Forex Brokers in South Africa
How should you compare forex brokers in South Africa, and find the best one for you? In our South Africa forex brokers list, we have taken into account a wide range of ranking factors, from fees and spreads, to trading platforms, charting and analysis options – everything that makes a broker tick, and impacts your success as a trader.
The best forex broker in South Africa will often be a matter of individual preference for the forex trader. It may come down to the pairs you need to trade, the platform, currency trading using spot markets or per point or simple ease of use requirements.
How To Find The Best Forex Broker
The main criteria for finding the best Forex Brokers in South Africa 2022 are these – we will expand on each area later on in the article:
- Trading Conditions/Fees – This is the most important part of your global Forex broker appraisal. There is no way around that. One forex broker may charge you 10 times less for the same trade than another. Take note of “hidden” fees, such as withdrawals fees, or inactivity fees.
- Market Coverage – You need to be able to trade the fx pair or product of your choice/preference.
- Accessibility and Affordability – Beginner forex traders and small-timers need love too. You should never be forced into making a minimum deposit that you cannot afford to lose. Minimum deposits range from $10 to $1000 (or the £ / € equivalent). It might be worth investing more for a platform that suits you better, so stay open minded.
- Trading Platforms – The forex trading platform and the tools it features are your primary weapons in your personal war for profits. Pick the one that suits you best. Remember many platforms are configurable, so they can be tailored to suit you. Personal preference will play a large part here, as many trading platforms offer very similar services, but look and feel very different. Is a mobile platform your priority, or a desktop web trading platform?
- Mobile Trading Apps – Being able to trade on the go may be important. Some mobile apps are superior to others. Ideally the mobile platform will function just as the web based version.
- Deposits and Withdrawals – You have to move funds to and from the broker, quickly and preferably cheaply. The Deposit/Withdrawal methods supported by the forex broker determine whether or not you can accomplish that. Financing an account may also require a specific payment method.
- Reputation – People talk. It is well worth listening to what traders say about a forex broker they have already tried.
- Regulation – When push comes to shove, legal recourse is your first, last and only hope to settle the problems you might have with your forex broker. A proper regulatory framework is preventive in nature. It aims to keep such problems from popping up in the first place.
- Customer Support – You need someone to talk to when you run into problems with your deposits, actual trading, or – God forbid – withdrawals. Competent support is a must. From opening an account, to help with the platform, customer support can be important.
- Company Background and History – Knowing the past exploits of your forex broker can give you a better idea of what it is up to now. A listed company has to publish numerous elements of information about their balance sheet for example. You want peace of mind that your trading funds are segregated, and held safely and securely.
- Education – It never hurts to improve your understanding of how the forex markets work and how you can make the most of the opportunities they present. Some brokers offer extensive educational tools.
- Account Opening / Registration – Is it a simple process to open an account? Do clients need to be verified? These processes are not always the same and might be worth considering if opening a trading account has been problematic in the past.
The services that forex brokers provide are not free. You pay for them through spreads, commissions and rollover fees. Low trading fees are a huge draw.
The fee structures differ from one forex broker to another, and even from one account type to another. There are two widely used basic setups.
- The broker charges a spread only. All other fees – with the exception of the rollover rate – are included in the spread.
- Besides the spread, a commission is charged as well. This commission is based on the amount you trade.
Of these two forex broker fee arrangements, the second one is arguably the more transparent. That said, the commission/spread combination may not be the cheaper choice in every instance.
The spread can be fixed or variable. Fixed spreads are always constant. ECN brokers may even deliver zero spreads. Variable spreads change, depending on the traded asset, volatility and available liquidity.
A currency market and spread go hand in hand.
Daily spreads may only differ slightly among brokers, but active traders (or even hyper active traders) are trading so frequently that small differences can mount up and need to be calculated to compare trading costs.
The lowest spreads suit frequent traders.
Some brokers focus on fixed spreads. There are indeed 1 pip fixed spread forex brokers out there too.
Forex brokers with low spreads are certainly popular. Do take commission and rollover/swap into account as well with such brokers though.
What Is The Rollover Rate?
Forex positions kept open overnight incur an extra fee. This fee results from the extension of the open position at the end of the day, without settling. The rollover rate results from the difference between the interest rates of the two currencies. The first of the pair is the base currency, while the second is the quote currency.
Forex Pairs Traded
While most forex brokers offer impressive-looking selections of currency pairs, not all of them cover minors and exotics. Does the broker offer the markets or currency pairs you want to trade?
If you are trading major pairs (see below), then all brokers will cater for you.
If you want to trade Thai Bahts or Swedish Krone as the base currencies you will need to double check the asset lists and tradable currencies.
That said, there are brokers out there that will truly go out of their way to cater to their traders’ needs. Some will even add international exotics and currency markets on request.
Such flexibility is obviously a major asset, positively impacting the overall quality of the service.
What about Crypto?
Cryptocurrency pairs are quite ubiquitous nowadays. Crypto/fiat and crypto/crypto pairings are both popular.
The massive volatility associated with these products makes scalping a viable strategy for profitable trading.
Some traders are in the forex game specifically to trade the crypto volatility. Such operators obviously need a forex broker that features as many crypto pairs as possible.
Not everyone trades forex on a massive scale. In fact, many forex traders are small-timers. Such forex clients appreciate forex brokers’ micro accounts, some of which have the US Dollar as their base currency.
Some forex micro accounts do not even have a set minimum deposit requirement. Such cheap trading options certainly make sense for those looking to dive deeper into real money trading, without risking their life savings.
Note however that the spreads/commissions on such micro accounts tend to be quite adverse.
It is however, a cheaper introduction to a complex market (similar to cfd accounts) – and trading for real beats a demo account for genuine experience learning how to trade.
Forex trading platforms are more or less customisable trading environments for online trading.
They provide traders with technical analysis tools, live news feeds, diverse order types, automation, advanced charting and drawing options etc. Some may include sentiment indicators or event calendars.
MetaTrader 4 or 5
Integration with popular software packages like Metatrader 4 or 5 (MT4 or MT5) might be crucial for some traders. Many brands offer automated trading or integration into related software, but if you are going to rely on it, you need to make sure.
TradingView is also a popular choice. Some forex brokers allow their traders to trade directly on the world’s top social trading network.
Proprietary solutions are often interesting, though in some cases less than optimal. For traders who base their strategies on the use of EAs and VPS, a proprietary platform that does not support such features, is useless.
While we are discussing strategies: not all forex brokers support strategies such as hedging, scalping and EAs.
Make sure you understand any and all restrictions in this regard, before you sign up.
If you want scalping, see if your broker is a forex broker for scalping.
For those who want to trade on the go, a mobile trading app is obviously important. While all forex brokers feature such apps these days, some mobile platforms are very simplistic.
They lack all the advanced analysis and market research features, and as such, are hardly useful.
Tools & Features
From charting to futures pricing or bespoke trading robots, brokers offer a range of tools to enhance the trading experience.
Again, the availability of these as a deciding factor on opening account will be down to the individual.
Level 2 (or Level II) data is one such tool, where preference might be given to a brand delivering it.
Deposits and Withdrawals
There are some massive disparities between the costs associated with deposits and withdrawals from one broker to another. Such disparities mostly result from the internal procedures observed by different brokers.
At one given broker, it can take as much as 5 times longer to fund an account than at another. The incurred costs differ quite a bit as well.
Otherwise, the payment process largely hinges on the accepted money transfer methods.
It would make sense for brokers to adopt as many such methods as possible, yet some still fall well short of the mark.
Some traders may rely on their broker to help learn to trade. From guides, to classes and webinars, educational resources vary from brand to brand.
A broker however, is not always the best source for impartial trading advice. Consider checking other sources too – such as our Trading Education page!
The most common methods are bank wire, VISA and MasterCard. The majority brokers tend to accept Skrill and Neteller too.
Forex brokers with Paypal are much rarer. The same goes for forex brokers accepting bitcoin as the base currency.
The best forex brokers usually provide a local-specific payment solution to their target countries.
Based on actual user feedback, forex broker reputation can best be gleaned from various community review sites and forums.
You have to take this type of feedback with a grain of salt, to say the least.
First of all: disgruntled traders are always more motivated to post feedback. They are not likely to be unbiased.
Secondly: not all of this feedback is factually correct. Furthermore, there is no way to actually fact-check/verify this data. Even sites like TrustPilot are blighted with fake posts or scam messages. There is no quality control or verification of posts.
That said, it is still relevant. If there’s a forex broker about which no one has ever said anything good, chances are it might have issues. To the trained eye, genuine trader reviews are relatively easy to spot.
The utter lack of community feedback is red flag as well. People always have something to say about their forex broker or trading account. Therefore, something is definitely amiss if there is no information available in this regard.
Regulation should be an important consideration if trading on the forex market. Whether the regulator is inside, or outside, of Europe is going to have serious consequences on your trading.
ESMA (the European Securities and Markets Authority) have imposed strict rules on forex firms regulated in Europe. This includes the following regulators:
ESMA have jurisdiction over all regulators within the EEA
The rules include caps or limits on leverage, and varies on financial products. Forex leverage is capped at 1:30 (Or x30). Outside of Europe, leverage can reach 1:500 (x500).
Traders in Europe can apply for Professional status. This removes their regulatory protection, and allows brokers to offer higher levels of leverage (among other things).
Outside of Europe, the largest regulators of trading accounts and brokers are:
These cover the bulk of countries outside Europe. Forex brokers catering for India, Hong Kong, Qatar etc are likely to have regulation in one of the above, rather than every country they support.
Some brands are regulated across the globe (one is even regulated in 5 continents). Some bodies issue licenses, and others have a register of legal firms.
So to reiterate, an ASIC forex broker can offer higher leverage to a trader in Europe.
Offshore regulation – such as licensing provided by Vanuatu, Belize and other island nations – is not trust-inspiring. Beyond a nominally available dispute-resolution system, such regulatory coverage offers you no protections.
Regulators such as ESMA (European Securities and Markets Authority) generally frown upon bonuses.
Forex brokers not affected by ESMA can afford to give you potential extra value through promotions. Those same ESMA rules are also why some brands are duty bound to display warnings about CFD trading creating a “risk of losing all your money“.
Most brands will follow regulatory demands to separate client and company funds, and offer certain levels of user data security.
Some brands might give you more confidence than others, and this is often linked to the regulator or where the brand is licensed.
A worthy consideration. Some regulators will set a higher benchmark than others – and being registered is not the same as being regulated.
Account security also differs among brokers. Some may offer the additional layer of protection of 2FA (Two-factor authentication) to ensure only you have access to the account.
Try before you buy. Most credible brokers are willing to let you see their platforms risk free. Trading on a demo account or simulator is a great way to test strategy, back test or learn a platforms nuances.
Try as many as you need to before making a choice – and remember having multiple accounts is fine (even recommended).
For European forex traders this can have a big impact. Forex leverage is capped at 1:30 by the majority of brokers regulated in Europe. Assets such as Gold, Oil or stocks are capped separately.
In Australia however, traders can utilise leverage of 1:500. That makes a huge difference to deposit and margin requirements. Australian brands are open to traders from across the globe, so some users will have a choice between regulatory protection or more freedom to trade as they wish.
Just note that higher leverage increases potential losses, just as it does potential profits.
A proper regulatory agency will not think twice about handing out cease and desist orders to dishonest brokers. It will also likely blacklist them.
This practice creates a sort of online trail, an operational history of sorts, highlighting the past sins of currently “reputable” forex brokers.
What’s interesting about this history is how little exposure it receives. You actually have to scour the archives of regulators to happen upon such relevant bits of information.
From cashback, to a no deposit bonus, free trades or deposit matches, brokers used to offer loads of promotions. Regulatory pressure has changed all that.
Bonuses are now few and far between. Our directory will list them where offered, but they should rarely be a deciding factor in your forex trading choice.
Also always check the terms and conditions and make sure they will not cause you to over-trade. Many have time limits or turnover requirements.
Additional Account Details
When comparing brokers, there are also other elements that may affect your decision. These will not affect all traders, but might be vital to some.
Order Execution Types
Once you click the “Open Trade” or “Enter” button in your trading interface, you start a rather intricate process. Your broker uses a number of different methods to execute your trades.
Exactly which method it uses for a particular trade will be reflected in the price you pay for it. Some brokers only support certain order execution methods. For instance, your broker may act as a market maker and not use an ECN for trade execution.
If you are looking for this method specifically, you will need to seek out an ECN forex broker.
ECNs are great for limit orders, as they match buy and sell orders automatically within the network.
Some other options that your forex broker can use are:
- Order to the Floor. Mostly used for stocks. This execution type is handled manually, through actual trading floors/regional exchanges. It is therefore extremely slow.
- Order to Third Market Maker. This execution type involves a third party, which is a market maker. This party is the one handling the order.
- Order to Market Maker. This method is essentially the same as the above one. The Market Maker handles trade execution. Some market makers pay brokers to send them orders. Thus, your order may not end up with the best market maker.
- Internalization. When using this method, the broker matches the order from its own inventory of assets. This execution method is therefore extremely fast.
Order execution is extremely important when it comes to choosing a forex broker. It also goes hand-in-hand with regulatory requirements.
Both ESMA and the US’s SEC require brokers to report the quality of the execution their services provide. Regulators aim to make sure that traders get the best possible execution.
MiFID II sets clear guidelines in this regard. Online forex brokers are required to submit data concerning their execution methods as well as execution prices on a trade-by-trade basis.
This may seem tedious, but it is the only way to head off fraud. The prices are compared to the public quotes. If the broker executes trades at better prices than the public quotes, it has some additional explaining to do.
If it routes the trader’s order through a less-than-optimal path, it has to disclose this fact to the trader.
These examples yet again showcase the importance of a proper regulatory background.
From cash, margin or PAMM accounts, to Bronze, Silver, Gold and VIP levels, account types can vary. The differences can be reflected in costs, reduced spreads, access to Level II data, settlement or different leverage.
Micro accounts might provide lower trade size limits for example.
Retail and professional accounts will be treated very differently by both brokers and regulators for example. An ECN account will give you direct access to the forex contracts markets.
So research what you need, and compare it to what you are getting.
Our reviews have already filtered out the scams, but if you are considering a different brand, avoid getting caught out with these checks;
- Were you ‘cold called’? Reputable firms will not call you out of the blue (This includes emails, or facebook or Instagram channels)
- Are they offering unrealistic profits? Just stop and consider for a minute – if they could make the money they are claiming, why are they cold calling or advertising on social media?
- Are they offering to trade on your behalf or use their own managed or automated trades? Do not give anyone else control of your money.
If you have any doubts, simply move on. There are plenty of legitimate, legal brokers.
With all these comparison factors covered in our reviews, you can now shortlist your top forex brokers, take each for a test drive with a demo account, and select the best one for you.
We have ranked brokers based on our own opinion and offered ratings in our tables, but only you can award ‘5 stars’ to your favourite!
Read who won the DayTrading.com ‘Best Forex Broker 2022‘ on the Awards page.
Difference Between A Broker And A Market Maker?
A broker is an intermediary. Its primary (and often only) goal is to bring together buyers and sellers. By matching orders, hopefully automatically, without human intervention (STP), a broker fulfils its task. For this service, it collects its due fees.
A market maker on the other hand, actively creates liquidity in the market. It always buys and it always sells, acting as a counterparty to traders. Should your forex broker act as a market maker, it will in effect trade against you.
The conflict of interest in this setup is obvious, but it does happen.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, you now understand some of the methods we’ve used to create our South Africa forex brokers list.
Picking the right broker is no easy task, but it is imperative that you get it right. While we can point you in the correct general direction, only you know your personal needs. Take them into account, together with our recommendations.