The prop trading industry has grown significantly, and the latest buzz around funded accounts clearly demonstrates how important it is to join only a reliable firm that really funds your accounts and pays out the profit.
Topstep is the innovator and market leader for futures funded trader programs and has been around since 2012. The total payout to their traders summed up to over $14 million in the past three years alone.
But is Topstep a company you can trust and worth it?
I reviewed their entire offering with all funded account options, their newly introduced 1-Step program, the pricing structure and trading platforms, and you will find the results in this Topstep review.
Special Offer: 70% Discount + Topstep Free Trial
Is Topstep Legit?
Topstep was initially founded as TopstepTrader by Michael Patak in 2012. According to INC.5000, Topstep belongs to America’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies, indicating that TopstepTraders products and services are precisely what most traders search for.
Here are some more exciting statistics (Source: Topstep website):
- $14,157,715 funded trader payouts processed since 2020
- Number of accounts funded last month: 5,000
- Average payout processing time: 7 hours
- 14 trading platforms supported (TSTrader, NinjaTrader and TradingView recommended by TST)
- Available in 143 countries worldwide
How Does Topstep Work?
The Topstep concept is pretty simple. Traders who qualify through the Trading Combine can trade with Topstep’s capital on a funded futures trading account without making any deposit.
The first $10,000 of profits can be directly withdrawn to the private bank account of the trader, and after that, 90% of the profits.
Example: You make it through the Trading Combine and then get funded with a $50,000 account. Over the following months, you make a net profit of $15,000, growing the account value from $50,000 to $65,000. The first $10,000 of those $15,000 in profits can be withdrawn, plus 90% of the additional $5,000 in profits.
Topstep 1 Step 1 Rule
In the Summer of 2023, Topstep introduced their new 1 Step 1 Rule Trading Combine, which replaced the previously valid 2-Step concept.
The most exciting change is that now there is only one evaluation phase, while most prop firms still require two evaluation phases. That means the funded account can be archived faster with the 1-Step rule.
The community was so excited about that remarkable improvement that Topstep had to suspend accepting new customers for about two weeks.
Now, everything is up and running again, and to celebrate the success, Topstep currently provides a high discount (links to the discount offer in this Topstep review).
Trading Combine Insights – Become a Funded Trader in 1 Step
The new Trading Combine concept is so simple that everyone understands it right out of the gates.
The Trading Combine is an evaluation program focusing on futures trading hosted in a simulated environment. That means you see the futures markets in real-time like you would with a real money account, but your orders don’t go to the exchange.
So, your performance is measured based on paper money profits, and these results are used to evaluate if you become a funded trader.
The trading skills of a trader are evaluated over a minimum of only two days, where he has to prove profitability and manage risk appropriately. After passing the Trading Combine, the trader can start earning money from trading and withdraw profits.
The funded accounts are real money accounts where orders are sent to the futures exchanges. Due to the nature of real profits that can be made, traders can withdraw real money to their bank account.
How Much Does Topstep Cost?
Three different account sizes are available for the Top Trading Combine:
- $50k account: $165
- $100k account: $325
- $150k account: $375
Those monthly subscription costs recur until you either cancel your subscription or get funded.
Currently, Topstep offers a permanent discount of 70% for all account sizes. So, if you start your Trading Combine now, you get the following rates:
- $50k account: $49
- $100k account: $99
- $150k account: $149
At every time during a Trading Combine, it will be possible to reset the account balance. You might want to do that if you broke the rules of a Trading Combine and want to restart the challenge. The reset fees are $49 for the $50k account, $99 for the $100k and $149 for the $150k account.
Topstep Free Trial
During the 70% discount offering, the free trial is not available. Instead, the $50,000 Trading Combine can be started for $49.
Topstep’s rules are simple, so let’s discuss them briefly.
Follow the Trading Plan
The one important rule is never hitting the maximum loss limit. If you do, it will trigger a rule violation, letting you fail the Trading Combine. So, you have to avoid hitting the maximum loss limit. In addition, there are three objectives to keep in mind.
What is the Maximum Loss Limit?
The Topstep maximum loss limit is the account value calculated based on the account balance of the previous day. The fact that Topstep calculates the maximum loss limit at the end of a trading day is beneficial for traders.
Some competitors calculate those values intraday with a high-watermark logic, which could be problematic if the profit intray rises significantly and then falls to the end of the day. So, it is a pro for Topstep that the end-of-day calculation is used.
Example: You started a $50k Trading Combine, which sets your maximum loss limit at $2,000. Today is Tuesday, and your account balance on Monday at the end of the day was $7,520. Topstep calculates the maximum loss limit by taking the previous day’s account balance of $7,520 and subtracting $2,000 to set the maximum loss limit to $5,520.
Now, the maximum loss limit remains at $5,520 until your account balance reaches a higher level than $7,520 at the end of a trading day.
You learned about the 1 Rule you have to keep in mind. As a disciplined trader, you must consider three objectives to qualify for a funded account.
Profit Target: The profit target is a fixed value depending on the chosen Trading Combine. You have to reach the profit target to qualify for a funded account.
Profit Target per Account Size:
- 50K Trading Combine = $3,000
- 100K Trading Combine = $6,000
- 150K Trading Combine = $9,000
Consistency Target: Consistency is important for long-term success, and one home run trade is not enough. That’s why Topstep does not consider closed trade profits that stand for over 50% of the profit target. You are in the 50k challenge, and your profit target is $3,000. Making $2,000 with one trade will not be counted toward the profit target goal.
So it makes sense to take profits when a trade is below 50% of the profit target of the relevant challenge. To stand with the example of the account with the $3,000 profit target, a trade should be closed when it is below $1,500 in profit.
Topstep provides a Consistency Target Calculator that can be used to evaluate the specific numbers for each account and situation.
Daily Loss Limit: Proper risk management and discipline are required to qualify for a funded account, reflected in the daily loss limit. Each account size has its fixed daily loss limit. If you hit the daily loss limit, your Trading Combine is over.
Daily Loss Limit per Account Size:
- 50K Trading Combine = -$1,000
- 100K Trading Combine = -$2,000
- 150K Trading Combine = -$3,000
The evaluation phase takes place in a simulated environment, meaning traders might find ways to cheat the way profits are generated since trades are not executed on the futures exchange. Topstep monitors trading activity and disqualifies traders who cheat to reach the profit targets.
For example, traders who connect accounts or use slow external data feeds to cheat regarding trade executions get disqualified. The same goes for scalping algorithms in the simulated environment or exploiting the relative lack of slippage. So, if you plan to trick the system, you better don’t.
So, that’s it for the rule set. The rules are exceptionally simple and straightforward compared to other programs and prop firms.
I understand if that already sounds complex, but compared to other prop firms, it is well-structured and in the best interest of both parties.
Topstep currently supports 13 trading platforms, 5 of which are free to use in the Trading Combine. To keep costs low during the Trading Combine, it sounds reasonable to go with one of those five platforms:
- R|Trader Pro
- ATAS OrderFlow Trading
The following platforms are also supported, but it’s upon you to take care of the additional costs: MotiveWave, VolFlx, Bookmap, Investor/RT, JIgsaw Daytradr, MultiCharts, Sierra Chart, and Trade Navigator.
Topstep provides a funded futures trading account, and you can trade the following futures contracts.
- CME Exchange (ES, NQ, RTY, MES, MNQ, M2K, NKD, 6A, 6B, 6C, 6E, E7, 6J, 6S, GE, HE, LE, MBT, MET, M6E, M6A, 6M, 6N)
- NYMEX Exchange (CL, QM, MCL, HO, NG, QG, RB, PL)
- COMEX Exchange (GC, HG, SIL, SI, MGC)
- CBOT Exchange (YM, MYM, ZN, ZW, ZL, UB, ZT, ZB, ZS, TN, ZF, ZC, ZM)
TopstepTrader Review – The Funded Account
Once you pass the 1-step evaluation of the Topstep Trading Combine, you will be funded and able to trade with real money. You can withdraw the first $10,000 of your profits and 90% of your further profits – and best of all, there will be no risk for you since you trade on a Topstep account.
When trading with real money and placing orders on the exchange, traders must pay for the real-time data feed. That means that funded traders are responsible for the data fee cost charged by the exchange.
The more exchanges you trade, the more expensive it gets because the fee for each exchange ranges between $116 and $132 per month. This is expensive because prop account traders are considered professional traders.
Since you enter into an agreement with the exchange, you have to pay the exchange fees from your private account.
Trading Platform Fees In the Live Account
Quantower and T4 are free to use in the live accounts. All other platforms require you to pay a separate fee to the trading platform provider.
If you decide on a trading platform that charges separate subscription fees, you have to pay for those on your behalf.
During the combine, $3.70 was charged per round turn ($1.85 per side) in the simulated account. Within the funded trader account, you will be charged commissions and exchange fees, depending on the trading platform you use. Depending on the traded product, this can be between $2.46 and $4.30 per round turn.
The commissions are deducted from the live-funded account balance.
While the maximum loss limit was checked at the end of the day during the Trading Combine, it gets calculated intraday based on net P&L in live accounts.
There are no scaling plan adjustments. If you want to trade more contracts, contact Topstep to adjust the allowance.
You need five winning days with at least $200 in profit to earn your payout. You can withdraw 50% of the relevant account balance at this stage. You need to accumulate 30 winning days to get access to the full profits to withdraw. Once requested, the earnings will be processed on average within seven hours and should arrive after one or two business days.
Who Is Topstep Best For?
Topstep is best for investors with low capital looking to trade other people’s money for a share in profits. Trading without any personal capital risk with Topstep is an interesting idea. Still, becoming a funded trader is challenging. Nobody will know how long it may take to fulfill all requirements and if he will ever succeed.
It is crucial to consistently end the program when you realize that trading is not for you. Failing with TST also indicates that this type of trading is not right for you. As I mentioned in many of my posts, trading success is especially about preparation, trading by the rules and having sufficient funds in your account.
Topstep focus is the second part, trading by the rules. The rules are very tough, and like trading a regular account, a rule break will hurt you. During the Trading Combine with additional costs for a reset.
Topstep Review Summary
In my opinion, Topstep is the best prop firm with futures funded accounts since they are far ahead of their competition in terms of rules, payouts and costs.
While writing the Topstep review, I thought back and forth if I should keep it short and concise or put more details in it. I decided to use the latter to show you that things are more complex than they appear. Still, compared to competitors, Topstep’s rules, pricing structure and fees are straightforward and transparent.
So, I’m glad you made it to the review summary section after reviewing the in-depth information.
TopstepTrader is the #1 of all funded trading account programs I know of, and they have been around since 2012. So, they do many things much better than other prop firms.
- Topstep has the longest history of providing funded accounts (since 2012)
- Good pricing structure and account diversity
- Profit share of 100% for the first $10k in profits for the trader, and then 90%
- Tough to calculate the total expenses
- Funded traders are treated as professionals when paying the exchange fees, which results in higher monthly fixed costs for exchange data feeds
- It requires five winning days to start first payouts
- Only available for futures trading since TopstepFX is no longer available.
Sample Business Cases
A 3-month membership for the Trading Combine with a starting balance of $50K, using 2 resets, never reaching the goals.
- Membership cost: 3*$49=$147
- Resets: 2*$49=$98
- Trading platform: $0
- Exchange fees: $0
- Total costs: $147+$98=$245
- Gross profit: $0.0
- Net profit: -$245
A 3-month membership for the Trading Combine with a starting balance of $50K, using 3 resets, with a profit of $3,000 within 2 months of trading CME futures only:
- Trading Combine cost: 3*$49=$147
- Resets: 2*$49=$147
- Trading platform: $0
- Exchange fees: 2*$132=$264
- Total costs: $147+$147+$264=$558
- Gross profit: $3,000 = $3,000 payout
- Net profit: +$2,442
2-month membership for the Trading Combine with a starting balance of $50K, using 6 resets, being a funded trader for 4 months with $12,700 in profits trading CME and CBOT with NinjaTrader:
- Trading Combine cost: 2*$49=$98
- Resets: 6*$49=$294
- Trading platform: $990 (lifetime license with $100 rebate for Topstep users)
- Exchange fees: 2*4*$132=$1,056 (2 exchanges, 4 months)
- Total costs: $98+$294+$990+$1,056=$2,438
- Gross profit: $12,700 = $12,430 payout ($10,000+($2,700*90%))
- Net profit: +$9,992
Please understand that there are hundreds of potential calculations. The three mentioned above are only samples based on the pricing structure during the Topstep review process.
Estimating the overall real costs upfront is impossible. Please also understand that some of those fees also apply to trading futures with a regular broker, so those costs are reasonable.
TopstepTrader, The Chevron Logo, Topstep, TopstepFX, Trading Combine, Funded Account, and TSTrader are all trademarks of TopstepTrader, LLC.
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