trailing stop loss functioning like with MT4.
  • The ‘Depth of Market’ function is easier to use (colour-coded and different profiles available) than MT4’s.
  • cTrader has several features that make the platform more user-friendly than MT4. For example, on the right side the chart there is a distance scale in pips (e.g. 50 pips). This is useful for beginners because it gives them an idea of what 50 pips looks like without having to use the crosshair tool to take measurements.
  • cTrader’s data sets (for backtesting trading robots) are more complete than MT4’s and support real tick data backtesting. MT4 often doesn’t have real tick data available.
  • cTrader’s crosshair tool measures pips while MT4 measures points. This makes it easier to make measurements, especially for a beginner. If you measure 50 pips with cTrader, you see 50. If you measure with MT4, you see 500.
  • cTrader has a built-in copy trading feature.
  • cTrader has a FIX API and its coding language is more versatile than MQL4. The FIX API allows for total portfolio management with a trading bot. For example, a trader could perform cross-instrument trading with a statistical arbitrage robot. This type of trading is not possible with MT4 because each EA only performs calculations on one chart window at a time.

cTrader Disadvantages

  • The minimum lot sizing on some stock index CFDs (e.g. GER30) are inconsistent with forex pairs and some other stock indices.
  • Frequent updates can cause delays when you open the platform, this can be problem if you need to manage a position urgently from your desktop.
  • The MT4 community is much larger than that of cTrader. On the MT4 platform, you can access thousands of EAs and online forums have much more information

Should I choose cTrader?

cTrader is a welcome alternative for traders who want a cross-broker trading platform, that has a reputation for transparency, rapid product development and high-speed trade execution.

With clear improvements in trade management and visual aesthetics in comparison to MetaTrader 4, traders who trade with cTrader tend to stick with the choice.

Because cTrader does not support market maker brokers, it will never be an industry standard, but for those willing to pay commission on trades it is a great platform choice.

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 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

Resources

These were the sources we used at time of writing to complete 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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