We researched 10+ forex brokers that offer ZAR Trading accounts, and have listed the best in terms of fees & features.
ZAR Forex Trading Accounts are quite useful for traders in South Africa. This will help you avoid losses in fees during the conversion of currency on deposits or withdrawals.
Having a ZAR Account implies that all your funds with the broker will be kept in Rand. In most cases, this would mean the broker likely has local bank account in SA, so you can access quick and convenient withdrawals and deposits through bank transfer.
However, only a few Forex Brokers in South Africa have ZAR Accounts currently. Most of them claim to provide more or less similar trading environment and features. So choosing the best ZAR account broker is not easy.
7 Best forex brokers with ZAR accounts in South Africa
For this guide, we have done extensive research of 10+ Forex brokers offering ZAR Accounts to help you out. Then, we have chosen only the highly regulated and reliable brokers working in the South African market.
For the safety of your funds, even if your consideration is ZAR base currency account, you must still trade with only brokers that are well regulated with FSCA or other Top tier regulators like FCA, ASIC.
Our research offers a comparison of the top regulated Forex brokers offering ZAR Trading Accounts. This includes overall fees (spread +commissions), trading conditions, platforms, and local support.
Ranked #1 ZAR account Forex Broker in South Africa
HotForex is one of the best ZAR account forex broker for traders in South Africa. They are locally regulated with the South Africa Financial Security Conduct Authority – FSCA (FSP No.46632). Plus, they have been regulated by 2 other Tier-1 regulators FCA and CySEC. Thus we consider HF Markets SA safe for traders in South Africa.
HotForex offers Direct Market access by being an STP broker. This means your orders get straight-through processing with no dealing desk. Orders are placed directly with their liquidity providers. Therefore conflict of interest is absent.
Fees: We compared their fees and found the cost to be quite fair (though not the lowest). In terms of fees for trading, HotForex has the lowest spread with the Zero Account, but there is a roundturn commission of $6/lot (R80) for majors & $8/Standard lot (R110) for all other currency pairs. There is no fee for deposits or withdrawals at HF.
The average USD/ZAR spread with the HF Premium account is around 90 (variable as per market conditions). For a Zero Account, it is usually around 45 pips. Premium Account is a commission-free spread only. Zero Account has a spread of + $6 per 100,000 units (1 standard lot) for majors. For other instruments like XAU/USD (0.29 pips), EUR/USD (1.3 pips), NAS100 (2.03 pips) etc. their average fees is quite competitive compared to other forex brokers. Their fees is lowest with their Zero Account.
Fair Trading Conditions: HotForex offers 53 currency pairs including exotic, minors, and majors. Its trading instruments also include CFDs on 56 shares, 11 Indices globally, 8 Commodities, 3 top global Bonds, Energies such as Crude and Brent Oil, US Natural Gas, and Spot Metals – Silver and Gold. They now also offer crypto CFDs. HF offers trading on the latest MT4 and MT5 platforms for all devices.
In terms of risk management, negative balance protection is available at HotForex. But they don’t offer guaranteed stop loss orders.
The minimum balance for opening an account is ZAR 70 approx. & there are no deposit or withdrawal fees. The max. leverage offered is up to 1:1000 and the speed of order execution is fair. HF also allows Scalping, Hedging, EAs, and Swap-Free Accounts.
You can also make a deposit or withdrawal via EFT i.e. local Bank Transfer in SA. There is no fees for deposit or withdrawal with this method. If you open an account with ZAR as your Base currency, then you will not incur any fees or losses on currency conversion.
Good Support: HotForex has a local phone number in South Africa (+27-10-443-9924, 0-800-999-265). The Live Chat Support is quick and helpful available 24X5 on weekdays. We did not experience a hold time of above 1 minute while connecting during working hours at any time.
Ranked #2 ZAR account Forex Broker
Exness is one of the largest forex broker in terms of average daily trading volume. Exness is licensed by 3 Top Tier regulations i.e. FSCA, FCA & CySEC, so it is considered a safe CFD broker.
Fees: The trading fees at Exness is very low compared to other forex brokers. With their Standard account the average spread is 1 pips for a major currency pair EURUSD, and the spread is lower with Pro account at 0.6 pips. Exness also has commission based accounts with Raw spreads from 0 pips on average. With Raw spread account, their commission is $7/lot for roundturn.
The Swap Fees is also competitive for most of the Forex pairs. For example, for EUR/USD the Long Swap is −4.11 USD & it is 0.98 USD for Short positions.
Exness has floating spreads, so the actual spreads that you get during trading can be higher from their typical spreads. Generally their spreads are as per the typical spreads which they have listed on their website. But users in our Exness review have reported higher spreads & gaps in price during certain trading hours.
Wide range of trading Instruments & features: Exness offers over 100+ currency pairs, and CFDs on 100+ Metals, Cryptos, Stocks & Indices.
The highest leverage at Exness is 1:2000. Exness offers MT4 & MT5 trading platforms.
Exness offer free (no extra fees) funding & withdrawals via Internet Banking transfer in South Africa. The deposits are instant, but the withdrawals can take upto 3 Business days.
The minimum deposit with Internet Banking Transfer is USD 10, and the deposits are added instantly (within few minutes). The withdrawals via this method are processed within 72 hours, and the minimum withdrawal amount is USD 4.
But it is important to note that if your account base currency is not in ZAR, but your deposit & withdrawals are in ZAR, then Exness would apply their own exchange rates on which there is generally a markup. Their markup is much higher than other brokera.
Not so Good Customer Support: Customer Support at Exness is not the best. They offer customer support via email, live chat & phone support. But they don’t have a local phone number in South Africa & their responses via email are very slow. During our tests, we received the response in few days on average via email. Most other brokers offer better customer support than Exness.
Ranked #3 ZAR account Forex Broker
XM is one of the leading forex broker that is very popular in South Africa. They are regulated with 2 major regulators i.e. ASIC & CySEC, but they are not authorized by FSCA. Also, XM is a market maker forex broker.
Average Fees: Their trading fees with Ultra Low account is competitive for most instruments. As an example: the average EURUSD spread is 0.8 pips with Ultra Low Standard account. But for minor currency pairs like USDZAR (118 pips) & CFD indices like NASDAQ (5 pips), their spread is higher than HotForex & Exness.
But if you are trading with Micro Account or Standard then their spread is quite high. For ex. XM’s typical spread for major like EUR/USD was around 2 pips during our tests. On average it is around 1.9-2 pips during normal market conditions.
XM’s Swap Fees is also generally higher compared to other forex brokers (as an example, it is around -5.3 USD for EUR/USD Long & -0.9 USD for Short with Standard Lot), so you should take that into account if you want to keep your trade open overnight.
Wide range of CFD trading Instruments: XM had a wide range of CFD trading instruments available on its platform including 57 currency pairs & 1000+ CFDs on stocks, commodities, metals, shares & indices. But Crypto CFDs are not available currently on their platform.
Plus, negative balance protection is available. Traders have choice between MT4 & MT5 platforms. You can deposit & withdraw funds via EFT on XM’s platform.
Responsive Live Chat Support: Customer Support is solid at XM. We tested their live chat support & we found it to be quite responsive & helpful. Their email support is okay & we received their response in 2 hours during our test.
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Ranked #4 ZAR account CFD Trading platform
Plus500 is one of the leading forex trading platform. They are well regulated with multiple Top tier regulators including with ASIC, FCA & CySEC. Moreover, the company Plus500 Ltd is also listed on the London Stock Exchange and it is thus considered a relatively safe CFD trading platform for traders in SA.
Fees: Plus500 offers competitive spread to the traders – as low as 0.6 pips for the benchmark EUR/USD. They also do not charge any fees for withdrawals or deposits.
Moreover, there is no other volume/lot based commission on Forex trading. The only trading fees that they charge is the variable spread which depends on the instrument that you are trading.
Trading Conditions & features: There is only a single account type for Retail traders at Plus500 South Africa. The minimum deposit is ZAR 1500 and the max. leverage is 1:300 for SA traders. The broker also provides protection for the negative balance and assured stop-loss protection. These features are included in your trading account without charging any additional fees.
Traders can choose from 71 currency pairs, 1000+ CFDs on stocks. The other asset classes include CFDs on 8 Commodities, 7 Cryptocurrencies, 8 Indices, 6 Energies, and 4 Precious Metals.
Plus500 offers you its proprietary trading platforms for Web and Mobile trading. On the downside, this platform is not accessible in Desktop. Also, Plus500 does not support the popular MetaTrader platform.
Decent Support: Customer Support is available through Live Chat, Email & Whatsapp. There is also a decent FAQs section for self-help.
Live Chat support can be accessed only when logged in. It is necessary to fill Contact Form for availing e-mail support. On testing, we received a response within 1 hour on a weekday from their email.
Ranked #5 ZAR account broker
FxPro Financial Services Ltd. is authorized by FSCA with FSP no. 45052. They are also licensed with 2 other Top-tier regulators FCA & CySEC, so they are considered safe.
Fees: Their fees is not the lowest, but it is still quite competitive for most instruments. FxPro offers choice between platforms & execution, and the exact spread varies depending on that. For eg: Their average spread for USDZAR with MT4 platform & market execution is 174.01, whereas it is 203.76 + $4.5 per Standard lot traded on cTrader platform with market execution.
FxPro does not charge any fees on deposits & withdrawals to traders in SA.
Trading Conditions & features: There are multiple account choices at FxPro based on your trading platform. Traders can trade 70 currency pairs & 300+ CFDs on Indices, metals, energies, shares & futures. Crypto CFDs are not available under FxPro Financial Services Ltd.
Fair Customer Support: The support at FxPro is okay. They have a virtual assistant on their website, which is helpful for basic queries.
There are a few advantages to trading with a broker that offers ZAR base currency accounts.
a. Depends on your mostly traded trading instrument:
This is valid if your account is funded through the most frequently traded quote currency.
For instance, if you mostly trade South African Rand pairs with quote currency being ZAR such as USD/ZAR, EUR/ZAR, GBP/ZAR, then there may be certain advantages to opening your trading account in ZAR base currency.
If your account is funded in ZAR, then your account balance will be in Rand, and all your profits too will by default be converted into ZAR (Rand) once you close the trade. In case you are trading mostly ZAR quote currency pairs, then a conversion transaction will not be required. You will also save the commissions if your broker charges commission for the transaction to convert to another base currency like USD or EUR.
It is preferred that your account currency is the same as the quote currency of your mostly traded currency pairs. If not, you will lose during the re-conversion of funds to your funding currency each time you trade. You may have to pay an extra commission each time you trade if the broker charges for conversion. This could add up to much eventually.
b. Conversion charges during withdrawal (by your bank and/or the broker):
Once you decide on the withdrawal, you will want to get withdrawal from your broker in your South African bank account.
In case you hold a ZAR account, the broker can directly send your withdrawal in Rand. Instead consider a case where you request the withdrawal in USD (if your base currency is US Dollar), then your bank, broker (or both) may charge you fees for the USD wire transfer to your SA based bank account.
Here, the currency conversion fees/spread on exchange rates of anywhere from 2% – 6% could be charged by your bank. If the USD/ZAR exchange rate is 15, your bank will likely charge its fees on the exchange rate and offer you around 14.8 at the very least. Your broker and bank may also levy wire charges for receipt of USD payments.
But in case of ZAR account, it is very likely that the Rand withdrawal transfer by broker will be from the broker’s local bank account in South Africa.
This will save you the Interbank fees for withdrawal that would be incurred during bank wire transfer withdrawals, as well as the exchange rate spread charged by your bank for conversion to Rand from another currency like USD.
Also, there are regulated brokers that accept deposits in ZAR (South African Rand) via Internet Bank transfer in SA, but don’t offer ZAR account. Instead they only have USD, EUR etc. account base currency options. Or these brokers offer ZAR account currency option but you have selected USD (example) as your base currency instead of ZAR.
In such a case, brokers normally have a mark-up on the exchange rates during deposits in ZAR & conversion into your account currency like USD. And similar there is a markup on the exchange rates during withdrawal i.e. conversion from USD back to ZAR in your South African bank account.
Regulated Brokers will generally show you the exchange rates that were offered during deposit & withdrawal. For example, Exness shows the ‘Conversion Rate‘ that was offered for the withdrawal via Internet Banking in South Africa in ZAR, if your account currency is not in ZAR.
You will lose part of your deposits & withdrawals during conversion into another currency. This can be avoided by choosing a broker that offers ZAR base currency account & option to fund/withdraw in Rand using local Internet Banking transfer in SA.
c. Faster Deposits & Withdrawals
Most of the forex brokers that offer ZAR Base currency option also accept deposit & withdrawals via Internet Banking in SA through most of the major banks.
Generally, this method a lot faster than other methods like wire transfers, which can also be much harder with exchange. For ex. Exness, HotForex & Tickmill have almost instant funding via Internet Banking. Also, the withdrawals are generally quicker than other methods, but can take upto 3 working days at some brokers.
Also, compared to deposit via card, bank transfers at most brokers are free.
For ex. Exness, HotForex, Tickmill etc. offer deposits & withdrawals via EFT in SA without any extra charges. When compared to other methods, those can have extra gateway fees which are normally very high. Also, most brokers support transfer via all the major banks like ABSA, Standard Bank, FNB & Nedbank.
When comparing the withdrawal time for ZAR Transfers via Internet Banking or EFT, the withdrawals at HotForex via Bank Transfer in ZAR can take 2 Days, and at Exness it can take 3 days, and at Tickmill it can take 24 hours. This is generally faster than withdrawals via Bank Wire Transfer which can take upto 7 days.
The below example is the typical deposit time & fees for transfers in ZAR via Bank Transfer at HotForex SA.
Normally with most ZAR Account brokers that offer local bank transfers for deposit & withdrawals, your funds via Bank Transfer will be added within a few minutes (compared to few days via Bank wire transfer), and if your base currency is in ZAR then there is no extra conversion fees.
Similarly, the below table shows the specifications of the deposit & withdrawal time in ZAR at Exness with Internet Banking.
The important question comes, how can you check whether the broker offers ZAR base currency trading account or not?
Step 1: If a forex broker does offer ZAR trading account they will mostly tell that clearly on their website. You would normally find this option on account types page & during signup where you can choose the account base currency.
For example: HotForex (HF Markets SA Pty Ltd) shows the ‘Account Currency’ options available for each account type & the minimum deposit in ZAR as well.
The below screenshot of their Premium Account types shows their available base currency options.
Similarly, other brokers like XM list ZAR base currency on their trading account types comparison page. While some brokers have FAQ page to check the support account currency options. All brokers would generally allow you to select the base currency during signup process.
Step 2: Choose the account base currency during Account Opening.
You must note that many forex brokers don’t allow you to change the account base currency once the Live account is opened. So you must carefully select the right account currency during Signup.
For example, Exness does not allow traders to change account currency once the trading account has been opened. But you are allowed to open another trading account with a different base currency. You can open as many trading accounts as you want, there is ‘no limit’ to the number of trading accounts under a single client.
If ZAR account currency option is available at the broker, then you would most likely find this option during account opening steps.
As an example: HotForex SA requires you to choose your “myHF Account Base Currency” during Account opening. They have 2 currency options i.e. USD & ZAR. So, if you want to open a ZAR base currency account then select the ZAR option here. See the below screenshot on how you can select ZAR as your account currency at HotForex during signup.
The account currency option that you select will be your trading account’s base currency.
Do note that most forex brokers don’t allow clients to update their account currency to ZAR for an existing account with different currency.
But in such a situation where you existing trading account is in different currency, and you want to update to ZAR as the base currency, then you can open another trading account with the same broker from your client panel (most brokers support multiple trading account under single client). You should contact your broker if you don’t find such an option.
Also, if you are still unsure whether your broker offer ZAR account of not, then you should contact your forex broker & ask their support team directly. If the broker offers Live Chat support, then you can contact them during their business hours & ask them: “Do you support ZAR as the Account’s Base Currency?”. The chat support should be able to tell you clearly.
For example, we talked to FXTM’s live chat support, and we got the answer that they don’t offer ZAR Base currency accounts.
But if you are not able to get hold of the chat support, then you should search for the contact email listed on the broker’s website (usually on the Contact page) & send them an email to asking about their available Account currencies.
Below comparison table shows the features, fees of SA Forex Brokers that offer ZAR Accounts.
|ZAR Account Forex Broker||Regulation||Average Spread (EUR/USD)||Leverage||Minimum Deposit||Visit Website|
|Hotforex ZAR Account||FSCA, FCA, CySEC||1.3 pips with Premium Account||up to 1:1000||$5 (R70 with Micro Account)||Visit Broker|
|Exness ZAR Account||FCA, CySEC, FSCA||1 pips with Standard Account||1:2000||$1||Visit Broker|
|XM ZAR Account||ASIC. CySEC||0.9 pips||1:888||$5||Visit Broker|
|Plus500||ASIC, FCA||0.8 pips||1:300||R1500||Visit Broker|
|FXPro||FCA, FSCA||1.5 pips||1:500||$100||Visit Broker|
Yes, there are some benefits but it mostly depends on your choice.
If you mostly trade on Rand pairs like USD/ZAR then it is preferred to open a ZAR account with the broker. As you could save on the conversion losses.
Moreover, another plus point to creating ZAR account over USD or EUR, is that you can make deposits & withdrawals in Rand. In this case, there will be no losses on exchange rates or transfer fees that would be charged by your bank (or broker) if you were to say make transfer to your broker in USD.
Hotforex, Exness & XM broker have ZAR accounts & they also have NASDAQ or NAS100 CFD instrument on their platforms. So you can open account in ZAR currency & trade NAS100 at these 3 CFD broker.
The spread at ZAR Account brokers for NAS 100 are 2.03 pips at Hotforex for USA100, 5 pips at XM & 4.28 pips at Exness for USTEC. By comparison, Hotforex has the lowest spread for this instrument.
As per our research, there are about 10 FSCA regulated forex brokers that offer ZAR accounts. We have listed 3 such brokers here in our list (last updated in August 2020): Hotforex, FxPro & BlackStone Futures. We will add more ZAR account offering brokers in this list once we have compared their features & fees.
In terms of fees (USDZAR benchmark) – Hotforex has 90 pips spread on average with their Premium Account (1.3 pips for EURUSD). BlackStone Futures has spread as low as 10 points (variable) for USD/ZAR currency pair.
Hotforex is the #1 ZAR Account BrokerVisit