We tested 40+ brokers & then selected the 10 best Forex brokers for South Africans that are regulated with FSCA, FCA or CySEC.
There are over 50+ Forex Brokers that accept South African traders. Most of these brokers claim to offer more or less the same features & trading environment.
So how do you decide which broker is best for you?
At Forexbrokers.co.za, we did the full research for you so that you don’t have to.
First we narrowed down the list & selected only the regulated & credible brokers that work in the South African market.
Then we signed up with each broker & analyzed multiple factors including: minimum deposit, trading fees (average/typical spread for major instruments, commissions & even fees on deposits/withdrawals), maximum leverage, convenience of trading platform (mobile & desktop), ease of withdrawals, technical support. We even put in consideration the actual user reviews and ratings of real traders.
Now without further waiting…
Best South African Forex Brokers
Here’s our complete list of 10 best performing forex brokers in South Africa. We have compared their Tier-1 & Tier-2 regulations, fees (spread & non-trading fees), time taken during deposits & withdrawals, trading execution time & support offered (last 4 months):
1. Tickmill – Best Forex Broker in South Africa with low spread & FSCA regulated
Overall Rating 9.0/10
- Spread (EUR/USD benchmark): 0.1 pips + $4 commission per Standard Lot with Pro account. 1.6 pips spread & no commission with Classic Account.
- Minimum deposit: $100
- Regulations: FSCA, FCA & CySEC
- Bonus: No bonus available
Ranked #1 Forex Broker in South Africa
Tickmill is our 1st rank forex broker for South African traders. Tickmill is a No Dealing Desk (NDD) broker that is regulated by FSCA (FSP no. 49464 & FSP Name Tickmill South Africa Pty Ltd), FCA & CySEC. Since they are regulated by multiple Top Tier Regulators, including in South Africa, so we consider them to be safe.
Tickmill was established in 2014, and we consider them to be a safe broker as they are regulated with multiple top-tier regulators i.e. FSCA, FCA (UK) & CySEC (Cyprus).
In terms of fees, Tickmill has an average spread with their Classic Account, starting from 1.6 pips for EUR/USD. But their spread with Pro account is very low from 0.1 pips (Typical spread) for EURUSD + $2 commission per Standard Lot both sides ($4/Standard lot for both sides). Also, Tickmill doesn’t charge any fees on deposits or withdrawals.
Their platform options are limited though, as they only offer MT4 & Webtrader platforms (their Metatrader platform is available on multi devices). They don’t offer the latest Metatrader 5. Their forex trading currency pair offering is wide with 62 pairs, but their other trading instruments are limited with just 14 CFDs on Stock Indices, 2 Oil CFDs, 2 Metal CFDs, 3 Crypto CFDs & 4 Bonds.
Tickmill doesn’t have any local phone number in South Africa currently, however their chat support & email support is available from Monday to Friday from 7AM – 10PM (GMT).
- Tickmill is a regulated broker i.e. with Tier 1 regulator FCA. And also with FSCA, so considered safe.
- Very Low commission of $4/Standard lot ($2 per side for open & close) & 0.1 pips spread with Pro account. Fair spread with Classic account.
- No fees on deposit & withdrawal.
- 62 major & minor currency pairs available for trading.
- CFDs on stock indices, metals, bonds & Cryptos are available.
- Instant Deposits. Withdrawal within 24 hours via Internet Banking in SA.
- Good Live chat support, but we experience a few seconds of hold time while connecting.
- No local phone number in SA for support.
- No ZAR Trading accounts. USD, EUR & GBP account base currency options are available currently.
- English Live Chat operators are not available 24/7.
read our in-depth Tickmill review
2. Hotforex – FSCA Regulated broker with Low Fees & Zero deposit/withdrawal charges
Overall Rating 8.9/10
- Spread (EUR/USD benchmark): On average 0.3 pips with Zero Account. Around 1.2 pips with Premium account.
- Minimum deposit: $5 (R70)
- Regulation: FSCA (South Africa), FCA (UK) & CySEC
- Bonus: 100% Super Charged Bonus (Over $250 deposit required)
Ranked #2 Forex Broker in South Africa
Hotforex is our recommended choice for low cost forex broker in South Africa. We consider them to be safe as they are regulated in South Africa with FSCA (FSP No 46632) since 2016 & with FCA in UK (HF Markets (UK) Limited with Reference number: 801701) since 2019. They offer one of the lowest trading fees among the regulated brokers that we have compared & listed so far.
Hotforex, or HF Markets a 100% STP forex broker in South Africa. They were founded in 2010 & have been regulated by FSCA as HF MARKETS SA (PTY) LTD since 2016.
In terms of trading fees, Hotforex has the lowest spread with their Zero account & there is no fees on deposits/withdrawals. Their average EUR/USD spread is around 1.2 with Premium account (this would vary according to market conditions), and it is normally around 0.3 pips with Zero account. The typical spread for CFD like XAU/USD is 0.29 with all account types. Hotforex SA is solid for low fees!
Hotforex offers ZAR accounts for South African traders, this is optional & you can choose USD or EUR base currency account as well. They offer 12 trading platforms Including the latest MT5, and the MetaTrader for Android, iPhone and desktop. Their trading instruments on offer are very wide: forex, CFDs on indices, shares, bond & commodities. But Hotforex does not offer crypto CFDs.
They also have an attractive 100% deposit bonus for new customers in South Africa and have great loyalty programs for existing clients.
The funding & withdrawal options at Hotforex are also very good & at zero fees, but they don’t offer local SA bank options for deposit & withdrawals. In terms of support, they have a quick Live chat support, and they also have a local phone number in South Africa for support.
- Regulated with South Africa’s FSCA (FSP No: 46632) & FCA in UK.
- Hotforex offers ZAR base currency trading accounts.
- Very low spread with Zero Account i.e. on average 0.3 pips (plus commissions) for EUR/USD. The spreads with Premium & Micro accounts are also very competitive at 1.2 – 1.4 pips for EURUSD on average with both accounts.
- Zero fees on deposit & withdrawals.
- 100% Deposit Bonus for new accounts
- Very helpful Live Chat Support with very low hold time.
- Local Phone Number for support available & you can also request a callback from your account manager
- Wide range of trading instruments which include 53 currency pairs & 200+ CFDs on Commodities, Metals, Indices, shares, bonds.
- Local bank transfer option is not available for deposits or withdrawals. But wire transfer is available, and this method can take 2-7 days to be credited.
- Crypto CFDs are not available.
read our Hotforex review to see detailed comparison of spread, platforms and features.
3. BDSwiss – Good Forex broker with 0 pip spread Raw account
Overall Rating 8.5/10
- Average Spread (EUR/USD benchmark): On average 1.5 pips with Classic account. And 0.3 pips + $5 commission per lot with Raw Account.
- Minimum deposit: $100 (Classic Account)
- Regulation(s): CySEC, NFA, FSC, FSA
Ranked #3 Forex Broker in South Africa
BDSwiss is a European forex & CFD broker that is licensed by CySEC. But they are not regulated with FSCA in South Africa.
BDSwiss was founded in 2012 in Zurich, and they are a reputed forex broker. They are regulated by CySEC with license number 199/13 since 31/05/2013. Also, BDSwiss LLC is authorized by NFA.
BDSwiss have an average spread of 1.5 pips for EUR/USD with their Classic account. But the spread with Raw Account is very competitive, it is on average 0.3 pips (plus $5 commission per standard lot on Forex). They also offer CFD trading on popular indices like NASDAQ, and 20 Crypto CFDs at competitive fees.
They offer variety of account types with many features including negative balance protection. But they don’t offer ZAR base currency accounts, only USD, EUR & GBP account currency options are available.
Their minimum deposit is $100 with Classic Account. But with VIP, Raw & InvestPLUS accounts, the minimum funding required is $3,000, $5,000 & $5,000 respectively, which is much higher than other brokers. But the trading fees is much lower with these account types.
The deposits at BDSwiss are free of any additional charges for all transaction methods. But BDSwiss have some non-trading charges which include Inactivity charges & fees on withdrawals below limits and made via wire transfers & methods other than credit card. Also, they don’t have local bank transfer option for funding or withdrawals in South Africa.
During our research, we found BDSwiss’s support to be good. You can reach them via Live chat, email & phone. But they don’t have a local phone number in South Africa at the moment.
- BDSwiss Group is licensed with CySEC & NFA.
- The spread is competitive with Classic account, and it is from as low as 0 pips with Raw Account.
- Funding is free with all methods without any extra charges.
- Wide range of CFD trading instruments including 51 currency pairs & 120+ CFDs on Cryptos, Indices, Commodities & Shares.
- The support at BDSwiss is very responsive. Plus they have bot chat for quick answers to most frequent questions.
- BDSwiss doesn’t offer ZAR base currency accounts. Only USD, EUR & GBP account currency options are available.
- Fees on Account Inactivity
- Fixed Withdrawal fees of 10 EUR for withdrawals less than or equal to 20 EUR for methods except for card refunds. Similarly same fees applies to wire transfer withdrawals that are less than or equal to 100 EUR. But there is 0 withdrawal fees when the amount is above these limits.
- No South African phone number, but you can call them on their international number or request a callback.
read our in-depth BDSwiss review
4. FXTM – Regulated Forex broker with Instant execution
Overall Rating 8.5/10
- Spread (EUR/USD benchmark): 1.9 pips on average with Micro Account. 0 pips + $4.88 commission with Advantage account.
- Minimum deposit: $50
- Regulation: FSCA. FCA & CySEC
- Bonus: There is no bonus available at FXTM currently.
Ranked #4 Forex Broker in South Africa
FXTM is our #4 forex broker in South Africa as per our comparison. They are licensed with FSCA, FCA & CySEC, so we consider them to be safe. Plus, they offer instant order execution with Micro account & fair support, but their fees is high with this account type.
FXTM was founded in 2011 & it got regulated with South Africa’s FSCA in 2016. We consider them to be safe since they are regulated with multiple top-tier regulators globally.
They offer competitive spread for majors including EUR/USD (0 pips + as low as 0.4 USD commissions per lot) with their Advantage MT5 account. But the spread is high with their spread only accounts (on average it is 1.9 pips with Micro account & 2.1 pips with Advantage Plus account). In terms of their trading fees, we recommend FXTM’s Advantage account.
FXTM offer a wide range of trading instruments, 63 major, minor & exotic currency pairs, CFDs on commodities, metals, indices as well as stocks. But they don’t offer CFDs on cryptos. The trading platforms offered by FXTM are MetaTrader 4 & 5, with mobile trading app compatible with Android and iOS.
They have very convenient funding methods including local bank transfer in ZAR with zero fees on deposits. But they charge extra fees on some withdrawal methods, but the withdrawals are quick.
Their customer support is very active, with quick & knowledgeable live chat available 24*5. Besides this, they provide free education to new traders in the form of webinars, articles & seminars.
- Regulated with FSCA, FCA & CySEC.
- Low spread with Advantage Account (plus volume based commission). The lowest EUR/USD spread is 0 pips plus USD 4.88 commission per 100,000 lots. The commission decreases to as low as 0.4 USD with volume.
- Zero deposit fees & quick withdrawals. Local bank transfer in ZAR is available.
- Wide range of CFD trading Instruments including CFDs on 1000+ stocks, indices, metals & commodities.
- Live Chat Support is responsive & available 24/5.
- FXTM charges EUR 30 fees on Withdrawals via wire transfer, and up to $3 fees on credit card withdrawals.
- High spread with Micro account type. The lowest average spread for EUR/USD is around 1.9 pips.
- ZAR Base Currency Account is not available.
5. Exness – Low minimum deposit forex broker in South Africa
Overall Rating 8.9/10
- Spread (EUR/USD benchmark): 1 pips on average with Standard Account
- Minimum deposit: $1
- Regulation: FSCA, FCA (UK) & CySEC
- Bonus: No bonus offer currently
Ranked #5 Forex Broker in South Africa
Exness is FSCA & FCA regulated, which are 2 Top Tier regulators, so we consider them to be safe. We like Exness because they have very low spread (even with their Standard Account), higher number of trading instruments, good support & instant withdrawal methods. But the support at Exness is not the best.
Exness was founded in 2008 & they are now one of the largest broker globally in terms of daily trading volume, with around 841 Billion USD trading volume in April, 2021. They are a highly regulated broker & are regulated by FSCA, FCA, CySEC, so we consider trading with them to be safe for South African traders.
Their spread is extremely competitive, and on average it is around 1 pips for EUR/USD (as per the contract specifications on their website), even with their Standard account. The spread is 0.6 pips on average with their Pro account, and it is as low as 0 pips (plus 7 USD commission) with Zero & Raw Spread accounts. Overall, we found Exness to be a broker with one of the lowest spread for Standard accounts, while Tickmill has lower overall fees for commission based account types.
Exness offers the latest MT5 platform as well as MT4 (you can choose), which we consider to be a positive thing. Moreover, they have really good account offerings, including standard accounts & Pro accounts.
Their funding & withdrawal methods are quite convenient for South African traders. They even have local bank transfer option, and some instant withdrawal methods. They is one of its kind. But some users have complained about issues with withdrawals at Exness.
The customer support at Exness is fair, we did not find it to be the best. Exness’s chat support is available 24 hours for 5 days in a week, but it is only available to logged in users. We found their chat support to be friendly, but there were delays while connecting during our test & the support agents were slow in answering our queries. The responses to queries sent to their support email are very slow, and it took a few days to get a response to our questions. Also, they don’t have a local phone number in South Africa.
- Exness is FSCA (FSP No. 51024), FCA (UK) regulated broker, so trading with them is considered to be safe.
- They have very competitive spread even with their Standard accounts (on average 1 pips for EUR/USD). It is almost zero pips with Pro accounts.
- Exness offers ZAR base currency accounts.
- No fees on deposit or withdrawals. Plus they have local bank transfer, and even instant withdrawal methods.
- 100+ currency pairs available for forex trading.
- On Average 1 pips spread for major pair EURUSD with their Standard Account.
- Exness offers the latest MT5 platform with both their Standard & Pro trading account types.
- Their English language chat support is available during 24 hours for 5 days in a week.
- Limited stock CFD instruments, currently only 31 CFDs on US Stocks are available for trading at Exness.
- Exness does not have any bonus offers for South African traders.
- Customer support is slow & could do better. There is hold time for connecting to chat support, and we received email response after 24 hours on average during our tests.
6. XM Trading – Fast Execution & low spread
Overall Rating 8.9/10
- Spread (EUR/USD Benchmark): On average 0.8 Pips with Ultra Low Account
- Minimum deposit: $5
- Regulation: CySEC (Cyprus), ASIC (Australia) & IFSC
- Bonus: 50% Welcome bonus up to $500 and 20% bonus for up to $5,000.
Ranked #6 Forex Broker in South Africa
XM Trading is another good forex broker for South African traders. But they are not regulated with FSCA, instead they are regulated with foreign regulators ASIC (Australia), CySEC (Cyprus) & IFSC. We like their fast order execution, low spread with Ultra Low Account and zero fees on deposits/withdrawals. We highly recommend XM to new traders.
XM Group is a part of Trading Point of Financial Instruments Ltd that was founded in 2009. They are now one of the leading forex broker in terms of daily trading volume. Trading Point of Financial Instruments Ltd is regulated by CySEC & ASIC (Trading Point of Financial Instruments Pty Ltd since 2015), so we consider them to be safe.
They offer the one of the fastest trade execution out of all the forex brokers that we have reviewed & compared, with almost zero re-quotes & zero rejection. Their fees with their Ultra Low Account is also one of the lowest of all the brokers that we have compared. Plus, they have negative balance protection.
XM has both web & mobile trading, available on MT4 & MT5 platforms. Plus, they have wide range of trading instruments including currencies & CFDs on metals, indices & commodities. Their trading environment is quite good.
Their support is also really fast in handling issues, especially their live chat which also available 24 hours during the week. Another plus, is that they don’t charge any fees on deposits & withdrawals.
- XM is regulated with CySEC & ASIC.
- Very low average EUR/USD spread of 0.8 pips with Ultra Low Account.
- Quick order execution & zero Re-quotes.
- XM offers 11 base currency options including ZAR base currency accounts.
- Negative Balance protection is available
- Zero fees on deposits & withdrawals.
- Fast & knowledgeable live chat support.
- XM is not regulated with FSCA in South Africa. We consider this to be an important point, as being regulated with FSCA ensures better funds protection & compliance.
- XM does not have a South African phone number for support.
also read our detailed XM broker review
7. Avatrade – Fixed spread forex broker
Overall Rating 8.8/10
- Spread (EUR/USD benchmark): Around 0.9 pips per trade
- Minimum deposit: $100
- Regulation: FSCA & ASIC
- Bonus: 20% Deposit Bonus for first time deposits (Minimum $1000 Required)
Ranked #7 Forex Broker in South Africa
Avatrade is a European broker that is also regulated with FSCA in South Africa. We recommend them to traders looking to trade forex & CFDs at fixed spread, with a locally regulated broker.
Avatrade is an European forex broker that was founded in 2006. They are regulated with FSCA since 2015 under the company name ‘Ava Capital Markets Pty Ltd’.
In terms of fees, Avatrade’s trading fees with their account are lower, than other brokers that we have compared. They offer fixed spread accounts, with EUR/USD spread being 0.9 pips (on average) with Retail account. But their & non-trading charges are high, as they charge an inactivity fees (for non-trading for 3 months) of $50, and an Administration fee of $100 for 12 months of inactivity in an account.
Avatrade offer MT4, MT5 platforms for web & mobile, along with their proprietary app. Like all the other brokers, they offer Forex, Cryptocurrencies, Stocks & bond trading.
Their deposit and withdrawal options include credit cards, wire transfer, and wallets. They also accept local bank transfer deposits. On the plus side, they don’t charge any fees on deposits & withdrawals.
Avatrade’s customer support is not the best, as their phone & chat support is not available 24/5. It is only available during the company’s business hours. But they do have a local phone number.
- Avatrade is regulated with FSCA (FSP Number: 45984).
- Zero deposit fees & quick withdrawals.
- Local South African phone number for support (only during company’s business hours).
- Accept local ZAR bank transfers for deposits in South Africa. But the amount is converted to account’s base currency like USD since they don’t offer ZAR accounts.
- Low Fixed spread for Majors. Eg: 0.9 pips spread for EUR/USD.
- No ZAR trading accounts.
- High Non-trading charges, including Inactivity fees of $50, if the account is not used for 3 consecutive months.
- Live Chat & phone Support is not available for 24 hours even during weekdays.
read our in-depth Avatrade review
8. FXCM – Good Overall FSCA Regulated broker
Overall Rating 8.0/10
- Spread (EUR/USD benchmark): Average 1.2 pips per trade
- Minimum deposit: $50 (ZAR 850 approx.)
- Regulation(s): FSCA, FCA & ASIC
Ranked #8 Forex Broker in South Africa
FXCM is a UK based broker that is also regulated with FSCA in South Africa as FXCM South Africa (PTY) LTD with FSP number 46534. They are one of the oldest regulated broker, so we recommend them.
FXCM was founded in 1999. We consider them to be safe as they are regulated with FSCA in South Africa since 2016, with FCA in UK, and with ASIC in Australia.
In terms of fees, FXCM only charges variable spread for every trade. Their typical EUR/USD spread is 1.3 (as per FXCM’s spread data for August 2020), which is highly competitive when compared with other South African regulated brokers. But, they charge $50 inactivity fees, if you don’t operate the account for 1 year.
FXCM offers MetaTrader 4 (MT4), Ninjatrader, ZuluTrade, and their own propitiatory Trading station platforms. Their Metatrader platform has support for desktop, web & mobile. But they don’t offer the MT5 version yet. Their trading instruments are limited to forex, commodities & cryptocurrencies.
They offer wide deposit and withdrawal options: credit/debit cards, bank wire transfer, and wallets (Skrill & Neteller). They don’t charge any fees on deposits, but they charge $40 fees on withdrawals via International bank wire. Credit card withdrawals are free with no fees.
FXCM has local phone support & office in South Africa. But we found their Live chat support to be slow in answering questions.
Disclaimer: CFDs are complex trading instruments that come with a very high risk of losing money quickly due to leverage. 75.38% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. Before trading with real money, you should make sure that you understand how CFDs work, its risks and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
- FXCM is regulated with FSCA (FSP Number: 46534).
- Tight spread of 1.3 pips for EUR/USD (as per FXCM’s August 2020 spread data)
- $20 Welcome deposit bonus available for South Africans
- Local phone number & office in South Africa.
- MT5 trading platform is not available at FXCM.
- Limited trading instruments.
- $50 Inactivity fees, if you don’t operate the account for 1 year.
- Live Chat support is not very good.
read our in-depth FXCM review to see detailed comparison for their fees, regulations & more.
9. Plus500 – Good Crypto CFD platform
Overall Rating 8.0/10
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
- Spread (EUR/USD benchmark): Variable .
- Minimum deposit: R1500
- Regulation: ASIC, CySEC, FSA
- Leverage: Upto 1:30 (depends on the trading instrument)
Ranked #9 CFD Trading platform in South Africa
Plus500 is a popular CFD trading platform, that is also listed on London Stock Exchange. They are regulated with top-tier regulators including FCA (UK), ASIC (Australia) & CySEC.
Plus500 was found in 2008, and we consider them to be safe for South African traders as they are regulated with 2 top-tier regulators & are also publicly listed.
Plus500 has variable spread which depends on the instrument being traded & the market conditions, but we found it to be very competitive for most CFD instruments. Also, their minimum deposit is not too high at R1500, and they don’t charge any extra fees on deposits or withdrawals.
They offer their proprietary platform on web & mobile. Their platform is easy to use, and very user friendly. But the downside is that it is not available on desktop.
We have found their support to be good in comparison to other brokers, and they are available via live chat, email & whatsapp number. But their education section is quite limited though.
- Plus500AU Pty Ltd has financial services license through FSCA. They are regulated with ASIC, CySEC and FSA
- Their spread is competitive for forex majors & crypto CFDs.
- 15 Crypto CFDs are available on their platform.
- Minimum deposit is R1500, and zero deposits & withdrawals charges.
- Their platform is available on mobile & web.
- Good Risk management tools including negative balance protection & guaranteed stop loss.
- They offer their own proprietary platform that is not available on desktop. Also, they don’t offer Metatrader or CTrader, so if you prefer trading on Metatrader, then you should consider another broker.
- Their education section is limited.
10. IC Markets – Best ECN Forex Broker
Overall Rating 8.0/10
- Spread (EUR/USD benchmark): From 0.1 pips with Raw Spread Account.
- Minimum deposit: $200
- Regulation: ASIC, CySEC
- Leverage: Upto 1:500 (lower for some other CFDs)
Ranked #10 Forex Broker in South Africa
IC Markets is one of the largest forex broker in terms of daily trading volume. They are well known & are regulated with top-tier regulators including ASIC (Australia) & CySEC.
IC Markets has been operating since 2007, and we consider them safe for traders in SA since they are a reputed broker & are also regulated with multiple regulators.
IC Markets offer Raw Spread trading accounts & Standard account. With Raw spread accounts, the spread is as low as 0.1 pips (plus $5-6 commission per Standard Lot) for most CFD instruments. With Standard account too, the spread is competitive, around 1.2 pips on average for EUR/USD are per our benchmark.
They have low minimum deposit requirements of $200. They are a Metatrader broker, but offer cTrader platform all. Their platform is available on all devices.
Our experience with their support was also good. We found them to be knowledgeable & helpful in answering our questions.
IC Markets Pros
- IC Markets is regulated with ASIC & CySEC. So considered safe for SA traders.
- The spread is quite low compared to other brokers.
- Wide range of CFD trading instruments other than forex.
- Zero deposit or withdrawal fees.
- Metatrader 4 & 5 platforms available for all devices.
IC Markets Cons
- They are not regulated with FSCA, and they don’t have a local office in South Africa.
- They don’t offer ZAR trading accounts.
- No negative balance protection.
How we selected the best Forex Brokers in South Africa
There are a few points that South African traders must check before signing up with any Forex or CFD broker.
1. Safety First: Regulatory Compliance is must
Regulation matters because it ensures the safety of your funds & protects you in case of any bad practice like fraud or manipulation by the broker. In South Africa, you must check whether the broker is regulated by FSCA or not.
Any good broker will be compliant with major Regulators & will not have complaints (in the past) against them.
If the broker is regulated & registered with more than 1 of these Top-tier Regulatory authorities (without any complaint against them), then we consider them to be safe for trading.
For this, you should search for your broker’s name or their regulation number, on search on Regulator’s (FSCA, FCA or ASIC) websites, as most of them have public search available. Below example is the image of what FSCA’s FAIS Financial Service provider search interface looks like.
Also, if you are searching for approved brokers on FSCA, only checking the “Authorized” status is not enough. Make sure to verify if the broker is approved for offering derivative instruments. You need to ensure that the broker that you are choosing is approved for offering derivatives trading. For example, below is how the “Approved Products” category would look like for a broker regulated for offering Forex & CFD trading.
So next time before choosing any broker, properly do your research, and check if the broker is regulated or not. If the broker claims that it is regulated, then search the name of the broker on the websites of the Regulatory authorities: fsca.co.za (FSCA’s website) & fca.org.uk (FCA’s website) to verify the broker’s claim, and also check if there have been any complaints against the broker in the past.
If the broker that you are about to trade with is not regulated or has a valid complaint against it or has been fined in the past for some bad practice, then its best to stay away from that broker. Also, as another rule, never choose a broker that is not regulated with at-least 1 top regulator i.e. FSCA, FCA. CySEC or ASIC.
The following are the Top-tier Regulators for Forex & CFD trading in various countries. If a forex broker is regulated by more than 1 of these major regulators then it is considered to be a low risk brokerage.
|FSCA (Financial Sector Conduct Authority)||South Africa|
|FCA (Financial Conduct Authority)||United Kingdom|
|ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission)||Australia|
|CySEC (Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission)||Cyprus|
|BaFIN (The Federal Financial Services Authority)||Germany|
|MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore)||Singapore|
Forex Brokers like HotForex, Exness, Tickmill & FXTM are licensed with at-least 2 top-tier regulators, including with FSCA in South Africa. So these brokers are considered to be low risk.
It is also important to note that some brokers may register their clients under Offshore regulators for less compliance. You should avoid such brokers & instead choose forex brokers that are licensed by Top-tier regulations & register you under regulation like FSCA in South Africa.
Always ask your broker about the regulation under which your account will be opened. Most good brokers will transparently answer this question.
2. Forex Broker’s Fees
Forex brokers charge fees through their spreads, commissions on trades (in some cases) & rollover (for overnight open positions). Some brokers also charge extra fees during deposits & withdrawals, but don’t actually show it as their fees.
Tracking the fees charged by a broker & then comparing it with other brokers is not easy, but we are here to help you with this.
Here’s a breakdown of the 4 types of fees forex brokers charge:
- Spread: This is the difference between the ask & the bid price. Its the most common fees charged by forex brokers. The lower the spread of a broker, the better it is for you.
Another important point is that some forex brokers have fixed spread accounts, like Avatrade. Most brokers have variable or floating spread accounts where the actual spread varies depending on the market conditions, it could be higher or lower. But the spread at a Fixed spread broker like Avatrade remains the same as what is listed as their typical spread on their website.
Before signing up with any forex broker, you should check the broker’s contract specification page as it normally has information on the broker’s spread. Like below is the screenshot from the XM’s forex spread overview page.
- Commissions (for ECN Account): Most ECN type brokers will offer lower spread, but will instead charge you commissions (for both opening & closing the position) based on your trading amount & volume.
Below terms from FXTM Broker’s website shows the terms of their Advantage account fees.
Forex Brokers normally mention their commission for “each side” of the trade/order. So if the broker mentions that they charge $2 commission per lot per side, then it means that the broker is charging $2 for opening the position & another $2 during closing of the position. The total commission would be $4 with this example.
Also, the commission could vary depending on the CFD instrument. For example: BDSwiss have $5 commission on forex, $2 in CFD indices & 0.15% commission on share CFDs. So you should check the total fees commission for the exact instrument that you want to trade because it is quite possible that the fees for that instrument is lower at another regulated CFD broker.Another important point is that if you are a high volume trader, then the fees structure with ECN accounts will be more transparent & have lower trading costs for you.
- Rollover Fees: Forex brokers charge small fees if you want to keep a position open overnight. This fees is called the Rollover fees or Swap rates. This fees depend on your broker & the currency pair that you are trading.
- Deposit & Withdrawal fees: Many brokers also charge payment gateway fees & processing fees on deposits/withdrawals. For example: eToro charges $25 processing fees for every withdrawal, but XM Forex, Hotforex & Tickmill on the other hand have zero fees on deposits/withdrawals (depending on your amount).
You will find the deposit & withdrawals charges listed on the broker’s deposit/withdrawal page on their website. This below screenshot of table from Tickmill’s website highlights their deposit & withdrawal commissions. They charge zero commission on all funding & withdrawal methods.
To save your time, we have already calculated & compared the fees of all the brokers for you in our comparison.
In the table below, we have compared the typical spread (in pips) of our 4 top rated forex brokers for their standard accounts (according to the Contract Specification information on their websites):
|Currency Pair||Hotforex (Premium Account)||XM Trading (Ultra Low Account)||Exness (Standard Account)||FXTM (Micro account)|
Note: All 4 brokers compared above have variable spread, so the actual spread may be higher than the value listed in the above comparison table. The actual live spread will fluctuate based on the market conditions.
Based on our comparison of the standard accounts offered by different brokers, typically XM broker & Exness had the lowest spread for most currency pairs, while FXTM generally had the spread on the higher side (with their Micro Account).
Also overall, Hotforex has competitive spread for most FX pairs & other CFD instruments like NASDAQ, Gold with Premium account. All 4 brokers listed in above comparison table have variable spread, so the actual spread may be lower or higher than their typical spread for an instrument. The actual spread is based on the Live market conditions.
For ECN brokers, Exness & Hotforex are very competitive with their spread. For Example, Hotforex has much lower spread (plus $6 commission per 1 lot for forex majors & $8/lot for all other currency pairs) with Zero account, while Exness has spread from 0 pips + USD 7 per lot commission with their ECN type Pro Accounts. FXTM also has really tight spread & low commissions with their MT5 Advantage account. Tickmill too has Pro Account which is an ECN type account with Raw Spread & only $4 commission per 100,000 units (Standard Lot).
3. Trade Execution Speed Matters
Another factor to consider is if the broker offers quick order execution speed. Fast execution eliminates slippage & re-quotes. Forex brokers either offer market execution or instant execution of orders.
If you are an intraday trader that opens/closes many positions daily, then it should be even more important for you to opt for a broker with the best trade execution speed.
But there is no method to test the execution speed other than actually placing trades on the broker’s live platform. Some brokers will offer good execution on demo, but won’t offer the same speed during live trading. So if you are about to choose a broker then, you should actually their live platform trading conditions with minimum funding & low position size.
During our trading execution tests, 2 brokers, XM Forex with their Ultra Low Account & FXTM with Micro Account had fast order execution (as both these brokers have instant execution account types). The brokers Hotforex, Exness & Tickmill also have quick market execution.
Most of the good brokers have a terms or trading conditions page on their website regarding their execution policy. You should check the broker’s execution policy, and look for terms like market execution, no re-quotes, real-time execution etc.
4. Ease & Fees on Deposits and Withdrawals
Adding funds & making withdrawals with a broker should be fast & easy. You would agree, right?
Most brokers transparently show their funding/withdrawal time & methods on their websites. You should always check that first & compare which methods suit you.
Like this page on Tickmill’s website where they transparently show their deposit & withdrawal commissions for various methods.
You should also carefully look into the withdrawal fees, because some brokers offer zero fees on deposits but charge high fees during withdrawals.
Some brokers like Exness, Tickmill, Hotforex even offer local bank transfer deposit & withdrawal options in South Africa. If you prefer local bank deposits, then we recommend Exness, Tickmill & Hotforex. But if you prefer card & other wallet methods, then XM & Hotforex are very good as well.
Overall, we find XM & Exness to offer the fastest deposit & withdrawals and both charge zero fees on funding & even on withdrawals. FXTM is also quick in processing payments, but they lack in the fees as they charge “Fees/Commission” with most of the withdrawal methods that are suitable for South Africans.
5. Account Base Currency: ZAR or USD?
Your account base currency is the currency in which your trading deposits, profits are converted. Eg: If you choose ZAR as your base currency then all your account deposits, profits in your account with the broker with be held in ZAR (South African Rand).
The most popular base currency options are USD & EUR, but as per our research ZAR trading accounts are very popular among traders in South Africa.
As per our research, there are a few forex brokers that offer ZAR account in South Africa i.e. with Rand (ZAR) as a base currency option for your trading account. These include popular brokers Hotforex, Exness, XM Broker & Plus500.
Brokers will generally display their account base currency options on their Account Types page. Like this page on XM’s website which shows ZAR account currency option:
This is a really important consideration for South African traders, if you are looking to make local deposits and withdrawals in Rand. There are following advantages for have a ZAR forex account:
- Save Exchange Rate Losses: During deposits or withdrawals, your brokers or your bank can charge your high exchange rates or transfer fees for conversions to USD or EUR (whichever is your base & deposit currency).
- Fast local deposits & Withdrawals: Many brokers that offer ZAR accounts normally also accept deposits & offer withdrawals via local bank accounts in South Africa. If you are choose Rand as your account currency then the local transfers with generally be much faster than wire in another currency account.
- Trade ZAR pairs: If you generally trade forex pairs with ZAR quote currency i.e. USDZAR, EURZAR, GBPZAR etc. then it is beneficial to hold ZAR trading account. This is because if you trade ZAR pairs, then once you close the trade, your profits/losses will be in Rand.
But if your account currency is let’s say USD, then the broker will convert that profit into USD & may charge fees for that conversion.
6. How good is their Trading App & platforms?
Almost every broker has multi device platforms including webtrader, desktop application & mobile app; although there are a few exceptions like Plus500 which does not have any desktop version.
- DeskTop & Webtrader: A lot of the forex & CFD brokers offer standard Metatrader platform, that is available on all devices. There won’t be a lot of variation on the MT4 or MT5 interface, but the actual execution of orders & broker’s experience could be vastly different. Even though demo account may not be best test, it is still a good idea to test the platform on demo first to get used to it for you open a Live account.
Moreover, there are some brokers that have their own proprietary web based platforms like Plus500 & Etoro.
- Mobile Trading App: If you are a trader that prefers to use your mobile device for trading then broker’s app should be one of the main considerations for you.
You should ask these questions these for starters: Is it available for Android, iOS? What instruments are available in the app & are your desired currency pairs there? Is it fast to use?
According to us, a good mobile trading app would be quick to place & close trades, get price alerts, news feed. We have compared the best forex trading apps for South African traders based on 9 factors.
It is best to choose a broker that offers support for all devices. Plus, remember to check the trading app’s negative reviews before you download it. You can check the app’s review from Google’s Play store & iOS App store. In general, a good app will have a lot more positive reviews than negative. Go deep into the negative reviews too to find out if there are any repetitive issues being reported by app’s users.
7. Is the broker’s Customer Support good?
The forex broker’s customer support is a really important factor in our comparison. We tracked the support of every broker that we have listed here.
We especially liked XM’s chat support as they are quite responsive & knowledgeable.
A good broker would offer 24 hours support during the weekdays via Live Chat, preferably have a local phone number in South Africa & have Email support 24/7 that answers in less than an hour. But not all brokers offer 24/7 support. For ex: Avatrade offers customer support during their business hours only, so there may be high waiting time with them for support related issues. Also, there might be a few minutes of delay while connecting with chat support at some brokers.
We compared the customer support by contacting all the brokers in our review via Live chat & email. Overall, we found XM & Hotforex had the best customer support. Both these brokers have quick chat support that is available 24/5, without much hold time. Normally, their replied in under 6 hours for emails sent to their support email.
While some brokers have slower support than others & it can some effort to get support. Like Exness’s email support is very slow in responding to queries, and in most cases you will have to wait for a few minutes to connect to their Live chat support.
8. Range of Trading Instruments
Another factor that you should consider is the number of CFD trading instruments available on the broker’s platform. Many traders now trade CFDs on metals, commodities, indices etc. Always check beforehand if the instrument that you want to mostly trade is not available at the broker or not.
Most forex brokers have a page on their website where they list the range of available instruments & contract specifications for each instrument. Normally, brokers create separate pages for each type of CFD instrument like Forex, metals, indices, commodities etc.
As an example, Forex trading instrument page on Hotforex SA’s website has list of all their Forex trading pairs, along with typical spread for each currency pair, and you can also sort the table data.
Other than forex, you should check if the broker offers NASDAQ or NAS100, crypto CFDs, Gold CFDs etc. These are the most commonly traded CFD instruments other than currency pairs, by the traders in South Africa as per our research, but some brokers don’t offer all these instruments. For example, many brokers like FXTM, OctaFX etc. don’t offer Crypto CFDs.
Make sure to always check beforehand if all the trading instruments that you want to trade are provided by the broker. And check what fees the broker charges for the instrument you want to trade. For example, you may want to trade Gold & NASDAQ CFDs mainly, then you should compare the overall fees for these instruments at all the regulated forex CFD brokers.
Comparison Table of Best Forex Brokers in South Africa
|Forex Broker||Regulations||Average Spread (EUR/USD)||Leverage||Account minimum||Forex Trading Platform(s)||Start Trading|
|Tickmill||FCA, FSCA, CySEC||Floating spread, from 1.6 pips with Classic account. And spread from 0.1 pips (plus $4 commission per 100,000 units) with Pro account.||1:500||$100||MT4||get started|
|Hotforex||FSCA (South Africa), FCA, CySEC||As low as 0.3 pips with Zero Account||up to 1:1000||$5 (~R76)||MT4 & MT5 for web, mobile devices,||get started|
|BDSwiss||CySEC, NFA||1.6 pips with Classic Account||up to 1:500||$100||MT4 & MT5 for web, mobile devices,||get started|
|FXTM||FSCA, FCA, Cysec||0 pips(plus $4.88 fees per 100,000 units) with Advantage Account. And on average 1.9 pips with Micro accounts||Up to 1:2000||$50||MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, Webtrader, iOS, Android apps||get started|
|Exness||FCA, CySEC||On Average 1 pips with Standard Account.||up to 1:2000||$1||MT4 & MT5 for web, mobile devices,||get started|
|XM Trading||FCA (UK), ASIC (Australia), CySEC||0.8 pips with XM’s Ultra Low Account||1:888||$5 (~R76)||MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 for web & mobile||get started|
|Avatrade||FSCA, Bank of Ireland, ASIC (Australia)||Fixed 1.3 pips||1:1000||$100||MetaTrader 4 for web & mobile||get started|
|FXCM||FSCA, FCA, ASIC||N/A||1:400||$50||MT4, Ninjatrader & Zulutrader.||get started|
|FxPro||FSCA, FCA||Floating, on average 1.5 pips with MT accounts. And 0.4 pips (plus $0.45 fees per 10,000 units traded) with cTrader account.||1:500||$500||MT4, MT5, cTrader.||get started|
|Plus500||FCA, ASIC||Floating spread, from 0.6 pips.||1:30||R1500||Proprietary app & webtrader.||get started|
Frequently asked questions
Which is the best forex broker for beginners?
As a beginner in Forex Trading, you must look for a broker that offers a free demo account, is regulated with FSCA, and also offers good education material. We have done research on 50+ brokers operating in SA, here are our top picks:
How should you choose a forex broker?
Ultimately this depends on your trading requirements, like the currency pair that you want to trade, your deposit methods, leverage requirements, if you require a raw spread ECN account broker etc. However, there are some general guidelines that you should check before depositing your money with any broker.
Always choose a broker that is regulated with top tier regulators like FCSA, FCA or ASIC. Another thing that matters is the spread, the lower the better.
Also, check if your desired broker offers a platform of your choice. Most traders prefer MT4 & MT5, so you should see if your broker offers these 2 platforms. Plus, some other consideration are customizable leverage between (1:10 to 1:50), various trading platforms options on mobile & web, 24/5 responsive Support and easy deposit & withdrawals. If your broker offers ZAR account, then it is a positive thing.
How can you check if your forex broker is regulated or not?
For a start, you must only choose a broker that is regulated with a top tier regulator. But not every regulation is the same, as many brokers claim to be regulated, but are actually regulated with some Offshore regulators to avoid compliance. So you should check with your broker, if they are regulated with respected regulations like: FCA, FSCA, CySEC or ASIC.
We have also created this list of FSCA regulated forex brokers for South African traders.
You can find the regulation information on a broker’s website. Almost all brokers add this information at the bottom section on their websites or their about pages.
Further, all regulators like FCA, FSCA also have a public search on their website to check broker’s regulation & license number. Moreover, all the brokers that we have reviewed on our website are regulated with top regulators. Also, we have given links to their registration number in our reviews.
Which forex brokers are regulated with FSCA?
There are around 1000+ FSCA regulated entities dealing in FX & other derivative instruments. To make your search simple, we have checked & found that Hotforex, ForexTime, Tickmill, Exness and Avatrade performed best in our ranking parameters & user reviews.
But if you want one broker with low spread & FSCA regulation, then Exness is our recommendation with spread of almost 1 pip for EUR/USD in their Standard account.
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