By Jeffrey Cammack Author Information Updated: June 25, 2020

ECN stands for Electronic Communication Network, and ECN Forex brokers use this network to give traders direct access to other participants in currency markets via the lighting-fast FIX protocol. Because they provide direct access to the market, ECN Brokers have tighter spreads and operate without the inherent conflict of interest that exists with traditional brokers.

These are the best ECN Forex brokers in South Africa, compared by trust, reputation, platform support and trading conditions.

Trading Experience Open/Close
Trading Conditions Open/Close
Account Sizes Open/Close
Trading Platforms Open/Close
Regulators Open/Close
Trading Tools Open/Close
12 matches
Filter Sort by:
Trading Experience Open/Close
Trading Conditions Open/Close
Account Sizes Open/Close
Trading Platforms Open/Close
Regulators Open/Close
Trading Tools Open/Close
  • Broker
    Axitrader

    Axitrader  - Best ECN Broker

    REGULATED BY
    FCA FCA
    ASIC ASIC
    DFSA DFSA
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110.5
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 5
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    Built by traders, for traders, AxiTrader is an ASIC and FCA regulated ECN broker for the serious trader, where traders execute their positions directly on the markets without any broker interference.

    While the trading platform choice is limited to MT4, AxitTader has received strong industry recognition for their setup including Best MT4 Broker 2018 (Compare Forex Brokers Australia) and Best MT4 Provider 2018 (UK Forex Awards).

    Joining AxiTrader requires a $5 minimum deposit which gives you a strong MT4 setup and an ECN account.  This combination only highlights further that they are built by traders, for traders.

    Pros

    • Low minimum deposit
    • Wide range of assets
    • Well regulated
    • Tight spreads

    Cons

    • Poor customer service
    • Limited demo account
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    MT4 Pro Account 0.1 pips $7 Market USD 5 Account Details
    MT4 Standard Account 1.0 pips None Market USD 5 Account Details
  • Broker
    FXTM

    FXTM  - Best Trading Platforms

    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FCA FCA
    FSCA FSCA
    FSC FSC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    1110.50
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 10
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    FXTM is regulated by the FCA, CySEC and the FSCA in South Africa and the educational material offered is first-class. By keeping the focus on beginners looking for reasonable trading conditions, the FXTM team of educators and analysts have succeeded in creating a welcoming environment for new traders. Additionally, FXTM are one of the few brokers with 24/7 support, allowing new traders to get set up on weekends or holidays.

    For the absolute beginner, FXTM has a great deal of training material to help new traders get started. Materials include articles, videos, webinars and a searchable glossary of new vocabulary. This is an excellent resource and many hours can be spent covering the basics of Forex Trading. There is an additional set of videos that cover analysis topics, and more detail on chart reading techniques.

    FXTM has an open “Daily Market Analysis” section on their website where research analysts post bulletins that connect daily news items with analysis and actionable trading ideas. This can be combined with other sources to achieve a more comprehensive view of global events and the trading opportunities they represent.

    The Standard Account has a minimum deposit of 100 USD and spreads start at 1.3 pips. FXTM also offers a Cent Account where the minimum deposit if only 10 USD but the spreads will be wider. If you can afford it, I would recommend starting with the Standard Account.

    Pros

    • Good for beginners
    • Excellent education
    • Well regulated
    • Low minimum deposit

    Cons

    • Expensive withdrawals
    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
  • Broker
    FP Markets

    FP Markets  - Best Trading Conditions

    REGULATED BY
    ASIC ASIC
    CySEC CySEC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110.5
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 100
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    FP Markets is an ASIC-regulated, STP broker with simple account options and an exciting set of tools for traders with higher minimum deposits. Spreads are tight, even on the Standard Account, and the lack of dealing desk intervention for all accounts removes any concern over conflict of interest.

    Trader education and market analysis are slightly weaker than other brokers, but the material presented is well-structured and useful. Overall, FP Markets is an excellent choice for beginner and more experienced traders alike.

    Pros

    • Well regulated
    • Tight spreads
    • Good range of accounts
    • Great customer support

    Cons

    • Expensive withdrawals
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Standard IRESS N/A pips $10 AUD min, then 0.1% STP USD 1,000 Account Details
    Platinum IRESS N/A pips $9 AUD min, then 0.09% STP USD 25,000 Account Details
    Premier IRESS N/A pips No min, then 0.08% STP USD 50,000 Account Details
    RAW 0.0 pips $3.50 STP USD 100 Account Details
    Standard 1.0 pips None STP USD 100 Account Details
  • Broker
    IC Markets

    IC Markets  - Best Overall Broker

    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    ASIC ASIC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110.5
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 200
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    A hugely respected ECN broker, IC Markets has invested heavily to provide traders with the lowest spreads and fastest execution speeds possible - and has seen huge success as a result. ASIC and CySEC regulated and with support for MT4, MT5 and cTrader, this broker is serious about providing the best possible trading environment for its client base. 

    Headquartered in downtown Sydney, IC Markets represents the best of the Australian Forex industry; beginner traders will welcome IC Markets' simple account structure and responsive and informed customer service; the company understands customer retention involves a combination of tight spreads, cutting edge technology, fast trade execution and specialised support. 

    Pros

    • Well regulated
    • Tight spreads
    • Wide range of assets
    • Great platform choice

    Cons

    • High minimum deposit
    • Limited market analysis
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    RAW - cTrader 0.0 pips $3.00 Market USD 200 Account Details
    RAW - MetaTrader 0.0 pips $3.50 Market USD 200 Account Details
    Standard - MetaTrader 1.0 pips None Market USD 200 Account Details
  • Broker
    IronFX

    IronFX  - Most Trusted Broker

    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FCA FCA
    ASIC ASIC
    FSCA FSCA
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110.5
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 100
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    IronFX, a brand of Notesco, was founded in 2010 with the goal of creating a trading company bringing together customized trading functionality, the widest suite of trading products, the best pricing, execution and liquidity.

    Regulated incomparably better than most brokerages including the ASIC, the FCA, CySEC and the FSCA, and offices in over 50 countries around the world and 30 languages spoken by customer service, IronFX has taken their product offering to a global audience.

    Pros

    • Well regulated
    • Tight spreads
    • Wide range of assets

    Cons

    • Expensive withdrawals
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Live Fixed Spread 2.2 pips None Instant USD 100 Account Details
    Live Floating Spread 1.1 pips None Instant USD 100 Account Details
    Live Zero Spread 0.0 pips $18 Instant USD 500 Account Details
    STP/ECN No Commission 1.7 pips None ECN/STP USD 500 Account Details
    STP/ECN Zero Spread 0.0 pips $7.50 ECN/STP USD 500 Account Details
  • Broker
    Vantage FX

    Vantage FX  - Most Assets Available

    REGULATED BY
    FCA FCA
    ASIC ASIC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    110.500
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 200
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    A well-respected broker, VantageFX is regulated by the FCA and ASIC - both of which are tier 1 regulatory organizations.  With ECN/DMA trade execution on all accounts, tight spreads and support for MT4 and MT5, and a healthy welcome bonus, VantageFX is a great place for the serious beginner.  Customer service is available 24/5 and withdrawals are fast and free of charge, rounding off what we consider to be a solid trading experience.

    Pros

    • Well regulated
    • Tight spreads
    • Fast and free withdrawals
    • Great platform choice

    Cons

    • High minimum deposit
    • Limited education
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Standard 1.4 pips None Market USD 200 Account Details
    Raw 0.0 pips 6 USD / Lot Market USD 500 Account Details
    Pro 0.0 pips 4 USD / Lot Market USD 20000 Account Details
  • REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    B.V.I FSC B.V.I FSC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11000
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 150
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    InstaForex is an award-winning broker offering good trading conditions with both market and instant execution across five different account types. With three market execution accounts, one of which is specifically built for scalping, two instant execution accounts with no minimum deposit, and a copy-trading service, InstaForex will appeal to a wide range of traders.

    The market analysis and education sections feature regularly updated content for traders of all experience levels and MT4 is fully supported via download and webtrader.

    Pros

    • Wide range of assets
    • Copy trading accounts

    Cons

    • Limited market analysis
    • Limited education
    • Wide spreads
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Cent.Eurica pips 0.03%-0.07% Instant USD 5 Account Details
    Cent.Standard 3 pips None Instant USD 5 Account Details
    Insta.Eurica pips 0.03%-0.07% Instant USD 5 Account Details
    Insta.Standard 3 pips None Instant USD 5 Account Details
    Islamic pips None Instant USD 5 Account Details
  • Broker
    OctaFX

    OctaFX  - Best Trading Conditions

    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 50
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    OctaFX is a CySEC regulated STP/ECN broker founded in 2011 that will appeal to all Forex traders, both beginners and professionals.  They have an excellent analytical section and offer a range of useful trading tools such as AutoChartist, copy trading and an account monitoring service so you can learn anonymously from other successful traders.

    Trader education for beginners is well-presented and a generous bonus scheme exists for new deposits; platform support is almost unbeatable, with MT4, MT5 and cTrader all offered - but platforms are linked to account type and trading conditions.

    Pros

    • Great platform choice
    • Fast and free withdrawals
    • Copy trading accounts

    Cons

    • Limited education
    • Restrictive account types
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    cTrader ECN 0.0 pips $3.00 Market USD 100 Account Details
    MT4 Micro 0.4 pips None Market USD 100 Account Details
    MT5 Pro 0.2 pips None Market USD 500 Account Details
  • Broker
    ThinkMarkets

    ThinkMarkets  - Best Trading Platforms

    REGULATED BY
    FSCA FSCA
    FCA FCA
    ASIC ASIC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11100
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 5
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    ThinkMarkets is a very well-regulated international broker which has been operating in South Africa since 2017. It offers support for MT4, MT5 and its own ThinkTrader platform on two account types: One with a very low minimum deposit and the other a commission-based ECN account for more experienced traders.

    Education is well-structured and useful for beginners, though market analysis is poor and sometimes left to in-platform third parties. Customer support is excellent and provided locally and execution times are world-class, perfect for automated trading.

    Pros

    • Low minimum deposit
    • Well regulated
    • Great platform choice

    Cons

    • Limited market analysis
    • Non-transparent spreads
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Standard 0.4 pips None Market USD 5 Account Details
    ThinkZero 0.0 pips 7 USD Market USD 500 Account Details
  • Broker
    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    IFSC IFSC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 1
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    FBS offers tight spreads, a simple account structure and support for both iterations of MetaTrader; education and market analysis are both excellent and 24/7 customer service is always welcome for beginner traders.

    The trading conditions on the Cent Account are exceptional for such a low minimum deposit and should ensure a steady influx of new traders, other accounts are equally impressive - with negative spreads on the ECN account for instance.

    Pros

    • Tight spreads
    • Low minimum deposit
    • Excellent education
    • Excellent market analysis

    Cons

    • Limited range of assets
    • Extreme leverage
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Cent 1.0 pips None STP USD 1 Account Details
    Islamic 0.0 pips None STP USD 1 Account Details
    Micro 3.0 pips None STP USD 5 Account Details
    Standard 0.5 pips None STP USD 100 Account Details
    Zero Spread 0.0 pips $20 STP USD 500 Account Details
    ECN 0.0 pips $6 ECN USD 1000 Account Details
  • Broker
    Capital Index

    Capital Index  - Best Trading Conditions

    REGULATED BY
    FCA FCA
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110.5
    Minimum Deposit
    GBP 100
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    Capital Index is a pure-STP broker, founded in London in 2014 by industry veterans who wanted to create a broker for serious traders. It quickly started winning awards, including STP/ECN broker of the year, and has grown substantially ever since.

    Capital Index has taken a simple approach, with decent spreads across three account types, FCA regulation and MT4 support rounding out a solid offering aimed at experienced traders looking for a no-frills approach.

    Pros

    • Tight spreads
    • Fast and free withdrawals
    • Wide range of assets

    Cons

    • Limited platform choice
    • Limited education
    • No swap-free account option
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Advanced Account 1.4 pips None STP USD 100 Account Details
    Copy Trading 1.4 pips None STP USD 500 Account Details
    Pro Account 1.0 pips None STP USD 5000 Account Details
  • REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FSC FSC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    1110.50
    Minimum Deposit
    USD 500
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    Triomarkets is a respected ECN/STP broker for the serious beginner or experienced trader. Offering tight spreads for larger depositors, and both raw and commission-free account types, TrioMarkets continues to maintain a devoted portfolio of clients.

    Supporting MT4, with fast and reliable trade execution, plus two different types of algorithmic trading, this CySEC-regulated broker should be considered by those clients who don’t mind the higher minimum deposit.

    Pros

    • Tight spreads

    Cons

    • High minimum deposit
    • Limited education
    • Limited market analysis
    • Expensive withdrawals
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Institutional Not Published pips Not Published Market Volume Based Account Details
    Basic 2.4 pips None Market USD 500 Account Details
    Standard 1.4 pips None Market USD 5000 Account Details
    Advanced Mark-Up 1.1 pips None Market USD 10000 Account Details
    Advanced RAW 0.0 pips $5.50 Market USD 10000 Account Details
    Premium Mark-up 0.8 pips None Market USD 50000 Account Details
    Premium RAW 0.0 pips $4.00 Market USD 50000 Account Details

All Forex Brokers in South Africa

We pride ourselves on giving good advice, and we always put our readers first. When choosing partners, we do our research according to our review process which covers areas such as regulation, trading conditions, and the product offering.

We don't put just anyone up here. We put you first.

To pay the bills, and keep the lights on, we need a business model. That business model makes use of affiliate programs whereby we get a commission from partners featured on our website.

Our business model never influences our opinion of any partner, and the partner selection and review processes are separate. The compensation we receive from partners may affect how our lists are arranged, but the reviews are genuine, and the data is accurate. Our opinion can not be bought, and we always put our readers and their financial livelihoods first.

Open

What is an ECN Broker?

Brokers come in two distinct types – dealing desks (also known as market makers) and non-dealing desks (the most common of which are ECN).

To understand what an ECN broker is we first need to understand what a dealing desk is and how the two differ.

Dealing desks are often called market makers because they are the market – when a dealing desk prices a trade that you see on your platform, you are seeing what they have decided is a fair price, given the current market conditions.

If you agree to this price and decide to make the trade offered, you are dealing with the broker, not with the wider market, and they will be the counterparty to your trade. In essence, they are betting against you – if you lose money on that trade, the broker is going to profit.

There is an obvious conflict of interest inherent in this business model and, for this reason, some traders prefer to have a neutral party as a conduit for their trading.

Dealing desks tend to not take a commission on trades, instead of making money through the spread and their trading platforms tend to be relatively easy to learn. Markets on a dealing desk platform will also be less volatile – a disadvantage to scalpers – and slippage (a change in price between confirming a trade and the trade being posted) can be an issue.

But how are ECN brokers different?

The clue is the name: ECN (Electronic Communication Network). ECNs are so called because they rely on a network of market participants (usually large lenders such as banks) to serve as counterparties to Forex trades. When you post a trade with a true ECN they will find a third-party to take the other side of your trade, removing the conflict of interest present with a market maker.

ECN brokers will charge a commission for this service (as they cannot profit from your trade), but spreads tend to be much tighter than with market makers. At times of market volatility on major currency pairs, you will often see spreads disappear entirely, down to zero pips. Another thing to remember with pure ECN brokers is that you may have delays to trade execution, resulting in requotes and slippage – this can be particularly difficult for scalpers in a high-volume market.

Another acronym you will often see in combination with ECN is STP (as in ECN/STP). STP is a method of the transaction – 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.

Conclusion

So, while ECN brokers do not have the inherent conflict of interest present with market makers, there are larger trading risks involved and the commission will always be charged on your trades. You will also often find that true ECN accounts will require a higher minimum deposit – putting them out of reach of a lot of new traders.

Are ECN brokers objectively better than market maker? I don’t believe this to be the case. All those we work with are trustworthy and well-regulated and broker choice is always down to personal preference. Whether you go with an ECN broker or a market maker, if you choose one from our list of the best in South Africa you will be in good hands.

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

Stay updated

This form has double opt in enabled. You will need to confirm your email address before being added to the list.

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.
>