By Chris Cammack Author Information Updated: September 25, 2020

When you fund your trading account, most Forex brokers will convert your Rands to US Dollars, Euros or British Pounds. But ZAR Forex brokers offer trading accounts that keep the trading balance in ZAR, which is useful if you want to avoid currency conversion fees.

Having a ZAR account also means your trading funds will be kept in local bank accounts, which makes deposits and withdrawals by bank transfer faster and more convenient. Unfortunately, only local SA brokers and a few international brands have ZAR Forex trading accounts.

In this guide, you will learn the advantages and disadvantages of trading with a ZAR Forex account. This includes a summary of why ZAR accounts are rare, who should use a ZAR-based account, and a shortlist of the brokers with the best ZAR account options.

These are the best Forex brokers with ZAR accounts for 2020.

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  • Broker
    HotForex

    HotForex  - Best Overall Forex Broker with a ZAR Account

    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    FCA FCA
    FSCA FSCA
    DFSA DFSA
    FSC FSC
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110.5
    Minimum Deposit
    ZAR 70
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    HotForex, the winner of the Best New Forex Broker South Africa 2016 at the Global Banking & Finance Review Awards, is a leading FSCA regulated broker (FSP: 46632) who prides themselves on having a ZAR account for South African traders on both MT4 and MT5 platforms.

    The trading conditions at HotForex are different depending on each account type, where minimum deposits start at a low 70 ZAR on the Micro account. The Micro, HF Cory, Auto, Premium and Premium Pro accounts have spreads starting at 1.0 pips and leverage starting at 400:1 and going up to 1000:1. The trading costs for these accounts are included in the spread, and no additional trading commission is owed. Note that the only account without a ZAR wallet is the HF Copy account which only has USD as the base currency.

    The more professional Zero Spread account requires a minimum deposit of 2800 ZAR (200 USD), a spread starting at 0.0 pips, 3 USD (6 USD round trip) trading commission per lot. This account has a Margin Call of 50% and a Stop out level of 20%.

    For beginner South African traders, HotForex has a well-structured starter course along with additional education for the experienced traders. Frequent webinars are available for beginner, intermediate and advanced traders, video courses, and frequently published research studies written by Tunku Ishak Al-Irsyad & Stuart Cowell.

    Pros

    • Low minimum deposit
    • Tight spreads
    • Well regulated
    • Good range of accounts

    Cons

    • Limited base currencies
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Micro 1.0 pips None Market USD 5 Account Details
    Islamic 1.0 pips None Market USD 100 Account Details
    Premium 1.0 pips None Market USD 100 Account Details
    Auto 1.0 pips None Market USD 200 Account Details
    Zero 0.0 pips $3.00 Market USD 200 Account Details
    HFCopy 1.0 pips None Market USD 300 Account Details
    Premium Pro 1.0 pips None Market USD 5000 Account Details
  • Broker
    MarketsX

    MarketsX  - Best Ranked Broker with ZAR Accounts

    REGULATED BY
    CySEC CySEC
    ASIC ASIC
    FSCA FSCA
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110.5
    Minimum Deposit
    ZAR 2500
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    Regulated by the FSCA (FSP:43906) since 2012, and winning multiple awards for customer service, trading platforms, and best overall Forex broker, MarketsX offers a single account type with a ZAR wallet option for South African traders. FSCA regulation means that Markets.com has to abide by South African regulations, such as keeping funds in local banks which makes fund transfers quicker and cheaper.

    Marketsx is a single account platform, with a minimum deposit of 2500 ZAR. Spreads are variable but on the EUR/USD average 2 pips. The main draw for Marketsx is the new and improved platform which offers advanced charting, making it easier to spot trends and identify new trading opportunities. Traders can make use of the comprehensive drawing tools to plot trendlines, channels, pitchforks, Fibonacci Retracements, and much more on the charts. The platform also allows you to add up to 5 of each type of indicator to the chart at once, overlay multiple assets onto one chart, or compare up to 8 instruments side-by-side.

    All Marketsx clients are assigned a dedicated account manager and customer support is available 24/5 via in-platform Live Chat from the local South African office. Any South African trader looking for a ZAR Account from a major broker would be happy at MarketsX.

    Pros

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

    Cons

    • High minimum deposit
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Live 0.9 pips None Instant USD 250 Account Details
  • Broker
    Blackstone Futures

    Blackstone Futures  - Best Local FSCA Regulated Broker

    REGULATED BY
    FSCA FSCA
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11110.5
    Minimum Deposit
    ZAR 1000
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    Based in Johannesburg and active since 2009, BlackStone Futures is an established and well-regarded FSCA regulated broker.

    Trading conditions are particularly good for a South African broker, with both ZAR and USD accounts offered on the MT4 and CloudTrade platforms. The minimum deposit on a ZAR Account is 1000 ZAR, and spreads can be low as 0.6 pips on major pairs. STP execution ensures no conflict of interest and limited slippage or requotes. Maximum leverage is 400:1 but BlackStone Futures responsibly only offers this to experienced traders with a proven track record.

    BlackStone Futures has wisely invested in educating new traders and the educational material available here is of a higher quality than we are used to seeing at local brokers. Both webinars and in-person classes are offered, alongside a collection of guides and educational articles.

    Deposits and withdrawals are fast and free for South African clients, with withdrawals to local bank accounts posting same day via the OZOW payment platform.

    Pros

    • ZAR accounts
    • Tight spreads
    • Fast and free withdrawals

    Cons

    • Limited platform choice
    • Local regulation only
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    USD Account 0.6 pips None Market USD 100 Account Details
    ZAR Account 0.6 pips None Market ZAR 1000 Account Details
  • Broker
    FxPro

    FxPro  - Best Trading Platforms

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

    With over 870,000 client accounts, FxPro is one of the biggest international brokers regulated in South Africa. Major awards shows and institutions are continually showering FxPro with honours including top accolades like Best Broker 2018 and Best Forex Trading Experience 2018, which is the pinnacle of success.

    The account options at FxPro are arranged by platform, which is not the case at most other brokers. Accounts are available with either MT4, MT5 and cTrader, where all accounts have a demo option, and the same minimum deposit of 100 USD and a spread as low as 0.6 pips.

    The education section is smaller than that of other leading brokers. Despite the lack of structure and depth, the material that is offered is updated and honest and hosted webinars are free to join a couple of times a week.

    FxPro is the broker choice for traders who need a reputable international broker while still being FSCA regulated, supporting a broad platform choice and a reasonable minimum deposit.

    Pros

    • Well regulated
    • Great platform choice
    • Tight spreads

    Cons

    • Limited education
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    FxPro cTrader 0.45 pips $4.50 Market USD 100 Account Details
    FxPro MT4 1.2 pips None Market USD 100 Account Details
    FxPro MT5 1.52 pips None Market USD 100 Account Details
    Islamic 1.2 pips Variable Market USD 100 Account Details
  • Broker
    Khwezi Trade

    Khwezi Trade  - Best New Client Onboarding

    REGULATED BY
    FSCA FSCA
    Trading Desk Type
    Trading Conditions
    11100
    Minimum Deposit
    ZAR 2000
    Customer Support
    • Website Language: English
    • Support Language: English
    Trading Platforms

    Khwezi Trade is a well respected South African broker and its parent company, Khwezi Financial Services, has been regulated by the FSCA (FSP: 44816) since 2013. Though Khwezi Trade is not regulated internationally, it keeps all client funds segregated with Standard Bank, and in ZAR, providing an additional level of security for South African traders.

    Khwezi Trade offers four different ZAR account types on the MT4 platform with the minimum deposit on the Basic Account set to 2000 ZAR. The Standard Account requires a minimum deposit of 15,000 ZAR, the Premier Account requires 30,000 ZAR and the VIP Account requires 50,000 ZAR. Spreads are variable on all accounts but average 1.8 pips for the EUR/USD on the Basic Account and are tightest on the VIP Account, where they can reach a minimum of 0 pips. No commission is charged on any account for Forex trading, though a 3 ZAR commission is charged per trade on indices and commodities.

    Deposits and withdrawals are fast and free and Khwezi Trade also offers copy trading functionality for those that prefer it. Educational material is a little thin, but of a high standard and the 100,000 demo account remains open for 14 days, but can be renewed upon request.

    Pros

    • ZAR Accounts
    • Fast and free withdrawals

    Cons

    • Local regulation only
    • No swap-free account option
    Account Spread From Commission Execution Min. Deposit
    Basic Normal pips None STP ZAR 2000 Account Details
    Standard Competitive pips None STP ZAR 15000 Account Details
    Premier Tight pips None STP ZAR 30000 Account Details
    VIP Institutional pips None STP ZAR 50000 Account Details

Top Ranked Forex Brokers in South Africa

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What are the Advantages of Having a ZAR Account?

The greatest advantage of having a ZAR Account is that you will avoid currency conversion fees when funding your trading account.

If you have a USD trading account, conversion fees or the volatile ZAR/USD exchange rate can take a bite out of your profits before you even start trading. Most international brokers will also give you a poor exchange rate from ZAR to USD.

ZAR Accounts will not have conversion fees on withdrawals and deposits

ZAR accounts are also good for traders who use bank transfers or credit cards to fund their accounts. If you ask your bank or credit card company to fund a USD account, you can lose 7-10% of the value of your deposit in conversion charges and added fees. Fund transfers are also much quicker between local banks, so deposits and withdrawals can generally be made within 24 hours, and often happen instantly.

Funding ZAR Accounts is much faster than USD accounts

Another benefit of having a ZAR account is that your funds will be kept in a South African bank and will be accessible if your broker declares bankruptcy. With a USD account at an international broker, this will not be the case: Even if your funds are kept in a segregated account, they will be kept in a segregated account in another country.

ZAR Accounts are usually held in South African banks

Standard Bank

How to choose the best ZAR Account

Choosing a broker with the best ZAR account is much the same as choosing any Forex broker. It is essential to look at the detail of each broker to find out what differentiates them from each other.  When looking for a ZAR account broker, it is important to judge them on the following areas:

Regulation 

Regulation is the most important aspect of selecting a broker with a ZAR account, as it is with any Forex broker. You want to make sure your funds are secure and kept in a segregated account and that your broker maintains a fair trading environment. 

All brokers with ZAR accounts will be regulated by the FSCA, as ZAR accounts will be held in South African banks and will be governed by South African laws. The best international brokers tend to be regulated by the FCACySEC or ASIC as well as the FSCA.

The best regulators in the world are the FCA, CySEC and ASIC

Alongside FSCA regulation, brokers who offer ZAR accounts will need a licence from the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) to provide financial products denominated in Rand – this extra licencing requirement adds another layer of protection for local traders.

South Africa Reserve Bank

HotForex, one of the best brokers offering ZAR accounts, is regulated by the FSCA, CySEC and the FSCA.

Trading Conditions 

This includes what kind of spreads are available, how much leverage is offered, and how many currency pairs are available. These factors will directly impact your profit or loss.

Trading conditions are particularly important for traders with ZAR accounts as your trading balance will be denominated in Rand. This means that when you are open a trade with the base currency in anything other than ZAR (USD/JPY, EUR/USD, AUD/USD, etc.) you ZAR balance will be converted in the base currency, it will be converted back again to ZAR once you close the trade. This can be expensive if you plan to hold multiple large trades open simultaneously.

When trading, your account currency is converted to the base currency of an FX pair

If you are planning to trade the USD/ZAR be aware that this is considered an exotic pair and spreads are much wider than for major pairs (such as the USD/GBP), often as wide as 80 or 100 pips.

Blackstone Futures, a well-established South African broker, has some of the best trading conditions to be found on a ZAR account.

Trading Platforms

Another factor to consider is the choice of trading platforms on offer. Most brokers will offer MT4, but some brokers will offer multiple platforms – each with their own advantages. Many brokers also have their own platforms, these are often easier to use for beginners, though may not have the automation options that exist on downloadable applications like MT4, MT5 and cTrader.

MT5

Broker’s own trading platforms are often easier to use for beginner traders

For traders who want a ZAR account but a wide choice of platform, we recommend looking at FxPro which offers cTrader, MT4, MT5 and its own platform.

Minimum Deposit 

For ZAR Accounts, your minimum deposit will always be in Rand. How much you are required to deposit changes for each broker and often changes between account types offered by the same broker, with higher minimum deposits often linked to better trading conditions.

Accounts with higher minimum deposits have better trading conditions

Deposit and Withdrawal Methods

 All brokers accept traditional payment types such as debit/credit cards and bank transfers, many accept online payments through Skrill and Neteller, some broker with ZAR Accounts will also accept Ozow and other local online payment services.

Always check for deposit and withdrawal fees before you sign up with a broker

Always check for deposit and withdrawal fees, a few brokers charge a percentage fee for some withdrawal methods, making large drawdowns expensive. 

Education and Market Analysis

Most brokers with ZAR accounts will offer Forex education and market analysis. If you are a beginner trader, the quality of this educational and research material should be an important factor in your decision.

Unfortunately, most South African brokers lag behind their international peers when it comes to the quality of their educational material.

International brokers tend to have better education than local brokers

For beginner traders who want to have the best educational material and market analysis available when opening a ZAR account, we recommend checking out MarketsX.

Customer Service

Another important factor to consider when opening a ZAR account is the quality of customer service offered by a broker. Brokers with ZAR accounts tend to have local offices and can offer local support – which can make all the difference for beginner traders.

Brokers with local customer support will have a better understanding of your needs

City

Brokers with local customer support have a better understanding of the issues new traders in South African’s have when setting up their accounts. They also can offer support in multiple languages, including Afrikaans, Xhosa, and Zulu.

Khwezi Trade, a South African broker offering ZAR accounts with an excellent reputation, is well-known for the quality of its customer service, especially for onboarding new traders.

Why are ZAR Accounts so Rare?

Forex brokers who offer ZAR accounts are rare, and most brokers still only offer USD or EUR accounts. This is mainly due to a lack of ZAR liquidity providers. Forex brokers with ZAR accounts need access to large amounts of Rand, or Rand liquidity pools, to cover their clients’ trades. Currently, there are just not that many banks in South Africa willing to provide the necessary funding.

Broker with ZAR accounts need the support of large South African banks

Another reason for the lack of ZAR accounts is that most international brokers have their costs priced in USD. By converting large sums of USD to finance ZAR accounts they would open themselves up to huge exchange rate risk. They would lose money every time the ZAR devalued against the USD, which has been a common problem recently.

International brokers with ZAR accounts lose money when the Rand devalues

Should I Use a ZAR Account?

In most cases, yes – South African traders should use a ZAR account if they can. You will avoid conversion fees and withdrawals and deposits will be faster.

Some traders want a USD account, especially traders who keep many positions open simultaneously. With this approach to trading with a ZAR account, the fluctuations in the exchange rate would impact your profit margins.

One thing to keep in mind with a ZAR account is whether your broker charges commission on trades – most ECN brokers do – and what currency the commission is charged in. If you have a ZAR account and are being charged a USD commission for every trade, you will be losing a small amount of every trade in currency conversion. This can add up over time and become quite expensive. Most brokers with ZAR accounts will charge the commission at a fixed rate in ZAR but do check first.

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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)

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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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