If you’re based in South Africa and looking for the best trading platform in 2021 – you’ve got dozens of providers to choose from.
Many of these platforms give you access to thousands of financial markets at low or even zero commission. You do, of course, also need to consider the safety of your funds – so always pick a platform that is regulated.
In this guide, we reveal the best and cheapest online trading platform South Africa. We also show you how to select a South Africa trading platform for your needs and how to get started with an account today.
Best Online Trading Platforms South Africa 2021 List
Looking to start buying and selling financial instruments with the best trading platform in South Africa right now? Check out our list of the best providers below!
- eToro – Overall Best and Cheapest Online Trading Platform South Africa
- Libertex – Low-Cost South Africa Trading Platform with ZERO Spreads
- Plus500 – Best Trading Platform for South African Stock CFDs
- AvaTrade – Trusted South Africa Trading Platform with MT4/5
- Skilling – Best Trading Platform in South Africa for Cryptocurrencies
- CM Trading – Best Broker in South Africa with FSCA License
Best Brokers in South Africa Reviewed
As noted above, there are dozens of online trading platforms available to South Africa. Some of these providers cover a wide variety of assets – so this might include stock trading platforms, CFD trading platforms, and even Bitcoin trading platforms.
Either way, there are many considerations to make when finding the best trading platform in South Africa – such as fees, payments, support, and safety.
Taking all of these important metrics into account, below you will find which providers made the cut as the best trading platform in South Africa for 2021!
1. eToro – Overall Best and Cheapest Online Trading Platform in South Africa
Our extensive research process found that eToro is the best trading platform in South Africa right now. Home to more than 17 million clients and three regulatory licenses – this online trading platform covers thousands of financial markets.
If you find yourself more of a long-term investor, you’ll be able to buy stocks in over 2,400 companies across 17 international markets. You can also invest in traditional ETFs and 16 different cryptocurrencies. If you’re planning to trade on a short-term basis – eToro also covers an abundance of CFD markets.
This includes indices, forex, hard metals, energies, and the aforementioned stocks, ETFs, and digital currencies. Irrespective of whether you plan to invest or day trade, eToro will not charge you any commission on your chosen marketplace. There are no ongoing fees either, and deposits will set you back just 0.5%. In terms of usability, eToro is a newbie-friendly provider that is often the go-to platform for first-time traders.
Opening an account takes minutes and you can start trading for free via the demo account. This comes pre-loaded with a balance of $100,000. Once you are ready to start trading with real money, the minimum stake is just $25 on crypto assets, $50 on stocks, and $200 on ETFs. The minimum deposit is just $200 too – so you can diversify with ease. When it comes to core features, this top-rated South African trading platform allows you to invest passively.
This includes CopyPortfolios, which are managed by the eToro team and track a variety of strategies, markets, and assets. Copy Trading is also possible with this platform, which allows you to mirror another eToro investor like-for-like. As a social trading platform, eToro also allows you to share investment ideas with other members of the site. In terms of safety, eToro is regulated by the FCA, ASIC, and CySEC. You can easily deposit funds with a South African debit/credit card, bank account, or e-wallet.
- Super user-friendly online broker and trading platform
- Trade thousands of assets with tight spreads
- 100% commission-free
- You can also trade stocks, indices, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, and more
- Deposit funds with a debit/credit card, e-wallet, or bank account
- Social trading and copy trading
- Regulated by the FCA, ASIC, and CySEC
- Not suitable for advanced traders that like to perform technical analysis
Most retail investors lose money trading CFDs at this site
2. Libertex – Low-Cost South Africa Trading Platform with ZERO Spreads
If you’re looking for the best trading platform in South Africa for low spreads, look no further than Libertex. In fact, this super-popular trading site does not charge spreads on any of its supported markets. Instead, you’ll need to pay an ultra-low trading commission when you enter and exit the trade.
As this typically sits below 0.01%, Libertex allows investors of all shapes and sizes to trade in a competitive manner. As a CFD specialist, Libertex covers heaps of trading markets. This includes stock CFDs, digital currencies, indices, and forex. These markets can be traded long or short, so you can aim to profit irrespective of which way the asset price is moving.
Additionally, Libertex offers leverage of up to 1:500, albeit, your limits will be determined by the specific asset. In terms of usability, Libertex allows you to choose from three different platforms. If you’re an experienced trading pro then MT4 and MT5 might be what you are looking for. Alternatively, if you’re seeking a more user-friendly and smooth trading experience, Libertex also offers its own web-platform.
This means there is no requirement to download any software to get started. We also like Libertex as it requires a very reasonable minimum deposit of just $100. This drops down to just $10 once you make your first deposit. Supported payment methods at this top-rated trading platform include Visa, MasterCard, bank wire, and several e-wallets. Finally, not only does Libertex have over 23 years of experience in the CFD brokerage scene, but it is regulated by CySEC.
- Zero spread CFD trading
- Very competitive commissions – starting from 0% upwards
- Good educational resources
- Long established broker
- Compatible with MT4
- Great choice of markets
- CFDs only
- High leverage limits might not be suitable for inexperienced traders
83% of retail investors lose money trading CFDs at this site.
3. Plus500 – Best Trading Platform for South African Stock CFDs
If you’re looking for the best trading platform in South Africa to trade stock CFDs – look no further than Plus500. Not only does this top-rated provider allow you to trade stocks listed in the US, UK, Australia, Japan, and much of Europe – but South Africa, too.
For example, Plus500 lists companies such as Sasol, Nedbank Group, Gold Fields, Anglo American, Impala Platinum, Old Mutual, and many others. As you will be trading these stocks via CFD instruments, you’ll benefit from being able to place more sophisticated positions. For example, Plus500 offers buy and sell orders on all its supported markets – so you can go long and short on your chosen stock CFD.
Additionally, this platform offers leverage, so you can amplify your account balance at the click of a button. Perhaps most importantly, you can trade stock CFDs on Plus500 without paying any commission. We also like the ‘Trader’s Sentiment’ tool provided by the platform. This tells you in percentage terms how many Plus500 traders are long on the stock CFD and how many are short.
For example, at the time of writing, 76% of traders are long on Old Mutual, with just 24% short-selling. Although Plus500 is our top-rated South Africa trading platform for stocks, the provider offers heaps of other CFD markets. This includes everything from forex and indices to ETFs and cryptocurrencies. Once again, these alternative markets on Plus500 can be traded commission-free.
If you want to get started with this trading platform, you can open an account online or via the Plus500 mobile app. You will need to meet a minimum deposit of $100 and the platform supports South African debit/credit cards and bank transfers. When it comes to the safety of your money, Plus500 has a great reputation. Its parent company is publicly-listed in the UK and it holds a variety of licenses. Crucially, it is authorized to accept South African traders on its platform.
- A commission-free trading policy
- Tight spreads
- Thousands of CFD markets – including stocks, forex, and commodities
- In-house ttrading platform, available on web browsers and mobile phones
- Plenty of features including risk management tool, price alerts and trader’s sentiment tool
- Heavily regulated including various licenses
- No social trading tools
- CFDs only
76.4% of retail CFD accounts lose money.
4. AvaTrade – Trusted South Africa Trading Platform with MT4/5
If you’re looking for the best trading platform in South Africa that is compatible with the MetaTrader series, AvaTrade might be the best option on the table. In fact, not only is the platform compatible with MT4, but also MT5. This allows you to trade from the comfort of your home in a fully-immersive manner.
By this, we mean that MT4/5 via AvaTrade supports dozens of technical indicators, trading signals, chart drawing tools, and connectivity with forex EAs. With that said, AvaTrade also offers its own native trading platform that is available online or via an iOS/Android app.
There is even the AvaOptions platform that is dedicated exclusively to options trading. When it comes to supported markets, everything at AvaTrade is packaged as a CFD instrument. Once again, this means you’ll benefit from low fees, leverage, and short-selling capabilities. No commissions are charged by this platform, as everything is built into the spread.
If you like the sound of this top-rated MT4 broker, AvaTrade accounts take minutes to open. The minimum deposit is just $100 and you can add funds via a South African bank account, debit card, and a number of e-wallets. Finally, AvaTrade is authorized to operate in multiple jurisdictions – including full regulation by the South African Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA).
- Supports MT4/5
- Wide range of tradable instruments
- Educational materials
- Islamic trading account
- ASIC and FSCA regulated
- Does not offer traditional stock ownership – CFDs only
72% of retail CFD accounts lose money with this provider.
5. Skilling – Best Trading Platform in South Africa for Cryptocurrencies
Although most traders in South Africa stick with established asset classes like stocks or forex, some prefer more volatile marketplaces. If this sounds like you, Skilling is arguably the best crypto trading platform in South Africa. In total, you can trade 10 popular crypto assets against the US dollar.
This includes everything from Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple to NEO, Dash, and EOS. As Skilling specializes in CFD instruments, you won’t own the underlying crypto asset. But, this does give you the option of shorting your chosen digital currencies – should you believe its value will decline.
Plus, Skilling offers leverage of up to 1:500, albeit, you’ll get significantly less when trading cryptocurrencies. Nevertheless, another benefit of using this top-rated trading platform is that you will not need to pay any commission. Instead, it’s only the spread that needs to be taking into account.
This starts at just over 63 pips when trading Bitcoin against the US dollar – which is very competitive. Although Skilling is great for cryptocurrencies, the trading platform also hosts other CFD markets. This includes heaps of US-listed stocks, indices, forex, and commodities like gold and oil.
When it comes to the trading platform itself, Skilling covers all bases. This is because you trade via the Skilling platform online or via a mobile app. Or, you can trade via popular third-party platforms MT4 and cTrader.
Skilling requires a minimum deposit of just $100 to get started, and many payment methods are supported. This includes debt and credit cards, e-wallets, and bank transfers. Finally, although Skilling was launched as recently as 2019, it holds fully-fledged licenses with CySEC and the FSA.
67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
6. CM Trading – Best Broker in South Africa with FSCA License
Launched in 2021, CM Trading is an online trading platform supervised by the FSCA. With more than 1 million clients on its books, this popular trading platform gives you access to a variety of markets. This includes forex, hard metals, energies, and indices. The platform also offers CFD Expirations, which are similar in nature to futures.
The only difference is that you will not be liable to settle the underlying contract on expiry. These futures-like CFD markets cover a selection of indices – such as the Down Jones and DAX, alongside commodities like natural gas and crude oil. There are three platforms to choose from on CM Trading. This includes Sirix – which was built by the platform itself. MT4 is also supported, as is a fully-fledged CM Trading mobile app.
When it comes to trading fees, CM Trading builds everything into the spread. We should, however, note that this platform is on the high side. For example, EUR/USD averages 1.5 pips while GBP/JPY stands at 5.6 pips. There are also overnight financing fees to take into account, should you keep a position open past market hours. CM Trading offers high leverage limits, especially on forex.
For example, major pairs come with leverage of 1:200, which is huge. If you opt for this South African trading platform, you can deposit funds easily. The provider supports wire transfer, debit/credit cards, Neteller, and M-pesa. Finally, we should make reference to the CopyKat feature at CM Trading. This is a social trading tool that allows you to select one of the platform’s top-rated traders, and then copy all of their ongoing positions.
Your capital is at risk when trading at this platform
How to Choose the Best Trading Platform South Africa for You
If you read through each of our reviews of the best online trading platforms South Africa, you’ll note that no-two providers are the same. For example, while eToro offers thousands of assets commissions-free, the likes of CM Trading offer just 250.
Similarly, while some trading platforms in South Africa offer really tight spreads, others are on the high side. With this in mind, it’s best to perform some research on your chosen trading platform before taking the plunge.
The most important factors to cross-check when comparing the best brokers in South Africa are discussed in more detail below.
Regulation and Safety
All of the best online trading platforms that we reviewed on this page are authorized and regulated by at least one financial body. For example, eToro is regulated by the FCA, ASIC, and CySEC, while CM Trader and AvaTrade are licensed by the FSCA.
Either way, it’s absolutely crucial that you only open an account with a trusted provider that is regulated. In doing so, you’ll benefit from various safety nets that unlicensed brokers cannot rival.
- All of the best brokers South Africa discussed on this page are required to keep client funds in segregated bank accounts. In Layman’s terms, this means that there cannot use your money to settle its debts.
- You and your fellow traders will need to provide documents as part of a KYC process. This usually includes your South African passport or driver’s license, alongside a proof of address.
- Regulated online trading platforms South Africa must offer a level playing field for all clients. This means safe, secure, and transparent trading facilities – irrespective of how much capital you have.
Ultimately, by opening an account with a regulated trading platform, you can ensure that you avoid unsavory providers, and thus – your money is kept safe.
You then need to think about which assets you wish to trade from the comfort of your home – and whether or not the platform supports it. Additionally, you’ll need to check how extensive each asset class offering is. For example, the platform might very well support stocks, but does it offer the specific exchange or market that you want to access?
In particular, if you’re looking to create a diversified portfolio of assets, eToro is going to be the best option on the table. This is because it offers traditional investment assets and CFDs. Regarding the former, this covers over 2,400 stocks, 250 ETFs, and 16 cryptocurrencies. You can also trade CFDs in the shape of hard metals, energies, agricultural products, indices, forex, and more.
Once you are sure that your chosen provider is regulated and supports your preferred financial markets, it’s then time to explore what fees will be expected of you.
This can be a complicated process – as not all trading platforms in South Africa are transparent about what they charge. Additionally, although some platforms offer a commission-free service, these fees are often countered by the spread.
Below we discuss the most important fees to look out for in your search for the best trading platform in South Africa.
Apart from Libertex, all of the best online trading platforms South Africa discussed on this page offer a commission-free service. This means that you won’t pay a fee when you enter and exit a trade. You will, however, need to factor in the spread – which we cover shortly.
With that said, many trading platforms in South Africa do charge a commission – especially if you plan on investing in traditional assets like stocks. This is often charged as a flat fee – so you always pay the same irrespective of how much you invest.
If your chosen trading platform is commission-free, you should expect the spread to be slightly higher than that of a commission-charging provider. For example, although Libertex charges a small commission, it allows you to trade at zero spreads. In the case of CM Trading, the platform doesn’t charge any commission – but its spreads are super wide.
In terms of finding the perfect balance, we found that eToro is the best trading platform in South Africa for low fees. Not only does it not charge any commission, but spreads on major asset classes are very competitive. For example, forex can be traded at a fraction of 0.1%, while blue-chip stocks average 0.20%.
In addition to spreads and commissions, you should also check to see what the provider charges in other areas of its platform.
In particular, look out for the following:
- Swap Fees: Otherwise referred to as overnight financing, trading platforms in South Africa will charge you a swap fee when you keep a CFD position open overnight. This should once again highlight that CFDs are best suited for short-term strategies.
- Inactivity Fees: Even the best trading platforms in South Africa charge inactivity fees after a period of dormancy. This is often after 12 months of inactivity and results in a monthly fee until you start trading again.
- Transaction Fees: Some platforms will charge you a fee on deposits and withdrawals. This can vary wildly depending on the platform and the specific payment method you wish to use.
- Maintenance Fees: You also need to check whether the trading platform charges a maintenance fee. This is simply a fee that is charged for using the platform. It might be charged as a flat fee or a viable fee that is calculated against the amount of capital you have invested.
If you can’t find a specific fee at your chosen trading platform – this should be viewed as a red flag. After all, regulated trading platforms are required to be transparent about what they charge – so it shouldn’t be difficult for you to find the information you seek.
Trading Tools, Resources & Features
Some trading platforms in South Africa allow you to buy and sell assets – and nothing more. At the other end of the scale, some providers give you access to a full host of trading tools and features.
Some of the best resources that we came across are discussed below:
If you’re looking to invest in traditional assets like bonds, ETFs, and stocks – it’s always useful when the platform offers fractional ownership. This means that you can invest in your chosen asset without needing to invest in a full security. For example, instead of needing to fork out $40,000 on a single Bitcoin, eToro allows you to invest from just $25 upwards.
If you proceeded to invest $40, this would mean that you own 1/1000th of a Bitcoin. Fractional ownership is also a valuable feature when investing in large technology companies listed in the US. For example, instead of having to buy 1 Amazon share at over $3,200 – eToro allows you to invest from just $50.
A lot of South Africans want to invest in the financial markets, but they have virtually no experience of trading. If this sounds like you, it’s best to use a trading platform that offers an assortment of passive investment tools.
As we discussed earlier, eToro offers a Copy Trading service that allows you to actively trade without lifting a finger. All you need to do is select a pro-trader that you wish to mirror, and the platform takes care of the rest.
If you’re seeking professionally-managed long-term investments, eToro also has you covered. Through its CopyPortfolios – which cover dozens of strategies, the platform will add, remove, and rebalance your portfolio on your behalf.
Education and Training
The best traders in the online space understand the ins and outs of technical and fundamental analysis. These are skills that can take a long time to truly master, so we find the best trading platform for beginners offers an array of educational materials.
For example, you’ll want access to market insights and trading ideas. Plus, guides, webinars, and podcasts. Essentially, you’ll want to extract as much key information as you can to take your trading knowledge to where it needs to be.
Charting Tools and Analysis
If you’re an experienced trader then you will know the importance of being able to read pricing charts. In order to do this effectively, you need to choose a trading platform in South Africa that offers advanced technical analysis tools. On top of indicators and trading signals, you’ll want to be able to customize your screen.
In addition to technical analysis, long-term investors in the room will point to the importance of financial news. This is especially the case when investing in stocks – so you’ll want a trading platform that gives you access to company reports and key accounting ratios.
Some of the best trading platforms in South Africa that we came across also offer real-time news developments. They do this through an integrated news feed with the likes of Morningstar and Thomson Reuters.
If you are looking to join a top-rated trading platform in South Africa for the very first time – you might want to hold back before you make a deposit. Instead, why not consider trading via a demo account that mirrors real-world market conditions?
Not only does this allow you to get a feel for the broker, but you can also get to grips with how the trading scene works. Additionally, you can also try out trading strategies without needing to risk any funds.
Once you got through ther 5-minutes process of joining eToro, you’ll have access to a demo account with $100k in paper funds.
All of the top-rated providers discussed on this page offer a native trading platform. This means that they built the trading platform themselves – typically with a specific type of investor in mind. For example, eToro and Skilling have clearly designed their web-trading platforms with newbies in mind.
Not only is it is to find your chosen asset, but placing entry and exit orders are a breeze. On the other hand, some of the best online trading platforms South Africa that we came across are best suited for experienced pros. This is because the platform will come packed with heaps of market data (such as depth and order book volume), advanced pricing charts, and enhanced order types.
These features are going to be great for those of you that know your way around a trading platform – but not if you are a beginner. This is why we prefer the best brokers in South Africa that offer a demo account. This way, you can test the user experience out risk-free before making a deposit.
When you feel ready to make a deposit and thus – start trading assets with real money, you will need to make a deposit. Most trading platforms in South Africa allow you to make a bank account transfer. This will, however, often take several days to arrive. As such, if the platform supports instant payment methods like a debit/credit card or e-wallet, this is much more convenient.
You also need to remember that even the best trading platforms in South Africa have a minimum deposit in place. Usually displayed in US dollars, this averages a minimum of $100-$200. That equates to around 1,500 ZAR to 3,000 ZAR. Additionally, certain deposit or withdrawal fees might apply – especially if you are using an international brokerage firm.
All of the platforms discussed on this page offer a smooth and seamless trading experience. However, there might come a time when you need to speak with a member of the customer service team. If the matter is urgent, you’ll want to choose a trading platform that offers live chat.
Telephone support is also an option, albeit, you’ll need to check whether or not a local South African tool number is offered. We also find that the best trading platforms in South Africa have a presence on social media. This ensures that the provider has to answer questions in the public domain.
How to Start with the Best Trading Platform South Africa
You should now know the ins and outs of how to choose a trading platform in South Africa. Once you have selected a provider, you’ll need to open an account.
In the walkthrough below, we show you how to register, deposit, and place your first trade at commission-free platform eToro in less than 10 minutes!
Step 1: Open a Trading Account
You’ll first need to visit the eToro website and open an account. This will require you to provide some personal information, contact details, and a very brief overview of your trading experience.
You will also need to choose a username and a strong password, and verify your mobile number.
Step 2: Confirm Identity
You will also need to upload a couple of documents so that eToro can verify your identity.
This includes your:
- Valid passport or driver’s license
- Utility bill or bank account statement (issued within the last 3 months)
In most cases, eToro can verify your documents instantly.
Step 3: Deposit Funds
Once you feel ready to make a deposit, you can choose from the following payment methods:
- Bank Transfer
Step 4: Search for a Trading Market
It’s now time to search for the asset that you wish to trade. The easiest way to do this is to use the search box at the top of the screen.
In our example above, we are looking to trade the South African rand against the US dollar – so we search for ‘USDZAR’.
Step 5: Place a Trade
To finalize your first trade on eToro, you will need to set up an order.
This is a simple process, as you simply need to select from a buy or sell order – depending on whether you think the asset will rise or fall. In our example, we replacing a buy order on USD/ZAR, meaning we think the exchange rate will increase in value.
We also enter our stake at $100 with leverage of 10x.
Finally, you need to click on the ‘Open Trade’ button to execute your commission-free position.
Best Trading Platform in South Africa – Conclusion
Never before has it been so easy to trade from the comfort of your home in South Africa. As we have discussed in this guide, the best online trading platforms South Africa allow you to buy and sell thousands of financial instruments without you needing to pay any commission.
The best trading platform for beginners also give you access to innovative tools – like fractional ownership, Copy Trading, and demo accounts. In conclusion, we found that eToro is the best trading platform available to South Africans.
This heavily regulated provider covers everything from stocks and forex to commodities and crypto. Best of all, you won’t pay a single rand in commission or maintenance fees
eToro – Best and Cheapest Online Trading Platform South Africa
Your capital is at risk.
67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
What is the best trading platform for beginners?
If you're based in South Africa and looking to trade for the very first time, consider a newbie-friendly platform like eToro. This provider is now home to 17 million investors - most of which fall under the umbrella of a retail trader.
What is the best trading platform South Africa for stocks?
If you're looking to trade international stocks found in regions like the US, UK, or Europe - eToro is the best option on the table. In total, you'll have access to over 2,400 stocks from 17 markets - all on a commission-free basis. Alternatively, if you want to trade South African-listed stocks, Plus500 has you covered.
How do you trade the rand in South Africa?
Many top-rated platforms allow you to trade the South African rand. eToro, for example, allows you to trade the rand against the US dollar and the Japanese yen.
Are South Africa online trading platforms safe?
Not all trading platforms offering services to South Africans can be deemed safe. Instead, you need to ensure that it is regulated by at least one financial body.
What is the best trading platform South Africa for low fees?
After reviewing dozens of the best trading platforms in South Africa, eToro came out on top in terms of fees. The platform offers the perfect balance between zero commission and tight spreads.
What are the leverage limits in South Africa?
Unlike in regions such as Europe and the US, South African traders are not capped in how much leverage they can apply. This is why some trading platforms in South Africa will offer you leverage of up to 1:500.
Are non-FSCA online trading platforms safe?
Yes, in many cases - trading platforms located overseas are very safe. For example, eToro is regulated by three reputable financial bodies - which includes the FCA (UK), ASIC (Australia), and CySEC (Cyprus).