Online Brokers In South Africa 2023
With a daily forex trading volume of $20.3 billion, it’s little surprise to learn that South Africa has one of the most active investing communities on the continent. But with over 50 online brokers that accept South African traders, how do you find the best one? Here, we list the top online brokers in South Africa and cover everything you need to know when selecting a platform.
Online Brokers In South Africa
#1 - AvaTrade
AvaTrade is a leading forex and CFD broker, established in 2006 and regulated across 9 jurisdictions. Over 400,000 users have signed up with the broker which processes over 2 million trades each month. The firm offers multiple trading platforms, including MT4, MT5, and a proprietary WebTrader. 1250+ financial instruments are available for day trading, alongside a comprehensive education center and multilingual customer support.
"AvaTrade offers the full package for short-term traders. There is powerful charting software, reliable execution, transparent fees, and fast account opening with a low minimum deposit."- DayTrading Review Team
- Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Bonds, Crypto, Spread Betting
- Regulator: ASIC, CySEC, FSCA, ISA, CBol, FSA, FRSA
- Platforms: WebTrader, AvaTradeGO, AvaOptions, MT4, MT5, AlgoTrader, TradingCentral, DupliTrade
- Min. Deposit: $100
- Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
- Leverage: 1:30 (Retail) 1:400 (Pro)
- There's a great range of fee-free deposit methods, including bank wire, credit cards and popular e-wallets like Skrill
- The broker’s unique risk management tool, AvaProtect, protects against losses up to $1 million and is easy to activate in the platform
- The broker offers reliable 24/5 multilingual customer support with fast response times during testing
- There’s an above-average $50 inactivity fee after three months, though this won't impact active day traders
- It’s a shame that there are no rebate schemes for serious traders looking for additional perks
- A high $2000 minimum investment is required to use DupliTrade, which will be out of reach for many beginners
#2 - XM
XM is a globally recognized forex and CFD broker with 10+ million clients in 190+ countries. Since 2009, this trusted broker has been known for its low fees on 1000+ instruments. XM is regulated by multiple financial bodies, including the ASIC and CySEC.
"XM is one of the best forex and CFD brokers we have tested. The flexible account types will suit a variety of short-term trading styles while the $5 minimum deposit and smooth sign-up process make it easy to start trading."- DayTrading Review Team
- Instruments: Forex, Stock CFDs, Turbo Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Precious Metals, Energies, Shares, Crypto, Futures
- Regulator: ASIC, CySEC, DFSA, FSC, FSCA
- Platforms: MT4, MT5
- Min. Deposit: $5
- Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
- Leverage: 1:1000
- Premium research including market sentiment, fundamental insights and strategy builders
- Transparent and low fees with spreads from 0.0 pips that will protect day trading profit margins
- Accessible trading accounts with a $5 minimum deposit and fast account opening
- VPS costs $28 per month
- $5 inactivity fee after 3 months
- Traders from the US not accepted
#3 - Deriv.com
Deriv.com is a low cost, multi-asset broker with over 2.5 million global clients. With just a $5 minimum deposit, the firm offers CFDs and multipliers, alongside proprietary synthetic products which can't be found elsewhere. Deriv provides both its own in-house charting software and the hugely popular MetaTrader 5.
"Deriv.com will suit day traders looking to make fast-paced trades using CFDs and multipliers with high leverage up to 1:1000. The broker is also the industry leader in synthetic indices, which simulate real market movements and are available around the clock. "- DayTrading Review Team
- Instruments: CFDs, Multipliers, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities
- Regulator: MFSA, LFSA, VFSC, BFSC
- Platforms: Deriv Trader, MT5
- Min. Deposit: $5
- Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
- Leverage: 1:1000 (Retail)
- The low $5 minimum deposit suits those on a lower budget
- Deriv offers fast and reliable round-the-clock support, including weekends
- There's a good range of deposit and withdrawal methods with zero payment fees
- There's no loyalty program or rebate scheme for high volume traders
- There are limited copy trading tools and analysis features compared to alternatives
- There are fewer day trading markets available than some other brands
#4 - Pepperstone
Pepperstone is a leading online broker with over 400,000 clients in more than 175 countries. The top-rated brokerage offers excellent market access, industry-leading platforms in MT4, MT5, TradingView and cTrader, plus low fees with no hidden charges. Pepperstone is also heavily regulated with a high trust score, holding licenses with reputable bodies, including the FCA, ASIC, DFSA, and CySEC.
"Pepperstone is a best-in-class broker. Experienced day traders benefit from razor sharp spreads, ultra-fast execution and 1250+ instruments. New traders get user-friendly platforms, rich education materials and 24/7 support."- DayTrading Review Team
- Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Currency Indices, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Crypto, Spread Betting
- Regulator: FCA, ASIC, CySEC, DFSA, CMA, BaFin, SCB
- Platforms: MT4, MT5, cTrader, TradingView, AutoChartist, DupliTrade
- Min. Deposit: $0
- Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
- Leverage: 1:30 (Retail), 1:500 (Pro)
- Very fast execution speeds of ~30ms, which will serve day traders and scalpers
- Wide selection of assets including currency indices like the US Dollar Index
- World-renowned broker with licenses in 7 jurisdictions, including the UK (FCA) and Cyprus (CySEC)
- Cryptos only available for professional clients in some jurisdictions
- No proprietary trading app
- Traders from the US are not accepted
#5 - IC Markets
IC Markets is a respected multi-asset broker offering premium trading technology, highly competitive pricing and 24/7 customer support. The broker provides various social trading features for beginners whilst experienced day traders can enjoy advanced charting and analysis tools. Over 180,000 clients from more than 200 countries have signed up with the heavily regulated and trustworthy brand.
"IC Markets offers a top-class environment for traders of all experience levels and strategies. Industry-leading platforms, superior pricing and flexible accounts will meet the needs of both beginners and active day traders."- DayTrading Review Team
- Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Bonds, Futures, Crypto
- Regulator: ASIC, CySEC, FSA
- Platforms: MT4, MT5, cTrader, DupliTrade
- Min. Deposit: $200
- Min. Trade: 0.01 Lots
- Leverage: 1:30 (ASIC & CySEC), 1:500 (FSA), 1:1000 (Global)
- 15+ payment methods in 10 base currencies including PayPal and Skrill
- Reliable MT4 and cTrader platforms with excellent charting packages
- Low fees for active traders with spreads from 0.0 pips and zero commissions
- Traders from the US not accepted
- Two-factor authentication not available for extra account security
- No bonus deals for new traders
How To Compare Online Brokers In South Africa
Despite challenging economic years in recent times, some regulated online brokers have seen over 100% growth. The number of brokers and platforms has also increased, with the industry going from strength to strength in South Africa.
Other jurisdictions, such as Europe, tightened regulations in 2020. This made Africa and various Asian countries an attractive market for regulated online brokers, particularly those originating from Europe, where high leverage and certain derivatives are restricted.
But before you start trading, you’ll need to choose from the extensive selection of online brokers in South Africa.
Make sure you shop around before signing up for an account. Everyone has different needs. Important factors like fees, leverage, platforms and assets vary by broker. Some of the best online stock brokers in South Africa also provide a range of free educational resources to help you make informed investment decisions.
We’ve listed the key factors below to help you make your decision.
Assets & Markets
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) is the largest stock exchange in Africa with a market capitalization of over 1,005 billion USD. It is open Monday through Friday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm South African Standard Time (GMT+02:00). If you’re interested in trading South African stocks, make sure you open an account with a broker that offers access to this exchange.
Other assets to look out for include:
- Cryptocurrency – The global crypto market has boomed in recent years and South Africa is no exception. In 2021, the daily value of crypto trading exceeded 2 billion ZAR (147 million USD) for the first time. Bitcoin is the most popular token in South Africa, but Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Dash (DASH) and Monero (XMR) are also favoured by investors. Traders in South Africa can purchase digital currencies from local brokers or global exchanges.
- Forex – Some of the world’s top online forex brokers are based in South Africa. Check out our broker table for a list of those we recommend.
- Commodities – The commodity market is based on the supply and demand of physical goods. Investing is often done using derivatives, such as forwards, futures, or options contracts. Metals like gold, silver, copper and platinum are popular commodities to trade in South Africa. Agriculture and energy, such as crude oil, are also common. All are available on the JSE.
- Binary options – South Africa is an evolving destination for binary options. Binary options are an Over The Counter (OTC) derivative. Companies that want to offer this type of investing in South Africa are required to obtain a Financial Services Provider license. Offshore brokers are also allowed to market their products to South African citizens, as long as they are licensed in their home countries.
Fees vary between online brokers in South Africa. Traders should consider their intended strategy before making a selection. For example, scalpers will require low spreads but may be willing to pay annual account fees. Investors making fewer trades might prefer to pay per trade.
With any online platform, it’s important to check for any hidden charges so there are no surprises when you are trading, depositing or withdrawing money. Other common costs include inactivity charges and overnight (rollover) fees.
Other factors to consider include:
- Margin – Also known as leverage, margin is essentially a loan from your broker that allows you to place larger trades than your deposit would usually allow. Look at how much leverage the online broker offers and consider whether that fits with your strategy.
- Minimum deposit – Some online brokers in South Africa require a hefty initial deposit. If you’re just starting out, you may not have a huge amount to invest, so it’s important to shop around for those offering low entry points.
- Account types – Online brokers in South Africa usually offer different account options, ranging from standard to premium accounts. These will come with varying features, such as extensive technical analysis tools, customer support, and minimum trading limits. Consider which features are important to you and therefore which account level is best. See our list of the best brokers with ZAR accounts here.
Leverage can only be offered up to the South African Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) limits. If you’re looking for leverage higher than the regulation permits, you could select an online brokerage in South Africa that operates some risky practices.
Losses can exceed deposit amounts when using leverage, therefore it’s best to limit margin trading to what is affordable.
The platform and tools provided by an online broker are extremely important. The platform is your door to the markets and where you’ll spend most of your time. Look for a sleek and easy-to-use platform that offers all the technical charts, graphs and indicators you need to trade effectively.
A demo account will allow you to test both the platform and your strategy with virtual currency before committing any money of your own. Most online brokers in South Africa offer a practice account, but not all, so check you can access one before signing up.
Customer support varies between online brokers in South Africa. Some will offer a 24/7 helpline, a quick and easy live chat function and helpful Q&As on the website. Check what’s offered by the broker so that you’re not left feeling unsupported in times of need.
The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) is the regulatory body in South Africa. It was established in 2018 as the successor to the Financial Services Board (FSB). The FSCA ensures that retail traders are protected from undue risk and that online brokers operate sensible business practices.
While it’s recommended that forex brokers in South Africa are authorised by the FSCA, it’s not a legal requirement. To identify a regulated broker, find the FSP registration number from the disclosure text at the bottom of the company’s homepage. Use this to look up the online broker on the FSCA register.
As well as regulation, it’s important to look at the security of a broker. Check for any significant historical data breaches and that 2-factor authentication is provided. Ideally, online brokers in South Africa should also segregate client funds from the business’s.
Final Word; Online Brokers In South Africa
We’ve listed some of the best online brokers in South Africa, but there are some important factors to consider before opening an account. Regulation isn’t a legal requirement for brokers in South Africa, but it is encouraged, so traders should check the company selected is authorised by the FSCA. You should also consider what assets you wish to trade, the minimum deposit amount, and any fees. Take into account your investing style, including the frequency and size of your trades, as this will help you to find the right broker for your needs.
Is Online Trading Legal In South Africa?
Online trading is legal in South Africa. However, the South African government monitors cash-outflow via the South African Reserve Bank. This is to ensure the limit of 10 million Rands per person is adhered to.
Do South African Forex Traders Pay Tax?
Any profits you make when forex trading in South Africa are taxable. This means you have to file a Personal Income Tax form. The rate can range from 18% to 40% depending on the profits you’ve made. You may wish to consult a tax advisor before you get started.
How Many Forex Brokers Are In South Africa?
There are over 50+ forex brokers that accept South African traders, meaning the choice can be a difficult one. Consider the platform, fees and functionality on offer before making a selection.
Which Online Broker Is Best In South Africa?
Who Is The Richest Forex Trader In South Africa?
Jabulani Ngcobo, born in 1985, is one of the richest forex traders in South Africa. Ngcobo is a self-made millionaire and the author of Cashflow Naked, a biography and a lesson on financial education. His net worth is estimated at $2.4 billion.