Investing > Forex Trading in Kenya

Forex Trading in Kenya

Have you ever wondered how to trade forex in Kenya? This guide has everything you need to know.

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Updated January 12, 2021

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Worried about a potential forex scam in Kenya?

You should be. ⚠️

The (CMA)—Kenya’s financial regulatory watchdog—recently warned against using unlicensed brokers in Kenya to avoid being involved in a forex scam. Kenya has a history with Forex scams, and it isn’t exactly a bright one. Now more than ever, choosing a regulated broker with a proven history of trust and success is crucial.

Luckily, you do have some legitimate options when it comes to forex trading in Kenya.

In this article, we will not only highlight brokers that are considered safe and regulated, we will outline where each broker shines, its fee structure, and go over the trading tools and platforms offered. We will follow this with a guide on everything you need to know about trading forex in Kenya. 

Let’s get started with a look at the top forex trading platforms in Kenya. 

Top Forex Brokers in Kenya

After extensive research, we’ve narrowed our list to the following:

  1. Pepperstone
    Best Overall
  2. AvaTrade
    Best for High Volume Traders
  3. XM
    Best for Professionals
  4. FXCM
    Best for Trading Tools
  5. FXTM
    Best for Leverage

Best Forex Brokers in Kenya 🇰🇪

1. Pepperstone: Best Overall

Pepperstone Forex Trading Platform
Pepperstone offers low trading fees and an easy account opening process.

Pepperstone is an online forex broker based in Australia, offering a collection of CFDs too. Aside from Kenya, Pepperstone is one of the leading forex brokers across the globe.

Pros

  • Fast and easy account opening process
  • Low forex and equity index fees
  • Low trading fees
  • No deposit fee
  • Award winning customer service

Cons

  • No investor protection for non-EU clients
  • High financing rate for CFDs
  • Standard news flows, no fundamental data 
  • No banking license
Visit Pepperstone on Pepperstone’s website

Clients of this Australian broker will reap the benefits of competitive commissions starting at $3.50, no fees on deposits or withdrawals, low average spreads, and an award-winning customer support team. 🏆

Traders in Kenya will be offered a leverage of up to 500:1. However, the upsides and downsides of this should be carefully considered, ensuring that your leverage matches your goals and needs. Overall, Pepperstone clients will gain access to more than 100 instruments, including cryptocurrencies and CFDs.

More specifically, Pepperstone’s asset selection offers a wide range of forex, a standard selection of CFDs, and a few cryptocurrencies, namely, Ethereum, Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Dash against the USD. About 70 currency pairs can be traded, but the leverage levels for these cannot be changed, which is a downside.

While traders are commonly hit with some unexpected hidden fees, Pepperstone’s fee structure is quite clear and transparent. The highlights of its fees include no trading fees, activity fees, or withdrawal fees. Pepperstone clients could be hit with forex and non-trading fees, but overall, these are lower than other competitors in Kenya. If you are planning on trading CFDs, then keep an eye out for potentially high CFD financing rates.

In terms of Pepperstone’s accounts, clients tend to prefer the Standard and the Razor accounts. The Razor account in particular offers spreads from just 0.0 pips, but in general, the spreads and commissions you face will depend on the account you choose.

Wondering how much support you’ll be provided? Pepperstone offers an award-winning customer support team. This means you’ll have access to responsive and helpful support 24 hours a day. If you think Pepperstone is the broker for you, forex traders in Kenya will be asked to meet the minimum deposit threshold of AU$200 (about 16,177.28 Kenyan shillings).


2. AvaTrade: Best for CFD Traders

Avatrade Forex Trading Platform
AvaTrade is best suited to CFDs traders looking for low spreads.

AvaTrade is an online CFD broker based in Ireland since its humble founding in 2006. The Irish firm offers low spreads on more than 785 financial instruments. Importantly, AvaTrade is financially regulated across five continents out of seven continents.

Pros

  • Trade CFDs on all asset classes 
  • Low trading fees
  • Several and free deposit and withdrawal options
  • Helpful educational tools
  • Fast and easy account opening process

Cons

  • Limited range of research tools
  • Inactivity fee
  • Phone support offered has limited availability
Visit AvaTrade on AvaTrade’s website

AvaTrade offers a total of five account types with fees and spreads all depending on the account type chosen. Taking a specific look at the AvaTrade Account (BVI), traders will gain access to 55 currency pairs with fixed spreads, plus a variety of CFDs to choose from on stocks, indices, cryptocurrencies, and commodities. It’s also good to know that the firm accepts MetaTrader EAs, except for those that focus on arbitrage.

Spreads with the BVI account begin at 0.9 pips for the EUR/USD, with a $0 commission per lot. Clients will gain access to a leverage of 1:400 through this account. AvaTrade’s non-trading fees are pretty standard, and you won’t have to worry about any withdrawal fees, but there is a high inactivity fee of $50 if no activity has taken place on your account within three months. 

There’s also an administration fee of $100 after one year’s worth of inactivity. Volume traders, unfortunately, won’t get any volume discounts, and there are no guaranteed stop losses. As a whole, AvaTrade’s fees are competitive.

Lastly, to sign up with AvaTrade, you will need to deposit a minimum of $100, and it’s worth noting that AvaTrade clients can withdraw 200% of the amount deposited through credit or debit card. Opening an account with AvaTrade is quick and easy, and you can relax knowing that the customer support time can be reached through live chat, phone, or email, in a range of languages.


3. XM: Best for Professional Forex Traders

XM Forex Trading Platform
XM is an industry leader in the forex space and is suitable for both beginners and professionals.

Founded in 2009, XM is a highly regulated forex broker, offering traders a strong selection of nearly 60 currency pairs and CFDs. Clients will also gain access to five cryptocurrency CFDs covering Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dashn, Ripple, and Ethereum. Since its founding, XM has amassed over 2.5 million clients across 196 countries.

Pros

  • Low CFD and withdrawal fees
  • Account opening process is seamless
  • Helpful and effective educational tools

Cons

  • Standard forex fees
  • Inactivity fee
Visit XM on XM’s website

XM is a solid choice for investing in international stock exchanges. Many have classified XM as one of the best online brokers for forex and CFDs. 

This global broker offers four account main options: Standard, Micro, Shares Accounts, and XM Ultra Low. With each account, traders will get high-quality trading conditions, and access to MetaTrader4. 

The micro accounts can hold EUR, USD, GBP, JPY, AUD, HUF, RUB, SGD, and ZAR. A benefit of this account is the lack of commission charges. This account also offers negative account protection as well as trading bonuses, along with no deposit bonus, making it a favorable choice for beginner traders.

XM clients can access more than 1,000 instruments across 7 asset classes, including 55 forex pairs, eight commodities through futures CFDs, five futures CFDs, and two spot metals.

As is typical with Forex, the fees depend on the account used. Though XM does a good job of making sure all its fees are transparent and are laid out as per the asset class’s page. 

In general, XM offers tight spreads as low as 0.6 pips on all major currency pairs, and no hidden fees. In essence, XM clients will be offered a leverage of between 1:1 to 888:1. This will depend on your account type, asset type, and trade size.

All fees will vary depending on the asset class, and can include a minimum and maximum trade size and margin percentage. All information per account is clearly laid out. Standard non-trading fees apply. XM clients will not face any withdrawal fees, though withdrawals below $200 will come with a $15 carry fee. There’s also no account fee.

If no activity takes place on your account in 90 days you may be charged a fee of $5 per month. This fee will be charged until your account hits $0, and then your account will be archived.

XM’s customer support can be reached over the phone and through live chat. Further, anyone looking to improve their trading knowledge will appreciate XM’s complete research and education center.


4. FXCM: Best for Trading Tools

FXCM
FXCM offers top-notch trading tools and a superb educational experience.

Founded in 1999 in New York, FXCM was originally banned in the US as a result of fraud charges. It has since restored its reputation and Jefferies Group, the new owner, is a well-known and trusted firm.

Pros

  • Low minimum deposit
  • Robust trading tools 
  • Quality market research

Cons

  • Limited selection of forex and CFDs
  • Platforms lack in usability
Visit FXCM on FXCM’s website

The range of markets offered by FXCM is narrow and the pricing is standard, but this firm stands out with its robust trading tools and quality market research.

FXCM offers 39 currency pairs, 82 CFDs, copy trading, and spot trading. Overall, FXCM has low trading fees and no withdrawal, deposit, or account fees. However, its over fees are pretty average, and an inactivity fee will apply to accounts that have been lying idle for a year or over. There is also an initial minimum deposit of $50.

The spread pricing can be viewed on the broker’s website. Though no side-by-side comparisons are available to help determine the real costs. That said, it’s not a huge concern.

FXCM’s Active Trader Account has five tiers. With the tier 1 Active Trader Account, a deposit of $25,000 is required. This account has more research options, and a lower commission rate of $30 per million. The round turn price for the EUR/USD pair is just £4 (about 581 Kenyan shillings).

The tier 2 Active Trader account is best suited to volume traders, trading more than $150 million per month. With this, a commission of $25 per million is charged, and no smaller discounts for Active Trader account users are given.

We can’t move on without mentioning FXCM’s near-flawless educational experience which includes webinars, videos, articles. The firm offers a folder of quality basic forex training lessons and a lengthy video archive of well-produced lessons.

The FXCM customer support responds quickly and can be reached through phone, live chat, and email. But the team is not available on weekends, unfortunately.


5. FXTM: Best for Leverage

FXTM Forex Trading Platform
 FXTM offers one of the highest leverages in the forex industry.

Established in 2011, FXTM makes our list of the top forex brokers in Kenya. Since its foundation, FXTM has grown to become a globally renowned forex broker, offering clients more than 250+ instruments, a selection of different account types, along with forex bonuses and contests.

Pros

  • First class customer support
  • Fully online account opening
  • Selection of helpful educational tools
  • No deposit fee

Cons

  • Inactivity and withdrawal fees
  • Limited product portfolio
Visit FXTM on FXTM’s website

The FXTM MetaTrader offers currency pairs in the lower range, in comparison to other leading forex trading platforms. In total, there are only 33 currency pairs, and two CFD spot metals (XAUUSD and XAGUSD). The cTrader platform, on the other hand, offers 4 assets classes, including a bigger selection of 70 currency pairs, stock indices, and seven pairs of metal trading.

On a positive note, forex traders in Kenya will gain access to one of the highest leverages offered in the forex industry. That is, a leverage of 1,000:1, along with trade sizes from $0.1. Additionally, FXTM’s technology provides impressive execution speeds of 52 milliseconds.

Each FXTM account differs in fees. Traders using the ECN account will benefit from low spread charges, but the catch is that there is a commission charge. That said, the commission fee charged by FXTM will lower if your account balance is higher, or if you’re an active trader. Beginners planning to trade on-the-go will appreciate FXTM’s app which we have listed as one of the leading forex trading apps.

FXTM clients will face a non-trading fee of $5 per month if no trades have taken place within six months. There is also a pesky withdrawal fee of $3. 

Opening an FXTM account is quite a hassle free process, and should be up and running within two working days. The minimum deposit, like the fees, will depend on the account type. The ECN account, for example, has a higher minimum deposit requirement of $500, while the standard account has a minimum requirement of just $100.

FXTM offers support to its clients through live chat, phone, and email, in a whole range of languages to meet the needs of traders across the globe. Languages include English, German, Frechna, Italian, Polish, Chinese, and Russian, among others.


Guide to Forex Trading in Kenya 📚

In this section, we aim to explain everything you need to know about forex trading, including the basics to get you started trading forex in Kenya.

The Forex Market in Kenya Explained 🇰🇪

Foreign exchange, also known as forex, is the exchange of currencies on the currency market. Traders can buy or sell currency pairs at the current exchange rate, which fluctuates over time. The goal is to buy a currency in the hopes that it will increase in value, allowing the trader to sell it and make a profit.

Not too long ago, trading on the foreign exchange market was restricted to banks, governments, and large institutions. However, in under 20 years, the forex market has seen a drastic increase in retail traders and speculators through the emergence of more low-cost trading platforms.

Today, the forex market is the largest financial market in the world, with an estimated volume of $6.6 trillion USD traded per day.

Is Forex Trading Legal in Kenya? 🏛

Yes, forex trading in Kenya is legal. The forex trading market in Kenya has been regulated by the Capital Markets Authority, the regulatory authority in Kenya, since 2018. If you are a forex trader in Kenya, ensure that you only trade with brokers that are regulated to operate legally in Kenya.

How is Forex Regulated in Kenya? ⚖️

Before choosing a forex broker in Kenya, ensure that it is well regulated by a reputable financial regulator. This is because forex brokers licensed by the regulator are held accountable to the rules and guidelines enforced by the concerned authority. This ensures the safety of your funds, and protects you from bankruptcy or fraud. 

This is more true in the Kenyan forex market where historically, there have been a lot of scams by unlicensed forex brokers. Therefore, so long as you trade through a regulated forex broker, your funds should be safe.

How to Get Started Trading Forex in Kenya ⭐️

Due to the notable business potential and demographics in Kenya, many leading online forex brokers noticed its potential and established offices in Lagos and across the country. 

Those new to trading will be happy to know that forex trading in Kenya is relatively easy. Here are the steps you can take to get started:

  1. Choose a device that can connect to the internet, like a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
  2. Find a safe and regulated broker that can legally trade in Kenya, such as the brokers we outlined above.
  3. Open a margin account with your chosen forex broker.
  4. Deposit money to trade through the payment methods available by your broker.
  5. The next step is to download the trading platform you want to use that’s offered by the broker.
  6. Once you’ve completed the first five steps, you can go ahead and get started researching and making a trading strategy to make sure your first trade has the best possible impact.

Key Forex Terminology 📖

When forex trading, there are some unique terms that are important to understand before you begin. Here are some of the key terms:

Pip: Point in percentage, also known as the pip, represents the smallest rate of movement for a specific currency pair.

Margin calls: When holding a trading position an amount of margin that exceeds the funds in your account is required. If your account falls below the required amount a broker can issue a margin call for the trader to deposit additional funds. If a deposit is not made, a broker may automatically liquidate your trading position.

Lot size: A standard lot size is 100,000 base currency units. Some brokers support smaller lot sizes called mini lots which represent 10,000 of the base currency units, and micro lots that represent 1,000 base currency units.

Orders: An order is an instruction to the forex broker to execute a position. There are several types of orders used in the forex market, including stop-losses, limits, market orders, and take profits.

Example of a Forex Trade in Kenya 💱

Let’s say for the sake of the example that the USD/KES exchange rate is 106.50 Kenyan shillings to 1 USD. If you expect the USD/KES currency pair to increase in value, you may decide to buy 100,000 U.S. dollars against the Kenyan shilling at the current exchange rate of 106.50.

If your prediction is correct and the exchange rate rises to 107.50, you would profit. Here is how to determine that profit:

100,000 USD x (107.50-106.50 KES/USD) = 100,000 KES

To convert this amount to USD, you could do the following calculation:

100,000 CAD ÷ 107.50 KES/USD = 930.23 USD

Conversely, if the USD/KES exchange rate drops to 105.50, you would lose out on a profit. Here is the calculation to determine your loss:

100,000 USD x (105.50-106.50 KES/USD) = -100,000 KES

To convert this loss into USD at the current exchange rate of 105.50, the equation would be:

-100,000 KES ÷ 105.50 KES/USD = -947.87 USD

Do I Have to Pay Taxes on Forex in Kenya? 💸

In the 2018/2019 fiscal year, Kenya sought new cash streams to finance an expanded budget. In doing so, it roped forex traders, informal businesses, and international money transfer dealers into the tax net.

The National Treasury outlined that this was an attempt to reverse revenue losses that fell from 18.1% of GDP to 17.1%.

Dr. Geoffrey Mwau, The National Treasury’s director general of budget said,

“We are looking at foreign transactions such as online businesses, and money transfers and online forex traders and that they could be part of that… We also want to try and stop revenue losses through transfer pricing by multinationals.”

COVID-19 in Kenya: Policy Changes & What They Mean

Progress made against key indicators in Kenya, like financial inclusion for women and educational achievements could face a digression due to COVID-19. What can be done? 

Though COVID-19 did not impact the health of Kenyans significantly at the time of writing, the economy was hit hard socially and economically. For example, research shows that 9 in 10 families saw a decrease in income, and 4 in 10 reported an increase in domestic violence.

The research goes onto show that Kenyans are worrying about the economy and the household, particularly education for children. This has left Kenyans feeling conflicted. Though Kenyans fear a second wave, there is anxiety surrounding the reboot of the economy. 

  • 91% of people have seen a loss in income.
  • 67% of people are using money they were saving for education to meet their daily needs.
  • When adults who own/run their own business were surveyed, 67% reported having to sell business assets or stock to survive.

These damages to the economy are only a further hit to the economy. Before COVID-19, Kenya was emerging from several major crises. Two floods affected thousands and cut off major avenues for trade.

Locust swarms threatened the economy further by arriving at the start of crop planting to affect output levely, straining earning potential for farmers and agribusinesses that Kenya heavily relies upon. A recent World Bank Kenya Economic Update warns that growth will drop from the previously predicted 5.9%-6.0% to 1.0-1.5% in 2020.

In November, these impacts were evident when the Kenyan foreign exchange reserves fell to a six month low of 8.6 trillion shillings (around 7.93 billion U.S. dollars).

The Kenyan Forex Market: FAQs

  • When is the Best Time to Trade Forex in Kenya?

    When forex trading in Kenya, certain times offer more potential than others. A key time to trade forex in Kenya is between 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm local time. From 4:00 pm, the London and New York trading sessions overlap, meaning there is increased market activity. During these times, the market is most liquid.

  • Is Forex Trading Profitable in Kenya?

    Of course, you probably already know that forex trading, by nature, is high risk. Being aware of, and respecting the risky nature of forex, will help you significantly.

    For this reason, it is essential to do your research and deploy effective forex trading strategies that mitigate the risks, help you avoid losses, and potentially increase your profits.

  • How to Spot a Forex Trading Scam in Kenya

    Historically, there have been a lot of forex scams in Kenya. As such, the risk of forex traders being scammed was highlighted by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA advised traders to avoid trading scams by staying away from platforms of unlicensed entities as this puts their investment at risk and may offer their money no protection by law.

  • Can I Trade Forex with $100?

    Yes, you can trade forex with $100. The minimum balance required by different forex brokers, and for different forex accounts varies, making it possible to trade forex with just $100.

  • How Much Do I Need to Start Trading Forex in Kenya?

    Unlike most markets, forex trading does not require too much money to get started. This is because in forex, traders can use leverage (borrowed money) to trade. Brokers typically offer a leverage of 100:1 or more in some cases. In this case, investors can make larger trades, and therefore potentially larger profits.

  • Who's the Most Popular Forex Broker in Kenya?

    So, who exactly are the best forex brokers in Kenya? As mentioned above, the Kenyan financial sector is overseen by the Capital Markets Authority of Kenya (CMA), the financial regulator in Kenya. From our research, we have concluded that the top forex broker in Kenya is Pepperstone.

    However, it’s best to review the top brokers yourself, with your needs in mind. Each forex broker offers different benefits depending on your individual trading needs and goals, so choose wisely.

All reviews, research, news and assessments of any kind on The Tokenist are compiled using a strict editorial review process by our editorial team. Neither our writers nor our editors receive direct compensation of any kind to publish information on tokenist.com. Our company, Tokenist Media LLC, is community supported and may receive a small commission when you purchase products or services through links on our website. Click here for a full list of our partners and an in-depth explanation on how we get paid.

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