5 Best Crypto Exchanges In South Africa

January 17, 2024
Blog

Choosing the best cryptocurrency exchange in South Africa isn’t easy, given all the options out there and the different features each of them offers. As an avid crypto investor myself, I diligently keep up with the movements of the top exchanges in South Africa, and have made my selections below based on years of research and personal experience.

Kraken is the favorite among knowledgeable South African crypto investors, both for its high level of security and for its ease of use. Kraken's fees are also extremely low, so if you’re looking for a secure, cost-effective way to buy and sell crypto in South Africa, I can’t recommend Kraken highly enough.

Here’s something you may not realize: the cryptocurrency exchange you choose matters. Your choice will impact how profitable your trades are, how easily you can buy and sell coins, and whether you can use it in South Africa at all.

Fortunately, I've been investing in crypto for more than 9 years, and I frequently update my list of the top platforms below. So if you’re looking for a safe and secure crypto exchange that’s easy to use, supports the South African rand, and is compatible with the biggest financial institutions in South Africa, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are my top picks for the best crypto exchanges South Africa has to offer.

1. Kraken – Best Overall

Best Overall
Kraken

Fees: 0.16%
Security: Best in class
Customer Support: Excellent

Top-notch security + lowest fees.

★★★★★

Rated 4.9/5

Based in the United States, Kraken is a highly transparent exchange with a longstanding history of reliability. As one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world, Kraken outperforms smaller exchanges for a number of reasons.

For starters, Kraken's fees are far lower than most other exchanges, with most users paying 0.16% per transaction (fees decrease down to 0% if you trade high volumes). Kraken's spreads are also absurdly low, typically around $0.10 per Bitcoin, which is 0.0003%. Compare that with other exchanges—which routinely charge up to 2% in trading commissions plus an additional 2% or more in spreads—and it's easy to see why Kraken is such a popular exchange.

Kraken also has better customer support than most other exchanges, and is one of the only exchanges out there that still offers telephone support (available in English, French and Spanish). It supports 100+ cryptocurrencies and has a world-class trading platform and mobile app that's powerful yet easy to use.

If that wasn't enough, Kraken's trading platform is professional and robust, offering features like NFT trading, staking and support for a wide range of fiat currencies including USD, EUR, and more.

Overall, Kraken is an excellent fit for many crypto investors because it has lower fees, better support and a better trading platform overall. If you're looking to start trading crypto, we strongly recommend Kraken.

Features

  • Extremely low trading commissions (0.16%)
  • Extremely low spreads (0.0003%)
  • Trade 100+ cryptocurrencies
  • Stake 100+ cryptocurrencies
  • Simple, intuitive user interface
  • Kraken Crypto Watch allows you to keep track of the crypto market
  • NFT trading inside the Kraken app
  • 24/7 customer support via phone, email and live chat
  • Plenty of free educational resources available to users
  • 95% cold storage policy

Cost

  • Trading Fees: 0.16% (spot trades cost 0.26%)
  • Spreads: 0.0003%
  • Fiat Deposit Fee: 0%
  • Fiat Withdrawal Fee: $0 – $5 USD

Best For

Cryptocurrency investors looking to trade with extremely low fees.

2. Capital

Zero Fees
Capital

Trading fees: 0%
Supports: 100+ coins
Customer support: Excellent

Trusted by millions.

★★★★★

Rated 4.9/5

Capital allows users to trade crypto alongside stockscommodities, forex, market indices, ETFs and more—all without any trading fees. It supports 100+ cryptocurrencies, and users can trade with 2x leverage on crypto (up to 500x leverage on other assets).

Capital charges a tight spread ranging from 0.1% – 0.3% (depending on the asset), making the overall cost of using the platform (0% trading commissions + 0.1% – 0.3% spreads) very low. It has a fully functional desktop platform, a well-rated mobile app (4.7/5 on Android and iOS), and an excellent demo account where you can practice trading with real assets in real time.

Capital is licensed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, which means it’s a safe, secure platform. Every user receives a dedicated account manager they can reach by email or phone anytime, which is part of the reason Capital’s customer support team receives such positive reviews.

Deposits and withdrawals are always free with Capital, and you’ll never pay trading commissions regardless of whether you place spot orders or limit orders. Capital is ISO 27001 certified for meeting robust information security standards, making it an extremely safe platform to trade with.

The biggest drawback of Capital is that it can take several days to have your account verified since their verifications team is overwhelmed with signups right now. If you sign up using my referral link, though, you can skip the waitlist and start trading immediately.

I’ve personally used Capital for more than 4 years, and based on my experiences and those of millions of other users, I can’t recommend it highly enough. 

Features

  • Zero trading commissions
  • Tight spreads (0.1% – 0.3%) 
  • Supports 100+ cryptocurrencies
  • Allows up to 500x leverage (2x leverage on crypto)
  • Fully functional demo account for paper trading
  • Free deposits and withdrawals via debit/credit cards, bank transfer, POLi, PayPal, Apple Pay, etc.
  • Dedicated account manager you can reach at any time
  • Excellent desktop trading platform
  • Well-rated mobile app (4.7/5 on both Apple and Google)
  • Licensed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
  • ISO 27001-certified for meeting extremely high information security standards

Cost

  • Trading fees: 0%
  • Spreads: 0.1% – 0.3%
  • Deposits & Withdrawals: Free

Signup Bonus

Skip the waitlist and have your account approved immediately by using my referral link below.

Best For

Investors looking for the best overall crypto trading experience with no trading commissions.

3. VALR

VALR is one of the largest crypto exchanges in South Africa, by volume. It was launched in 2019 and has since amassed over 250,000 monthly users, and 500 institutional clients. VALR supports 60 cryptocurrencies, including XRP, Bitcoin, and Ethereum.

VALR has very competitive fees, starting at 0.1% for takers and -0.01% for makers; that means you get paid for increasing liquidity in the market. They also have an attractive Rewards & Rebates program that works with referrals; when you invite friends or family to join you increase your referral level, and can get up to 15% in rebates on all trades.

VALR’s signup process is one of the quickest; they use AI technology to match a user's face and comply with Anti Money Laundering (AML) laws. VALR uses a cold storage policy coupled with Multi-Signature protocols to keep all assets secured.

Features

  • Supports 60 cryptocurrencies
  • Instant account verification
  • 95% Cold storage policy
  • Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
  • Multi-Signature security protocols
  • Rewards & Rebates program

Cost

  • Trading Fees: From 0.85% to 0.75%
  • Maker’s Fees: -0.01% (you get paid for increasing liquidity)
  • Taker’s Fees: 0.1%
  • Withdrawal Fees (ZAR): R8.5
  • Withdrawal Fees Instant (ZAR): R60.0
  • Withdrawal Fees (Crypto): Depends on the crypto (0.002BTC for Bitcoin
  • Deposit Fees (ZAR): Free
  • Deposit Fees (Crypto): Free
  • VALR Pay Transactions: Free

Best For

Investors looking for the most liquid exchange with the lowest fees and a strong referral program.

4. AltCoinTrader

Headquartered in Johannesburg, AltCoinTrader is one of the oldest and largest crypto exchanges in South Africa. It was launched in 2015 and it started as a crypto exchange for just 3 currencies: Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Namecoin. Since then it has expanded and now supports over 25 of the largest cryptocurrencies.

AltCoinTrader has two main features: Easy Buy and Easy Save. Easy Save is a crypto staking platform – it doesn’t have lock-in periods or limits, just deposit your crypto and you can start earning rewards – you can withdraw at any time, and the APY of the supported crypto ranges from 2.40% to 8.44%.

Easy Buy is mostly geared towards experienced investors; it has an instant buy option that incurs a small fee. Investors can take advantage of this and make the most of every trade. In terms of security, AltCoinTrader uses SSL encryption and a cold storage policy to secure assets.

Features

  • Supports 32 cryptocurrencies
  • 95% Cold Storage policy
  • Data encrypted with SSL protocol
  • Easy Buy, instant buy option
  • Easy Save, staking platform
  • Regular Airdrops & Giveaways

Cost

  • Spreads: 0.22%
  • Trading Fees: 0.1%
  • Easy Buy & Sell Fees: 0.75%
  • Deposit Fees (Crypto): Free
  • Withdrawal Fee (Crypto): Depends on the crypto (0.0000052 BTC for Bitcoin)
  • Deposit Fees (Fiat): 0.5%
  • Withdrawal Fee (Fiat): R16 + 0.5% (Max. R95.0)

Best For

Investors looking for low fees and a very secure staking platform for their crypto.

5. Quidax

Quidax is one of the largest crypto exchanges in Africa, and a trailblazer in the crypto industry on that continent. Headquartered in Malta, it is the first and only African crypto exchange to be listed in CoinMarketCap, the largest and most trusted source of cryptocurrency news, often cited by major players like CNBC and Bloomberg.

Quidax supports 20 cryptocurrencies and dozens of crypto pairs, and its highly-rated mobile app is available for Android (4.1/5 rating) and iOS (4.5/5 rating). It uses a maker/taker fee system and charges a flat 0.1% for makers and 0.3% for takers. Trades usually take less than 10 minutes to complete, and the signup process is instant for customers in Africa.

Since its launch in 2018, Quidax surpassed $4 billion in transactions, just in Africa, and in 2021 they launched their own native token, the QDX. The QDX token can be staked and exchanged for any other token listed on the exchange, and they have plans to add new features and functions as well as reduced fees for holders.

Some of the new features to be released include Quidax EARN (a DeFi market-aggregator), the Quidax NFT Marketplace, and a decentralized swapping platform, Quid SWAP

Features

  • Supports 20+ cryptocurrencies
  • Available on Android and iOS
  • Quick sign-up process for African users
  • Access to a flexible staking platform
  • Trades completed in less than 10 minutes

Cost

  • Maker’s Fees: 0.1%
  • Taker’s Fees: 0.3%
  • Instant Buy: 1%
  • Deposit Fees (Crypto): Free
  • Withdrawal Fees (Crypto): Depends on the crypto (0.0002 BTC for Bitcoin) 
  • Deposit Fees (Naira): From 100 NGN to 2,250 NGN (based on deposit size)
  • Withdrawal Fee (Naira): From 200 NGN to 5,000 NGN
Why you should trust me

  • Experienced
    I bought my first cryptocurrency (Bitcoin) in 2013, bought Ethereum in 2017, and have held active accounts with at least 5 exchanges since 2018.
  • Unbiased
    All of my selections are supported by multiple data points, including crypto thought leaders, security experts, and Trustpilot reviews.
  • Deep Research
    My team and I spent more than 20 hours researching exchanges before choosing our top picks, and we update them almost daily as the industry continues to change.

What To Look For In A Great South African Crypto Exchange

I consider many different factors in my search for the best South African crypto exchange. Here are just a few of the more prominent ones:

  • Supported coins: The best South African crypto exchanges support a wide variety of coins—at least 20 or 30—including all the major coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin. Platforms that add new coins regularly tend to be more customer-focused overall, making this a strong indicator of a forward-thinking exchange.
  • User interface: Choosing a platform with an easy-to-use trading interface is important, especially for beginners. If you're a seasoned crypto investor, you'll also want to look out for exchanges that offer more advanced features like advanced order types and transaction exports for tax purposes.
  • Fees: All crypto exchanges charge fees (both in the form of trading commissions and bid-ask spreads), and they can vary by a wide margin. I've specifically chosen low-fee platforms here to help you maximize your profits.
  • Regulation: It's much safer to trade with a well-regulated exchange than an unregulated one, especially when markets aren't moving in your favor. Depositors' insurance is another safeguard offered by some exchanges, which keeps your assets safe even if the platform itself faces liquidity issues.
  • Deposit & withdrawal options: The exchange you choose should offer a variety of payment methods (bank transfers, debit/credit cards, PayPal, etc.) to ensure you can easily transfer funds in and out of your account. The more options you have, the better.
  • Security: Look for an exchange that strictly enforces multiple layers of security, such as two-factor authentication and at least 95% cold storage. Additional security measures like daily offsite backups, third-party security audits, and email confirmations on transactions make your account even more secure.
  • Customer support: The best crypto exchanges pride themselves on having well-trained, responsive support teams who can help users through any problems that come up. I pay particular attention to the channels each exchange offers support through, response times, the thoroughness and helpfulness of their responses, and user feedback on the customer support they've received.

In Summary

Kraken is the favorite among knowledgeable South African crypto investors, both for its high level of security and for its ease of use. Kraken's fees are also extremely low, so if you’re looking for a secure, cost-effective way to buy and sell crypto in South Africa, I can’t recommend Kraken highly enough.

Best Crypto Exchange South Africa FAQs

Which South African crypto exchange has the lowest fees?

The South African crypto exchange with the lowest fees is generally Kraken, depending on the specific crypto assets you're trading.

What’s the best crypto wallet in South Africa?

The best crypto wallet is the Ledger Nano S hardware wallet. It is the best way to keep your private keys secure and, more importantly, offline. All Ledger wallets are certified by the French National Agency of Security and are among the safest and most cost-efficient wallets out there, and they support 1,200+ crypto assets, coins, and tokens.

What’s the best altcoin exchange in South Africa?

The best altcoin exchange in South Africa is Kraken. It supports a wide variety of cryptocurrencies and regularly adds more of the altcoins South African investors are looking for.

What is the safest crypto wallet in South Africa?

The Ledger Nano S is the safest wallet available today. All Ledger wallets far exceed industry standards for security: they use tamper-resistant Certified Secure Element (SE) with Common Criteria (CC) EAL5+ chips on their nanodevices, which means your private key stays on the secure chip. It also has a proprietary operating system called Blockchain Open Ledger Operating System (BOLOS) that's successfully undergone audits from the French National Agency of Security, many other government agencies, as well as regular audits from independent security organizations. 

What’s the safest crypto exchange in South Africa?

The safest cryptocurrency exchange in South Africa is Kraken. They strictly enforce bank-level security protocols, run on servers in secure locations around the world, and undergo frequent financial and security audits to ensure all of their users’ assets are completely safe. They also have some of the lowest fees of any platform in South Africa and are known for being a reputable, trustworthy exchange.

How Can I Sell Bitcoin In South Africa?

There are several different ways to sell Bitcoin in South Africa, though the easiest is to sell it directly from the crypto wallet or exchange that you’re holding it on. Remember to be cautious whenever you transfer coins between wallets, since blockchain transactions are irreversible.

What crypto exchange is best for beginners in South Africa?

The best crypto exchange for beginners in South Africa is Kraken, followed by Capital. Both are ideal for beginners because they verify accounts instantly, have easy-to-use trading platforms, and provide great customer support in case you need any help along the way.

Is cryptocurrency legal in South Africa?

Yes, cryptocurrency is legal in South Africa, and you can buy, sell and use crypto without breaking the law. However, cryptocurrency is not currently considered legal tender in South Africa, which means the South African government and South African businesses are not legally obligated to accept it as payment for goods and services.

What’s the best crypto app in South Africa?

The best crypto app in South Africa is Kraken. Its mobile app is very easy to use, has a nice, modern interface, and has very good ratings and reviews on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. If you live in a country like South Korea or Somalia instead, you’ll have to double-check to ensure you can get the Kraken app in your local app store.

What is the best crypto exchange for day trading in South Africa?

The best crypto exchange for day trading in South Africa is Kraken, since it has low trading fees, tight spreads, and its prices update multiple times per second, giving day traders an upper hand over the rest of the market.

Can the South African government track cryptocurrency?

Yes. Just like in places such as Sierra Leona, Serbia, Somalia and Slovenia, South African tax authorities can track cryptocurrency trades and transactions—and not only when your digital assets interact with real-world institutions like banks. Some exchanges in South Africa are required by law to provide the government with information about their users’ transactions, including purchase price, purchase date, sale value, and all associated KYC data. If your tax returns don’t match the data the government receives from these exchanges, you may receive a fine.

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