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Alternatives to Robinhood in South Africa

You can't access Robinhood in South Africa, so here are 5 low-cost alternatives to trade US stocks.

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US stock trading platform Robinhood is known for being the low-cost app of choice among millennial traders and it may well be the most widely recognised online broker today.

The only problem is, South Africans don’t have access unless you are a US permanent resident or have a valid US Visa. Despite being regularly cited in the media here, the app has not launched in South Africa. So, we tracked down a list of US-stock alternatives that offer low or zero brokerage trading for South Africans.

What is Robinhood?

Robinhood is a US trading platform founded in 2013 that offers zero commissions on stocks, options and ETFs. It’s popular among traders thanks to its low fees, range of trading options and minimalist design targeting younger investors.

Users of the app often trade stock options and other assets such as cryptocurrencies using leverage. This is a higher-risk form of trading because both your profits and losses are amplified. For more on the app you can check out our Robinhood review from Finder US, bearing in mind you won’t be able to access it unless you hold US residency.

1. eToro

With an eToro trading account, you get commission-free US stock trading plus access to forex, cryptocurrencies, ETFs and commodities.

eToro may well be the closest app South Africa has to Robinhood, with low fees and a platform angled at the next generation of traders. Like Robinhood, eToro does not charge commission on US stocks and it allows you to trade a mix of stocks, commodities and currencies using leverage.

  • Brokerage fee: R0 for US shares
  • Inactivity fee: $10 (about R150) per year
  • Products: US stocks, US ETFs, forex, cryptocurrency, commodities
  • Access: Mobile app and desktop
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More info


alternative-to-commsec-ig-markets

2. IG

An IG share trading account offers zero brokerage on international stocks as well as US stocks.

Like Robinhood, IG offers zero brokerage trading for US stocks and ETFs; however, it adds to this with an international offering. In addition to US stocks, it offers access to Australia, Germany, Ireland and UK stock markets. Users can also trade forex, cryptocurrencies and commodities using IG’s platform.

  • Brokerage fee: $0 for global shares
  • Inactivity fee: $50 per quarter
  • Products: International shares, forex, CFDs
  • Access: Mobile and desktop

More info


alternative-to-commsec-cmc-markets

3.CMC Markets

Zero commission on US and global shares from your mobile and desktop app.

CMC Markets has among the lowest fees in South Africa for global shares. The platform offers two account options, one for share trading and one for CFD trading. With CMC’s stock trading account, you get zero brokerage on stocks from US, UK, Canada and Japan, as well as Australian shares starting at $9.90 (about R148), plus you can apply to trade options.

  • Brokerage fee: $0 for global stocks
  • Inactivity fee: 0
  • Products: Global shares, options, managed funds, forex, commodities, cryptocurrency
  • Access: Desktop or mobile app

alternative-to-commsec-saxo-capital-markets

4. Saxo Capital Markets

Trade over 18,000 stocks from 46 different markets, including Australia, the United States, China and Japan.

Saxo Capital Markets has one of the biggest global stock offerings South Africa, with users able to trade on up to 36 global exchanges. Similar to Robinhood, you can trade a mix of stocks (including options), ETFs, forex, commodities and cryptocurrency markets.

  • Brokerage fee: $9.90 (about R148) for US stocks
  • Inactivity fee: $0
  • Products: Global stocks, forex, CFDs, stock options
  • Access: Full-service broker, desktop platform

EasyEquities logo

5. EasyEquities

EasyEquities is a South African trading app that lets you create a USD account (in addition to your ZAR account) and gives you access to various trading instruments in the US.

Users can trade hundreds of stocks and ETFs listed on the NYSE and NASDAQ on their mobile or desktop. Unlike Robinhood, it doesn’t allow trading with leverage but users do have access to other assets such as forex or cryptocurrency. The platform has no monthly fees and no minimum deposit amounts.

  • Brokerage fee: EasyEquities charges a 0.56% per buy/sell option for its USD accounts. There’s also a bank charge per money transfer, as you have to move money from your ZAR account to your USD account to be able to invest.
  • Inactivity fee: R0
  • Products: US shares, ETFs
  • Access: Desktop or mobile

CM Trading logo

6. CM Trading

CM Trading is a low-cost South African broker that offers both US and South African shares, currencies, commodities, and CFDs.

CM Trading is not the cheapest on the list for US stocks as it does charge relatively high transaction fees but it does distinguish itself by being reputable local option. CM Trading comes with solid portfolio tools and intuitive trading interfaces, making it suited to long-term investors.

  • Brokerage fee: Takes a fee from the spread, ranging from around 1.5 pips and 2.6 pips.
  • Inactivity fee: $15 per month
  • Products: JSE shares, ASX shares, US shares, ETFs
  • Access: Desktop or mobile
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More info


Compare share trading platforms

Not what you’re after? You can compare other share trading platforms in the table below.

Name Product Number of Stocks CFDs Shares Available Markets
eToro
2,000+
Yes
Yes
Worldwide with exception.
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Plus500
2,000+
Yes
No
Worldwide with exception.
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Zacks Trade
Zacks Trade
Access to global markets
No
Yes
US, CA, MX, AUT, BEL, FR, DE, IT, NL, ES, NO, SE, UK, CH, HK, JP, SG, RU, AU
Prime XBT
Access to global markets
No
Yes
US, IN, ES, JP, AU, UK, CN, DE, CA, CH, MX, NZ, CH, HK, FR
Firstrade
Access to US stocks
No
Yes
US
CM Trading
N/A
Yes
No
US, FR, DE, UK, AU, ZA, CH. HK, JP, ES, NL, IT
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Exness
N/A
Yes
No
CH, VN, TH, PH, SG, ID, IN, UAE, ZA, SA, EG, BR, CR, MX
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Interactive Brokers
Access to global markets
No
Yes
US, MX, RU, ES, UK, DE, IL, HK, SG, IN, KR, AU, CH, HU, CA
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Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, CFDs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Trading CFDs and forex on leverage comes with a higher risk of losing money rapidly. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades.

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