AuthorBy Jeffrey CammackAuthor InformationUpdated: October 27, 2020

Forex demo accounts are free practice accounts for new traders. Think of them like flight simulators for new pilots.

Like a flight simulator, you can make all kinds of mistakes without any consequences – except for maybe a bruised ego and the realisation that you have a lot to learn.

Demo accounts are always free, but some are better than others. Most traders with a demo account will go on to open a live account with the same broker. So, it is important to get the best broker for you right from the start.

Best Demo Account

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The best Forex demo accounts in SA

Last updated on 27 Oct 2020
Updated 27 Oct 2020
by Editorial Director Jeffrey Cammackby Jeffrey Cammack
Jeffrey Cammack
All Brokers Regulated
All Brokers Regulated
by Trusted Authoritiesby Trusted Authorities
Sweden
1
AvaTrade
Min. Deposit
USD 100
4.184.18
Demo Account
Yes
Education & Analysis
110002/ 5
Support Hours
24/5
Overall Rating
11110.54.18/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.9 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.
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With over 200,000 active traders around the globe, on both the MetaTrader 4 and AvaGo platforms, and the award for Best Trade Execution 2016 by the African Finance Expo, AvaTrade is a good partner for all types of trader. AvaTrade has built its reputation on being a client-focused, dependable broker, and continues to add to that reputation with the recent addition of AvaProtect to its product lineup.

With great trading conditions across Forex, commodities, cryptocurrencies, ETFs, bonds, and equities and boasting FSCA and ASIC regulation, AvaTrade is competitive with some of the best brokers in the world.

Pros
  • Good for beginners
  • Well regulated
  • Low minimum deposit
Cons
  • Dealing desk
  • Limited education
Read More About AvaTrade
2
FXTM
Min. Deposit
USD 10
4.234.23
Demo Account
Yes
Education & Analysis
111115/ 5
Support Hours
24/7
Overall Rating
11110.54.23/ 5
AlertAccepts South African Clients. Average spread EUR/USD 0.1 pips on trading account with lowest minimum deposit. Max leverage offered can vary depending on country of residence, and your trading knowledge and experience. Islamic account available. MT4 & MT5 platforms supported. FXTM Group regulated by CySEC, FCA, FSCA and FSC.
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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
Read More About FXTM
3
HotForex
Min. Deposit
ZAR 70
4.294.29
Demo Account
Yes
Education & Analysis
11110.54.5/ 5
Support Hours
24/5
Overall Rating
11110.54.29/ 5
AlertMost retail CFD accounts lose money. Your capital is at risk.
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Listed as on the Top 100 Companies by World Finance Magazine and the award for Business Excellence 2015 (World Confederation Of Businesses) HotForex is not just recognized for their integrity by their industry peers, but also in the financial industry as a whole.

As an STP broker regulated by multiple major international organizations including the FCA, CySEC and the FSCA, HotForex has built a reputation among traders for achieving a stable, fair, secure and transparent trading environment for both the beginning and expert level trader.

Pros
  • Low minimum deposit
  • Tight spreads
  • Well regulated
  • Good range of accounts
Cons
  • Limited base currencies
Read More About HotForex
4
XM
Min. Deposit
USD 5
4.384.38
Demo Account
Yes
Education & Analysis
111115/ 5
Support Hours
24/5
Overall Rating
11110.54.38/ 5
AlertMost retail CFD accounts lose money. Your capital is at risk.
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XM Group has achieved substantial growth since 2009, earning 1.5 million clients living in 196 countries. Regulated by three major regulators and the recipient of many industry awards, XM Group stands out from a crowded field of market maker brokers for their customer service and educational support.

XM Group has extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of the global financial markets. XM’s operational philosophy is aimed at client satisfaction and low client turnover; they earn client loyalty through award-winning 24/5 personal customer service, varied account types and competitive trading conditions.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Excellent education
  • Wide range of assets
  • Fast and free withdrawals
Cons
  • Dealing desk
Read More About XM
5
CM Trading
Min. Deposit
USD 250
3.383.38
Demo Account
Yes
Education & Analysis
1110.503.5/ 5
Support Hours
24/5
Overall Rating
1110.503.38/ 5
AlertMost retail CFD accounts lose money. Your capital is at risk.
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CM Trading is a well-regarded South African broker, regularly cited as the largest in the country, and headquartered in Sandton, Johannesburg.

CM Trading is a market-maker, but offers competitive spreads and is a good choice for new traders due to their great educational material and the CopyKat copy-trading system. Maximum leverage is 200:1 and both MetaTrader 4 and Sirix Webtrader platforms are available, allowing for some flexibility.

Customer service is generally excellent and, while deposit and withdrawal costs are high, many customers will find comfort in working with a good local broker.

Pros
  • Good for beginners
  • Great customer support
  • Copy trading accounts
Cons
  • Expensive withdrawals
  • Local regulation only
Read More About CM Trading
6
easyMarkets
Min. Deposit
USD 100
4.244.24
Demo Account
Yes
Education & Analysis
111104/ 5
Support Hours
24/5
Overall Rating
11110.54.24/ 5
AlertMost retail CFD accounts lose money. Your capital is at risk.
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Founded in 2001, easyMarkets (then easyForex) was one of the first online brokers. Regulated by ASIC since 2003, CySEC since 2007 and the FSA since 2020, easyMarkets states their values as simple, honest and transparent which are reflected in their industry recognition – recently being awarded the Best Trading Platform and Most Transparent Broker awards in 2017 from FX Empire and Forex-Awards, respectively.

easyMarkets has always innovated, introducing tools like negative balance protection and guaranteed stop loss back in 2001 – these tools are now industry standards. Their innovation has continued with the unique Freeze Rate and dealCancellation tools, both intended to support new traders and keep trading transparent and simple. In 2018, easyMarkets won the Most Innovative Broker 2018 at the World Finance Markets Awards, a further sign that they are respected as innovators among their peers.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Wide range of assets
  • Innovative trading tools
Cons
  • Limited platform choice
  • Limited account options
Read More About easyMarkets
7
IronFX
Min. Deposit
USD 100
4.194.19
Demo Account
Yes
Education & Analysis
1110.503.5/ 5
Support Hours
24/7
Overall Rating
11110.54.19/ 5
AlertMost retail CFD accounts lose money. Your capital is at risk.
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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
Read More About IronFX
8
XTB
Min. Deposit
USD 5
4.384.38
Demo Account
Yes
Education & Analysis
11110.54.5/ 5
Support Hours
24/7
Overall Rating
11110.54.38/ 5
AlertMost retail CFD accounts lose money. Your capital is at risk.
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Well-regulated, safe and award-winning, XTB is a leader in the Forex trading space. Joining other leading Forex brokers with reasonable trading conditions, excellent educational and analysis material XTB has developed an award-winning proprietary trading platform that goes beyond MT4 to offer clients easy-to-use functionality along with fast execution speeds.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Tight spreads
  • Low minimum deposit
  • Good for beginners
Cons
  • Limited platform choice
Read More About XTB
9
MarketsX
Min. Deposit
ZAR 2500
4.394.39
Demo Account
Yes
Education & Analysis
1110.503.5/ 5
Support Hours
24/5
Overall Rating
11110.54.39/ 5
AlertMost retail CFD accounts lose money. Your capital is at risk.
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Marketsx is a premium trading platform. It’s operated by Markets.com and offers traders fast, low-cost trading on over 2,200 financial instruments. Marketsx provides CFD trading on global stock, forex, commodity, indices, cryptocurrency, ETF and bond markets. Clients in the UK can also use spread bets on applicable instruments.

The proprietary Marketx trading platform is packed full of features and trading tools and is optimised for lightning execution. As well as in-depth charting and asset comparison tools, Marketsx also gives traders a wealth of decision-supporting data with sentiment tools, tutorials, and regular live-streamed, expert analysis.

Owned by Tradetech Markets (South Africa) Pty Ltd., a subsidiary of Playtech PLC, Markets.com (South Africa) SA is one of the best-recognised Forex brands.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Tight spreads
  • Wide range of assets
  • Fast and free withdrawals
Cons
  • High minimum deposit
Read More About MarketsX
10
IG Markets
Min. Deposit
USD 250
4.534.53
Demo Account
Yes
Education & Analysis
111115/ 5
Support Hours
24/5
Overall Rating
11110.54.53/ 5
AlertMost retail CFD accounts lose money. Your capital is at risk.
Show Details

As the world’s largest financial spread betting and CFD broker by revenue, and winning highly-acclaimed awards such as Broker of the Year 2018 (UK Forex Awards) and Best CFD Provider 2017 (Investment and Wealth Management Awards), IG Markets is an attractive choice for both the beginner and the seasoned trader.

With regulation from the FCA, ASIC, and the FSCA, award-winning technology and over 195,000 clients worldwide IG Markets is a principal player in the CFD, Forex trading and spread betting industries.

Pros
  • Well regulated
  • Tight spreads
  • Great platform choice
  • Excellent education
  • Excellent market analysis
Cons
  • High minimum deposit
Read More About IG Markets

What is a Demo Account?

A demo account is a virtual Forex trading account designed for beginners. A demo account is the same as a real account, except for the money in the account. A real Forex account is funded by the trader, but a demo account has virtual money provided by the broker.

Real accounts are funded with real money by the trader, demo accounts are funded with virtual money by the broker

Virtual money

This virtual money can only be used in the demo account and cannot be converted into real money. Because they work the same way as real accounts, traders with demo accounts will face real market conditions.

Demo accounts simulate real market conditions

Demo accounts are always free. This works for both traders and brokers: Trader get hands-on experience before making a deposit and brokers want new traders to have a good time trading without any risk. This makes it more likely for a new trader to open a live account.

Demo accounts are always free

Demo accounts also offer traders the opportunity to practice what they have learned. Demo accounts are used by experienced traders to test new strategies, new trading robots and new trading platforms. Traders should always keep their demo account open.

Traders should always keep a demo account open

Demo accounts are all about learning. When comparing demo accounts new traders should also look at how a broker helps beginners. Other things to consider are:

  • Education material
  • Customer service
  • Market analysis
  • Trading conditions

How to Choose the Best Demo Account?

Traders should choose a Forex demo account that never expires. Some brokers will only offer demo accounts for a short period of time, sometimes as short as one week.

Choose a Forex demo account that never expires

Demo accounts that never expire allow you to practice at your own pace. You are not under pressure to complete your education within a set time. With a demo account that never expires, you can also continue your trading education once you have a live account.

Forex Demo Accounts - How long do they stay open?

Demo accounts remain open for different lengths of time depending on the broker but generally vary in length from 7 days to unlimited.

FXTM, Plus500 and XM all offer demo accounts that never expire.

When choosing a demo account, it is also important to think about what trading platform you will be learning to use.

Choose a demo account on the trading platform you want to use

MetaTrader 4 (MT4) is supported by nearly every Forex broker and is a good, user-friendly platform for beginners to start with. Because it is so widely supported there are many online tutorials and guides for beginners.

Best MT4 Brokers

MetaTrader 5 (MT5) is similar to MT4 but has extended features and a more modern interface. cTrader is another popular platform, though is less widely available.

The most popular trading platforms are MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 and cTrader

FXPro, Pepperstone and OctaFX all offer demo accounts for all three platforms (MT4, MT5 and cTrader).

It is important to reiterate that demo accounts are simulations of live accounts. For the true trading experience, you should open a demo account with the same minimum trade size as you would use in your live account.

If you plan to be doing a lot of mobile trading, it makes sense to open a demo Forex account on a mobile app as well. Make sure that the trading app works well on your mobile phone.

Choose a demo account that works well on your mobile phone

Mobile trading apps have evolved a lot over the years since the first ones became available a decade ago. To a large extent, the functionalities of Forex demo accounts available on desktop platform terminals are now captured by mobile apps.

Why Use a Demo Account?

Use a Forex demo account so that you will not lose any money while you are learning. Forex is a high-risk venture and 70-90% of traders will lose money. It is really that simple.

You cannot lose real money with a demo account

Of course, you will not make any profits either. But beginner traders rarely profit by jumping straight into a real account.

Yes, there is a (very) small chance you will be lucky and make a profit. But this is no better than gambling. And like gambling, the house always wins in the end: You may make a profit once or a few times, but eventually, you will lose.

Being profitable depends on how well you know the Forex market and your ability to use your trading platform correctly. It also depends on the performance of your Forex trading strategy.

Use a demo account to learn how to trade, gain platform experience and perfect your strategy

Trader thinking

How to Learn to Trade with a Forex Demo Account

When you are learning to trade Forex with a demo account, these are the concepts you should cover as part of your practice sessions.

Leverage and Margin

Leverage is money borrowed from your Forex broker which allows you to open much larger trades than you would with just your own money. The margin is the deposit required from you to open a trade. This is real money taken from your trading account.

Leverage is money borrowed from your broker to increase the size of your trade

Calculating how much you will borrow and how much you will need to deposit when opening a trade is an important part of managing your risk. This means understanding how leverage and margin can affect the size of your orders.

Spreads and Currency Pairs

You should go through the list of currency pairs and know which ones are the major pairs, minor pairs, and exotic pairs. Understand how they are priced and why exotic pairs have a larger range of movement than major currencies.

Exotic pairs have a larger range and wider spreads than major pairs

It is also important to know the spreads for each currency pair you plan to trade and to discover whether they are fixed or variable.

Order Types

Forex is about buying and selling currencies, but there are various ways to do this. The different ways to buy and sell currencies are called order types.

The two common order types are buy and sell. These are instant orders to buy or sell a currency pair at market price. Then there are limit orders, stop orders and pending orders. Each one of these has variations that can give traders an edge, depending on the market situation. They can also be combined to better manage risk.

Each order type has its own purpose, and they can be combined

Traders should also know how to set the prices for pending orders and set the expiration time for execution of pending orders.

Charting and Tools

ctrader charts

Reading and modifying charts is an essential part of Forex trading. You will need to understand how to change time frames and how to add indicators and oscillators to the charts.

Charting is an essential part of Forex trading

You will also need to understand how plug-in tools work. Autochartist is a tool that plugs-in directly to MT4, MT5, and cTrader and helps you detect chart patterns and trading opportunities.

Fundamental Analysis: How Fundamentals Affect Price and Volatility

Fundamental analysis is the study of how news events affect price action and volatility. Most brokers will have an economic calendar with the upcoming data releases for the major economies but trading unpredictable geopolitical events, such as Brexit or the Covid-19 pandemic, is a very tricky business.

Trading geopolitical events, like the Covid-19 pandemic, is a tricky business

Trading Covid

You will need to learn how each currency pair that is listed on the news calendar responds to high-impact news releases. Once you understand a currency pair’s response you can learn to trade the initial spikes when news is released.

Technical Analysis: Support and Resistance Levels, Signals and Patterns

Technical analysis is the study of historical price movement to predict future price movement. Technical analysis occurs almost entirely on charts. Each platform comes with a variety of line tools, Fibonacci tools and other tools necessary for chart studies.

Technical analysis is the study of historical price movement to predict future price movement

With a Forex demo account, you can learn how to use these tools to plot support levels, resistance levels, chart patterns, retracement and extension levels, and create trade alerts.

Gaining Platform Experience: MT4, MT5, cTrader and other Platforms

Learning starts with understanding your Forex trading platform and its features. Before you start trading with real money you should be able to answer all the following questions about your platform:

  • How do you pull charts, change time frames, and add indicators?
  • How do you deploy Forex expert advisors (EAs)?
  • How do you add custom indicators to your platform?
  • How do you adjust indicator parameters?
  • How do you set up market orders, pending orders, stop loss and take profit orders?

Stop Loss

For this reason, you should use the same platform for your demo account and your live account.

Use the same trading platform for your demo account and your live account

You should also use the same amount of virtual money in your demo account that you will fund your live account with.  By doing this you can use the same lot sizes and other parameters to mimic the exact conditions that you will face in live trading.

More than 98% of Forex brokers offer demo accounts on the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) platform. However, the MetaTrader 5 (MT5) and cTrader platforms are also available for those who want extended functions such as algo trading (cTrader) or a Depth of Market (DOM) tool (MT5).

More than 98% of Forex brokers offer demo accounts for the MT4 platform

Some brokers also offer their own platforms. While these are often easier to use for beginners, you should only use them for demo trading if you plan to open a real account on the same platform.

Indicators and Robots

Once you have mastered the use of the trading platform, it is time to use your demo Forex account to test your strategies and to learn the best use of indicators and Forex robots.

MT5 Market

The emphasis is not to give yourself a false sense of security by just posting profits, but to understand how each indicator works. You also need to find out how well your indicators and robots work in live market conditions. You will also need some theoretical knowledge of the categories of indicators available and how they are used.

How do I Prepare for the Step Up to a Live Account?

Unfortunately, the answer to this is: You cannot.

Trader Psychology

A drawback of Forex demo accounts is the reduced psychological impact when using them. When traders know that no real money is involved and nothing is at stake, they disconnect from the seriousness of the situation – it is human nature.

Trading with a demo account does not have the same psychological impact as trading with a real account.

However, when real money is involved, traders will find anxiety and self-doubt to be near-constant companions. Forex trading with a demo account cannot prepare you for dealing with these emotions, and you should be aware of this psychological challenge.

Furthermore, slippages and requotes that can occur in real money trading do not exist when using a demo Forex account.

How do you open a Forex Demo Account?

Opening a demo account only takes a few minutes. To get started:

  1. Visit a Forex broker where you would like to open an account
  2. Complete your personal information
  3. Verify your phone number or email address
  4. Follow the instructions on your screen and in your email.

Here is a video tutorial showing how to open a demo account.

The Best MT4 Demo Accounts

The best MT4 demo accounts offer real market conditions, premium charting packages for free, give beginner traders access to educational content, and trading using mobile phone applications.

Min. Deposit
Min. Spread
Sign Up Url
USD 100
0.9 pips
USD 5
0.1 pips
ZAR 2000
0.6 pips
USD 250
1.5 pips
USD 100
0.6 pips
USD 5
0.0 pips

We have a guide to setting up MT4 should you need the assistance getting started and more detail where we compare MT4 Forex brokers side-by-side.

Recommended Reading

If you are new to trading and don’t know how Forex trading works, it is wise to start your reading here, and then move off to learning to trade Forex, and how to open a trading account

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

FCA proposes stricter rules for contract for difference products – Press Release – Published: 06/12/2016 – https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/fca-proposes-stricter-rules-contract-difference-products

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Featured Brokers

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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