Foreign exchange markets are by far the largest markets in the financial industry, where all the world’s currencies, commodities, metals, indices and stocks are traded.
With such a variety of trading instruments, platforms and products available, traders aim for the highest profits and they require the best tools and educational resources to succeed.
Forex trading is preferred by most traders nowadays and some of the most common reasons are the operating hours of Forex markets, a highly liquid market turn-over of $5 trillion per day, and short-term profit opportunities for casual and retail traders, or investment opportunities for traders with long-term goals.
Most brokerages are compatible with MetaTrader platforms, which means that their clients have access to advanced charting and analysis tools and they can track price movements and trading opportunities using automated algorithms and alerts.
Since 2001, Forex trading has evolved significantly with advances in technology and software development. Most popular brokerages are supervised by international regulatory bodies and they are required to store client funds in segregated accounts at top-tier financial institutions for additional security and transparency.
The following article reviews 30 of the most trusted brokerages, in no particular order, and provides a comparison of each to assist you with choosing the right one for you.
This brokerage is regulated by AFS and FTSE and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. Payment methods accepted include major debit and credit card providers, bank wire transfers and several other e-wallets and local deposit options.
Plus500 provides a trader’s guide that can be used by amateurs, along with risk management tools, alerts and economic calendars.
The maximum leverage offered is 1:300, with no commission charged and tight spreads. Plus500 offers more than 60 currency pairs and over 2,000 instruments in the categories of shares, Forex, commodities, options, ETFs, cryptocurrencies and indices.
Plus500 Pros and Cons
|Customer services available 7 days a week||Research tools need further development|
|Demo-accounts offered||Negative reviews on customer support|
|Low trading fees||Scalping is flagged|
Since 2008, Markets.com has offered global trading solutions in financial markets. They have developed a proprietary multi-asset platform with full account functionality, but they are also compatible with the MetaTrader platforms.
Markets.com is regulated by the FCA (UK), ASIC (Australia), CySEC (Cyprus), FSCA (South Africa) and FSC (BVI) and client funds are held in secure, segregated accounts at top financial institutions.
Markets.com won the Best FX Platform as well as Best Forex Provider in 2017, awarded by the UK Forex Awards, and was named Best Forex Trading Platform in the Middle East in 2020.
Markets.com Pros and Cons
|Offering 300+ forms of asset classes||Only accepts card payments|
|Reliable support staff||Strictly forbids hedging|
|Great training and research material and tools||MarketsX mobile app suffers poor response during intervals of navigating and closing positions|
eToro’s trading platform was awarded in 2020 for being the easiest to use CopyTrading platform, with more than 1,900 instruments, 49 currency pairs, 16 cryptocurrencies, 31 commodities and 13 global indices. Clients can also buy shares in popular international companies.
eToro makes trading easy with its CopyTrading functionality and comprehensive educational resources and advanced trading tools.
This brokerage is regulated by FCA and CySEC, client funds are held in segregated accounts and they accept most of the common payment methods.
eToro Pros and Cons
|Top award for best cryptocurrency broker||High non-trading fees|
|Free stock and EFT trading in EU||Delayed withdrawal process|
|Small fees charged||Only a single account base currency|
Saxo Bank provides outstanding trading platforms, ingenious research, customer services that are dependable and top it off with competitive pricing. It offers more than 40,000 market instruments and the option to use leverage.
Saxo Bank provides trading strategies and portfolio management services that can be used along with their advanced trading platforms, which offer the full account functionality of MetaTrader platforms.
This top-tier bank is partnered with more than 120 financial institutions and brokerages, with over 600,000 clients globally and $12 billion traded daily.
Saxo Bank Pros and Cons
|Highly regulated||Very high deposit of 10,000 USD or 500 GBP|
|Free withdrawals||Delayed customer support|
|Exceptional news updates||Not compatible with Metatrader|
|Comprehensive research tools|
easyMarkets has provided online trading solutions since 2001 and boasts a 5-star Trustpilot rating. It was the first brokerage to offer online trading as a service, which revolutionized the industry of financial markets.
easyMarkets operates as part of the Blue Capital Markets Group and rebranded from easy-forex to easyMarkets in 2016, offering shares, commodities, indices, forex, metals and crypto to the public.
This brokerage offers access to innovative and unique tools, such as Freezerate, which allows you to freeze prices before they change and Dealcancellation, which cancels losing trades within 6 hours of opening positions.
easyMarkets Pros and Cons
|Simplified interface||Unavailable to residents in the US and several other regions|
|Regulated by CySEC & ASIC||Not regulated by FCA|
|Zero commission||Mediocre mobile app|
|Option to cancel deals||Small range of tradable products|
Founded in 1974, IG offers a multi-functional platform with Metatrader compatibility, along with a vast selection of over 17,000 instruments, and features such as ProRealTime, trading alerts and trading signals.
IG’s mobile app offers a proprietary mobile app called IG Academy for educational purposes and is packed with learning resources available on Android and iOS.
With a trust score of 99, IG instils confidence in users worldwide. It is regulated by multiple bodies, making it the safest, low-risk broker for forex and CFD trading in 2021.
IG Pros and Cons
|High-quality research and trading platforms||Slow resolution on customer support platform|
|Attractive pricing model||Dealings are prohibited in most regions|
|Tradable assets exceed 17,000||Trading and stock CFD fees are costly|
CMC markets are listed on the LSE, boasting over 25 years of experience in providing services in financial trading markets.
Not only is CMC Markets preferred by many FX and CFD traders, but its innovative dashboard is powerful and versatile, and can be customized according to your trading goals and needs.
You can access in-depth market analysis content, use the mobile application to trade on the go, and explore trading opportunities with more than 9,000 tradeable instruments and over 300 currency pairs.
CMC Markets has a generous pricing structure for its impressive suite of trading products. They are regulated by the FCA and are compliant with CASS rules.
CMC Markets Pros and Cons
|Great variety of product offerings||Timeous withdrawal process|
|Advanced trading platform and options||Slow responses from telephonic customer support team|
|Educational tools are informative and instructive
FSCS-compliant in case of liquidation
|Request for tax certificates is challenging|
Dukascopy is part of the Swiss Banking Group and operates under strict asset protection regulations. This added layer of security is a good incentive for high net-worth individuals to use Dukascopy to invest in trading opportunities. They have also received several rewards over the years for providing exceptional, reliable services and client funds are segregated from the company accounts.
Dukascopy offers high-grade financial tools, a rich library of research material that is free to use, and instruments in the markets of crypto, forex, CFDs and Binaries.
Dukascopy has a 24-hour customer support team and the option to open special bank accounts that can be used to trade in financial markets, but they also provide account choices specifically for trading ECN or using MT4.
Dukascopy Pros and Cons
|Popular and trusted mobile platform||Query responses are somewhat delayed|
|JForex platform suite tailored for innovation||Targeted towards more experienced traders|
|Pricing structures are well designed||Inadequate range of products offerings|
|Dukascopy TV and a great research platform|
TD Ameritrade has an incredible product offering, ranging from currencies, indices and stocks, to annuities, bonds and mutual funds.
They have a great variety of financial tools and research material, and you have the option to create custom charts and stay updated with the latest news on forex markets.
What makes TD Ameritrade unique is its account types, which cover retirement plans, educational requirements, marginal trading, business accounts and portfolio management services.
TD Ameritrade Pros and Cons
|Reliable customer support||Opening an account digitally is not supported|
|Appreciable trading fees with no commission on certain products.||Wire transfers may concur hefty fees|
|Platform exceptionally crafted for trading||Telephonic support is a challenge|
City Index is an award-winning brokerage with over 30 years of trading experience in more than 12,000 global markets and they are listed on the NASDAQ.
This brokerage offers an exciting range of products, consisting of 21 indices, more than 4500 shares, 84 currency pairs and over 25 commodities to choose from.
Their innovative platforms provide access to advanced charting tools, reliable research and analysis tools and an excellent customer services team that will guide and support you on your trading journey.
City Index Pros and Cons
|Comprehensive range of products||Discounts for volumes non-existent|
|Platforms designed for user convenience allowing ease of use||Pricing model like a closed book|
|Parent company is publicly traded||Data concerning social trading is inadequate|
|Regulated by FCA UK|
FOREX.com provides access to more than 4,500 markets where you can trade with over 90 currency pairs, as well as indices, stocks, commodities and cryptocurrencies. They have over 20 years of experience in financial markets and they are listed on NASDAQ.
You can earn cash rebates using the Active Trader Program, which will reduce your trading costs by up to 15% and give you access to an experienced market strategist.
This brokerage is a leader amongst MetaTrader brokerages, offering access both via desktop and mobile. You can enjoy the benefits of using advanced charting and analysis tools, along with SMART signals and risk management functionality.
FOREX.com Pros and Cons
|Inexpensive trading cost||Small product range|
|Trading under Gain Capital Holdings Inc.||Expensive fees on stock CFD|
|Great product offering||Designed for experienced traders|
XTB offers over 1,500 trading instruments in global markets, with more than 220,000 active traders daily.
This brokerage has designed a comprehensive training course for new traders, known as the Trading Academy, which can be used along with their xSTATION5 trading platforms.
Despite the lack of MetaTrader compatibility, xSTATION5 has all the advanced charting and analysis tools, along with alerts and market news updates, that MetaTrader offers.
XTB is licensed and regulated by IFSC, and they are renowned for excellent customer services and a platform that performs beyond expectations.
XTB Pros and Cons
|Very user-friendly platform||Exotic currency pairs are limited|
|xStation is an award-winning trading platform||Unavailable to US customers|
|Transactions processed super-fast||Fixed spreads excluded|
The FXCM product offering covers Forex pairs, shares, indices, commodities and cryptocurrencies in global markets.
They support several popular platforms, including TradingStation, MetaTrader, NinjaTrader, ZuluTrade and TradingView.
They specialize in innovative algorithmic and automated trading and also provide CopyTrading functionality.
This brokerage accommodates amateur and expert traders alike, providing advanced trading tools and a comprehensive educational library with economic calendars, market news and live charts.
FXCM Pros and Cons
|Regulated by FCA and ASIC||Trading not allowed in the USA|
|Well-designed research toolkit||No third-parties involved|
Interactive Brokers is an award-winning brokerage that promises secure trading with minimal costs and next-generation technology, providing services to 33 countries and supporting 23 currencies in 135 global markets.
This brokerage is ideal for institutions, third-party service providers and traders and investors, who would like to collaborate and use the innovative Investor’s Marketplace offered by Interactive Brokers.
There is also an incredible educational portal for new traders or experienced traders who would like to refine their skills or stay updated with market news and new technologies and strategies.
Interactive Brokers has received several rewards over the years and hosts its platform for 105 forex pairs and A list exchange products globally, offering 7,400 CFDs. It also offers US-traded Bitcoin futures.
Interactive Brokers Pros and Cons
|Well regulated||Limited to Bank transfers for withdrawals and account funding|
|Good variety of trading products||Commission structure benefits only high volumes|
|Supports API trading|
OANDA is a globally regulated brokerage that is partnered with MetaTrader, Multicharts, Motivewave and Seer.
The tools provide include advanced charting, technical analysis, algorithms and automated trading, industry and market news, and economic calendars.
OANDA makes it easy to diversify your portfolio, offering more than 55 currency pairs, in-demand commodities, CFD bonds, precious metals and index CFDs.
Oanda Pros and Cons
|Minimum deposit of $1||Expensive withdrawal fees|
|Pricing structures are well-designed and competitive||Slow turnaround time from customer service|
|Web platform is user friendly||No access to Cryptocurrency access and single stock CFD’s|
London Capital group
London Capital Group (LCG) is a trusted brokerage with 20 years of trading experience. They are regulated by the FCA and CySEC and boast over $1 billion deposits made with $20 trillion worth of trades executed since inception.
Their product offering includes over 7,000 instruments, including forex, commodities, spot metals, ETFs, shares, indices, bonds and vanilla options, that can be traded across 9 liquid asset classes.
LCG offers reliable customer support and a user-friendly and innovative platform, with 24-hour assistance to ensure that you have a positive trading experience.
London Capital Group Pros and Cons
|Regulated from within 3 countries||Minimum capital of $10,000 for ECN trading|
|Minimum deposit of $ 1||Fixed spread account unavailable|
|Superb training and research tools|
Swissquote was founded in 2000 and is listed on the Swiss Exchange. They boast over 400,00 clients globally with 3 million products offered.
Swissquote grants customers access to advanced dashboards for automated chart pattern analysis, as well as AutoChartist and Trading Central.
Their service offering caters to asset managers, banks, brokers, individuals and corporate entities and they promise the highest level of security and compliance.
Swissquote Pros and Cons
|Wide range of trading assets||Only certain research tools are complimentary|
|Regulated, respected and trusted||Expensive trading fees|
|Superb set of research options||Platform is not beginner-friendly|
Pepperstone is an ASIC and FIC-regulated Australian brokerage that was founded in 2010. They prioritize reliable customer service, fair pricing and low-spreads, and secure trading with fast execution speeds.
Their product offering includes more than 60 currency pairs, access to 14 global stock markets, commodities and 6 major cryptocurrencies. Their leverage is capped at 1:500 and account types are tailored to suit the needs of different trading styles.
They are compatible with MetaTrader and cTrader, granting you access to all the advanced charting and analysis tools used by expert traders, as well as market news updates and comprehensive educational resources.
Pepperstone Pros and Cons
|Compliant with international regulations||Offering limited to forex, CFDs, and cryptocurrency|
|Withdrawals and deposit fees waived||Security and protection for investor clients outside of the EU is non-existent|
|Competitive/low forex and equity index fees||Research and technical analysis data are non-existent|
Darwinex encourages CopyTrading, making it easy for beginners to experiment with tested trading strategies and creating career opportunities for seasoned traders.
They are regulated by the FCA, with more than 3,000 clients from over 80 countries and MetaTrader compatibility.
Darwinex specializes in providing API trading solutions and their product offering exceeds 300 tradeable assets, including forex, commodities, stocks and indices.
Darwinex Pros and Cons
|A top-rated Metatrader4 Brokerage||Lacking research tools and materials|
|Broker and customer accounts independent||Expensive for some customers|
|CopyTrading supported||Low offering of Instruments|
|Regulated by Tier-1 Jurisdictions|
KVB is a professional financial services provider that is regulated by top-tier international regulatory bodies, offering services that cover wealth management, global transactions, e-commerce solutions and Forex trading.
Their Forex Management services promise to improve the cash flow management of companies, assist with international transactions using more than 120 currencies, performing cross-border currency settlements and forward hedging, as well as ERP and API integrations.
They also offer investment planning and services and have launched several insurance packages, such as life and serious illness insurance.
KVB Kunlun Pros and Cons
|Well regulated||Platform will intimidate new traders|
|Parent company is listed||Hedging is prohibited|
|High minimum deposit of $1000|
XM offers more than 1,000 instruments that can be traded on 16 different platforms, with low spreads starting at 0.6 pips.
You can experiment with over 55 currency pairs, major global indices and commodities, more than 600 stocks from popular international companies, precious metals and valuable energies.
XM has received several nominations over the years, ranging from Best Broker awards to being awarded for excellent customer service.
This brokerage is licensed and regulated by the ASIC, CySEC, IFSC and DFSA, and provides services to nearly 200 countries in 30 languages.
XM Pros and Cons
|Trusted broker||CFDs, forex, cryptos only available to European clients|
|Multiple asset classes with thousands of instruments||Penalty fee if inactive|
|Great educational resources||Spreads not fixed|
Tickmill is a licensed brokerage that offers a selection of 62 currency pairs and access to all other major global assets. They host contests and award traders for good performance.
They have designed several accounts to cater to different types of traders, providing services to more than 200 countries, with nearly 385 million trades executed by their client base of 150,000.
Tickmill may be more suited to experienced traders as their educational content is limited, but they stream webinars and offer in-depth eBooks for free, which can be used to gain a better understanding of some trading strategies and general concepts of trading.
Tickmill Pros and Cons
|Active traders offered low spread||US trading prohibited|
|Regulated by international bodies||Cryptocurrencies excluded|
|$30 welcome account bonus||Narrow product offering|
Founded in 1965 and established in London, ETX Capital asserted itself in the industry with award-winning educational resources, innovative platforms and access to more than 5,000 global markets.
They offer more than 60 currency pairs, global indices, shares in popular brands, in-demand commodities and major currencies.
This brokerage supports MetaTrader4 and they have also developed a proprietary platform, known as ETX TraderPro. This app has full trading functionality with advanced charting tools, risk management functionality and customizable workspaces.
ETX Capital Pros and Cons
|Regulated by one tier-1 regulator (FCA)||Not regulated by ASIC|
|Fair pricing||Scalping strictly forbidden|
|Award-winning platform||Small selection of instruments|
Exness was established in 2008 and has accumulated a client base of more than 145,400 users since its inception. They boast a monthly trading volume of $673 billion and they are regulated by the FSCA and FSA.
Their product offering consists of 107 currency pairs, 81 major stocks and indices, 7 crypto assets, as well as 12 precious metals and valuable energy resources.
They are compatible with Metatrader and WebTerminal, providing access to advanced, customizable charts, in-depth research and analysis tools, and market news and updates.
Exness Pros and Cons
|Regulated by FSCA and FCA||No bonuses offered to SA residents|
|Competitive spreads||Email support is delayed|
|No deposit and withdrawal fees||Limited selection of CFD instruments|
HotForex was founded in 2010 and has a client base of over 2,5 million users. They have received more than 45 Industry awards and are regulated by 5 international bodies.
Hotforex offers 5 types of accounts with a maximum leverage of 1:1000. They are regulated by the FSCA, CySEC, FCA, FSA and DFSA.
Products offered by HotForex consist of 1,000 tradeable instruments, including Forex, metals, energies, shares, global indices, bonds, commodities, ETFs, major cryptocurrencies and DMA stocks.
HotForex Pros and Cons
|No charge for withdrawals and deposits||Zero Account has a high commission charge|
|Highly regulated by tier 1 and tier 2 regulators||Trading platform limited to Metatrader4 and 5|
|Low spread for USD / EUR||Instruments offering is low|
Since 2011, ADSS has provided online trading services globally and they are regulated by the FCA, SFC and the Central Bank of the UAE.
Products offered by ADSS include stocks and bonds, cryptocurrencies, forex and commodities while catering to both institutional as well as retail investors. Additionally, they offer wealth and asset management services.
ADSS is compatible with MetaTrader and grants access to Autochartist, economic calendars, market news and advanced research and analysis tools.
ADSS Pros and Cons
|Wide selection of assets||Minimum deposit is high at $100|
|Commission & spreads not high||Limited training for traders|
|Trading platform is safe and secure||No option for social trading|
|Strongly regulated in Hong Kong, UAE and UK|
HYCM (Henyep Markets), was established in 1977 and has an impressive trust score of 84. Over the years they have built up a user base of over 30 million traders, which sets a new record in the industry.
Their leverage options are flexible and the website is easy to navigate. They are compatible with Metatrader platforms and provide access to trading calculators, market news and economic calendars.
Over 25,000 orders are processed daily, and they offer more than 20 forex pairs, as well as energies, commodities, indices, metals and stocks. This broker also offers 60+ cryptocurrency CFD pairs.
HYCM Pros and Cons
|40+ year track record||Demo account not available|
|Good pricing model||Trading limited in the US|
|Transaction processing is fast||Only trades on Metatrader platforms|
|Large selection of trading instruments|
Since 2021, BDSwiss has evolved into a reputable financial institution that provides online trading and banking services. Their client base consists of 1.5 million users and they boast a monthly trading volume of more than $84 billion.
Their services are extended to residents from 186 countries, and they are regulated by CySEC, NFA, FSC, FSA and BaFIN.
The product offering at BDSwiss consists of more than 50 currency pairs, global indices, shares in popular international brands, major cryptocurrencies and commodities.
This brokerage is compatible with MetaTrader, but they have also developed their own advanced trading app with innovative trading and analysis tools.
BDSwiss Pros and Cons
|Regulated and highly compliant||No ZAR-based accounts|
|Low spreads and low fees||Penalty fees for inactivity|
|Great product offering||Withdrawals are not free|
|Excellent customer support|
AvaTrade is a proud provider of over 1,250 trading instruments with competitive spreads and flexible leveraging options. They are regulated by the ASIC, FSCA, ADGM and FRSA.
Their product offering includes Forex currencies, cryptocurrencies, global indices and stocks in leading international brands.
They are compatible with MetaTrader platforms and grant access to automated trading and Expert advisors, advanced charting and analysis tools, market research, news updates and economic calendars.
They have a multilingual customer support team, and they provide a comprehensive educational library for new traders and advanced tools for experienced traders.
AvaTrade Pros and Cons
|Low fixed spreads||Trading accounts do not support ZAR|
|Regulated by the FSCA||Non-trading fees are high|
|ZAR accepted for local deposits||Limited access to customer support channels|
|Local telephone support for SA residents|
GO Markets was founded in 2006 as an Australian MetaTrader brokerage and they are regulated by the AFSL and FSC.
They grant access to over 350 global financial markets and leverage is capped at 1:500. Their product offering consists of more than 50 currency pairs, up to 280 share CFDs, precious metals and global indices.
The tools they provide include Autochartist, MetaTrader Genesis, Trading Central and a-Quant. They also have VPS servers, which ensures that trades are executed efficiently and securely, and experienced traders can use APIs.
GO Markets Pros and Cons
|Fast execution speeds||Not available in the US|
|Ideal for day traders||Product offering may seem limited|
|Regulated and licensed||No fixed spread accounts|
|Advanced technology and tools|
Choosing the right brokerage depends on many factors. You need to consider the account types they offer, and the fees associated with those accounts. Some brokerages may have lower fees, but more products with less advanced tools or others might have higher fees with more advanced tools, but fewer products.
Before you make your final decision, make sure you understand exactly what you need from your broker.
If you are new to the industry, you may require a broker with more comprehensive educational resources and customer support. If you are more experienced, you may be looking for a broker with innovative platforms and advanced trading tools, and perhaps API functionality.
Important factors to consider are trading fees, payment options, customer services, educational content, MetaTrader compatibility, tradable instruments and assets on offer, and the types of markets you can access.
Hopefully, this review of the 30 Best Forex Brokers in South Africa has provided you with the information you need to make your final decision. Good luck with your trading journey!