Strong regulation and its relative economic power give South Africans confidence to trade forex. The rand has remained within the top 20 currencies since 2004. And it's the African currency to achieve this ranking in the forex South Africa market.
Ready to trade forex in South Africa? Get started now with our guide to forex trading in South Africa.
10 Best Forex Brokers in South Africa
South African residents can open up an account with each top forex broker below, so review what your trading requirements are and check out the various options before you choose a broker.
- Best for Leverage Trading With Many Instruments: IFC Markets
- Best for Top Tier Security: CMTrading
- Best for Non US Forex Trading: AvaTrade
- Best for High Volume Traders: FOREX.com
- Best for Beginners: eToro
- Best for Traders of all Experience Levels: JustMarkets
- Best for Most Trusted: IG
- Best for Low Forex and CFD Trading Fees: HYCM
- Best for Traders Who Rely on Technical Analysis: FXGT.com
- Best for Easy-to-Use Forex Platform: Trade Nation
1. Best for Leverage Trading With Many Instruments: IFC Markets
IFC Markets supports nearly 200,000 clients in 80 countries (including South Africa). When you want to trade unique assets like forex and CFDs based on stocks, indices, oil, gold, etc, you can get started with IFC Markets at any time. The platform offers well over 600 trading instruments, and you also have the option to build as many synthetic instruments as you like. This means that you can grow your portfolio that much more quickly and use your creativity to invest more effectively and aggressively.
Floating spreads dip as low as 0.4 and fixed spreads can be as low as 1.8. Leverage is available up to 1:400. Plus, you can use the GeWorko Portfolio Quoting Method, which makes it that much easier for you to build those synthetic assets and collect data that will improve your decision-making.
Moreover, the platform is regulated by The British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission (BVI FSC) and the Labuan Financial Services Authority (LFSA) in Malaysia, making IFC Markets safer for South African investors.
- High leverage options make it possible for you to turn small investments into big gains
- South African investors can rest assured that they are protected as the platform is double-regulated
- Unfortunately, synthetic trading instruments could be quite confusing for investors who are not fully versed in this type of trading
- Remember, though, that high leverage options could lead massive losses
2. Best for Top Tier Security: CMTrading
CMTrading is your local international broker, serving traders throughout Africa. You can get up to 200:1 leverage on your CFD, currencies, forex, crypto or indices, with the platform offering over 150 assets.
You can download the mobile app or trade on the CMTrading website. Additionally, you get 24/7 support, 4 account types and fast transactions.
If you’re new to trading, there is a massive education section that will take you from a novice to an experienced and confident trader. When you’re ready, you can use MT4, Sirix, CopyKat, Expert Advisors (for automated trading) and a selection of additional trading apps.
- Multiple instruments available such as forex, indices, crypto, and more
- Fast account registration
- Demo account available
- High minimum deposit for new traders
- Lack of payment systems for deposits and withdrawals.
3. Best for Non US Forex Trading: AvaTrade
AvaTrade is a broker with a large reach from Europe and South Africa to the Middle East, Australia, the Caribbean, Japan and much more. You can easily trade CFDs based on several assets like stocks, forex, indices, crypto, and much more.
AvaTrade is unique in that it works best for both beginners and advanced traders who want to volume trade. You can get service in 20 languages, and you will have more than enough variety to keep your portfolio both up-to-date and profitable.
- Due to the sheer range of languaes present in South Africa, AvaTrade’s customer support options are critical for success in this region
- South African traders can gain access to a range of assets they might not find elsewhere
- South African traders will find many assets in which they can trade, but they must remember that the platform offers many risky investments
- Even though AvaTrade is well regulated, it cannot prevent losses from happening
4. Best for High Volume Traders: FOREX.com
- securely through Forex.com NON US's websiteBest For:MetaTrader 4 Users
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 72% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
FOREX.com is the leading U.S. forex broker based on client assets and is well-regulated by the NFA and CFTC in the United States. It is also regulated in the U.K., Japan, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, and the Cayman Islands.
Opening a trading account at FOREX.com requires just $250, and you can trade micro lots through this broker if you wish to deal in smaller trading sizes. The broker keeps client funds segregated from its own and it also offers an Islamic account option for clients.
FOREX.com has several desktop, web-based and mobile trading platforms that include the highly popular MetaTrader 4 and 5 platforms from MetaQuotes, as well as NinjaTrader. Traders can also access its proprietary Advanced Trading Platform for desktop computers and its Web Trading platform that lets you trade using an Internet browser.
FOREX.com has a rather low (though safe) maximum leverage ratio of just 50:1 for forex clients.
- Easy-to-navigate platform
- Metatrader 4 available
- 80+ currency pairs
- Leverage available up to 50:1
- Demo account available
- Other securities aren't available
5. Best for Beginners: eToro
- securely through eToro Forex's websiteBest For:Demo Accounts
CFD trading is not available to U.S. users. 74% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
eToro is a social trading platform that provides forex products and more to retail clients for over 10 years. They have 10 million account holders worldwide, and this allows users to be a part of their own trading community.
eToro’s most popular trading features that set them apart from the competition are CopyTrader, CopyPortfolios, and the Social News Feed.
With CopyTrader and CopyPortfolio, you locate a successful trader and copy their strategy. You can copy up to 100 traders, and this feature is easy to acess and set up.
The Social News Feed gives you access to a Twitter-like feed to trader updates. Traders discuss the markets, their strategies, and are able to get alerts based on certain market factors.
- Offers social trading
- Easy to set up account
- Comprehensive educational resources
- High non-trading fees
- Lacking customer service support
6. Best for Traders of all Experience Levels: JustMarkets
JustMarkets, formerly Justforex, was founded in 2012. JustMarkets provides a selection of four account options for customers to select. The availability of services and instruments is dependent on the jurisdiction. Of the four account types available, two require a minimum deposit of $100, and two allow for a starting deposit as low as $1.
JustMarkets is a global platform that offers low fees, over 170 trading instruments and is available in 200 countries. Retail traders can engage in forex trading without investing a large amount of funds. Additionally, they offer customer service that is available 24/7 in English, Indonesian, and Malaysian.
- High leverage of up to 1:3000 (up to 1:30 for retail clients and up to 1:300 for professional clients on justmarkets.eu)
- MetaTrader 4 for global clients and MT4/5 for EU clients
- Order execution from 0.01 seconds
- Up to 11 base currency options depending on license type
- Scalping, hedging, and forex robots EA allowed
- Not available in the U.S., U.K. or Japan and some EU countries
- Limited educational materials available
- No cTrader or TradingView
7. Best for Most Trusted: IG
- securely through IG Markets's websiteBest For:Forex Execution
Trading foreign exchange on margin carries a high level of risk, and may not be suitable for all investors. Before deciding to trade foreign exchange you should carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite. You could sustain a loss of some or all of your initial investment and should not invest money that you cannot afford to lose.
IG is a forex broker that provides access to over 80 currency pairs and offers full support for trading in the currency market.
IG Markets is considered one of the longest-standing Forex brokers globally. The trading platform is highly regulated and provides narrow spreads for a wide variety of instruments. The broker has an office located in SA, however, they do not provide trading accounts based on ZAR.
IG offers both intuitive mobile and desktop platforms for novice traders and a wide selection of indicators and charting tools for advanced traders. While IG could improve its customer service and fees, it is beneficial for novice forex traders and those who prefer a simplified interface.
- Easy-to-navigate platform is easy for beginners to use
- Access 80+ currency pairs
- Mobile and tablet platforms offer the full functionality of the desktop version
- Margin rates are easy to understand and affordable
- ZAR accounts not available
- Lack of customer support
- 2-factor authentication not available on mobile app
8. Best for Low Forex and CFD Trading Fees: HYCM
HYCM is a reputable forex broker that provides investors with access to more than 69 currency pairs. In addition to forex trading, HYCM provides various other services such as high leverage rates, stock and ETF trading, commodity investing, and more. Opening an account with HYCM is a quick and easy process, taking as little as 10 minutes for most investors.
HYCM provides investors with a flexible fee structure that enables them to select the spread option that suits their needs. Various educational and investing tools are accessible to traders of all levels, providing equal benefits to both experienced and novice traders. HYCM provides service to residents of 140 countries, making it a viable option for many.
- 60+ currency pairs
- Excellent trading tools
- Educational resources
- Only forex and CFD trading
- Inactivity fees
9. Best for Traders Who Rely on Technical Analysis: FXGT.com
FXGT.com is a forex broker available to traders in South Africa that offers the ability to trade on various currencies and commodities markets. The company provides its clients with a variety of tools and resources, such as real-time news updates, charting software, and currency converters. Additionally, FXGT.com provides educational materials, including webinars and ebooks, to help traders better understand the markets and how to make successful trades.
FXGT.com is regulated by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) in South Africa, which ensures that traders get a safe and secure trading environment. The company also offers a variety of account types, including demo accounts and live accounts, with leverage ratios up to 1:500
- Access to CFDs based on several assets make diversification simple
- The platform is designed with the speed and tools active, professional traders will enjoy
- A high level of regulation in multiple countries (including South Africa) protects investors
- Lack of availability in the US, UK and EU may make it difficult for certain types of investors to participate and diversify their portfolios
10. Best for Easy-to-Use Forex Platform: Trade Nation
Trade Nation is a forex and CFD platform that is designed to give South African traders the best possible outcomes for all their portfolios. You can access more than 1000 markets, spend far less on fees, get competitive spreads and enjoy customer support no matter the time zone you’re in.
Most people who want to try CFDs are new to the concept, so you can open a demo account to see how they work. Trade Nation has designed a simple dashboard and easily navigable pages so that you can do your research, expand your portfolio, diversify and trade from anywhere in South Africa.
- At the heart of the platform is the idea that you can practice with CFDs or forex to learn how they function before investing your money
- Around the clock support helps international traders, including those in South Africa
- South African traders should be aware that they are at risk when trading CFDs as the loss ratios can be rather high
How to Choose a Forex Broker in South Africa
When seeking a decent online forex broker to trade through from South Africa, the list of well-regulated forex brokers in South Africa shown above provides a good place to start. These include online brokers or banks with a South African presence in addition to well-regulated foreign brokers that accept South African clients, such as FOREX.com, for example.
If you prefer to do business in a language other than English, you might want to choose a broker with a website that translates into your preferred language. The broker should also have a customer service staff member fluent in that language.
Select a broker that has established a South African office and is regulated by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) because these brokers tend to act more responsibly toward locals since they can be sued in South Africa. Litigating against a foreign company can be a challenge, and it can easily involve extra time and cost to pursue justice if you feel that it’s necessary. Finding the best forex broker for your needs usually depends on your particular situation.
What to Look for in a Forex Broker
No matter where a forex broker is based, the best forex brokers will demonstrate the following traits:
- Will open an account for you
- Have a good reputation
- Offer the currency pairs and assets you want to trade
- Require an affordable minimum deposit
- Make prices with decent dealing spreads
- Have minimal order slippage
- Allow enough leverage for your preferred trading strategy to work
- Provide negative balance protection
- Segregate client accounts from its own
- Support the deposit and withdrawal procedures you wish to use
Keep in mind that the type of trading software a broker supports is vitally important as well. Many online brokers have their own proprietary trading platforms they let clients use, and some also support third-party platforms like the popular MetaTrader 4 and 5 platforms from MetaQuotes.
South Africa Forex Trading Strategies
When it comes to the forex market, failing to plan is planning to fail. The more strategies you master, the more likely you are to consistently profit. Start your journey with some vetted game plans.
If you like reading and interpreting charts, you should enjoy trading off of price action. Predict the next move, strike while the iron is hot and take profits quickly. The price action trader is more concerned with a currency pair’s pattern of movement.
Large macroeconomic conditions and long-term trends don’t matter as much because these trades aren’t meant to be long — sometimes only a few seconds (if that).
Day trading is a specific kind of price action trading that closes all trades by the end of the day. Placing a time limit on the action protects a trader from big overnight moves. Although forex trades 24 hours a day, weekend moves can be somewhat surprising.
Day traders exercise many of the same techniques as price action traders and are opportunistic. This kind of trading is also usually higher frequency than position trading, range trading or trend trading.
Range traders may hold a trade for minutes, hours or days. This kind of trading tries to take advantage of larger patterns based on support and resistance levels.
Range trading works when a currency pair has no definite direction — it is moving within a range that can be predicted. Successful traders buy at the low points of the range and sell at the high points over and over.
Trend trading usually takes place over the same time frame as range trading. The major difference is the behavior of the currency pair — it's moving in a direction rather than within a range.
The successful trader will identify the trend (usually just up or down) and trade accordingly. You will usually ignore small pullbacks and wait for bigger profits as well.
Forex Trading Example in South Africa
Let’s say ZAR/USD is trading at 0.05780/0.05790, and you think the price will rise. The margin rate of this currency pair is 3.17% and you want to purchase R150,000.
You will only need $275.08 in your account — the broker will let you borrow the rest.
The ZAR/USD price moves up according to plan. After 3 hours, it’s trading at 0.06020/0.06040.
This is a move of 23 points (0.06020-0.05790), and your profit is (R150,000*0.06020)-(R150,000*0.05790) or $345.
Making Money with Forex in South Africa
There are many ways to make money in the forex market outside of the traditional “buy low, sell high” mantra (which works just fine as well). The more you know, the more likely you are to see opportunities as they come.
- Carry trading: You can make money on the directional movement of a currency pair, but you can also make movement on the interbank interest rate of a currency. When you hold a currency in forex, that’s just like holding it in a bank. You gain interest on your holdings. Carry traders try to profit from the difference in interest rates of various currencies.
- Binary options: Instead of taking profit or loss based on the real time movement of a currency pair, you can participate in all or nothing options. If a currency is at a certain price on a certain date, you win money. If it is lower than the pre-established price on that date, you lose your investment.
- Shorting: If you think the value of a currency will decrease in the future, you can borrow that currency and sell it at a high price to buy it back cheaper later. This is known as shorting a currency.
Get Started with Forex in South Africa
Anyone who knows how to trade forex will tell you the game is 90% preparation. Your infrastructure needs to be solid or even the best laid plans will fall flat. As the biggest financial market in the world, forex is a global competition that takes no prisoners. Here’s how you can get started.
- Connect online. You can connect to the world of forex and trade currencies across the world from anywhere in South Africa. Make sure you have a solid Internet connection with no built-in latency. Forex trades are all about timing, and you don’t need a delayed system reaction messing up a perfectly good strategy.
- Search for the best online forex broker. You can connect to forex brokers across the world. Take note of the regulatory bodies that govern your chosen brokers. South Africa has relatively strong protections, but those protections may not apply if the broker you choose is offshore.
- Open the account. Your broker will have a process for you to follow to open an account. Make sure you follow the directions closely. You must properly identify yourself and connect your bank account.
- Fund your account. You can begin your trading career using virtual (not real) money. When you want to start making money, you will need to fund your account. This should be a relatively simple process if you have connected your bank account. Certain brokers will also allow funding through a check, debit card or credit card.
- Download your trading platform. Most reputable brokers have proprietary trading platforms. This is the user interface you will use to make your investments into the forex market.
- Trade. Now that your infrastructure is set, you can begin trading in the forex market.
The South African national currency is the South African Rand (ZAR), which is further divided into 100 smaller denominations known as cents. Although the International Monetary Fund (IMF) does not consider the ZAR a common Central Bank reserve currency, according to data compiled by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the South African currency ranked as the 20th most-traded of 2016, accounting for one percent of overall forex market activity that year.
With respect to the South African financial sector regulation, South Africa has employed a so-called “Twin Peaks” regulatory system since 2017. Since that time, regulation of online forex and contract for difference (CFD) brokers has come under the responsibility of the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), an entity that was created to take the place of the Financial Services Board (FSB).
Financial institutions need to be authorized by the FSCA before starting to operate in South Africa. The FSCA has been authorized to ensure that regulated entities obey relevant laws and fulfill capital adequacy requirements to support their financial soundness and protect traders and investors. Brokers with local licenses must keep all client funds segregated and in a recognized bank in South Africa.
When it comes to forex trading, South Africa is an increasingly popular locale for forex brokers due to its rapidly growing economy as one of the most developed countries in Africa, as well as strong demand for financial services and less strict regulation.
South Africa has a few locally-based online brokers licensed by the FSCA, such as BlackStone Futures and Khwezi Trade, although the more reputable international forex brokers who have opened offices in South Africa will typically offer a better service.
Remember that if you do want to trade via a foreign forex broker, it should be reputable and overseen by one or more regulators where its main operations are situated.
Open New Financial Doors in Foreign Exchange Trading
You can use forex to open new financial doors in South Africa. Many brokers offer stocks of educational content, and there are online courses to teach you more about foreign exchange investments. Start with our guide to learn to succeed in the forex market.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do forex traders pay tax in South Africa?
Yes, Forex traders in South Africa are required to pay taxes. They must pay a flat fee of 28% on taxable income through South African registered forex brokers.
Who is the rich forex trader in South Africa?
Sandile Shezi is one of South Africa’s best-known and most profitable forex traders.
Is forex going to be banned in South Africa?
Forex trading is permitted in South Africa, provided it adheres to laws against money laundering, and traders are obligated to report any profits to SARS (South African Revenue Service).
Get a Forex Pro on Your Side
FOREX.com, registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), lets you trade a wide range of forex markets plus spot metals with low pricing and fast, quality execution on every trade.
You can also tap into:
- EUR/USD as low as 0.2 with fixed $5 commissions per 100,000
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Learn more about FOREX.com’s low pricing and how you can get started trading with FOREX.com.