Below is the comparison of the best forex brokerages in South Africa. These forex companies are best suited for retail forex trading in SA.
South African investors who are looking for a high return, high risk opportunities usually start with the world’s largest finance market – the Forex market. In the past only big investment banks allowed rich South Africans to participate in the foreign exchange market. Since the past few years retail forex brokers allow also small investors to profit on the currency markets.
Forex Brokers Comparison
Top 10 Forex Brokers in South Africa
This is the list of top 10 forex brokers in South Africa:
- CM TRADING – best local South African broker
- eToro – world’s best social trading platform
- Plus500 – best CFD broker for South Africans
- XM.COM – best for low spreads & high leverage
- IQ Option – very popular in SA
How to Find the Right Forex Broker
1. Do you plan to trade currency pairs with ZAR ?
Most investors from South Africa will want to trade South African Rand (ZAR) against the USD or EURO. Check first whether brokerage offers ZAR currency and what are the spreads!
In addition to the main currency pairs, the so-called Major Pairs EUR/USD, USD/JPY, USD/CHF and GBP/USD, there are a number of other interesting currency pairs. The offer of each broker can be found in comparison table on this page.
2. Always check if you can deposit in ZAR currency
If you are South African resident, depositing directly in ZAR will allow you to bypass any possible exchange rate risks (in case in future the ZAR vs USD goes up and down). Moreover you will save a lot of money on currency conversion fees (namely ZAR to USD bank conversion fees). Trust me you can save a lot of money in the future by simply depositing ZAR in your forex trading account.
3. Is the forex broker of your choice regulated?
Regulation and finance oversight is very important nowadays. You will find that most forex brokerages are located in Cyprus or in London UK that is because these two places are the easiest to obtain a brokerage license that will allow them to operate across the whole world. Therefore most companies are regulated by Cyprus CySEC and FCA UK.
You can read our popular article about FSCA regulated forex brokers here. More and more South African citizens trade forex with a broker that is located outside of South Africa and regulated by the british FCA or australian ASIC. The fact is that the majority of solid international brokers allow forex traders from South Africa to sign up without any problem. They will happily accept you and provide you with the best trading conditions.
South African forex regulator watchdog has been recently renamed into Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSCA), you can find their website at https://www.fsca.co.za.
4. What is the minimum deposit
To participate in Forex trading, you must deposit a minimum amount investment during the account opening process. The amount of deposit varies from broker to broker.
For example: Usually the minimum first deposit is somewhere around $50 but in fact you need around $500 to start trading and testing your strategies.
5. Local depositing methods
South African forex traders use specific depositing methods. Many forex brokers allow you to deposit via most common methods like VISA/MasterCard. If you live in South Africa you may prefer to deposit and withdraw money using SA banks and local depositing methods, always check if your chosen broker allows you to deposit comfortably.
Wire transfer is the cheapest and most comfortable deposit method.
Skrill/Neteller will charge you a fee around 2.5% which is a lot!
6. Maximum leverage
Currencies are traded with a leverage in Forex trading. That means, only a small portion (the margin) of the total value of a position is necessary. It allows you to trade a much larger position with a small bet.
For example: With a leverage of 1:300 you can trade with your deposit $100 as if you had 300x more investment so in this case $30.000! In order to trade one standard lot which is 100.000 units you would need say capital of $1000 and leverage 1:100. Leverage is double edge sword so be careful. The higher the leverage the higher the profits but also loss so don’t forget to be extra cautious.
7. Welcome Bonuses
Some forex brokers advertise a bonus for new forex traders. In most cases, the bonus offered by the brokers depends on the amount of the deposit and the number of trades within a certain period of time.
For example: Bonuses are usually calculated as a percentage that is added as a free gift by the broker on the top of your deposit. Please note that in most cases the broker will not allow you to withdraw the bonus. You can only withdraw the money you earned, using the bonus money in forex trading.
8. What lot sizes can you trade
On the foreign exchange market, a standardized contract, the so-called lot, is used. A standard lot has the equivalent of 100,000 euros. If the broker supports it, this value can be reduced to 10,000 euros (mini-lot) and 1,000 euros (Mico lot).
9. What are the spreads
The spread is the difference between the buy and sell prices. The lower the spread, the lower the cost you incur. The respective height is variable for most brokers and can vary considerably depending on market conditions. The minimum spread is for the EUR/USD currency pair as it is particularly popular currency pair and therefore highly liquid. USD/ZAR and EUR/ZAR are not that popular so spreads tend to be usually higher .
10. Demo account
With a Forex demo account you have the opportunity to test the respective trading platform of the Forex broker without risk under real conditions with virtual capital.
Many South African brokers can offer you besides forex also other assets. Very popular CFD on stocks, stock indices like DJIA, SP500, then of course cryptocurrencies and commodities trading. Here are the cheapest share trading platforms in South Africa.
12. What are the depositing options
Africans use many different local payment methods and processors than the rest of the world. Many South African forex companies will offer you local deposit options (besides the standard credit card deposits and Skrill/Neteller option.
Forex Broker: Frequently Asked Questions
Here we summarize most frequent questions regarding forex companies that we receive per email from our readers on regular basis.
Why do you need forex broker to trade currency markets
Broker firms act as a middlemen or intermediary between you and other currency traders. They facilitate the trading itself . Sometimes they even act as a counter party.
South African forex brokers usually don’t have enough liquidity, therefore they have close connections with large investment banks from abroad who act as their “liquidity providers”.
How forex brokers make profit
Regardless if in South Africa or elsewhere, every broker makes profit in several ways:
- Commision: They can charge commision for each trade. Usually the commision is between Usually ECN brokers do charge commisions per each round Lot that you make. Commisions are anywhere between $2 – $10 per Lot. Market Makers and STP often make money off of spread only.
- Spread: the difference you pay between BID and ASK price of currency pair is the profit that goes into the pocket of a broker. Remember: The lower the spread, the more profit room for you as a trader.
- Other fees : minor profit is being made off of administration fees for deposits/withdrawals. Not all fx brokers do this.
Should I trade with ECN or Market Maker?
This depends entirely on your financial situation and overall trading experience. Market makers are usually cheaper and come with plenty of investment assets along with forex. We recommend market makers to beginner forex traders.
On the other hand, ECN brokers and their trading platforms are mostly focused only on forex trading, it can be costly (you pay commisions for each standard lot), don’t allow you to trade micro lots and require little more minimum deposits as market makers. We recommend ECN broker for medium and advanced forex traders.