Best CFD Brokers and Trading Platforms in South Africa
Choosing a forex broker to be your trading partner can be an intimidating task. However, this is one of the most important steps to take even before starting your trading journey. There are too many brokers in the market who simply don’t deliver on what they promise. Even worse, there are forex brokers established solely to rip people off of their hard-earned cash.
In this piece, we are going to present what we believe to be the best CFD brokers and trading platforms in South Africa. To determine which brokers and platforms fall on this list, we are going to look at four key areas as described below.
Our Criteria for Selecting the Best CFD Brokers and Trading Platforms in South Africa
The four key areas we are going to be looking at are as follows:
- Regulations – Above everything, we are only going to consider brokers that have regulations from reputable organizations. Preferably, they should be regulated in South Africa.
- Spreads and other fees – We are going to list brokers and platforms that have competitive pricing in the market. We understand that no trader wants to pay unnecessarily high fees when trading.
- Trading platforms – A broker that provides world-class trading platforms with fast execution puts its clients in a better position when trading.
- Availability of trading instruments – Brokers that offer a wide collection of trading instruments are highly preferred as they allow their clients to diversify their portfolios.
Are CFDs and Forex Trading Legal In South Africa?
Yes, trading forex and CFDs is completely legal in South Africa and is fully regulated. The body in charge of regulating forex and CFDs trading platforms in South Africa is the FSCA. While it is not the strongest regulator in the market, it is quickly gaining a reputation as a trustworthy overseer of company activities. At the very least, a company seeking to provide financial and investment services to South African citizens should have a license from the FSCA. This demonstrates that the broker is willing to follow the rules of the country. And now, here is our list of some of the best CFD brokers and trading platforms in South Africa.
Best CFD Brokers and Trading Platforms in South Africa
FP Markets ticks off all the four key areas we mentioned in our criteria. For starters, this broker is regulated by the FSCA in South Africa under license number 50926. It is also regulated by other regulations that include the CySEC in Europe and the ASIC in Australia.
Secondly, FP Markets offers some of the lowest spreads in the market. On the standard account, the spreads start from as low as 1.0 pips which is industry standard and affordable for most traders. However, the spreads can go even lower on the raw account starting from 0.0 pips with a commission of *$3 per side per lot.
Further, FP Markets offers clients a good lineup of trading platforms including MT4, MT5, Iress, and cTrader. Clients use these trading platforms to invest in various market instruments totalling over 10,000 different assets. They can trade forex currency pairs alongside CFDs on shares, metals, commodities, indices, cryptocurrencies, bonds, and ETFs.
Exness is another great choice for South African traders. This broker allows its clients to trade over 160 different trading instruments which are all CFDs. Investors can trade instruments from the forex, indices, stocks, commodities, metals, energies, and cryptocurrencies markets. These instruments are traded on smooth trading platforms that include MT4, MT5, MetaTrader WebTerminal, and Exness Terminal. The broker also offers two trading apps to choose from.
Additionally, the fees for trading on Exness are manageable for most South African traders. The average spread on major currency pairs on the standard account range from 1.0 pips to 2.1 pips. However, they can go even lower on the professional accounts starting from 0.0 pips with a commission paid. The Raw Spread account has a commission of up to *$3.50 per side per lot. On the other hand, the Zero account features a commission starting from $0.2 per side per lot.
Finally, let’s see how Exness is regulated and supervised. First of all, Exness is regulated by the FSCA in South Africa. On top of that, Exness is also regulated by the CMA in Kenya, the CySEC in Cyprus, and the FCA in the UK. This is a great lineup of regulatory licenses which helps lift the company’s reputation.
XTB launched its online brokerage services in 2002 and now has over 20 years in the market. This longevity and quality of services offered by the broker make it one of the best trading platforms in South Africa. Notably, this trading platform allows clients to trade over 1,500 trading instruments from a variety of markets. The global markets accessible through XTB include forex, indices, commodities, equities, cryptocurrencies, and ETFs. The only trading platform available for use is the in-house-built xStation 5.
In terms of fees, XTB offers some low spreads starting from 0.5 pips for major currency pairs. There is no commission paid when trading forex, indices, and commodities. However, a small commission starting from 0.08% applies when trading Stock CFDs and ETF CFDs.
XTB is regulated in South Africa by the FSCA which is a good sign which helps with the company’s reputation among traders. Furthermore, the company is also regulated by two world-class regulators, the UK’s FCA, and Cyprus’ CySEC. Regulations alone are not enough as a broker still has to demonstrate a track record of abiding by the rule of law. Luckily, XTB has over 20 years in the market without any serious incidents.
The next broker offering great services to South African traders is AvaTrade. This broker is regulated by the FSCA in South Africa, by the CySEC in Europe, by the Central Bank of Ireland in Ireland, and by the KNF in Poland. This is a positive sign that AvaTrade is a broker that follows the rule of law, regardless of the jurisdiction it operates in.
In terms of the availability of trading instruments, AvaTrade does not disappoint. With over 700 different trading assets from 7 different markets, AvaTrade stands out. Clients have access to global markets that include forex, indices, stocks, commodities, ETFs, bonds, and cryptocurrencies. The lineup of trading platforms clients can use include MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, and AvaTradeGO alongside mobile apps.
In terms of trading fees, the spreads on AvaTrade are some of the lowest in the market. On this broker site, they start from as low as 0.9 pips on major currency pairs. The company charges no commissions when trading which is attractive to many traders.
Admirals Markets holds licenses from two African regulators. These include the FSCA in South Africa and the CMA in Kenya. On top of that, the company has regulations from other top-tier regulators that include the FCA in the UK and the CySEC in Cyprus. This broker accepts South African traders and offers some of the best services.
It has a great collection of market instruments that includes CFDs on forex, commodities, indices, stocks, ETFs, and bonds. In total, there are over 8,000 different trading instruments that include over 80 currency pairs. There are three main trading platforms to choose from when trading with Admiral Markets. These include MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, and Admirals Mobile App.
In terms of spreads, Admiral Markets is on the lower end. The spreads that clients pay depend on the trading account they are on. Traders on the Trade.MT5 accounts enjoy spreads as low as 0.5 pips on major currency pairs. The other accounts feature both spreads starting from 0.0 pips plus a commission. The commission on these accounts ranges from *$1.8 to $3 per lot.
The next broker we are going to look at is Tickmill. This broker also has regulations in South Africa by the FSCA among other organizations. Today, Tickmill is one of the top brokers in the world with regulations in Europe by the CySEC and in the UK by the FCA. While regulations alone are not an assurance of fund safety, it is a good sign from a broker when they have several licenses.
Notably, this broker also provides clients with a great collection of market instruments. They can trade forex and CFDs on stock indices, oil, precious metals, bonds, stocks and cryptocurrency. The charges for trading these instruments are relatively low with spreads on the Classic account falling as low as 1.6 pips for major currency pairs.
However, clients can trade with even lower spreads starting from 0.0 pips plus a commission. The commissions charged on the accounts with ultra-low spreads are 1 currency unit per side per 100,000 traded or 2 currency units per side per 100,000 traded depending on the account. The trading platforms available to use include MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, and the Tickmill Mobile App.
Vantage Markets avails over 1,000 different trading instruments to its clients which is one of the most diverse collections of assets in the industry. These include CFDs on forex, indices, precious metals, commodities, energy, ETFs, shares, and bonds. The platforms availed by Vantage Markets to trade these market instruments include MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, ProTrader, and WebTrader.
Now let’s look at the spreads offered by this broker site. Well, they are industry-standard and depend on the account a user is trading on. On the Standard STP account, the spreads fall as low as 1.4 pips for major currency pairs with no commissions paid. On the other hand, all the other accounts on this trading platform have spreads from as low as 0.0 pips plus commissions of between *$0 to $3 per lot per side depending on the account and the volume traded.
In terms of regulations, Vantage Markets has a good reputation, among South African traders. This is because it is regulated by the chief financial regulator in the country, the FSCA. On top of that, the broker is regulated by two top-tier regulators in Cyprus by the CySEC and in Australia by the ASIC.
Fxview offers ECN execution to South African traders in a variety of markets. With this broker, clients have access to over 450 different instruments in five main asset classes. They can trade CFDs on forex, cryptocurrencies, indices, commodities, and stocks. These assets are traded on some of the world’s best trading platforms including MetaTrader 4 and 5. The platform ActTrader is also available for clients who prefer to use it.
While Fxview is still fairly new, it has regulations from the CySEC, a world-class regulator in the market. It is also regulated in South Africa by the FSCA, the body in charge of overseeing financial activities. Such a regulatory status gives this company good standing among traders.
Further, this broker features low spreads that are common in reputable ECN brokers. The spreads start from 0.0 pips but clients pay a commission when trading. Specifically, clients pay a commission of $1 per 100k traded.
Other Brokers That Accept South African Traders
In this section, we are going to look at reputable brokers that accept South African traders but do not have regulations by the FSCA. Nonetheless, we will make sure to only list brokers with regulations from other top-tier organizations.
Pepperstone is an international broker that now has over 400,000 clients worldwide. While this broker is not regulated by the FSCA in South Africa, it does have regulations from other trusted regulators worldwide. Notably, it is regulated in Africa by the CMA based in Kenya. Additionally, it has regulations from the FCA, the CySEC, the ASIC, and the BaFin, some of the world’s most reputable regulators.
Traders on Pepperstone get access to over 1,200 CFDs on forex, cryptocurrencies, indices, commodities, shares, and ETFs. These assets are traded on some of the world’s top trading platforms including MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, TradingView, and cTrader. These platforms are powerful yet intuitive enough for both beginner and experienced traders.
In terms of pricing, this broker competes very well against its peers. On its standard account, the spreads are as low as 1.0 pips for major currency pairs without commissions. On the other hand, its raw account features spreads from 0.0 pips with a commission of *$3.50 per side per lot. Such low prices and ultra-fast ECN execution make Pepperstone stand out among competitors. Most orders are executed in under 30 milliseconds (Pepperstone Group Limited) and 60 milliseconds (Pepperstone Limited).
Forex.com is one of the world’s most famous forex brokers in existence. This broker has been servicing traders with forex brokerage since the year 2001. This longevity in the market is one of the things that make Forex.com a favourite broker for many brokers. Moreover, this broker is regulated in many jurisdictions. These include the FCA, the CySEC, the NFA, the ASIC, and the IIROC. This is one of the most impressive collections of regulatory licenses held by a broker.
However, the regulatory status of this broker is not the only thing to rave about. It also offers one of the deepest collections of market instruments. In total, South African traders have access to more than 5,500 assets on this broker site. These include CFDs on forex, indices, precious metals, commodities, stocks, and cryptocurrencies. The trading platforms available for clients to use include MT4, MT5, WebTrader, and Forex.com Trader.
Finally, let’s look at the prices offered by this broker site. The standard account of this broker has spreads starting from 1.0 pips for major currency pairs, which is industry standard and competitive. On the raw spread account, the spreads start even lower at 0.0 pips with a commission of *$5 per 100K traded. Lastly, the DMA account features spreads from 0.1 pips with a commission that depends on the trading volume of a client. The commission starts from *$60 per million traded for a monthly trading volume of $0M – $100M.
XM allows South African traders to access over 1,000 CFDs on forex, indices, cryptocurrencies, stocks, shares, precious metals, and energies. The ability to diversify one’s portfolio is one of the features traders look for in a trading partner. Luckily, the diversity of assets offered by this broker site supports this.
The spreads for trading on this broker site are also rather attractive. Trading on this platform will see a client enjoying spreads starting from 0.6 pips for major currency pairs. There is no commission paid when trading forex and CFDs on the XM platform. Only the Shares account charges a commission to clients. The trading platforms available to support the trading of the various financial markets include MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, and the XM Trading App.
While this broker accepts and supports South African clients, it does not hold a license from the FSCA. It is regulated in other jurisdictions including Australia by the ASIC, and in Cyprus by the CySEC. These are world-class regulators that ensure brokers have a fair and secure trading environment before handing them a license.
In this review, we looked at many reputable CFD brokers and trading platforms in South Africa. We believe that the brokers on this list have quality services and most traders using them would enjoy top-tier services. Nonetheless, it is a tough task to choose a broker even on this list alone. At the beginning of this review, we mentioned the criteria we used to make our pickings. You can customize your own criteria to fit your trading needs and priorities. This will help you narrow down the thousands of CFD brokers and trading platforms in the market.
Either way, make sure you pick a broker that is well-regulated by world-class organizations. Such brokers have to follow strict financial laws in order to maintain good standing with the regulators and keep their licenses. And while this is not pure science, regulated brokers are much safer than unregulated ones.