Best Trading Platforms South Africa – Forex Trading and Crypto Trading Platforms Reviewed

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When you’re considering buying, selling, or trading shares in South Africa, getting the right platform is the first thing. There are lots of brokerage sites for South African residents to use for share trading.

So choosing the right one might be difficult. But the critical factors to consider when choosing the best share trading platform in South Africa are pricing and fees.

Whether you’re investing for daily trading or long-term holding, you need a combination of the lowest fees and best trading tools.

Best Trading Platform South Africa – #1 AvaTrade

This article will reveal and review the cheapest and best share trading platform in South Africa. Also, you’ll get a guide of the possible charges for the platform you decide to use.

List of the Cheapest and Best Share Trading Platform South Africa

The list below reveals the best share trading platforms where you can get excellent and low-cost online transactions.

  • AvaTrade – Best Share CFDs Trading Platform.
  • Plus500 – Best Share CFDs Trading Platform with Tight Spreads.

2021 Review of Best Share Trading Platforms South Africa

While considering the platform you can use for online share trading, low cost should never be the only factor. You have several other important factors that will determine the authenticity, flexibility, and security of any trading platform.

Besides fees and pricing, check if the broker is under a solid financial jurisdiction regulation like a Tier-one reputable country.

Also, check its history, supported payment/withdrawal methods, customer support services, technical features/tools, mobile/web app, and others.

While having these conditions in mind, we present the review of the best share trading platforms in South Africa. These brokerages meet the above factors and offer the right platforms for buying shares through cost-effective methods.

1. AvaTrade – Best Share CFDs Trading Platform

AvaTrade website June 22


AvaTrade is a trusted and popular broker in South Africa for trading share CFDs and other instruments. Some of the instruments include equities, indices, currencies, commodities, and others. From its launch in 2006, the broker has made a tremendous impact on the stock market to attract many users.

The broker maintains compliance and security for all its online accounts and transactions. It’s under strong financial agencies such as the Central Bank of Ireland, ASIC, and others.

Users can deposit their funds in Rands through bank transfers, e-wallets, and credit/debit cards. There are no fees for funds deposits and withdrawals. In addition, the broker offers a 0% commission on stock trading for its users.

However, the platform has a high fee for inactivity. It charges $50 quarterly after 3 months of inactivity. Also, customers can use leverage for their trading on the platform.

One of the outstanding reasons people choose AvaTrade is its online trading strategies/tools available to users. For instance, the ‘raw’ stock picker permits users to select, view, and process their stock picks at their convenience.

Also, customers can get data on market analyses that are relevant to their stock picks. The platform helps the users to learn more about the market trend and readjust their trading strategies.

Furthermore, AvaTrade offers a unique risk management system. The system operates through predetermined spreads, ensuring that payments for trades are based on their invested amount. This provides a better way for investors to minimize losses from their invested capital.

Additionally, AvaTrade allows MT4 and MT5 integrations on its platform. It boasts some technical features that will assist its users with an economic calendar, a news feed, and others. This makes the platform highly suitable for professional investors. There’s also a social trading app, AvaSocial, for interactions with other traders.

The app allows a user to copy the trading moves of other traders. So it’s indeed a learning and improvement platform for beginners. Furthermore, the broker has both web and mobile trading apps for users.

AvaTrade has great customer support services for 24/5. The services are through live chats, emails, and phones.

AvaTrade Transaction fees

Transaction Fees
Withdrawal 0
Commission on trading stock 0%
Deposit (bank transfers) 0
CFD Stock Trading Spread
Inactivity  (quarterly after 3 months inactivity) $50


  • Has free withdrawal and deposit options.
  • Trusted and secured platform
  • Under strict regulation from FSCA (South Africa), ASIC and others.
  • 0% commission on stock trading.
  • A social trading app that enables copy trading.
  • Boast of unique research tools for enhanced trading.
  • MT 4 and MT 5 integrations
  • Unique risk management system through spreads.


  • High inactivity fee of $50.
  • Limited instruments

67% of all retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

2. Plus500 – Best Share CFDs Trading Platform with Tight Spreads


Plus500 is one of the top brokerages in South Africa that offers CFDs for different financial assets such as shares, bonds, indices, etc. It has over 2000 global stock CFDs.

The broker also operates with a 0% commission on stock trading. It uses a tight spread approach for its fees. There are no deposit and withdrawal fees on the platform. However, users can only make a maximum of five withdrawals per month. There will be a fee of $10 once you exceed the number.

Moreover, the minimum withdrawal amounts are $50 and $100 through PayPal and bank transfers/cards. The minimum deposit amount through credit/debit cards and e-wallets is $100 (about R1,500) but $300 (about R4,500) through bank transfers.

Plus500 has an easy and user-friendly platform. The account opening process is simple, and you can complete it all just within one day. The platform has a great reputation for trust and security. It’s under the strict regulation of top-tier financial bodies such as the FCA, CySEC, and ASIC.

The broker has customer support services that run through live chats and emails. Also, it has a web trader, which comes with added security for your account. Some of the security features include two-step login, Facebook, and Google authentication.

Also, Plus500 allows its users to access different leverage caps. You leverage up to 1:300 on Plus500. Users can benefit from both the rise and fall in their trading. This is achieved by deciding to go long or short while trading on any instrument on the platform.

Plus500 Transaction fees

Transaction Fees
Withdrawal 0
Commission on trading stock 0%
Deposit (bank transfers) 0
CFD Stock Trading Spread
Inactivity  (quarterly after 3 months inactivity) $10


  • Supports deposits through bank transfers, credit/debit cards, and others
  • Uses both fixed and variable spreads for transactions.
  • Trusted, secured platform, and user-friendly platform.
  • Has no fee for both funds deposits and withdrawals.
  • Fast account opening process with a low minimum deposit amount.
  • Leverage cap of up to 1:300


  • Average CFD fees
  • Limited range of products, deals majorly on CFDs.
  • Limited customization.
  • Too simple for professional investors.

67% of all retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

Share Trading Platform: What is it?

A share trading platform is a web-based service that enables you to buy, trade, and sell stocks at your comfort. An online broker allows you to view stock charts, stock news, perform stock research, and stock screening. The share trading platform has a simple mechanism, starting from registering with a reliable broker to stock liquidation.

The registration includes opening an online account with the broker by providing your details and a government-issued ID. You will also need to enable the two-factor authenticator to secure your account before you can proceed to deposit funds.

Once the fund enters your account, you can then buy as many shares as you want with it.  Buying shares in a trading platform is mainly on a do-it-yourself basis; you can use the ETF or market funds.

Doing it yourself means that you are fully responsible for choosing the firms to buy their shares. On the other hand, using an ETF or mutual fund allow the broker or provider to select the shares for you. Below is a recap of how a share trading platform in South Africa works.

  • Open an account with a reliable broker or a trading platform.
  • Deposit some funds on the account you opened earlier with your debit card or other payment methods.
  • Buy shares with part of the funds from companies A and B or more.

The shares are converted back to South African Rands once you have completed the buying stage. Then, wait for your dividend or liquidity, depending on when you intend to sell off your shareholdings. The broker, at that point, will allow you to either re-invest your fund or withdraw your cash.

Trading share CFD

Investors buy shares intending to hold them and probably sell them off when the price appreciates. This ideology is referred to as the traditional buy-and-hold strategy.

However, some share traders in South Africa prefer adopting an active shares trading strategy. In an active trading strategy, you will need to buy and sell shares on a short-term basis.

Again you will be dealing with larger share volume with smaller gains as it’s on a short-term basis. So to minimize trading charges and cost-effectively do transactions, you need to trade share contracts for difference.

Share CFD is a financial product that allows traders to trade a stock via a broker and not directly. It tracks the actual price of company stocks and offers a free trading commission, and allows you to short sell.

With a share CFD, you can speculate on the share price behavior and access leveraged assets for larger trades.

Choosing the Best Share Trading Platform in South Africa

Choosing a reliable trading platform will let you have a great trading experience at a minimized cost. You need to have the important tools that will help you in selecting the best broker and avoid hidden fees. Below are the general fees that you will see when selecting the best share trading platform online.

Carefully read and understand them. It will broaden your trading knowledge and help you to avoid paying unnecessary charges.


The major fee to be considered when searching for the best South African share trading platform is the trading commission.

It’s the fee the brokers charge you for buying or selling shares order. It’s either a fixed varying. The trading commission fee varies with brokers and may increase with increased orders affecting your profits negatively.

Variable Commission

A share trading platform charges a variable commission fee. In most cases, it’s calculated with the size of your stock.

For instance;

If a known trading platform like charges 0.08% as a commission fee, you have a total share worth 1,000Rands. Therefore, you will pay (0.08*1,000) 8.0Rands as a commission fee for assuming this position (buying the shares). In addition, if you wish to exit this position for any reason (sell your holdings), you will also pay another commission.

For instance;

If your shares now appreciate to 1,100Rands (a 10% increase), you can decide to withdraw it by placing a sell order. You will pay (0.08*1100) 8.8Rands to the stockbroker as commission. To calculate your profit, get the difference between the buying and selling price, 100 Rands (1,100 – 1,000). Then take out the two commission amounts (8+8.8)16.8 Rands from the calculated profit. The remaining amount is your actual profit for the investment (100- 16.8) 83.2Rands or 8.32%.

Flat Commission

This is the opposite of the variable commission, and it’s offered by brokers who do not give variable charges. Flat here means that the commission fee is constant no matter the amount and volume of your trade.

Brokers with a flat commission fee are the best for trading a large volume of shares as you pay almost the same amount for even bigger trades. A good example of such a broker is the IG, a renowned CFD broker.

However, below is an illustration of how it works;

Let’s assume you wish to buy company shares worth 2,000Rands, and you are required to pay a commission fee of 8Rands. If the shares appreciate to say 3,000Rands and you wish to sell, you will pay another flat commission fee of 8Rands.

You don’t need to calculate the commission fee; it is flat, the same 8Rands and your net profit are (3,000-2,000-8-8). Which is (1,000-16) 984 Rands or 49.2%.

0% Commission

There are three types of brokers in terms of commission in the stock market; the first set takes variable commission fees. The second set charges a flat commission fee while the rest do not take any commission for their transactions.

The latter takes a zero commission from all trades and good examples AvaTrade, and Plus500. These stock Brokers are among the top list of the cheapest South African trading platforms.


The spread is the difference between the buying and selling price of shares. Unfortunately, new investors always forget to add the spread fee to their expenses in the South African stock market.

This could be because the spread fee does not come from the broker directly. Instead, it is a money-making avenue for the stock trading sites. In some cases, highly skilled share traders will calculate their spread fee in ‘pips.’

A PIP is a ‘percentage in point’ or ‘price interest point.’ It is a small measure of the change in currency pairs in the stock market. A pip is a standard unit. It is the smallest variation in a currency quote.

For instance;

If you bought a company shares worth  50.20 Rands, and share price later increases to 50.21Rands. Then the shares have 1pip.

Again if one of your shareholdings increases from 5.50 to 5.60, then it will be 10pips.

For beginners, it is better to calculate the spread in percentages to help you have a clearer view of what to pay.

If you want to use a broker like Avatrade to trade a company shares online like Tesla.

Assuming the share buy price is 100.28Rands and the selling price is 100.14Rands. The percentage spread will be 0.139%. Knowing the spread amount will help you calculate the amount of money you need to gain to make up. This means that you need to make gains of over 0.139% from your Tesla trades to get even from the illustration.

Overnight Fees

Overnight fees are the financing fees or interest you pay when you leave your leveraged shares open overnight. When you decide to use CFDs or leveraged forex positions, you borrow funds from a broker.

This money will be used to increase the value of the capital invested and pave the way for larger positions. If you trade shares with any CFD and didn’t quit before the close of the market, you will be charged an overnight fee.

This explanation is the reason CFDs are best for short-term trades. Always close your CFD trades before the close of the market not to attract the overnight fee penalty.

Market closing time may vary depending on the trading platform that you are using. Therefore, it is advisable to know your platform’s market opening and closing time.

Inactivity Fees

This is the penalty or charge given to investors who left their account dormant above the stockbroker’s stipulated period. There had been no buying or selling activity in that online account throughout the period. The inactivity fees are taken from the trader whenever he comes on board.  The two basic things to consider here are the amount of the fee and when it is deducted.

However, the inactivity fee is charged on any account that has not been traded on for an average of one year. Some share trading platforms may charge you monthly so long as your account remains dormant. This deduction will continue until you place a shared order (come onboard) or your account balance becomes zero.

Long-term investors do not need to worry once they still have some share in their holdings, their account remains active.

Deposit/Withdrawal Fees

Not all the share trading platforms in South Africa charges transaction fees for deposit and withdrawal of funds.

The charges may vary with the payment methods and can either be a variable or flat fee. While share trading platforms like AvaTrade take zero fees as their transaction charge.

Currency Conversion Fees

This is a charge from a trading platform with a different currency from your credit/debit card or e-wallet.

For South Africans, trading on a domestic platform that accepts Rands will prevent you from paying the currency conversion fee. But domestic platforms are expensive when it comes to commissions and spreads more than international brokers.

So, you may try to avoid paying a currency conversion fee and end up paying a higher commission and trading fee. This is why you need to compare a variety of fees before choosing a share trading platform in South Africa.

Fees for Opening/Maintenance an Account

You need to be sure the trading platform you wish to use doesn’t take extra fees for opening an account. However, it is rare to see such a trading platform but consider if the platform charges maintenance fees.

Otherwise, look out for a platform fee or a management fee imposed on any investor with an account with a broker.

You will be required to pay a maintenance fee even if you are not trading on the platform. However, share trading platforms like Avatrade, and Plus500 do not charge a maintenance fee.


There are a lot of share trading platforms in the stock market, both locally and globally. The major challenge is how to get the best trading platform that is regulated, secured, and offers minimized fees.

There are factors to consider while looking for the best platform, as discussed in this article. They include features like payment methods, regulation, and customer support.

Another factor to consider is the fees like the transition fee and the opening and maintaining account fees. These fees vary with share brokers and can affect your profit greatly if not properly checked.

Some trading platforms also have hidden charges, inactivity fees, and currency conversion fees. It’s also important to know the payment method that the broker accepts and find a fee for it.

However, with the above considerations, Avatrade has proven to be the best share trading platform in South Africa. The platform is easy to operate with a zero commission fee on transactions and has a wide range of stocks. It’s also regulated,  requires less start-up capital, and accepts various payment methods at zero cost.

You can visit the Avatrade webpage to get started.

Start Trading Online with AvaTrade, the Best Trading Platform


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About Asad Gilani PRO INVESTOR

Asad is a freelance writer. He is interested in cryptocurrencies, technology, and in particular the subject of online security. An open supporter of freedom of speech, privacy, and equality for all. On a personal level, he likes to stay socially active, loves playing snooker, cricket, enjoys seafood and loves listening to folk music.