How to Choose the Best Forex Broker in South Africa
Forex trading is quite complicated and it requires active knowledge, but the biggest challenge the traders face is choosing the best Forex broker.
The reason why you need to choose your forex broker carefully is to increase your odds of success in the competitive FX market so you can stay focused on the important things during trading.
Before choosing your Forex broker, it is important to figure out what type of trader you are. Are you a day trader, a scalper, or maybe a news trader? You should also determine your investment goals, trading volumes, strategies, as well as trading styles.
Next, you need to answer five important questions about your broker to know whether that is the right fit for your trading purposes.
⚖️ Is your Forex broker fully regulated?
This is the first and the most important aspect of choosing a Forex broker.
Regulation is important because it indicates the broker’s legal status – an unregulated broker is not bound by the laws and regulations, and this could complicate things for you as a trader.
Regulators work in the best interest of investors and their main goal is to protect traders from fraudulent activities by ensuring a fair market environment. Being regulated means that your funds are safely kept in segregated accounts; therefore, the brokers will not be able to use your funds for their operational activities. Working with a regulated forex broker may not guarantee a problem-free trading experience, but at least it will prevent potential scam issues.
Regulated Forex brokers usually display their regulators’ names, company names, and license numbers at the bottom of their website’s homepage. This information is also available on other pages, such as About Us, and Regulations; however, do not forget to double-check it on the regulators’ official websites.
There are a lot of trusted and prominent financial regulators in the world. Check out the list below:
👉 Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) in South Africa
👉 Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom
👉 Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
👉 Cyprus Securities Exchange Commission (CySEC)
👉 Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)
👉 The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) in Germany
👉 Financial Markets Authority (FMA) in New Zealand
👉 Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) in Switzerland
👉 National Futures Association (NFA) in the United States
Forex brokers may also be a member of a compensation scheme or other international organizations, such as the Financial Commission, the Investor Compensation Fund (ICF), or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
💬 How is the client support quality?
Client support is usually overlooked by many traders since they find it unnecessary, even experienced ones.
Imagine that you are having some problems with your deposits – you haven’t received the funds in your trading account – and you need immediate assistance to open a trade quickly before the market shifts again. As it turns out, the company's live chat support is not available and will get back to you within 24 hours. This is an example of a lost opportunity since the Forex market is very liquid and can change in a matter of milliseconds.
That is why you should find out more about your broker’s client support before making your choice. There are several factors that you can consider:
🔸 Do they offer 24/7 or 24/5 support in South Africa?
🔸 Is the customer support team friendly, helpful, and professional? Do they tailor their answers to your questions or do they give everybody the same answers?
🔸 What support channels do they offer? Do they provide various ways to reach out to them, such as call, live chat, web form, email, and media social?
🔸 What is the average response time of the live chat?
Try to contact them and ask some questions to evaluate their responses. If your broker offers excellent customer service, then that is one less thing to worry about.
💠 Does your broker offer various trading accounts? What are the conditions?
Forex brokers usually offer several trading account types with different conditions. There are accounts suitable for beginner, experienced, and professional traders. Many forex brokers also offer a Demo account that can be used to test their services as well as your skills and strategies without spending real money. Therefore, you have to make sure that your broker offers an account type that suits your trading level, needs, risk appetite, and styles.
Some of the trading conditions that you should pay attention to include:
Leverage is a trading mechanism that allows traders to increase their trading volume with less investment. For example, with leverage of 1:100, you can trade up to 1,000 USD by using just 10 USD. Professional accounts usually have higher maximum leverage, while accounts for beginners offer lower maximum leverage. Since leverage is extremely risky, choose and use it with caution.
Spread is the difference between the sell and buy prices. The wider the spread, the more difficult it is to make profits. Common currency pairs usually have tighter spreads. There are two types of spreads, namely fixed and variable. Fixed spreads remain the same during the entire day and will not change, while variable spreads change depending on the dynamics of your chosen pairs.
✅ Fees and commissions
There are two ways your broker can make money – through spreads and fees. That is why you should check the amount of fee your broker charges for your trading activities. The fees may include trading fees, overnight fees (swap), and inactivity fees. Make sure there are no hidden costs when you are choosing a Forex broker.
✅ Slippage and re-quotes
Slippage happens when there is a difference between the expected price and executed price. Re-quotes happen when Forex brokers are not able or willing to give you a trade based on the price you entered. Both of which usually occur during a period of high volatility. In this way, Forex brokers avoid huge losses. That is why it is important to choose a Forex broker that offers less/no slippage or re-quotes, so your orders are executed at the exact prices you entered.
✅ Initial deposit
Different accounts usually require different minimum deposits. For example, Mini and micro accounts require relatively low minimum deposits since the clients tend to trade in smaller volumes, while professional accounts require larger initial deposits due to larger traded volumes.
✅ Order execution
You need to know how fast your orders are executed by your forex broker – just to give you an idea, it should be within milliseconds. You do not want to lose any profits because of slow order execution, do you?
✅ Limitations on trading styles
This may seem irrelevant, but always consider your trading styles before choosing your Forex broker. Also, take into account your trading frequency and the length of your trades (long or short term). For example, if you are a day trader, you may want to prioritize fast order execution and narrow spreads. If you are a scalper, make sure that your broker accepts this strategy and offers an ECN platform. The same also applies to other trading styles, such as hedging, news trading, swing trading, and trend trading.
✅ Other important conditions
Other trading conditions such as margin, currency pairs, and instruments should also be considered. You should know what currency pairs or financial instruments you will have access to and how much of your capital they require.
Lastly, find out whether the Forex broker provides Forex educational tools and resources. These are essential for new traders to understand the trading terminologies better. That is why a broker that offers educational materials is usually a safer choice.
📈 What are the offered trading platforms?
Trading platforms are required for almost all trading activities, from accessing the market, opening and closing orders, to managing positions through financial intermediaries.
There are many trading platforms in the world, but three of the most popular ones are MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) from MetaQuotes, and cTrader. Some Forex brokers may also offer their own platform.
Different trading platforms provide different features, such as technical and fundamental analyses, order entry types, automated trading options (EAs, cBots, social copy-trading), trading alerts, strategy builders, one-click trading, and real-time quotes. So make sure that your chosen Forex broker offers trading platforms that have the features you need for your trading.
You should also check what devices are offered by the trading platforms. For example, if you want to trade on the go, then you should choose a platform that is accessible on Android or iOS. Furthermore, you should make sure that the interface is easy to use, so you will not have any problems navigating it. The languages available in the trading platforms are another thing to consider as well.
To evaluate the trading platforms, you can download their software and use them in a Demo account. You can compare them side by side using real-time quotes from large financial sites, or even test whether trades can be entered and exited easily. If everything looks good, you can move on to the next step.
🏛️ What are the available deposit and withdrawal methods?
Last but not least, choose a Forex broker that offers various deposit and withdrawal methods. Some common methods include debit and credit cards, e-wallets (such as PayPal, Payoneer, Neteller, & Skrill), wire transfers, local South Africa bank transfers, and local South Africa payment services. Having several payment options is better than having very few.
You should also make sure that your chosen deposit and withdrawal methods are safe and secure. Take into account the minimum deposit amount and processing time to choose a method that is suitable for you. Do not forget to check the broker’s as well as the payment provider’s service fees. A good broker does not usually require service fees.
If you are still not sure about the payment method, you can try to deposit and withdraw a little money first. After testing out the method, you can decide whether to continue or stop using it for future trading.
Choosing the best Forex broker is not easy and may take some time, but once you find a suitable broker, it will have long-term benefits. Bear in mind that a bad initial decision can be costly in the future. Good luck in choosing your Forex broker and happy trading!