When trading in the financial markets, having a reliable and efficient platform that caters to your specific needs is essential. The best trading platforms provide basic functionalities and offer additional features highly valued by traders. These include executing orders quickly and easily at optimal prices, tracking instrument watchlists, receiving instant alerts for specific events, and accessing real-time news updates.
However, with the variety of trading platforms available in South Africa, finding the one that suits your requirements can be a daunting task. Each platform has its own set of features, tools, and services, making the selection process challenging.
In this article, we will explore and compare the best trading platforms in South Africa, taking into account factors such as the platform features, trading tools, pricing, customer support, and security. Read on to discover our list of the top trading platforms in South Africa.
Best Trading Platforms in South Africa
Interactive Brokers | Best for intermediate and advanced investors
Interactive Brokers (IBKR) offers a comprehensive range of trading platforms. Their investment platform, Trader Workstation (TWS), is an advanced desktop platform designed for active investors who engage in multi-product trading. Additionally, IBKR provides an easy-to-use mobile app called IBKR GlobalTrader.
XTB | Best for forex and CFDs
XTB is a reputable online broker known for its xStation 5 trading platform, available on the web, desktop, and mobile. It provides an intuitive interface with access to advanced tools and customization options, making it suitable for Forex and CFD investors.
IG | Best for demos and education resources
IG is a well-known CFD IG, a popular CFD broker offering a wide range of trading instruments, including over 17,000 markets with various trading platforms. Additionally, they are also recognised for their high-quality research and educational resources.
Pepperstone | Best for MetaTrader4 (MT4) and MetaTrader5 (MT5)
Pepperstone is a popular broker that offers several trading platforms like TradingView, MetaTrader4 (MT4), MetaTrader5 (MT5), and cTrader, which are well-suited for social trading and copy trading features, allowing users to automatically replicate the trades and strategies of successful traders.
Best Trading Platforms in South Africa compared
|Products available||Stocks, ETFs, Options, Futures, Forex, Commodities, Bonds, and Funds||CFDs on Stocks, ETFs, Indices, Commodities, Forex, and Cryptocurrencies||CFDs on Forex, Stocks, ETFs, Options, Futures, Indices, Commodities,, and Cryptocurrencies||CFDs on Stocks, ETFs, Forex, Indices, Commodities and Cryptocurrencies|
|Minimum deposit||$0||$0||$0, or R4,000 (or the equivalent) if funding an international account||$0|
|Deposit Method||Bank transfer||Bank transfer, credit/debit card, Skrill.||Bank transfer, credit/debit cards, PayPal||Bank transfer, credit/debit cards, PayPal, Neteller, and Skrill, and more.|
|Fees on stocks||Between $0.0005 and $0.0035 per US share. Between 0.01% and 0.08% for other markets.||$0 on the CFDs on stocks (0.30% markup included on the spread).||Starting 2 cents per US CFD share (minimum $15)||$0.02 per side for US CFD shares
Between 0.07% and 0.20% per side for international cfd shares
In the following reviews, we discuss the features of each trading platform, where each broker differs in terms of pricing, accessible markets and instruments, and other special features.
Best trading platforms in South Africa reviewed
1# Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers at a glance
Founded in 1978, Interactive Brokers is a leading international broker listed on NASDAQ (Ticker: IBKR) and regulated by top-tier regulators worldwide. They are at the top of our list of best trading platforms in South Africa.
Interactive Brokers supports various account base currencies, including the South African Rand (ZAR), in addition to USD, EUR, and other major currencies, with no minimum deposit requirement. However, funding these accounts is limited to bank transfers. They offer one of the tightest spreads in the market, ensuring favourable trading conditions, but their commission is tier-based, meaning it varies depending on your monthly trading volume.
Interactive Brokers offers a comprehensive range of trading platforms to cater to the diverse needs of traders. These platforms include the web-based Client Portal, the GlobalTrader Mobile app, and the professional-grade Trader Workstation (TWS), offering a wide array of features and tools to meet the diverse needs of traders.
The web-based Client Portal is designed to be user-friendly, making it accessible to both beginners and experienced investors. It provides real-time monitoring, customizable watchlists, alerts, and a range of advanced features, such as over 120 technical indicators for advanced technical analysis. Traders can create personalized templates, access advanced charting tools, utilize various order types, and benefit from Smart Routing, which selects the optimal trading route for each trade.
Best Trading Platforms in South Africa – IBKR Web App
For traders who prefer to trade on the go, Interactive Brokers offers the IBKR Mobile app providing convenience and advanced functionality. A notable feature of IBKR Mobile is the chatbot IBot, which allows users to quickly access basic information and execute or close orders directly through the chat interface. IBot serves as a natural language trading interface, enabling traders to complete key trading tasks in TWS using plain English commands. This feature enhances the user experience and simplifies trading activities.
IBKR GlobalTrader is another mobile trading app offered by Interactive Brokers that allows traders to engage in simple and worldwide trading. The app offers the flexibility to trade in fractions and invest with as little as $1, making trading accessible to traders of all levels. You can also open a simulated trading account to practice trading before opening a live account and gain access to $10,000 in simulated cash to trade in a simulated trading environment.
On the downside, you might be overwhelmed by the number of buttons and features available on each platform, especially if you are new to trading. However, Interactive Brokers offers a lot of educational materials and video tutorials to assist you in navigating and utilizing their platforms effectively. These resources can be beneficial regardless of the specific platform you are trading or using.
You can check our comprehensive Interactive Brokers review for more details.
79% of retail CFD account lose money.
XTB at a glance
XTB, a renowned global CFD broker, has been operating since 2002 and serves over 500,000 clients. The company is publicly listed on the Warsaw stock exchange and is regulated by multiple top regulatory authorities, ensuring compliance with financial standards. XTB gives you access to trade a diverse range of CFD instruments, including Forex, indices, commodities, shares, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies, all offered at competitive pricing with low spreads.
XTB offers its trading platform, xStation 5, which provides a user-friendly interface and customizable features. It provides several advantageous features, including a trader calculator that facilitates margin and commission calculations for each trade. You can set up alerts and notifications simply and conveniently, allowing you to receive email, SMS, or push notifications for specific events such as margin calls, deposits, or withdrawals.
Additionally, you can generate daily email reports and get regular updates on your account’s performance. xStation 5 also offers an extensive array of chart analysis tools with over 34 indicators and the ability to compare charts. Moreover, you have the flexibility to customize the toolbar according to your preferences, enabling you to display only the analytical tools you frequently use.
XTB xStation5 – Web portal
XTB stands out among its peers regarding educational materials and client support. It has a comprehensive online library with many videos that help you enhance your trading skills and knowledge. Furthermore, XTB provides excellent customer service via live chat, phone support, and email.
You can check our XTB review for more insights.
75% of retail CFD accounts lose money.
IG at a glance
IG Group is a London-based broker founded in 1974 and listed on the London Stock Exchange. It offers access to an extensive range of trading instruments, with over 17,000 CFDs spanning various asset classes. It is perfect for both beginners and professional traders. For instance, their free educational resources through its IG Academy help traders improve their understanding of financial markets and trading skills. Furthermore, IG’s news and analysis section provides professional insights to keep traders updated on market-moving events.
When trading with IG, you can choose from various trading platforms. The IG trading platform is available on iOS and Android devices. It also offers a progressive web app, allowing traders to access their accounts from any device with internet access. For more advanced traders, IG offers ProRealTime and MetaTrader4, two platforms known for their advanced charting capabilities and customization options. For those looking to trade with Direct Market Access (DMA), IG offers L2 Dealer, a platform designed for professional traders that provide direct access to exchange order books and market depth.
Depending on the asset class, IG charges a spread or commission on trades. For example, spreads on major CFD currency pairs start at 0.6 pips, while on major indices, spreads start at 0.8 points and 0.1 points on commodities. As for share CFDs, commission fees start from 2 cents per share with a minimum $15 charge for US-listed shares.
Opening an account with IG is free of charge. However, you should note that there is a monthly account charge of R150 if you haven’t used your account for two years or more (also called “inactivity fee”). It’s important to keep this in mind to avoid any unexpected charges. The required minimum deposit depends on your funding method. For example, there is no minimum for a bank transfer, but there is a R4,000 minimum if you are funding an international account.
74-89% of retail CFD accounts lose money.
Pepperstone at a glance
Pepperstone was established in 2010 and currently serves more than 300,000 traders across the globe. It is an ideal CFD broker for South Africans looking for copy trading features while enjoying free deposits and withdrawals. Additionally, Pepperstone provides access to trade CFDs across various asset classes, including shares, indices, commodities, ETFs, and currency indexes. Traders can take advantage of high leverage with a maximum of 1:400, but it’s important to keep in mind that higher leverage can also increase risk.
With Pepperstone’s range of trading platforms, you can access reliable technology, fast execution, and diverse tools to enhance your trading experience. Whether you prefer the popularity of MetaTrader 4 (MT4), the advanced functionality of MetaTrader 5 (MT5), the intuitive design of cTrader, or the integrated power of TradingView, Pepperstone has a platform to suit your trading needs. Here’s a brief description highlighting the main features of each platform.
- MetaTrader 4 (MT4): It is the renowned Forex trading platform where you can customize the platform to match your trading style, create and execute expert advisors using MQL4, identify high probability trades with Autochartist, and utilize a wide range of 28 indicators and expert advisors with Smart Trader Tools;
- MetaTrader 5 (MT5): The platform offers enhanced functionality, advanced features and easy coding with MQL5. It provides faster processing, 38 inbuilt indicators, 21 timeframes and advanced customization options;
- cTrader: An intuitive and user-friendly trading platform designed to provide advanced features allowing you to control slippage and order fills. You can benefit from FIX API connectivity and coding in C# with cTrader Automate, and it offers powerful charting and extensive customization options. TradingView is easily integrated with Pepperstone through cTrader, where you will get access to the web-based social network for traders. It enables interaction and facilitates the sharing of trading ideas among a large trading community.
On the downside, while you have the option to open an account with multiple currencies, it is worth noting that ZAR is not currently available as one of the supported currencies.
What Makes a Good Trading Platform?
A well-designed and efficient trading platform can significantly enhance your trading experience and improve your chances of success in the financial markets. Here are some key factors that make a trading platform stand out:
- User-friendly interface: Intuitive and easy-to-navigate interface that enables smooth and seamless trading with a clear and organized layout;
- Order execution: Fast and efficient order execution with minimal slippage and a platform that supports various order types to suit different trading strategies, including market orders, limit orders, stop orders, and others;
- Regulation: Regulation by reputable financial authorities to ensure compliance with industry standards and protect investor interests;
- Customization and personalization: Ability to save and customize watchlists, create personalized trading templates, and set up custom alerts. If you are a professional trader, you might be looking for a platform that is highly customizable;
- Excellent customer support: Availability of multiple channels of support, such as live chat, email, and phone, with knowledgeable and responsive support representatives;
- Products available: A diverse selection of assets allows you to explore various markets, diversify your portfolio, and take advantage of different investment opportunities. You might want to consider a trading platform that includes the main products you want to trade.
The bottom line
Identifying the best trading platforms in South Africa can be challenging, given the numerous options available. In this review, we have highlighted the key features of the top trading platforms in South Africa, which are summarized below:
Best Trading Platforms in South Africa
|#1||Interactive Brokers||Best for intermediate and advanced investors|
|#2||XTB||Best for Forex and CFDs|
|#3||IG||Best for demo and educational resources|
|#4||Pepperstone||Best for MT4 and MT5|
To discover the most suitable broker for your needs, our “Help Me Choose” tool is at your disposal. Additionally, you can refer to our comprehensive comparison table, which offers an in-depth analysis of the essential features provided by different global brokers. Additionally, you can check our reviews for an in-depth analysis of each broker and its platform
Whether you are a new investor or a seasoned professional, we hope this article helped answer a few of your concerns. When choosing a trading platform, we recommend opening a demo account and testing the features before making the final decision. Please let us know in the comments section if you have any feedback.
Is online trading legal in South Africa?
Yes, online trading is legal in South Africa, and the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa supervises the financial markets. South African traders are allowed to use international brokers to trade online.
What is the minimum balance to start trading in South Africa?
Many brokers do not have any minimum balance requirement, so you can start trading with as low as $1.