With 37% of South Africans owning shares, there is no shortage of popular stock brokers in South Africa. Below we review ten brokers where investors can buy stocks directly, or trade in Contracts-For-Difference (CFDs) related to them.

We assess eight popular stock brokers in South Africa on the basis of regulation, ease of use, choice of stocks and free extras.

Investors should do their due diligence researching popular brokers South Africa residents are accepted at. We list 8 brokers below which offer different strengths and weaknesses:

  • AvaTrade – Highly-regulated CFD Broker.
  • Interactive Brokers – General Service Broker with many Investor Tools.
  • Plus500 – CFD-only Broker with Global Regulation.
  • Pepperstone – CFDs and Spread Betting Platform.
  • XM – Global Forex and CFD Specialist.
  • OANDA – International Forex and CFD Provider.
  • XTB – Global Forex and CFD Broker.
  • SuperForex – CFD Broker with $1 Minimum Deposit.

Many of the popular stock brokers in South Africa specialize in ‘FX’ (forex: foreign exchange). This involves betting on currency pairs. A few offer straight share trading, but most offer leveraged CFD trading as standard.

1. AvaTrade – Highly-regulated CFD Broker

AvaTrade is a specialist CFD broker. Over 600 stock CFDs are on offer, as well as ETFs, bonds, forex, commodities and indices. AvaTrade is known for providing support for various trading platforms (MT4 and MT5) as well as having its own dedicated options trading platform AvaOptions.

Of the popular stock brokers in South Africa, AvaTrade stands out because it is directly regulated by South Africa’s FSCA. It is also regulated by IIROC in Canada, ASIC in Australia, the FSA in Japan and the Central Bank of Ireland in the EU.

2. InteractiveBrokers – General Service Broker with Many Investor Tools

InteractiveBrokers offers stocks, options, futures, currencies, funds and bonds to 1.8m clients in over 200 countries.

The broker allows accounts to be funded in over 25 currencies, with a variety of accounts available including retirement accounts and trust accounts.

Generally this is a very slick operation with multi-platform support and many free tools including the IBKR GlobalAnalyst, which helps investors wanting to track down undervalued stocks. Also outstanding is the Excel API, which allows investors to link their account to their Excel spreadsheets. Watch out for high cash deposit fees though.

3. Plus500 – CFD-only Broker with Global Regulation

Like many of the popular stock brokers in South Africa, Plus500 offers CFD trades only. This broker boasts 22m registered users across 50 countries as well as 2,800 trading instruments, including 500+ stocks.

Plus500 has achieved a rating of 4.2/5 on Trustpilot, and is traded on the London Stock Exchange under ticker symbol PLUS.

Regulation is a strong point with Plus500. Like AvaTrade, it is regulated directly by the FSCA in South Africa. It is also regulated by CySEC in Europe, the FCA in the UK, ASIC in Australia, and other bodies in Singapore, Estonia, New Zealand and the Seychelles.

4. Pepperstone – CFDs and Spread Betting Platform

A spread-betting specialist for UK and Ireland customers, Pepperstone was ranked first place for overall client satisfaction in the 2022 UK Investment Trends Leverage Trading Report.

CFD share trading is available in US, UK, German & Australian shares. Pepperstone supports TradingView advanced charting tools, as well as cTrader, MT4 and MT5 trading platforms.

One of the popular stock brokers in South Africa, this broker draws its regulation from the FCA, BaFin, CySEC, ASIC, DFSA, SCB and CMA.

5. XM – Global Forex and CFD Specialist

Providing 1,000 trading instruments, and 6 asset classes, XM is a forex and CFD specialist. Founded in 2009, the broker has welcomed over 5m clients during its time in business, and offers support for over 30 languages. XM has won numerous awards, specifically for its forex trading support.

XM’s 1,260+ stocks are easy to find under national headings. And expert traders will be pleased to hear that the broker provides support for MT4, MT5 and WebTrader trading platforms.

XM is regulated by CySEC in Europe, ASIC in Australia and the FSC in Belize. The broker

6. OANDA – Forex and CFD Specialist

Like XM, Oanda is a forex and CFD specialist – with 38,000 forex pairs to trade. It offers a sideline in popular EU share CFDs, with commissions from 0.1%, as well as indice CFDs and cryptocurrency trading.

Like most of the popular stock brokers in South Africa, Oanda offers a free smartphone app as well as a free demo account, where beginners can practise trading without using real money. MT5 platform support is also available. Multiple deposit methods are supported, including bank transfer, Visa, Mastercard, Neteller and Skrill.

7. XTB – Global Forex and CFD Broker

With offices in over 13 countries and 20 years experience, XTB offers forex and CFD trading worldwide. The firm has served over 495,000 customers in its time and offers free insurance via the famous Lloyd’s of London insurance brokers. XTB is fronted by equally famous football manager, Jose Mourinho.

XTB offers forex, commodities, indices, stock and ETF CFDs and cryptocurrency CFDs.

This broker won ‘Best Customer Service’ from ForexBrokers.com in 2021. Regulation for XTB is provided by the FCA, KNF, CySEC, and the FSC.

Your capital is at risk. 77% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

8. SuperForex – CFD Broker with $1 Minimum Deposit

SuperForex Logo SuperForex is best known as a forex broker, but it also offers CFDs for a wide variety of US and European stocks. Stock trading is available through an ECN account, so trades are executed very quickly. Traders can use either SuperForex’s mobile app to trade or MetaTrader 4 depending on what charting and analysis tools they want access to.

SuperForex only requires a $1 deposit to open a new account and the broker accepts more than 17 different payment methods.

SuperForex

SuperForex is regulated by the International Financial Services Commission of Belize and won the Best ECN Broker in Africa award from International Business Magazine in 2021.

Stock Brokers in South Africa Comparison

Broker # Stocks Pricing Fee to Buy Amazon Account Management Fee
AvaTrade 630+ stock CFDs Spread Fee plus CFD overnight fees Spread fee of 0.13% plus overnight fee of -0.0189% Inactivity fee of $50 per quarter after 3 months plus $100 admin fee after 12 months
Interactive Brokers 150 markets Spread Fee plus Regulator Fee plus Commission dependent on a) country where share based b) monthly trade volume of investor Maximum commission of 1% of trade value plus Spread Fee No account management fee per se, but other non-trading fees apply
Plus500 500+ Spread Fee plus CFD overnight fees Spread Fee of 0.75% plus overnight fee of -0.06135% Inactivity fee of USD 10 per month levied after 3 months inactivity
Pepperstone 900+ Spread Fee plus CFD overnight fees $0.02 commission per share None
XM 1260+ Spread Fee plus CFD overnight fee Spread Fee of 5.85 + -3.2% (annual) overnight fee None
OANDA Euro shares only Spread Fee plus Commission plus CFD overnight fee 0.1% Commission $10 per month fee after 1 year of inactivity
XTB 2,100+ Spread Fee plus CFD overnight fee 0.4% Spread Fee plus overnight fee 10 EUR per month fee after 1 year of inactivity
SuperForex 400+ Spread Fee plus CFD overnight fee 0.2% Spread Fee plus overnight fee None

What is a Stock Broker?

A stock broker is an independent company that offers company stocks (also known as ‘shares’) for sale.

Share brokers in South Africa nowadays tend to be based online.

If a potential investor wants to use a stock broker online, they will need to get signed up with the broker and provide ID. ID is nowadays necessary because Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations apply. Stock brokers must show regulators that they are doing everything they can to avoid fraud.

Often a range of other financial assets apart from stocks are on offer:

  • Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs): like index funds, ETFs allow the investor to buy into a basket of stocks in one go.
  • Forex: short for ‘Foreign Exchange’, forex involves speculating on currency pairs. These pairs put two currencies together, and the speculator puts money on which will rise or fall.
  • Commodities: raw materials to invest in, like gold, silver, wheat and gas.
  • Bonds: government-issued financial instruments with a low-risk profile.
  • Indices: investors may speculate on the rise of fall of a particular market index like the South African JSE Top 40 or the UK’s FTSE 100.
  • Cryptocurrencies: the high-risk blockchain assets.
  • Spread-betting: a high-risk form of a speculation in which the investor bets on which way an asset price will go, and is rewarded (or penalised) incrementally.

Types of South African Stock Brokers

As we have illustrated in our list of stock brokers in South Africa above, there are two main types of broker:

Traditional Stock Trading Platforms

Traditional brokers offer stocks and other assets for sale. The broker will hold purchased assets for the investor and buy them back when required.

Many traditional platforms nowadays also offer CFD trading on certain assets.

CFD Stock Brokers

CFD stock brokers offer CFD trades only. CFDs are ‘Contracts-for-Difference’. With CFDs, the investor does not technically get to own the underlying asset, but rather enters into a trading agreement about it.

CFDs allow investors to go short on assets – which means bet that the price will fall – as well as often use leverage to ramp up the potential gains or losses from a trade.

Above we have presented a list of popular trading brokers in South Africa to research. Investors must do their own research – so we recommend that investors take up the opportunity of free demo accounts where offered, which allow the user to try out an investment platform without investing any real money.

In the meantime, the investor can assess the platform on the basis of key characteristics:

Range of Stocks

From our table above showing data from the most popular 10 stock brokers in South Africa, we can see that the range of stocks on offer can be over 5,000 with Capital.com. Generally brokers make a priority of offering the main NASDAQ stocks (specifically tech stocks) as well as big household names.

Investors will always be able to search for popular Reddit stocks and popular penny stocks too.

Fees

Fees can be divided into two types: trading and non-trading.

Trading Fees

Trading fees are charged whenever a trade is executed.

Most stock brokers in South Africa follow the general global model of charging a spread fee – which is the difference between the buying and selling price at any given time.

On top of the spread fee, commission may be charged. Note that CFD trades incur an overnight trading fee too, which is charged every 24hrs that the trade is open. This makes CFD trades suitable for short-term trading only, rather than investing for the long-term. This makes CFDs unsuitable for dividend stocks, which  generally deliver benefits on a quarterly basis and thus can be usefully held long-term.

Non-Trading Fees

Investors should watch out for non-trading fees. They include inactivity fees, deposit and withdrawal fees, currency conversion fees and others. Reputable stock brokers in South Africa usually publish a full breakdown of all fees on their website.

Regulation and Security

A regulated broker is one that can be trusted more than an unregulated broker.

The regulator in South Africa is the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA). It audits its regulated companies to ensure that client funds are being kept separate from company funds.

A broker may often legally operate in a country, even if it is not regulated by that country’s regulator. Regulators worldwide tend to impose similar requirements on brokers; so the important thing is not so much the country in which a broker is regulated, but whether they are regulated or not.

Online brokers tend to offer high levels of security. Brokerages are more secure than cryptocurrency exchanges, for example.

Trading Tools

First-timers with share brokers in South Africa may not need very sophisticated trading tools. But many of the popular stock brokers in South Africa offer advanced charting tools for technical analysis of stocks, as well as advanced market ordering tools which allow for trades to execute at particular price levels. Always be sure to set a Stop Loss, to avoid losing too much money whilst you are away from your brokerage interface.

Platform Quality

Brokers tend to offer high levels of UX (User Experience) nowadays. Investors want to use interfaces that are not cluttered, with clear navigation. Our list of stock brokers in South Africa above includes brokers with excellent user interfaces.

Customer Service

Levels of customer service vary widely. Nowadays, investors will be pushed to find a broker that offers customer service over the phone. But email ticketing systems can work, provided the investor is prepared to be patient.

How to Get Started with a Regulated Stock Broker in South Africa

Of the 10 stock brokers for South African traders we have reviewed above, most offer similar onboarding processes.

Generally an investor looking to get started with any of the stock brokers in South Africa and buy Amazon stock, for example, will need to:

  1. Head to a broker’s website online and sign up.
  2. Verify their ID to satisfy KYC regulations.
  3. Deposit funds.
  4. Find the particular stock (AMZN) they are looking for.
  5. Fill in a trade order and buy the stock.

1: Sign up

  • Head online and go to a broker’s website.
  • Fill in name and address.
  • Set a username or password.
  • Read the legal information provided, and tick acknowledgement boxes.

2: Verify ID

Applicants will often need to provide two forms of ID:

  • Personal ID: passport or ID card.
  • Address ID: rent letters, utility bills and other official paperwork are often accepted.

Applicants will be asked to either upload scans of this ID, or enter an automated process using their computer or smartphone in which live photographs are taken. Often a ‘selfie’ photograph is also required.

3: Deposit Funds

Once verified, applicants may deposit funds into their account.

  • Log in to the account.
  • Find the deposit button/area.
  • Deposit funds with credit/debit card, bank transfer or e-wallet.

It is very important to check what, if any, deposit fees apply.

Some brokers allow users to buy stocks with credit card directly.

Investors wanting to buy stocks with PayPal may do so from European countries.

4: Search for Amazon Stock

All online brokers have a search bar – usually towards the top of the screen. Input the name of the share being sought, or its ticker symbol, and press ‘enter’. This will take the investor to the homepage of the stock or a trading screen.

5: Buy Amazon Stock

Most popular stock brokers in South Africa offer a simple trading screen.

Here the user chooses whether they are buying shares or selling short. The user usually need only enter how much they want to spend and execute the trade. Often, more sophisticated options are available, like market orders and take profit/stop loss instructions.

If an investor is on a budget, they will be pleased to learn that brokers nowadays offer what is called ‘fractional trading’. This means that less than one share of a company may be bought.

Minimum trade levels vary among brokers.

Conclusion

Choosing which of the popular brokers in South Africa to review in-depth is a matter for the individual investor. We hope to have given investors a start by giving a broad overview of what is on offer for those looking to invest in stocks.

FAQs

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