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.
10 Best Forex Brokers in South Africa ranked based on our Research & User Reviews
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…
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):
Exness is our 1st rank forex broker for South African traders. 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.
Exness was founded in 2008 & they are now one of the largest broker globally in terms of daily trading volume, with around 600 Billion USD trading volume in November, 2020. They are highly regulated with FSCA, FCA, CySEC so we consider trading with them to be safe for South African traders.
Their spread is extremely competitive, 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 a broker with one of the lowest spread.
Exness offers the latest MT5 platform also (along with MT4), 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 very convenient for South African traders. They even have local bank transfer option, and some instant withdrawal methods. They is one of its kind.
We also like their customer support. Exness’s chat is available 24 hours for 5 days in a week, but it is only available to logged in users. We found their support to be really knowledgeable, friendly & quick in answering all our questions. But they don’t have a local phone number in South Africa.
Tickmill is a No Dealing Desk (NDD) broker that is regulated by FSCA (FSP no. 49464), 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. 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 platforms have support for multi devices). They don’t offer the latest MT5. Their forex trading currency pair offering is wide with 62 pairs, but their other trading instruments are limited with just 23 other CFDs on indices, metals & bonds. They don’t offer trading on Cryptocurrencies.
Tickmill doesn’t have any local phone number in South Africa in currently, however their chat support & email support is available from Monday to Friday from 7AM – 10PM (GMT).
read our in-depth Tickmill review
Hotforex is our recommend 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. Hotforex 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, cryptos, shares, bond & commodities.
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, with 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, but on the negative side they don’t have a local phone number in South Africa for support.
read our Hotforex review to see detailed comparison of spread, platforms and features.
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.
They have spread of 1.7 pips for EUR/USD with their Classic account, but it is on average 0.4 pips (plus $5 commission per standard lot on Forex) with their Raw account. 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 accounts, the minimum funding required is $3,000 & $5,000 respectively, which is much higher than other brokers. But the trading fees is much lower with these accounts.
The deposits at BDSwiss are free of any additional charges with 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.
read our in-depth BDSwiss review
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, Cryptos & CFDs. 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.
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.
read our in-depth Avatrade review
FXTM is our #5 forex broker in South Africa as per our comparison. They are regulated with FSCA, FCA & CySEC, so we consider them to be safe. Plus, they offer instant order execution with Standard accounts & fair support. But their fees is high with their Standard accounts.
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 (0.4 pips + commissions per lot) with their ECN MT5 account. But the spread is quite high with their Standard accounts (2.4 pips with Micro account & 2.0 pips with Standard account). In terms of their trading fees, we recommend them for ECN accounts only.
They have wide range of trading instruments, 57 major, minor & exotic currency pairs, Cyrptocurrencies, CFDs, as well as stocks. 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 with zero fees on deposits. But they offer some fees on withdrawals, 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.
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.
read our in-depth FXCM review to see detailed comparison for their fees, regulations & more.
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
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 intruments. 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.
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 Cons
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 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.
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:
Before signing up with any broker, you should look for 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.
Below terms from FXTM Broker’s website shows the terms of their ECN 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.If you are a high volume trader, then the fees structure with ECN accounts will be more transparent & have lower trading costs for you.
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 (Standard 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. Also overall, Hotforex had very competitive spread for most FX instruments with Premium account. All 4 brokers listed in above comparison table have variable spread, so it may be lower or higher than their typical spread based on the actual Live market conditions.
For ECN brokers, Exness & Hotforex are very competitive with their spread. For Example, Hotforex has much lower spread (plus $7 commission per 1 lot) 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 ECN account. Tickmill too has Pro Account which is an ECN type account with Raw Spread & only $4 commossion per 100,000 units (Standard Lot).
Another factor to consider is if the broker offers quick order execution speed. Fast execution eliminates slippage & re-quotes.
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 & FXTM had the best market execution (as both offer instant execution in most cases).
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 no re-quotes, real-time execution etc.
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 even offer local bank transfer deposit & withdrawal options in South Africa. If you prefer local bank deposits, then we recommend Exness. 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.
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:
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.
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.
Moreover, there are some brokers that have their own proprietary web based platforms like Plus500 & Etoro.
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.
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 support as they are quite responsive & knowledgeable.
A good broker would offer 24 hours support during the week via Live Chat, have a local phone number in South Africa & have Email support 24/7. 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.
Overall, we found XM, Exness, Hotforex & FXTM had the best customer support. All these 4 brokers have quick chat support that is available 24/5, without much hold time. Normally, their replied in under 12 hours for emails sent to their support email.
|Forex Broker||Regulations||Average Spread (EUR/USD)||Leverage||Account minimum||Forex Trading Platform(s)||Start Trading|
|Exness||FCA, CySEC||On Average 1 pips with Standard Account.||up to 1:2000||$1||MT4 & MT5 for web, mobile devices,||get started|
|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||1.7 pips with Classic Account||up to 1:500||$100||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|
|FXTM||FSCA, FCA, Cysec||0.4 pips(plus $0.4 fees per 10,000 units) with ECN. And on average 2.2 pips with Standard accounts||1:1000||$10||MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, Webtrader, iOS, Android apps||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.||1:300||R1500||Proprietary app & webtrader.||get started|
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:
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.
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.
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.
Exness is the #1 SA BrokerVisit