With more than 50 forex brokers available to South African traders, finding the right one can be a challenge. We’ve done the research for you, comparing the best and most credible brokers out there.
High floating leverage + fast execution
Competitive trading fees in South African market
Well-balanced selection of assets to trade
High level regulation in multiple jurisdictions
Impressive range of tradeable assets including vanilla options and gold options
Marketsi strategy builder helps traders trade smarter
Competitive trade execution with low slippage
CFD service 72% lose money
Best platform for new Forex & Crypto traders
CFD service 72% lose money
- FXTM, Best all-around broker with high floating leverage and fast execution.
- Banxso, .
- AvaTrade, Highly regulated, choice of fixed or floating spreads.
- Markets.com, Excellent educational offerings.
- Plus500, Wide range of CFDs + trailing stop losses.
5.0/5 in this category
Best all-around broker with high floating leverage and fast execution
While FXTM is on the list of South African regulated Forex brokers, it is a well-regulated company operating out of Mauritius and part of the Exinity Group, which also counts Alpari as a member. The Financial Services Commission (FSC) of the Republic of Mauritius offers international brokers a business-friendly regulatory framework and traders a secure trading environment, as evident by the product and services delivered by FXTM to over 2,000,000 traders globally. This broker frequently achieves leading position in any top Forex brokers list and established itself as a market-leader for emerging and frontier markets, catering to traders with relatively low deposits and granting them excellent educational tools.
Excellent commission-based Forex pricing environment and transparency
Upgraded MT4/MT5 trading platforms plus proprietary mobile trading app
Quality market research and educational content for beginner traders
Proprietary copy trading platform, low minimum deposit, and high leverage
4.5/5 in this category
Banxso is a relatively new Forex broker, having come onto the scene after a well-publicized launch in 2022. A real South African broker, Banxso is headquartered in South Africa, and regulated by the FSCA. Banxso is initially focused only on bringing in South African residents as clients but expects to expand into other jurisdictions by 2023.
What makes Banxo stand out from the crowd is its very competitive offering on trading fees. There is no Forex broker based in South Africa with lower trading fees than Banxso.
Banxso offers a well-balanced selection of over 8,000 assets to trade and offers fractional share dealing on a large selection of equities and ETFs.
24/7 human customer support
share dealing suitable for smaller portfolios
by TipRanks, which is ideal for equity and ETF traders
4.5/5 in this category
Highly regulated, choice of fixed or floating spreads
Another excellent choice for Forex trading South Africa is AvaTrade. One immediate benefit is that this broker obtained an operating license from the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) and has a local presence. It remains unclear if deposits and withdrawals in the South African Rand are Available. AvaTrade also maintains a proprietary mobile trading platform in AvaTradeGO, one specifically designed for options trading, AvaOptions, together with the MT4/MT5 trading platforms, and its WebTrader. DupliTrade supports social trading at this well-regulated global broker with an office in South Africa.
High-quality educational offering via SharpTrader
Excellent choice of trading platforms catering to various trading needs
Broad asset selection and cross-asset diversification opportunities
Well-regulated and trusted broker with oversight from a central bank
4.5/5 in this category
Excellent educational offerings
Markets.com caters to South African Forex traders from its competitive British Virgin Islands subsidiary, where it operates with a regulatory license from the Financial Services Commission (FSC). It presents traders with distinct trading accounts for CFD traders, Marketsx, and Marketsi for investors. Besides the proprietary Markets.com trading platform, ideal for manual traders, MT4/MT5 are also available for algorithmic traders. It also presents a mobile app, a popular choice among South African Forex traders.The asset selection of 8,000+ trading instruments presents a well-balanced and broad choice and includes 67 currency pairs and 25 cryptocurrency CFDs. Markets.com offers a commission-free trading environment, with Forex spreads as low as 0.6 pips or $6.00 per 1.0 standard lot. The maximum leverage of 1:200 adds to the competitive core trading environment. Traders at Markets.com also get eleven high-quality trading tools, its personalized financial live streaming service XRay, and free webinars for beginner traders.
Competitive commission-free Forex fees from 0.6 pips
Well-balanced choice of trading instruments with 2,200+ CFD Assets
Competitive proprietary trading platform alongside MT4/MT5
Excellent Customer Support
4.5/5 in this category
Wide range of CFDs + trailing stop losses
South African Forex traders who prefer a well-recognized international broker with a local presence should consider Plus500. Among its numerous regulatory licenses is the Authorized Financial Services Provider license issued by the South African Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA). Plus500 is an execution-only broker with a commission-free pricing environment and 2,000+ trading instruments, including 60+ Forex pairs and 15 cryptocurrency CFDs. Plus500 also features options trading, allowing traders to execute more complex trading strategies. The minimum spread is 0.6 pips or $6.00 per 1.0 standard lot, and Plus500 offers traders a guaranteed stop-loss order. Traders get a user-friendly proprietary trading platform, but it only serves manual traders. It includes a detailed order ticket, email, and push notifications on market events. Traders also get alerts on price movements, notable percentage changes in price action, and changes in the Plus500 trader sentiment indicator. Market commentary is also available.
Low leverage for retail traders
Sub-standard trading platform without support for automated or social trading
No research and limited, below-average educational content
Lack of trading tools
Here are the main criteria you need to check out to choose the right Forex broker for you in South Africa.
1. Forex Regulations in South Africa
The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) regulates the Forex market in South Africa, together with all non-banking financial services. All Forex brokers operating from within South Africa must obtain a license, while international brokers catering to South African traders remain regulated in their respective jurisdictions. Each trader needs to assess the importance of trading either with a domestically regulated broker, where the trust level may not be on par with global competitors, or with a reputable international one.
South African Forex brokers offer a wide range of choices, and traders should compare the broker fees carefully, and not immediately subscribe to brokers because they seem popular. The trading fees will have the most significant and immediately visible impact on your account. There are two types of fees, direct and indirect. You will face the former with each trade you place, while the latter applies in certain circumstances. Spreads, commissions, and rollover fees (swap rates) are direct costs, and deposit/withdrawal fees, currency conversion costs, and inactivity charges are indirect costs.
All these types of fees need to be checked for each broker you consider. Different trading styles will be more suited to varying fee structures.
3. Minimum Deposit Requirement
A low minimum deposit requirement remains one of the most beneficial tools any South African Forex broker can offer traders. However, do not assume that just because a broker will let you become a client with a deposit of only $10, that this is enough money to trade safely with. Consider carefully how much money you need to start trading Forex.
4. Trading Execution Speeds & Methods
Scalpers and traders with a preference for automated trading solutions require fast execution speeds. All other strategies will equally benefit from it, as it reduces or eliminates requotes and slippage.
Brokers deploy two main execution methods, the market maker model, and the ECN (electronic communication network) model. A market maker may use STP (straight-through processing) or NDD (no dealing desk), which are essentially the same, one referring to a fully automatic process and the other to a manual one. Market makers have earned a bad reputation for trading against clients and hunting stop losses.
South African Forex traders who do not wish to pay a commission for raw spreads with an ECN broker should ideally locate a market maker that deploys STP/NDD execution.
Leverage is one of the most efficient and misunderstood trading tools available. Almost all Forex brokers offer far more leverage than stockbrokers will offer. Make sure that you do not trade with too much leverage, but also make sure that your shortlisted Forex brokers offer enough leverage for your trading style.
6. Account Type
Most brokers offer a choice between a micro account or a standard account. Micro accounts are often better for new traders with low deposit capital available.
7. Trading Apps and Trading Platforms
The most common trading platforms are MT4 or MT5, and cTrader. MT4 remains the most flexible one, and the number one choice of most traders. Ensure your chosen broker offers a trading platform you are comfortable with.
8. High Quality Customer Support
While easy access to customer support remains essential, well-managed brokers explain all aspects of their products and services on their website, feature an FAQ section, and provide examples.
Here is a step-by-step guide to participating in forex trading sessions in South Africa, even if you are trading at home:
- Ensure you have a reliable internet connection and a fast computer or mobile device.Search for a reputable and regulated forex broker, preferably one with several years of experience.
- Be sure to trade on a desktop and on a South African app.
- Open a client account and begin funding your trading journey.
- Practice trading with a demo account, which is available on most brokerage websites.
- Learn about technical analysis and pay attention to the business news headlines.
There are complex regulations regarding moving your money offshore from South Africa. It is relatively easy to deposit funds into a trading account in South Africa but the broker then must make sure to comply with the rules when purchasing other forms of currency and moving it around. This is where the government has put most of the restrictions. Each South African citizen is given a limit of 4 million Rand that is allowed to be exchanged. Then each person can apply for an extra 1 million in a discretionary allowance which is doable but requires a tremendous amount of paperwork.
Knowing how the 24-hour cycle works, you can now understand what the best time to trade Forex in South Africa is: the slot between 10:00 and 17:00 SAST (South Africa Standard Time).
10:00 SAST is when the London session opens and 17:00 is 2 hours into the U.S. session. This is the main window where economic news is released (always influential for intraday and day traders) and deep liquidity, allowing for optimal trading conditions.
It is during these hours that intraday traders can take advantage of the heightened volatility and enhance their odds of hitting their profit targets. The chart below highlights Forex trading sessions in South Africa time.
43% of Forex transactions are traded during the European session, which makes it the most important Forex trading session of the day.
Of course, if you are not day trading or scalping, then liquidity and time zones will be less of a concern. For swing or position trading (where you are looking for setups on the 4H or daily charts) you should be much more concerned with fundamentals, positioning and sentiment, rather than trading at exact hours.
As a general rule, the longer your trading timeframe, the more weight fundamentals should have in your trading plan and the less weight technical analysis and time zones will have.
South Africa, like most countries, has a residency-based taxation system. This means that if you are resident in South Africa, you are legally required to pay tax on any profits you make trading Forex or CFDs, no matter where your broker is.
You are resident in South Africa for tax purposes if you spend at least 91 days in a tax year physically present in South Africa.
The basis of taxation of Forex trading profits in South Africa is simple. If your trading account is in your personal name, profits are subject to income tax. If you trade as a corporation, profits are subject to corporate income tax. However, small business corporations (SBCs) are taxed more gently, at graduated rates, like income tax.
You can deduct trading expenses, such as dedicated computer equipment, from profits to arrive at your taxable profit.
Some good news for South African traders paying income tax is that you must earn a total income (including your trading profits) of at least Rand 83,100 (assuming you are under the age of 65) before you are liable to pay.
There has been a significant rise in the number of Forex brokers offering ZAR accounts. South Africa is a primary destination for international brokers seeking to expand across Africa. ZAR-denominated accounts offer more convenience for domestic financial transactions.
Before committing to a ZAR account, consider currency conversion rates. Most Forex traders not actively trading the South African Rand, may incur a currency conversion fee on all non-ZAR trades. This can inflate trading costs. Opening an account in the currency where most trades settle will reduce this cost, making a US Dollar account typically the most cost-effective option for South Africa-based traders.
Forex traders in South Africa should trade with a regulated broker and be careful to verify any broker has its claimed authorization before considering a deposit, as follows:
- Each regulated broker will provide its regulatory license number (FSP in South Africa), usually at the bottom of its homepage and in its legal documents.
- Traders should cross-check the FSP number with the FSCA database by inputting the FSP number into their public search engine.
- Clicking on Details will provide essential data.
- Traders should pay attention to Status to ensure the license is active.
- Besides an active license, traders should evaluate a broker’s regulatory history.
- Regrettably, the database fails to maintain the regulatory history of brokers, but traders may contact the compliance department for further information.
- All South African equity brokers must have authorization from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) to operate.
- The JSE maintains a list of all authorized brokers on its website, and equity traders should ensure they trade with one listed there.
- The FSCA oversees operations of the JSE, maintaining security, trust, and stability.
The risks of trading currency pairs, whether you do forex on your own or you register with a forex broker, are just as ubiquitous in South Africa as they would be anywhere else. So, what are they? Here are a few of them:
- Transaction Risks - The international forex market is 24 hours a day and five days a week. You can trade at any time, although traders typically opt for London and New York times. That said, the gap in time differential between entering and settling a contract can amplify any transaction risks that could be born from entering a position. But what time does the forex market open in South Africa? The forex market is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. South African Standard Time.
- Leverage - While South Africa's available forex brokers offer immense leverage, this could be a risky feature, especially for young traders. Why? The greater the leverage, the greater the loss, which is why it is critical that every new client needs to read through the necessary guidelines for newcomers. Aside from these aforementioned risks, you should also be aware of the potential forex trading scams in South Africa.
Over 100 brokers were reviewed in-depth and from a trader’s perspective, ignoring the marketing tactics deployed by some to confuse retail traders. We sourced the list of our Top Five South African Forex Brokers from more than 200,000 words of dedicated research compiled over 1,000 hours, ensuring the most comprehensive approach to identify the best South African Forex brokers.
South African Forex traders have plenty of choice. While the FSCA regulates many, the most competitive offer exists from international brokers. There are a growing number who seek an FSCA license to add to their appeal for South African Forex traders, offering the best option. FSCA oversight, despite its oft-noted advantages, is not a necessity if you trade with a globally trusted Forex broker. The most defining first step is to determine the type of trader you want to be, and the look for the required tools from different brokers.
Which broker is the best for Forex in South Africa?
There is not one broker that suits all traders. Some of the best offers you’ll find are from international brokers outside of South Africa.
Is Forex trading legal in South Africa?
Yes, Forex trading is legal in South Africa, and there are no restrictions on South African Forex traders opening accounts with international Forex brokers.
How much money do you need to start trading Forex in South Africa?
It depends on individual goals and expectations. New traders should aim to deposit no less than $100 to open a micro account, $1,000 for a mini alternative, or $10,000 for a standard version. After the initial deposit, traders should follow through with smaller monthly ones until the portfolio reaches the necessary size to deliver the desired trading results realistically.
Which brokers are legal in South Africa?
All international brokers can operate legally in South Africa, as the FSCA does not require a license for brokers to be able to accept South African resident traders.
Which broker is best for a ZAR account?
Any broker accepting ZAR deposits with cheap or non-existent currency conversion costs should make this shortlist, as traders with ZAR accounts will face conversions on most trades, increasing trading costs.
Do Forex traders pay tax in SA?
Forex traders resident in South Africa are liable to pay tax in South Africa and should consult a certified professional to ensure compliance with tax laws.
How do I deposit money into my Forex account in South Africa?
The most convenient method is online payment processors, followed by credit/debit cards.
How much money do you need to start trading Forex in South Africa?
It depends on individual expectations but amounts below $5,000 create insignificant profits for time-consuming work or operate with an overly high-risk profile. Beginner traders should consider a monthly deposit strategy and invest in portfolio growth.
What are the Forex trading times in South Africa?
The two major global Forex centers are London and New York, so the best hours to trade happen between 9am London time and 5pm New York time, with the three-hour overlap between the two the best time at all. This is good news as it means the best hours to trade Forex from South Africa are between 11am and Midnight, so you can trade in times of high liquidity during most of the day or the evening.
What time does the Forex market open and close in South Africa?
Taking into consideration Daylight Savings, in South Africa the Forex market opens and closes at either 23:00 (between March and November) or 00:00 (between October and March).
What are the best times to trade Forex in South Africa?
The best trading conditions (meaning deep liquidity and decent volatility) will usually be between 10:00 SAST and 17:00 SAST.
Can you trade Forex at night?
The Forex market is open 24/5, so of course you can trade at night. The better question is whether you would want to trade at night. As discussed earlier in the article, the volatility conditions and liquidity are not conducive to good trading conditions and as such, night-time trading is best avoided.