We researched 50+ forex brokers based on their regulations, fees & more factors to list the best forex broker for SA traders.
Forex and CFD trading is regulated in South Africa by FSCA. As of today, there are only a few forex brokers that have received the license to offer their services to South African residents.
Some of these brokers offer ZAR accounts. A ZAR account means that South Africans can trade forex while using ZAR as their trading account’s base currency.
There are some advantages to trading with a ZAR broker, like you will save on exchange rates & fees during withdrawals into another currency.
5 Best Forex Brokers with ZAR Accounts in South Africa
We bring you the best forex brokers that are licensed by the FSCA & also offer ZAR base currency accounts. We have compared the important metrics of each broker such as fees and spread, trading conditions, deposit and withdrawal methods, and more.
We now compare each regulated forex broker in South Africa with ZAR Account. We look at their safety, fees, platforms & support.
HotForex is a well-known and reputable global forex and CFD broker. The broker is regulated by the tier-1 financial regulator Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of the UK with license number 801701. Additionally, the broker is also regulated by the CySEC of Cyprus, the DFSA of Dubai, and the FSA of Seychelles.
Most importantly, the broker is also locally regulated by the FSCA of South Africa as HF Markets SA (PTY) Ltd. The broker carries license number 46632.
Hence, overall, we consider HotForex to be a safe broker for South African traders.
Fees: The fees charged by HotForex depends on the type of account opened by the trader. HotForex offers a total of 6 different account types: Premium, Zero Spread, Micro, Auto, HFCopy, and PAMM. Each type of account offers different trading conditions to suit the needs of different kinds of traders.
The Premium account carries a typical spread of 1.7 pips for trading the benchmark GBPUSD currency pair. This account does not charge any commission for trades.
The Zero Spread account charges low spreads of around 0.3 pips for trading the benchmark GBPUSD currency pair. In addition, it also charges a commission of $6 per standard lot (or 100,000 units). The Zero Spread account is better for traders who trade in high volumes since it charges a lower spread.
A big advantage of trading through HotForex is that they do not charge any deposit or withdrawal fees. Further, they also do not charge any inactivity fees.
Trading Conditions: HotForex offers a wide range of trading instruments when compared to other similar brokers. It offers more than 53 currency pairs to choose from. Apart from forex, the broker also offers instruments such as 6 metal CFDs, 56 share CFDs, 4 energy CFDs, 5 commodity CFDs, 34 ETF CFDs, and 3 bond CFDs.
HotForex currently does not offer any cryptocurrency CFDs, which may be considered a drawback for some traders.
HotForex offers a variety of deposit options for South African users to choose from. It offers local Internet banking transfers via EFT as well as wire transfers. HotForex also accepts credit card payments through Visa and Mastercard issued cards.
Additionally, HotForex offers leverage of up to 1:1000 (however, users should be careful while using high amounts of leverage). They also allow EAs, scalping, and hedging. We found the order execution speed to be decent.
HotForex needs a minimum account opening balance of ZAR 70.
Customer Support: HotForex provides a variety of ways in which traders can get in touch with them. They have a local South African phone number for local traders. Additionally, they also have a live chat option on their website and they usually respond within a minute (on weekdays). You can also get in touch with them through email and you can expect a response within two hours (on weekdays).
Overall, they offer responsive and helpful customer support for South African traders.
They are regulated by the tier-1 financial authority FCA and carry license number 730729. They are regulated in South Africa by the FSCA which has accorded license number 51024 to the group entity Vlerizo (Pty) Ltd.
Additionally, Exness is also regulated by several other financial authorities such as the FSA of Seychelles, CBCS of Curacao and Sint Maarten, FSC of the British Virgin Islands, FSC of Mauritius, and the CySEC of Cyprus (tier-2 financial regulator.
Fees: Exness offers five different types of accounts with variable fees: Standard, Standard Cent, Raw Spread, Pro, and Zero.
Under the Raw Spread account, Exness charges a spread beginning from 0 pips. This account type charges a commission of up to $3.5 per standard lot (100,000 units).
Under the Zero account, Exness charges a spread beginning from 0.1 pips. This account type does not charge any commission.
Both the Zero and Raw Spread accounts are designated as ‘Professional’ accounts and are meant for experienced traders. The minimum deposit required to open an account via Internet Banking in South Africa at Exness is USD 10.
Exness does not charge a deposit or withdrawal fee, however, certain payment systems may charge a fee that the user has to bear.
Trading Conditions: Different account types of Exness offer different trading instruments.
The Standard Cent account offers forex currency pairs and gold and silver for trading.
In contrast, the Zero account offers forex currency pairs, gold, silver, energy CFDs, cryptocurrency CFDs, indices, and stocks.
Exness offers both online and offline bank transfer methods for depositing money into an account. Additionally, Exness has partnered with various mobile payment apps to effect payments such as Skrill, Neteller, PhonePe, and others. Exness also accepts payments through UPI-enabled platforms.
Exness offers unlimited leverage through all its account types.
Customer Support: Exness offers customer support primarily through a live chat option which is available on their website. In addition, Exness also has an extensive FAQs section which can be used to search for solutions and answers.
Exness also offers international phone numbers that are available 24*7. You also have the option of sending them an email. Their email ID and phone numbers can be found on their website under the “Contact Us” section.
Overall, we found their customer support to be quite helpful. We received proper answers to our questions quite promptly.
The parent company of XM, Trading Point of Financial Instruments Pty Ltd is regulated by the tier-1 financial authority ASIC of Australia with the license number 443670 and FCA with 705428. In addition, it is regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) and the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).
Overall, we consider XM Forex to be a safe broker to trade through due to its global licenses. However, South African clients at XM are registered under IFSC (Belize) regulatory compliance with license number 000261/158.
Fees: XM charges variable spreads through its different trading accounts. XM offers trading services through four different account types, each of which has its own fee structure.
Overall, the typical spread for trading the benchmark EURUSD currency pair is 1.7 pips (without any additional commission).
XM only charges a commission through its Shares account. The amount of commission depends on the type of trading instrument that is being traded. For example, if you are trading US shares, then you will be charged a commission of 4 cents per share. The minimum commission that you would need to pay is $1 per transaction.
XM does not charge any withdrawal or deposit fee, which is a considerable advantage for traders. However, it does charge an inactivity fee after three months of inactivity.
Trading Conditions: XM offers a wide variety of trading instruments. Traders can gain exposure in 57 currency pairs, more than 1300 stock CFDs, 10 indices, 8 commodities, 5 energy instruments, gold, silver, and more. XM does not offer any cryptocurrency CFDs.
XM offers the latest versions of both MT 4 and MT 5 to its traders. As they are the most popular trading platforms, users should not face any problems while trading through them.
XM offers a leverage of up 1:888. A lower proportion of leverage can also be used.
Customer Support: XM offers a range of ways in which you can get in touch with them. Email, phone call, and live chat are the most popular options.
XM does not offer a local phone number for South Africans to call, however, you can get in touch with them through a global phone line. The number has been provided on their website.
Further, their email support is also quite helpful. We received a response within 3 hours of contacting them.
Both the email and live chat options are available at all times during weekdays.
XM Broker Pros
XM Broker Cons
Plus 500 is also regulated by the global tier-1 financial regulator FCA of the UK. In addition, Plus 500 is also licensed by the CySEC of Cyprus, the FMA of New Zealand, the FSA of Seychelles, and the MAS of Singapore.
Plus 500 is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Overall, we consider Plus 500 to be a safe broker to trade through due to its regulation by the FSCA and top global financial authorities.
Fees: Plus 500 offers a single account type that charges a variable spread depending on the timing of the trade and the instrument being traded. For the benchmark GBPUSD currency pair, the typical spread is 0.6 pips.
Plus 500 does not charge any commission on trades.
Further, Plus 500 does not charge any deposit or withdrawal fees. However, a fee may be charged by the payment service provider.
Plus 500 does charge an inactivity fee which can be up to USD 10, in case a user does not use their account for a period of more than three months.
Trading Conditions: Plus 500 offers more than 71 currency pairs in addition to 1000s of CFDs on shares, commodities, and cryptocurrencies. Plus 500 is notably one of the few brokers that offer both ZAR-denominated accounts as well as cryptocurrencies.
They offer a leverage of up to 1:300, which is quite low when compared to other similar brokers. However, the low leverage may turn out to be a benefit for newer traders.
The minimum account opening balance needs to be at least ZAR 1500. They offer negative balance protection without asking for any additional fees.
Plus 500 offers a proprietary trading platform that is available for web browsers and smartphones. They do not have downloadable desktop software.
Customer Support: Plus 500 offers customer support through email, live chat, as well as WhatsApp.
We tried contacting them through email and received a response within two hours. Further, their live chat option has also been found to be helpful.
There is no local South African phone line for users to call. We also couldn’t find any international phone line.
There is also an extensive FAQs section for users who are looking for self-help options.
FxPro is authorized by FSCA in South Africa to offer trading services of shares and derivative instruments. The FSCA license of FxPro is held by the name FXPRO FINANCIAL SERVICES LTD under FSP number 45052. FxPro Financial Services Ltd is also regulated and authorized by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission under license number 078/07.
The FxPro group is a renowned FSP and also holds an FCA license in the United Kingdom under license number 509956. It has been offering online trading services since 2006 and can be considered safe for South African clients.
They offer multiple account types with different trading platforms and pricing patterns. MT4, MT5, as well as cTrader trading platforms, can be chosen to trade CFDs on various instruments. Each account type at FxPro can be opened with ZAR as base currency.
The MT4 trading platform can be chosen with instant as well as market execution methods with no difference in the pricing pattern. All account types with MT4 and MT5 trading platforms have spread as the only trading fees. Only the cTrader account involves a commission with very low spreads. The MT4 account also has a fixed spread version which offers trading with fixed spreads only on major currency pairs.
The average spread with the variable spread MT4 and MT5 accounts for EUR/USD is 1.63 pips and 1.60 pips respectively. The same with the fixed spread version of MT4 is 1.70. The average EUR/USD spread with the fixed commission-based cTrader account is 0.33 pips.
The commission with the cTrader account at FxPro is $4.5 for a round turn trade of a standard lot (100,000 units). The commission is only for the forex pairs and metals. For all the other instruments, the cTrader account involves the same spread as MT4 and MT5 accounts.
71 currency pairs, 19 Indices, 2031 Shares, 8 Metals, and 3 Energy crosses can be traded as Contract for Deposits (CFDs) at FxPro. The maximum leverage for each asset class is different. 1:200 for forex pairs and metals, 1:50 for commodities, and 1:25 for stock CFDs.
Deposits and withdrawals in South Africa can be done via local bank transfer, wire transfer, VISA, Maestro, MasterCard, Neteller, Skrill, and UnionPay. International wire transfers can incur additional charges but transactions through all the other methods are completely free. Deposits are processed instantly while withdrawals can take up to 24 hours to process in South Africa. The minimum deposit amount is $100 or ZAR 1500 for all the methods.
FxPro does not have a local office in South Africa and local phone support is also not available. Clients can write a mail for queries or can request a call for any assistance. Support through live chat is good and can be useful. They have an international customer support number but that can incur international calling charges.
Average spreads with standard accounts are high
ZAR trading account refers to the trading account in which the account balance will be maintained in South African Rand (ZAR). The ZAR-based account allows traders to keep a track of their account balance as they do not need to convert USD or other currency to ZAR to check the balance.
If you are residing in South Africa and making a deposit into your ZAR trading account, currency conversion won’t be required. This way you can save the currency conversion charges while depositing as well as while withdrawing. If the account currency is USD or any currency other than ZAR, a currency conversion fee will be incurred for each deposit and withdrawal done in ZAR.
If you make forex trades in which the quote currency is ZAR, then you should always prefer to trade through a ZAR denominated account. This is because if you trade other forex pairs, then you may be charged a currency conversion fee by the broker.
If you’re using a ZAR denominated account for trading forex and CFDs, and the account deposits are also made in ZAR, no currency needs to be converted. Hence, clients will not be required to pay the currency conversion fees.
But if you’re using a USD or other currency denominated account, then you will need to change the currency to ZAR every time you make a deposit or withdrawal. This can add up to a lot of transfer fees as banks charge a spread or fee for the conversion.
For example, if you withdraw profits from your trading account in USD, the broker may offer your a lower conversion rate than the actual USD/ZAR rates during withdrawals. This could be a range anywhere from 2-8% on the currency conversion fees.
And if the withdrawal is in USD & the currency exchange rate for USD to ZAR is 15, then your bank will likely charge a spread and give you an exchange rate of around 14.6.
This can add up to a lot of fees for South African traders. Hence, you should always use a ZAR denominated account and often trade currency pairs in which ZAR is the quote currency.
For South African traders, it is a good idea to trade through ZAR accounts. Not every global broker offers ZAR denominated accounts, hence, you should try to trade through one of the brokers listed above. These brokers are both well-regulated and they have a strong record. Most of these brokers are also regulated by the FSCA, which means added safety.
Choosing a ZAR-based account can help South African traders to measure their account equity and risk exposure better than other currency accounts. It will also exempt them from currency conversion fees. However, there are several other important factors that must be considered while selecting a ZAR-based account.
FSCA Regulation: There are a lot of brokers and financial services providers that allow forex and CFD trading with ZAR-based accounts. However, they may or may not be regulated by FSCA in South Africa.
The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) is the financial regulator in South Africa that overlooks the activities of the financial service providers. Clients residing in South Africa must only trade with a ZAR forex broker that is regulated by the FSCA in South Africa.
Fees: The trading and non-trading fees play an important role in the profits and losses booked by the trader. Clients must look out for the details of fees on the website before choosing a broker. The details of every component of the fees can be inquired about through the customer support services of the respective brokers.
Available Instrument: A ZAR-based trading account will be of no good if the instrument you wish to trade is not available. Traders must check the available instruments and trading conditions before choosing a broker.
Customer Support: Traders must be able to connect with customer support executives to resolve their queries. Most brokers in South Africa offer support services through live chat, email, and phone numbers. However, the quality of service and availability can differ from broker to broker. clients can check the quality and availability of customer support before opening their accounts.
Trading Platform: The trading platform is where traders will spend most of their time trading online. Traders must be convenient with the trading platform available at a chosen broker. MT4, MT5, and cTrader are commonly chosen trading platforms but some brokers also offer their proprietary trading platform. Traders must check suitability and convenience with the trading platform before opening their account.
|Broker Name||Typical EUR/USD Spread||Minimum Deposit||Max. Leverage|
According to our research HotForex & Exness have the lowest typical spreads & overall fees for trading forex & CFDs.
For ex. the typical spread for EUR/USD at Exness with Standard account is 1 pip. They also don’t charge any other fees for deposits & withdrawals.
If you want to trade with low ammount in South Africa then as per our analysis, it is best to start with the HotForex which offer minimum deposit R70 in Standard account.
There are many brokers that offer ZAR accounts to South African Traders which allow them to directly trade in ZAR in market without any currency conversion rates. Some of the best brokers with ZAR accounts include HotForex, Exness, Exness, Plus500, and FXPro.
The base currency of your trading account should be the same as the currency in which you are depositing or withdrawing. South African clients should always choose ZAR based account over USD based accounts to avoid currency conversion charges.
ZAR trading accounts are those trading accounts in which the ZAR will be the base currency of the account. There are many brokers in South Africa who offer ZAR trading account with zero currency conversion rates & you can make the deposit & withdrawal in ZAR.