Best CFD Brokers And Trading Platforms In South Africa 2024

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Written By
James Barra
James is an investment writer with a background in financial services. He has worked as a management consultant, where he delivered large-scale operational transformational programmes at some of Europe's biggest banks. James authors, edits and fact-checks content for a series of investing websites.
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Jemma Grist
Jemma is a writer, editor and fact-checker focused on retail trading and investing. Jemma brings a unique perspective to the forex, stock, and cryptocurrency markets and works across several investment websites as a researcher and broker analyst.
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The number of CFD brokers in South Africa has risen in recent years, driven in part by tougher restrictions from the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), which prompted many trading platforms to expand into developing markets.

Explore the best CFD brokers in South Africa following firsthand tests and exhaustive analysis. We’ve pinpointed the CFD trading platforms that are regulated by the South African Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) and excel in catering to short-term traders in South Africa.

Top 5 CFD Trading Platforms in South Africa

Our findings show these are the 5 top brokers for South African CFD traders:

  1. AvaTrade - AvaTrade's 1250+ leveraged CFD products span a wide range of asset classes including stocks, indices, commodities, bonds, crypto, and ETFs. You can speculate on underlying assets in the broker’s feature-rich web and mobile platforms with market-leading research tools to help discover opportunities.
  2. XM - Day traders can speculate on leveraged CFDs with zero commissions, spanning popular markets including currencies, equities and commodities. Additionally, the MetaTrader platforms collectively offer dozens of advanced technical indicators built for short-term strategies.
  3. Exness - Exness offers a selection of CFDs covering forex, stocks, indices, commodities and cryptos, with leverage up to 1:200. Accounts are geared mainly towards experienced day traders, with over 100 technical indicators available in the broker’s proprietary terminal.
  4. Trade Nation - Trade leveraged CFDs on over 1000 assets with low-cost spreads. You can also take advantage of the broker's integrated signals to help you determine when to enter and exit positions.
  5. IG - IG offers a huge selection of 17,000+ CFDs, providing more trading opportunities than most CFD brokers. Traders can go long or short on popular markets like stocks, currencies, commodities and cryptos, while custom price alerts and the IG Academy continue to enhance the trading experience.

Best CFD Brokers And Trading Platforms In South Africa 2024 Comparison

Best CFD Brokers And Trading Platforms In South Africa 2024 Comparison
Broker CFD Trading FSCA Regulated ZAR Account Minimum Deposit Leverage Markets Visit
AvaTrade logo
- $100 1:30 (Retail) 1:400 (Pro) CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Bonds, Crypto, Spread Betting Visit
XM logo
$5 1:1000 Forex, Stock CFDs, Turbo Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Precious Metals, Energies, Shares, Crypto, Futures Visit
Exness logo
$10 1:2000 CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Crypto Visit
Trade Nation logo
$0 1:500 (entity dependent) Forex, CFDs, Indices, Shares, Commodities, Futures, Bonds, Cryptos (Bahamas Entity Only) Visit
IG logo
$0 1:30 (Retail), 1:250 (Pro) CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Futures, Options, Crypto, Spread Betting Visit
Vantage logo
- $50 1:500 CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Bonds Visit
FxPro logo
$100 1:30 (Retail), 1:500 (Pro), 1:1000 (Via Prime Ash Capital Limited) CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Futures Visit
Plus500 logo
$100 1:30 CFDs on Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Futures, Options, Crypto Visit
CMTrading logo
$100 1:200 Forex, CFDs, Indices, Shares, Energies, Metals, Cryptos Visit
Easy Markets logo
- €100 1:30 CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Cryptos, Commodities Visit
FBS logo
- $5 1:30 (EU & Restricted Countries), 1:3000 (Global) CFDs, forex, indices, shares, commodities, cryptocurrencies Visit
Markets.com logo
$100 1:30 CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Commodities, Indices, Crypto, ETFs, Bonds, Spread Betting (UK Only) Visit
VT Markets logo
- $200 1:500 CFDs, Forex, Commodities, Stocks, Indices Visit
Moneta Markets logo
- $50 1:1000 CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Crypto Visit
Capex logo
- $100 1:30 (Retail), 1:300 (Pro) Forex, CFDs, indices, shares, commodities, cryptocurrencies, bonds, ETFs, blends Visit

#1 - AvaTrade

Why We Chose 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, FSRA, BVI, ADGM
  • Platforms: WebTrader, AvaTradeGO, AvaOptions, MT4, MT5, AlgoTrader, TradingCentral, DupliTrade
  • Minimum Deposit: $100
  • Minimum Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:30 (Retail) 1:400 (Pro)

Pros

  • AvaTrade is a heavily regulated and trustworthy broker with licenses from the ASIC, CySEC and more
  • Day traders can access stable spreads and zero commissions with no hidden fees
  • WebTrader is well-suited to beginners and features a strong suite of technical analysis tools and market research for day traders

Cons

  • There is no ECN account with raw spreads
  • A high $2000 minimum investment is required to use DupliTrade, which will be out of reach for many beginners
  • Traders from the US are not accepted

#2 - XM

Why We Chose 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
  • Minimum Deposit: $5
  • Minimum Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:1000

Pros

  • XM continues to deliver diverse and multilingual educational materials and offers a useful live education schedule for its webinars and insights
  • Accessible trading accounts with a $5 minimum deposit and fast account opening
  • 1000+ instruments are available, including recently added thematic indices, providing exposure to emerging industries

Cons

  • There's $5 inactivity fee after only 3 months, though this won't affect active traders
  • There is weak regulatory oversight through the global entity
  • PayPal deposits are not supported

#3 - Exness

Why We Chose Exness

Exness is a Cyprus-based forex and CFD brokerage established in 2008. With over 260,000 clients, several awards and reputable licensing, the broker has maintained its position as a highly respected global brand. Active day traders can access the popular MT4 and MT5 platforms, raw spreads and multiple account types.

"Exness remains an accessible broker for all experience levels, though experienced day traders will particularly appreciate the ultra-low commission rates, fast withdrawals and high-quality charting software."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Crypto
  • Regulator: FSA, CySEC, FCA, FSCA, FSC, CBCS
  • Platforms: Exness Trade App, MT4, MT5, TradingCentral
  • Minimum Deposit: $10
  • Minimum Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:2000

Pros

  • Unlike many other brands, Exness doesn't charge any account maintenance or inactivity fees
  • Local payments are available, plus deposits in BTC and USDT
  • There's excellent 24/7 multilingual customer support via telephone, email and live chat

Cons

  • Unlike most competitors, Exness doesn't provide its own education section
  • There are no promotional deals or loyalty schemes for high-volume day traders
  • There are several regional restrictions for retail traders including the USA, Europe and the UK

#4 - Trade Nation

Why We Chose Trade Nation

Trade Nation is a top FX and CFD broker regulated in multiple jurisdictions including the UK and Australia. The firm offers low-cost fixed and variable spreads on 1000+ assets with robust trading platforms and training materials. The Signal Centre can also be used for trade ideas.

"Trade Nation is a good choice for newer traders looking for a wide range of financial markets on a user-friendly platform. There is no minimum deposit, free funding options and strong education."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: Forex, CFDs, Indices, Shares, Commodities, Futures, Bonds, Cryptos (Bahamas Entity Only)
  • Regulator: FCA, ASIC, FSCA, SCB, FSA
  • Platforms: MT4
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Minimum Trade: 0.1 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:500 (entity dependent)

Pros

  • Full range of investments via leveraged CFDs for long and short opportunities
  • There is a low minimum deposit for beginners
  • A choice of trading platforms and apps, including MT4, make the brand a good fit for savvy traders

Cons

  • Fewer legal protections with offshore entity

#5 - IG

Why We Chose IG

Founded in 1974, IG is part of IG Group Holdings Plc, a publicly traded (LSE: IGG) brokerage. The brand offers spread betting, CFD and forex trading across an almost unrivalled selection of 17,000+ markets, with a range of user-friendly platforms and investing apps. For 50 years, IG has maintained its position as an industry leader, excelling in all key areas for traders.

"IG continues to provide a comprehensive package with an intuitive web platform and best-in-class education for beginners, plus advanced charting tools, real-time data, and fast execution speeds for experienced day traders."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • Instruments: CFDs, Forex, Stocks, Indices, Commodities, ETFs, Futures, Options, Crypto, Spread Betting
  • Regulator: FCA, ASIC, NFA, CFTC, DFSA, BaFin, MAS, FSCA
  • Platforms: Web, ProRealTime, L2 Dealer, MT4, AutoChartist, TradingCentral
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Minimum Trade: 0.01 Lots
  • Leverage: 1:30 (Retail), 1:250 (Pro)

Pros

  • The proprietary web-based platform continues to caters to traders of all levels, with advanced charting tools and real-time market data useful for day trading
  • IG is amongst the best in terms of its range of instruments, which includes stocks, forex, indices, commodities, and cryptocurrencies, providing ample diversification opportunities
  • The ProRealTime advanced charting platform is free as long as certain modest monthly trading activity requirements are met

Cons

  • IG has discontinued its swap-free account, reducing its appeal to Islamic traders
  • IG applies an inactivity fee of $12 per month after 2 years, deterring casual investors
  • While there is negative balance protection in the UK and EU, there is no account protection or guaranteed stop losses for US clients

What To Look For In A South African CFD Broker

Our years testing CFD brokers have taught us there are key factors to look at when picking a platform:

Trust

Choosing a broker you can trust to safeguard your funds is key when CFD trading, especially when South Africa has had its fair share of scams.

For example, South African-based CFD broker, Banxso, was unknowingly involved in the ‘Immediate Matrix’ scam that used a deep fake of tech Billionaire, Elon Musk, to encourage traders to part with millions of Rand. The reputation of this popular South African broker was exploited by scammers.

All our recommended brokers are licensed by the FSCA or another trusted regulator. Our experts check each licence claim against the relevant register, for example, the FSCA’s Authorized Financial Services Providers. Then we factor in our direct observations during the testing process, looking for dependable platforms for day trading CFDs.

Plus500 license details in South Africa's FSCA register
Plus500 – FSCA License
  • Plus500 stands out as a highly trusted CFD broker for South Africans with a license from the FSCA, a superb track record dating back to 2008, over 25 million users, and a listing on the London Stock Exchange, demonstrating a high degree of transparency. Our experts have also traded at Plus500 using real money and praise its secure trading environment.

Underlying Assets

The top CFD brokers in South Africa offer opportunities to speculate on short-term price movements spanning popular financial markets. That’s why we explore the platforms of each CFD broker we test, investigating the range of underlying assets, from stocks and indices to forex, commodities and cryptos.

For example, forex CFDs can be used to speculate on currency pairs with a ZAR element, such as USD/ZAR, GBP/ZAR, and EUR/ZAR. The South African Rand is a relatively unstable currency compared to more commonly traded denominations. This is in part due to South Africa’s developing economy and heavy reliance upon trading partners, such as the US, for its wealth.

In 2023, the ZAR experienced a mass sell-off when reports that South Africa had provided weapons to Russia emerged. Investors feared it could spell Western sanctions given the war in Ukraine. ZAR hit a new low of 19.8 to the dollar.

Popular CFD assets for South African traders

South Africa also has its own stock exchange, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). The 16th largest by market capitalization in the world, although not many brokers offer CFDs on South African stocks.

  • IG offers an extensive suite of 17,000+ CFDs, including 80+ currency pairs with 4 having a ZAR component, as well as commodities like platinum, palladium, gold and iron ore, which South Africa is a major exporter of. Interactive Brokers also stands out with 50+ CFDs on JSE-listed stocks, including Firstrand Ltd (FSR), Impala Platinum (IMP) and Vodacom Group (VOD).

Leverage

Leverage trading is one of the main draws of CFDs, but it also increases the risk of large losses. Therefore we look for brokers who are transparent in their margin trading requirements (the amount of money you must put down to amplify your buying power).

Let’s say I want to use a CFD to take a short position on African Rainbow Minerals (JSE: ARI) following rumours of staff strikes at key locations.

I put down 2,000 Rand and my CFD broker offers me 1:10 leverage, amplifying my position and potential results (profits and losses) to 20,000 Rand (10 x 2,000).

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James Barra
Author

However, leverage is not capped, unlike with CFD brokers regulated in Europe or Australia for example, where leverage is typically limited to 1:30 for retail investors. This makes the CFD trading environment in South Africa high-risk, so risk management is essential.

  • XM offers high leverage up to 1:1000 on CFDs, alongside transparent margin requirements and a helpful calculator where you can set ZAR to the base currency. XM will issue a margin call if your account value drops below 50%, and will stop out positions when the account value is 20% of the required margin.

Pricing

Choosing a CFD trading platform with excellent pricing is key, especially for fast-paced strategies like day trading where profit margins can be slim.

That’s why we evaluate CFD fees on the most popular financial markets where possible, covering stocks, indices and commodities. We also consider additional charges, such as inactivity fees and conversion costs if depositing Rand to a trading account denominated in another currency.

💡
Brokers with ZAR accounts can help traders in South Africa reduce conversion fees while providing a smooth trading experience.

Importantly, you should expect higher spreads when trading CFDs on South African assets due to relatively low trading volumes. For example, while we commonly see spreads of <1 pip on the EUR/USD, spreads on the USD/ZAR can reach 120+ pips from our analysis.

  • Vantage excels in its competitive pricing models that cater to a range of CFD traders. Its Standard account offers commission-free trading with floating spreads from 1 pip with straightforward pricing for newer traders, while the Raw ECN and Pro ECN solutions are designed for experienced traders looking for the tightest spreads from 0.0 pips and commissions as low as $1.50.

Account Funding

Convenient, secure and low-cost deposits and withdrawals can make or break the CFD trading experience. That’s why we open accounts at CFD brokers we test and navigate the cashier portal to investigate the range of payment methods available.

For South Africans, we know that 60% of online transactions are completed using credit/debit cards or bank transfers. But e-wallets are becoming increasingly popular, for example, PayPal and Skrill.

  • We love Trade Nation for these reasons: it’s affordable with no minimum deposit, CFD traders can open a ZAR-based account, and there is a great selection of e-wallets, including PayPal and Skrill, alongside Visa, Mastercard and bank transfers.

FAQ

Which Is The Best CFD Broker In South Africa?

We’ve listed, rated and evaluated the best CFD brokers in South Africa. Use our rankings to find the right platform for your needs.

Who Regulates CFD Trading Platforms And Brokers In South Africa?

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) regulates CFD trading platforms and brokers in South Africa.

It replaced South Africa’s Financial Services Board (FSB) in 2018 and is a trusted regulator, though not as respected as bodies like the FCA in the UK or ASIC in Australia.

How Much Money Do I Need To Open A CFD Trading Account In South Africa?

Our analysis shows you often need between 0 and 250 USD, or around 0 to 4,600 ZAR, to open a CFD trading account in South Africa.

That said, IG and Trade Nation have no minimum, making them stand-out options if you want an affordable, FSCA-regulated CFD trading platform.

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