The Best Forex Brokers in South Africa 2021
As a South African trader, you are in an advantageous position as you can choose between both local and offshore forex brokers. Whilst this gives you a wealth of options, it makes selecting the right broker very important.
Thankfully, our team is here to help. Our experts have tested hundreds of FSCA licensed forex brokers and international brokers, to bring you a comprehensive list of the very best.
Every broker on our list is regulated, trustworthy, and accepts deposits from South African payment services. Many also offer ZAR based accounts, mobile trading platforms, and account bonuses for new traders.
Select a great broker for forex trading in South Africa below or continue reading our guide to learn:
- What licenses forex brokers in South Africa require.
- The benefits of trading forex in South Africa.
- The difference between FSCA regulated and offshore brokers.
- What you need to open a SA trading account.
Best and most trusted forex brokers in January 2021
Best South African Forex Brokers – Our Winners Explained
To find the best forex brokers, we first create a list of all those that accept South African traders. Then, we rank them using our precise methodology. Nine forex brokers met all of our requirements. These were:
- FXCM – Best overall forex broker for South African traders
- FXTM – Best trading and research tools
- Alpari – Best leverage rates
- Plus500 – Best range of currency pairs
- Oinvest – Best educational materials
- HotForex – Great diversification opportunities
- XM Group – Well suited to beginner traders
- AvaTrade – Excellent range of trading platforms
- 24Option – Good tutorial videos
How we find the best South African brokers for you
To create the list above, we test each broker against over 200 criteria points. Our method covers 10 major categories, ranging from licensing and reputation to trading platforms and security.
While each category contributes to the final score, some areas weigh more heavily to reflect what is important to you as a South African forex trader. The licensing and regulation category, followed by reputation, are the two categories where a broker can earn the most points.
Below, you will find more information on what a South African forex broker must offer to earn a high ranking from our reviewers.
- First-class regulation – While South African brokers don’t need a licence to operate, it’s much safer for you to work with a forex broker regulated by a top-tier authority. This includes the Financial Sector Conduct Authority of South Africa (FSCA), CySEC, and
- Localised payment methods – When you can make withdrawals or deposits using local South African payment methods, you save time and money. Local payments carry lower fees, complete quickly, and help you save money on bank exchange rates. All the South African forex brokers we recommend offer a variety of convenient local payment methods, including credit cards and Electronic Fund Transfers via Absa, Capitec, and Finbond. They may also provide alternative payment options such as PayPal, M-Pesa, FlickPay, Zapper, and more.
- Accounts based in South African rand – Forex trading is complicated enough. You don’t need the additional worry of having to open an account in a base currency you’re not familiar with. When your account is in rand, you’re far less likely to make errors because it’s the currency you are used to using.
- Beneficial leverage limits– Forex trading in South Africa doesn’t have any leverage limitations. Our recommended brokers, therefore, offer good leverage amounts to allow you to maximise your profits.
- Worthwhile bonuses – When choosing the best South African forex brokers, our experts consider the bonuses or promotions on offer = the more attractive the bonus, the better.
- Competitive spreads on ZAR pairs – Trading what you know is the most effective path to success. We make sure that the South African forex brokers we recommend offer tight spreads on ZAR-based pairs. This includes popular pairs such as USD/ZAR and EUR/ZAR, and more exotic options important to the South African economy, like ZAR/CNY and ZAR/INR.
How do I start forex trading in South Africa?
Before choosing a South African forex broker, there are a few things you need to know. This includes:
- Exactly what forex is and what a forex broker does for you
- Whether you would prefer a forex broker regulated by the FSCA or overseas
- What documentation you need to register with a forex broker in South Africa
- How much money you need to trade forex
Fortunately, our experts are here to help. In the following sections, we’ll take you through the essentials of trading forex in South Africa.
What is forex?
Forex trading allows you to speculate on the price movements of currencies. To create profit, you buy or sell currencies at one price and then buy or sell them again once the price has changed.
In the forex market, you trade currencies as pairs, with one currency as the base currency and the other as the quote currency. The base currency is the one you wish to buy or sell for the other. At the best South African forex brokers, you can trade Rand currency pairs, such as USD/ZAR and ZAR/JPY, or internationally popular pairs such as USD/EUR and GBP/EUR. This allows you to profit from domestic and global financial events.
To learn how to trade forex in South Africa, you need to find a reputable forex broker. Besides giving you access to the currency markets, forex brokers also offer you security, software, and tools to improve your trading results. Our experts have provided a list of top-quality South African forex brokers who offer all these features and more. Scroll up to select one or continue reading to learn more about how they ensure your safety.
How is forex trading regulated in South Africa?
The FSCA is the biggest forex trading regulator in South Africa. Created in 2017 under the Financial Sector Regulation Act 9 (the FSR act), it replaced the Financial Services Board on April 1, 2018. Whilst the FSB’s mandate was only to regulate non-financial institutions, the FSCA is responsible for both financial and non-financial organisations.
The FSCA’s goal is to:
- Improve the integrity and efficiency of financial markets.
- Ensure financial institutions treat customers fairly.
- Promote financial literacy among the population by providing financial education.
- Help to maintain financial stability in South Africa.
The FSCA recently instituted a new regulatory regime known as the Over-the-Counter Derivative Provider act. With this in place, FSCA-licensed brokers must conduct due diligence on their clients, abide by strict capital adequacy requirements, and provide access to their transaction data. This serves to ensure that South African forex brokers are treating clients fairly.
Forex trading with offshore brokers in South Africa
Although many brokers that accept South African traders boast regulation from the FSCA, South African law does not restrict you from trading with offshore brokers. This means that you can choose a broker that has a license from another respected regulatory authority, such as the UK’s FCA, CySEC, or ASIC.
The advantage of trading offshore is that you have more brokers to choose from. There are, however, some rules you need to understand if you do this.
The Reserve Bank of South Africa limits individuals to offshore investments beyond the Common Ministry Area of up to R10 million per calendar year. If you wish to deposit this amount into an offshore forex broker account, you need a Tax Clearance Certificate. You also cannot reinvest these funds in any other member state of the Common Monetary Area (Namibia, Lesotho, and Eswatini).
To invest more than this, you can appeal to the Financial Surveillance Department of the South African Reserve Bank. It is uncommon, however, for them to approve this activity.
Choosing between offshore and FSCA licensed brokers – Our expert verdict
Trading with FSCA licensed forex brokers offers quite a few advantages, but so does trading with offshore brokers. Which one should you opt for? It all depends on what you’re more interested in.
- If safety is your biggest priority, we recommend FSCA licensed brokers. Whilst many offshore brokers meet stringent regulatory requirements, with an FSCA licensed broker it’s easier to take legal action should something go wrong. You also have access to local customer support.
- If you want to get the most for your money, offshore brokers are the right choice for you. As the global forex market is extremely competitive, international brokers must constantly improve their offerings. This means tighter spreads, more trading opportunities, and world-class trading platforms.
Regardless of which type of broker you prefer, your best bet is to choose from our list of the best forex brokers in South African. We rank all of our recommendations against each other with no bias towards offshore or local brokers. Each of our top picks, therefore, offers superb trading conditions regardless of where they’re based.
How to open a forex trading account in South Africa
Opening a forex trading account in South Africa is relatively straightforward. To make it even easier for you, however, our experts have broken the process down into three steps:
- First, you must fill out an online application. You need to provide various personal details, including your name, address, date of birth, ID number, the name and address of your employer, and your email address.
- Depending on which authority regulates your chosen forex broker, you may need to answer a series of questions about your level of expertise and experience in trading forex. Usually, this includes some questions about your trading aims too.
- You must provide documents proving your identity and address. Accepted documents include your government issued ID or passport and a utility bill.
After the forex broker has verified your documents, they’ll open your account. You’ll be able to fund it and start trading.
How much money do you need to start trading forex in South Africa?
The amount of money you need to trade depends on which of our best South African forex brokers you choose. Some brokers will allow you to open an account with as little as R70, yet most usually ask for at least R1,500 (or the current equivalent of $100).
Whilst South African forex brokers with low minimum deposit limits can seem appealing, our experts recommend that you should start trading with no less than R 4,000. Forex trading can be risky, and you don’t want to wipe out your account with a single bad trade.
What is the best time to trade forex in South Africa?
With the best South African forex brokers, you can trade 24 hours a day, five days a week. This gives you complete flexibility; you can trade at a time that’s convenient for you.
Since there are 4 main forex trading sessions, however, some hours are better than others. Ideally, you want to trade when the market is at its most liquid or when economic events occur.
|Trading Session||Opening and Closing Times (SAST)|
|Sydney||00:00 – 08:00|
|Tokyo||02:00 – 11:00|
|London||10:00 – 19:00|
|New York||15:00 – 00:00|
As you can see from the table above, the best time to trade forex in South Africa is from 10:00 to 17:00. This is when the London session begins, overlapping with the closure of the Tokyo session. Later on, you can also take advantage of the opening of the New York session. During this time, you can catch important financial news releases which can affect exchange rates.
Why is forex trading so popular in South Africa?
Forex trading has been growing in popularity in South Africa for some time. This is because, alongside the usual benefits of forex trading, you can also reap further benefits thanks to your location.
Here are some reasons forex trading is so popular in South Africa:
- Domestic regulation – Since the creation of the FSCA, South African forex brokers have become safer and more transparent. Although the country permits the use of offshore brokers, these brokers must compete with FSCA licensed firms. To do so, they need to prove that they are as, if not more, secure. This drives up the safety of brokers offering services to South African clients.
- Convenient trading times – Although the forex market is open 24/5, South African traders can easily align themselves with the London trading session as they are only two hours ahead. This means you needn’t wake up at all hours to respond to economic events, and you’ll find that customer support is available at convenient times too.
- Trade South African stock CFDs – Most forex brokers also allow you to trade stock . As the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) is one of the most liquid markets in Africa, this means there’s plenty of trading opportunities. Engage with huge SA companies such as Naspers, Sasol, and Anglo American.
- Trade Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies –Trading is growing in popularity in South Africa, and so are cryptocurrencies. Combine the best of both trends by trading popular crypto CFDs with South African forex brokers.
Benefit from forex bonuses in South Africa
South African forex trading regulations allow brokers to offer prospective customers and existing clients a variety of incentives.
- Welcome bonuses – This is a very common type of bonus for new clients. Brokers usually offer welcome bonuses as a percentage of the amount you deposit.
- No-deposit bonuses – Also for new clients, this bonus offers you a small amount of free money or several free trades
- Loyalty bonuses – These bonuses reward active traders to ensure they stay loyal and trade more frequently
- Cashback bonuses – Brokers may offer a rebate on part of the commission or spread for loyal customers with a high trading volume. You may also receive cashback as a percentage of any losing positions.
Keep in mind that these bonuses often come with restrictions, such as:
- Not being able to withdraw the bonus at all
- The need to conduct a specific volume of trades (usually quite significant) to withdraw the bonus
- A cap on the total bonus you can receive
- A minimum limit on the deposit you make to qualify for the bonus
Forex bonuses aren’t difficult to find. The complicated part is ensuring that the offer you found is legitimate. Some unscrupulous forex brokers will use a bonus as bait to get you to sign up with them, but then never fulfil their promise. To ensure that the bonus is legit, all you have to do is choose a firm on our list of recommended South African forex brokers.