Top 5 best trading platforms in South Africa for 2024

Invezz experts rate & review the best trading platforms in South Africa. Compare their top features to find the best online brokers in SA today.
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Updated: May 9, 2024
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The Invezz team of expert traders, data analysts, and financial writers frequently test the best trading platforms. Amongst a range of features, we ranked the top brokers in South Africa according to their affordability, security, and available international stock markets.

This comprehensive guide lets you compare the best trading brokers according to the things you think are most important. Contrast each broker’s fees, licenses, and assets, and take a look at what our users said about each service.

Read on to answer the question: what are the best online trading platforms in South Africa for South African users?

Best trading platform South Africa 2024

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Our rankings reveal that the best broker in South Africa is Plus500 .

Having assessed 100+ brokers, this list represents the three services that top our rankings as the overall best trading platforms in South Africa. 

Sort by:

1
Min. Deposit
$ 100
Best offer
User Score
10
Trade +2000 CFDs on Shares, Options, Commodities & more
Unlimited risk-free Demo Account
0 commissions & attractive spreads with up to 1:5 leverage
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
American Express, Apple Pay, Bank Transfer, Credit Card, Debit Card, Discover, Google Pay, Mastercard, PayPal, SEPA, Trustly, Visa, , skrill
Full Regulations:
ASIC, FCA, FSA, MAS, cysec-250-14-regulator, isa-regulator

Buy or sell stock CFDs with Plus500. 82% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

2
Min. Deposit
$ 250
Best offer
User Score
9.8
Zero Commission when trading US shares, only £3 commission for UK shares. Additionally, there’s an FX conversion fee of just 0.5%
Explore a vast range of stocks with 13,000+ options, including popular companies like Amazon, Apple, Tesla, and Netflix.
Offers longer trading hours, allowing you to access markets even when they’re closed elsewhere.
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
Bank Transfer, Credit Card, Debit Card, PayPal
Full Regulations:
ASIC, FCA, FINMA, is a licensed bank (IG Bank in Switzerland)

Investments involve risks and are not suitable for all investors. CFDs are complex instruments and come  with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 73% of retail investor accounts lose money  when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and  whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. 

3
Min. Deposit
$ 100
Best offer
User Score
9.6
Competitive trading commissions
Premium VPS service with ultra-fast speed
Customer support available in 25 languages
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
Full Regulations:
ASIC, CySEC, FCA, FSA
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Top 5 best online brokers in South Africa, reviewed

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1. Plus500. Best for international CFD trading*

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From 0.08%

Fees

$100

Minimum deposit

3,000

No. assets

Yes

Demo/virtual account

Pros & Cons

Can get a free demo account A great mobile platform Well regulated in multiple jurisdictions Wide variety of CFDs to trade Several good risk management tools
No support on trading information and education Website isn’t brilliantly designed to help users find answers to their questions No MetaTrader trading platform compatibility

Overview

We love Plus500 because it is one of the industry’s most transparent and reliable brokers. Its fees are clear and you’ll know exactly what you will be paying before you make a trade. Its technology driven platform gives access to CFDs on over 2000 stocks.

Plus500 has something for all types of stock trader, no matter what level of experience. Its zero commission and tight spreads make it a top choice for day traders and its trading academy is packed with educational content, perfect for beginners just starting.

For accurate instrument availability, visit plus500.com.

The fees: There are no commission fees on any trades with Plus500 and it makes it money through the Bid/Ask spread. Spread starts from 0.01% and varies depending on the instrument. Additional fees include overnight funding depending on trade size and guaranteed stop orders, which add a minimum of 10% to the spread. There is an inactivity charge of £10 per month for accounts not logged in for three months. 

*Based on a comparison of 60+ leading brokers and trading platforms.

Highlights

Visit Plus500 Plus500 Review

Buy or sell stock CFDs with Plus500. 82% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

2. Admirals. Best for real time news and price data

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Admirals_logo

From $0.02 per share

Fees

$100,000

Minimum deposit

8,000

No. assets

Yes

Demo/virtual account

Pros & Cons

Multi-asset and globally regulated broker Access a 30 day risk-free demo account Advanced trading and charting tools World class trading software, with MT4, MT5 & MetaTrader Supreme Edition available Lots of educational resources, including webinars and seminars Access real-time market data and news Competitive, low spreads
Not available to US traders No fixed spreads

Overview

We love Admirals because you can invest in more than 8,000 assets with as little as €1. Thousands of stocks and hundreds of ETFs are available from around the world, which means Admirals is a great investment platform where you can create a diversified portfolio.

There’s a demo account available so you can try out the Admirals platform and a vast amount of information can be accessed for free. That includes a host of real time news and research, as well as the latest price charts.

The fees: Shares & ETFs fees vary depending on the asset itself. Spreads start from 0.5 and each transaction is charged a commission from $0.02 per share.

Highlights

Visit Admirals Admirals Review

Investments involve risks and are not suitable for all investors. CFDs are complex instruments and come  with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 73% of retail investor accounts lose money  when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and  whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. 

3. AvaTrade. Best regulated broker for secure trading

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From 0.13%

Fees

$100

Minimum deposit

1,000

No. assets

Yes

Demo/virtual account

Pros & Cons

Trade 1000+ CFDs with competitive spreads Regulated by Tier 1 financial bodies across the world Consistently highly rated trading platform on web and mobile Offers social trading through its proprietary AvaSocial platform
Spreads are competitive without being industry-leading Some assets are only available to trade through the MetaTrader software

Overview

We love AvaTrade because it offers powerful trading software to anyone who wants to trade professionally. AvaTrade is a CFD broker where you can trade more than 600 stocks from major global exchanges and all stock trades are commission free. 

AvaTrade integrates with trading software like MetaTrader 4 and 5 and boasts its own bespoke and award-winning mobile app software, AvaTradeGo. AvaTrade has been around since 2006 and is extensively regulated in Europe, Australia, Japan, British Virgin Islands, UAE, and South Africa.

The fees: There are no fees on any stock trading. AvaTrade makes money from the Bid/Ask spread instead. Stock spreads start from 0.13%. An inactivity fee of £50 per month is applicable if you don’t log in to your account for three consecutive months.

Highlights

Visit AvaTrade AvaTrade Review
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 71% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

4. Pepperstone. Best low spread & no commission broker

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pepperstone logo

0.20%

Fees

...

Minimum deposit

1,000

No. assets

Yes

Demo/virtual account

Pros & Cons

Zero commission on trades Hedging, scalping, and crypto CFD trading available Lots of deposit and withdrawal options, including PayPal
No guaranteed negative balance protection in some jurisdictions No option to purchase stocks or bonds directly, only CFDs and spread betting available

Overview

We love Pepperstone because it’s a CFD broker with top tier regulatory protection. It’s regulated by the FCA in the UK and ASIC in Australia, two of the most respected financial bodies. You can safely trade 1000+ stock or ETF CFDs on Pepperstone, from the US, UK, German, and Australian markets.

Pepperstone’s high level of security makes it a good option for beginners, as does the fact it provides webinars to help you learn from the experts. For more experienced traders, you can access up to 5:1 leverage and integrate your trading account with four leading software platforms, including MetaTrader 4 and 5.

The fees: US stock trades are charged a $0.02 commission per share. UK and German stock trades are charged a 0.1% commission, while for Australian stocks, it’s 0.07%.

Highlights

Visit Pepperstone Pepperstone Review

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 81.7%of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Refer to our RDN and other legal documents. Pepperstone Markets Limited, SCB no. SIAF217.

5. Exness. Best for tight spreads and a pro-style trading experience.

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From $0.2 per lot

Fees

$10

Minimum deposit

300

No. assets

No

Demo/virtual account

Pros & Cons

Trade all major asset classes with zero commission Competitive spreads starting from 0.3 pips on standard accounts Highly flexible trading terminal available on mobile app, desktop, and web browser Top-tier regulation and negative balance protection
Restricted access in the US and UK

Overview

We love Exness because it offers tight spread trading and a bespoke trading experience. Exness offers 80+ stocks from leading US exchanges, including the likes of Apple, Amazon, and Google.

Exness offers a great range of pro-style trading tools and a variety of account types to suit all experience levels. Beginners can take advantage of a free demo account or micro-lots for low minimum trades, while more experienced traders can use the Exness terminal or plug it into the MetaTrader software and trade from there.

The fees: Standard accounts aren’t charged a commission but are charged through the spread. Spreads start from 0.3 pips on stocks. Overnight fees apply on some assets (exc. swap-free accounts).

Highlights

Visit Exness Exness Review
Exness does not offer services to residents of certain jurisdictions including the USA, Iran, North Korea and others. The content of the website including translations should not be construed as means for solicitation. Investors make their own and independent decisions. Trading in CFDs and generally leveraged products involves substantial risk of loss and you may lose all of your invested capital.

How we chose the best online brokers in South Africa

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Our reviewing panel comprises industry experts, including our Data Analyst, Dan Ashmore, CFA, our Senior Editor of News, Harsh Vardhan, and expert trader, Prash Raval. The panel also includes an independent fact checker, Richard Stutely.

Here are the key factors that played into our final ranking of the best stock trading platforms in South Africa.

  • Fees. We prioritised trading platforms in South Africa that charge low trading fees, don’t charge for deposits or withdrawals, and don’t charge any hidden fees.
  • Device availability. An online trading platform that is available across all devices as a mobile app deserves a boost. In a mobile world, you need the best stock trading app in South Africa to work across mobile, tablet, and desktop. 
  • Platform security. All services we recommend are regulated by respected financial institutions and provide investor protection in the event that anything goes wrong.
  • Free demo accounts. All the best trading platforms in South Africa 2024 should offer the chance to test their service before you pay for it. We gave the brokers with the best demo accounts a ranking boost.
  • Access to global markets. International trading platforms that allow you to invest in global markets, particularly popular ones like the United States, scored well in our reviews.
  • Trading and analysis tools. Trading platforms that offer analysis tools make it easier to do all your research and trading in one place. Any broker that offered this convenience scored well.
  • Third-party integrations. You might want to use a piece of downloadable, third-party software like MetaTrader 4, MT5, or cTrader to place your trades. The best trading software in South Africa should integrate with these services and those that did so received a higher ranking. 
  • Customer reviews. Finally, we looked into customer reviews, to make sure that we only recommend the best investment platforms in South Africa where the majority of South African customers had a positive experience.

Find out more about how we rate, rank, and review platforms.

More about stock trading platforms in South Africa

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What products can I trade with a South African stock broker?

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You can trade stocks from South Africa or invest in leading companies from around the world. Here’s a breakdown of what (and how) you can trade with online trading platforms in South Africa.

Stocks

  • South African stocks. One option is to simply buy and sell stocks that are listed in South Africa. This is normally the most straightforward option for South African residents, as you can buy shares in any company listed on the Johannesburg stock exchange.
  • US stocks. Some of the best known companies in the world are listed in the United States. The best online broker in South Africa will also let you invest in stocks that are listed on the NYSE or the NASDAQ exchange in the US, but it depends on the legal restrictions in South Africa.
  • International stocks. You may also be able to buy shares in companies that are based in the rest of the world. The best international brokers and trading platforms offer global stocks but may be a limited selection. If you want to buy equities from outside South Africa or the US, be sure to check if those stocks are available through your trading platform before you sign up.

ETFs

ETFs (exchange traded funds) are investment funds that pool money together from lots of different investors and use it to track a particular index, like the S&P 500. Even if you can’t invest in every stock from every country, you can usually find an alternative in an ETF that tracks the performance of the world’s top stock exchanges and indexes. 

If you want exposure to South African stocks, you can invest in the FTSE/JSE Top 40 Index.

Mutual funds

Mutual funds are professionally managed investments. You buy shares in the fund through an investment platform and the manager decides what to invest it in. 

Mutual funds and ETFs are similar, but the former are managed by a professional who tries to beat the market, while the latter buy and sell stocks automatically based on a set of fixed criteria. The best stock broker in South Africa allows you to invest in stocks from South Africa, as well as ETFs and mutual funds.

Futures and options

Futures and options contracts involve making an agreement to purchase a stock in the future at an agreed price. Stock traders favour them and can be used to speculate on how you think a company’s price might change in the future.

Other assets

To invest in other financial assets from South Africa, you may be better off using a different type of trading platform. For example, for trading currency pairs you want one of the best forex brokers in South Africa, for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, the best crypto exchange in South Africa. The best CFD brokers in South Africa offer a range of financial assets, including many of the options above.

Product Plus500 assets Admirals assets
Stock CFDs 1,800+ 3,000+
ETF CFDs 100+ 370+
Forex CFDs 50+ 80
Crypto CFDs 40+ 30+
Index CFDs 20+ 43
Commodity CFDs 20+ 29
View more > Plus500 > Admirals >

Note that all listed instruments on Plus500 are available to trade as CFDs.

How to buy stocks in South Africa

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Every stock trading app in South Africa is designed to help you invest with the minimum of fuss, making online trading easy. 

Follow this six step guide to learn how to buy shares online with the best trading platforms for the first time.

Step 1. Find a South African broker

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Compare the best online stock trading platforms in South Africa 2024 and choose your favourite from the list at the top of this page.

Step 2. Create an account

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Once  you’ve chosen the best broker in South Africa, set up an account by supplying your email address and password. Fill in personal details like your name and address.

Step 3. Verify the account

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Before you use an online trading platform you need to verify your identity. South African brokers may require different documents when opening an account. It’s helpful if you have your passport, utility bills, and bank statements ready. The best brokers in South Africa will also accept your Smart ID card.

Upload a copy of your driving licence or passport to do this. The verification process can take up to 24 hours, but is often much quicker than that.

Step 4. Deposit money into your account

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You can make your initial deposit via a card payment, bank transfer, or an alternative payment method. Many stock trading platforms accept PayPal and similar e-wallets, but you should check this ahead of time. Be wary of currency conversion fees if your deposit using South African Rand (ZAR). 

Step 5. Search for a stock and place your trade

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 Find the stocks you want to trade using their ticker symbol. Enter the details of your trade, and hit ‘buy’ to execute it.

Step 6. Monitor your investment

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Check up on your investment regularly. Use the latest news and market research to help you decide when to sell your shares, and lock in a profit or loss.

Quick answers to key questions

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Yes, stock trading is completely legal for South African citizens and residents over the age of 18. Individuals can legally trade shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) to buy and sell South African stocks. 

Trading international stocks listed on foreign exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange, London Stock Exchange, or the NASDAQ is also legal in South Africa according to South African investment laws and regulations. Both retail and institutional investors can participate in this sort of trading.

How are trading platforms and stockbrokers regulated in South Africa?

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All financial trading platforms and stock brokers operating in South Africa must be licensed by and registered with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA). The FSCA is the main regulatory body that oversees securities trading for compliance, fairness and investor protection.

Registered brokers must adhere to regulations around holding adequate capital, segregating client funds, having strong risk management practices, maintaining transparency through disclosures, submitting to auditing, enacting cybersecurity measures, and more. 

Any violations can result in strict penalties, including hefty fines and even license suspension, so regulations strongly incentivise compliance. Overall, FSCA regulation promotes the integrity of South Africa’s capital markets. Here are the best online brokers in South Africa and where they’re regulated across the world.

Region Plus500 regulators Admirals regulators
Africa FSA CMA, FSCA, FSA, CIPC
Asia JSC
Australasia ASIC, FMA ASIC
Europe FCA, CySEC FCA, CySEC, EFSA, MiFID II, FSA
International
North America CIRO
South America
View more > Plus500 > Admirals >

What are the costs involved in share trading in South Africa?

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There are a few common costs to consider: most brokerages charge commission fees around 0.25% to 1% of the total value of each trade, exchange fees such as STRATE settlement costs and FSC levies apply per transaction. 

Trades may incur VAT charges, administration and management fees are charged monthly or annually for accounts, trading platforms charge monthly subscription fees, taxes like capital gains tax and dividends tax apply on profits. 

Overall trading costs can range from 0.5% to over 1.5% for less active traders. Frequent traders incur more costs due to higher volume of commissions and fees per year.

Asset Plus500 fees Admirals fees
Cryptocurrencies From 2%
Commodities From 0.04%
Currencies From 0.8%
Indices From 0.7%
Stocks From 0.08% From $0.02 per share
View more > Plus500 > Admirals >

Another way an online broker in South Africa might charge you is via the spread. The spread is the difference between the buy and sell price of an asset and effectively serves as a commission the broker is charging you on top of the market price. The smaller the spread, the better value you’re getting from your broker.

Here’s a comparison of the spreads across the top South African trading platforms.

Product Plus500 spreads Admirals spreads
Stock CFDs 0.10% From 0.5 pips
ETF CFDs 0.10% From 0.5 pips
Forex CFDs 0.8 pips From 0.5 pips
Crypto CFDs 2% From 0.5 pips
Index CFDs 0.20% From 0.5 pips
Commodity CFDs 0.50% From 0.5 pips
View all tradable assets > Plus500 > Admirals >

On top of the trading fees and spreads, there may be other charges for using your online broker account. These can include inactivity fees, where you’re charged if you don’t use your account for a period of time (usually 3-6 months), as well as overnight fees, which only apply if the broker is also a CFD platform, or even an account maintenance fee.

Here’s a look at the types of fees different brokers in South Africa charge, to give you a complete picture of the cost of trading with the top brokers in South Africa.

Fee Plus500 fees Admirals fees
Trading fees No Yes
Inactivity fees Yes Yes
Rollover/overnight fees Yes Yes
Withdrawal fees No Yes
Spreads Yes Yes
Conversion fees Yes Yes
View more > Plus500 > Admirals >

What is the minimum capital required to start trading shares in South Africa?

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While some brokerages technically allow opening a new trading account with no minimum deposit, at least R10,000 minimum is strongly recommended when starting out.

A minimum capital amount helps ensure costs like commissions and platform fees do not eat up a disproportionate share of your capital. It also provides a cushion to absorb some losses and allows you to purchase a balanced portfolio of shares rather than just 1-2 stocks. 

While you can start with any amount, including R100, aim for R10,000 or more when first starting for a better experience. If needed, build up capital over time.

Product Plus500 minimum trade Admirals minimum trade
Stock CFDs $10 0.01 share
ETF CFDs $10 0.01 share
Forex CFDs 0.01 lots 0.01 lots
Crypto CFDs $0.10 0.01 lots
Index CFDs $10 1 share
Commodity CFDs $10 0.01 lots
View more > Plus500 > Admirals >

What stocks can I trade as a South African resident?

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The best trading platforms and brokerages provide access to trade shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, where the top South Africa-based companies are listed. This allows trading stocks of major national companies across sectors like financials, mining, telecoms, retail, healthcare and more.

Brokers also offer access to thousands of international stocks listed on foreign exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ in the US, London Stock Exchange in the UK, exchanges in Europe, Australia, and some Asian markets. This provides exposure to leading global companies.

In addition to actual stocks, other common securities traded include ETFs, options, futures contracts, CFDs, forex, and cryptocurrency, depending on the broker. Residents can trade various leading financial instruments from South Africa and worldwide.

Country No. of stocks on Plus500
United States 543
United Kingdom 63
Germany 47
France 33
Japan 27
Canada 19
Australia 13
Switzerland 12
Netherlands 7
Spain 6
Italy 4
Belgium 4
Finland 2
Austria 2
Portugal 4
Poland 4
Greece 3
Norway 7
Sweden 6
Denmark 14
South Africa 21
Singapore 14
View more > Plus500 >

Note that all listed instruments on Plus500 are available to trade as CFDs.

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Some of the leading trading platforms in include.

  • Easy Equities. Popular for low-cost JSE and US share trading using one of the best trading apps in SA.
  • FNB Share Investing. Good for banking integration and research.
  • Standard Bank Trading. Comprehensive trading and education.
  • AxiTrader. Leading global CFD and forex broker.
  • IG Markets. Advanced platform with derivatives and foreign shares.
  • FXCM. Trusted forex and CFD platform with education.
  • AvaTrade. Top forex and CFD broker with fixed spreads.

When choosing a platform, compare costs, tradable assets, tools, research, platform interface, customer service and ease of use for your needs.

How is trading taxed in South Africa?

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Taxes due on trading profits in South Africa include a capital gains tax (CGT) on profits from selling shares and other instruments. The CGT rate in South Africa is around 45% for individuals, 20% for trusts.

There is also a dividends tax on dividends earned from share holdings. The current rate is 20%. A securities transfer tax (STT) applies on purchases of securities like shares on the JSE. The STT rate is 0.25% of the purchase value.

In addition, VAT may apply to some fees charged by brokers. Consult a registered tax practitioner to ensure tax compliance on your trading. Keep records of all buy and sell transactions to accurately report capital gains and losses.

User reviews: your verdict on the top trading platforms in SA

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As part of our research, we surveyed our South African users to get feedback on each of the best online brokers in SA. Their feedback helped finalise our rankings and offered a unique perspective on each of these services.

Below you can see the reviews for yourself before making your final decision.

Review source Plus500 rating Admirals rating
Trustpilot 4 4.1
Google Play Store 4.3 4.2
App Store 4.1 4.6
View more > Plus500 > Admirals >
Choose a South African trading platform

FAQs

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What’s the best trading platform in South Africa for beginners?
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What’s the safest broker in South Africa?
Is it better to trade in ZAR or USD in South Africa?


Fact-checking & references
Risk disclaimer
James Knight
Editor of Education
James is the Editor of Education for Invezz, where he covers topics from across the financial world, from the stock market, to cryptocurrency, to macroeconomic markets.... read more.
Prash Raval
Financial Writer
Prash is a financial writer for Invezz covering FX, the stock market and investing. For over a decade he has traded spot FX full time while... read more.