First and foremost, TopstepTrader was not designed for beginner forex or futures traders. It’s an excellent platform for experienced traders to reach their full potential and become a funded trader after passing a simulated trading screening process. This is critical in order to weed out inexperienced traders and only gather traders with similar skill levels on the platform.
This one-of-a-kind, funded trading model was so successful that, since its debut in 2012, several trading platforms have attempted to recreate it, with varying degrees of success. Unlike most of these, Topstep Trader allows you to trade from any country, not just the United States.
TopStep Funded Program Review
Topstep’s funded program is simple: pre-screened and qualified traders are given a funded futures trading account. Funded traders keep the initial 5,000 dollars in profits in whole; however, this percentage is later reduced to 80%.
There is no extensive coaching, only a pre-wetting, one-step process beforehand on simulated accounts; either you learn on the fly, or you muster up your trading skills ahead of time to get into the funded program.
Topstep trading is a fantastic opportunity for any serious trader with limited capital. Without putting your own capital at risk, you quickly learn how to manage risk better, develop successful strategies, and become consistent.
Setting Up the Account
Before getting a funded trading account and beginning a sponsored trader program, you can start with a 14-day $150,000 simulated free trial account that can be used to sharpen skills initially and is absolutely free of charge. However, if you’re confident in your trading, you can skip this first optional phase.
If you want to improve your techniques first, this simulated account doesn’t require any credit card and, furthermore, supports 13 trading platforms, including TSTrader, TradeStation, and NinjaTrader.
Topstep Evaluation Process
What is the next step in becoming a funded trader? It begins with a monthly fee of $150. You can begin with simulated funds ranging from $30K ($150/month subscription) to $150K ($375). Your profit target, maximum position size, trailing maximum drawdown, and daily and weekly loss limits will all be determined by this option.
This option will also determine your funded account balance once you pass the screening process. Traders commonly use the simulated account to learn how options strike prices work and trade futures.
If you follow their trading guidelines, you can pay the monthly membership from the day you sign up until you meet their target and are funded, at which point you must cancel the subscription. So technically, you have plenty of time till you pay the monthly fee to meet their standard for a funded Tradestep account.
You must follow these guidelines to become a funded trader:
- Keep trading for at least five days (it doesn’t have to be consecutive) and stick to the following requirements, including some fine print.
- Reach the profit target of your selected subscription (we’ll use a $50,000 subscription as an example, each subscription model has different benchmarks).
- Reach your profit target of $3,000 if you choose a $50,000 subscription.
- Keep to maximum position size in line with the restrictions of your subscription type. (5 parallel contracts, or six if you fail)
- Do not exceed the daily loss limit ($1000) measured in real-time.
- Don’t let your account balance reach or surpass the trailing maximum drawdown ($2000, determined at the end of the day if >$2000 loss).
- If you have met your profit target and all of the other criteria, you can proceed to step two.
Topstep Funded Account Rules
After Topstep has cleared you for Step 2 (via email), the screening process starts over. This part takes ten trading days before you can achieve a funded trading status.
The requirements are more rigorous this time. Using the same $50,000 subscription (other levels have different goals), the rules are as follows:
- It would help if you met the profit target ($3,000).
- Initially, a maximum of two contracts are grown on a scalability plan; as more funds are added to the account, the lots increase (any more than the current place on the scale fails)
- If your daily loss limit of $1,000 is breached at any time, you will fail.
- Exceeding the trailing maximum drawdown of $2,000 at the closing of any trading day means you have failed.
- The second screening phase has a weekly loss limit (equal to a daily loss limit, depending on the sum of the week’s total net P&L).
- There will be no trading during significant economic releases.
- For a fee of $99, you can reset the second phase at any time.
Is TopstepTrader Legitimate?
Topstep Trader is an authorized and legitimate company, but it is considerably more expensive than some of its competitors, such as ThinkorSwim, and has a much more rigorous enrollment policy than, for example, TradingSim and many others. It’s much harder to get a funded account than with most trading platforms.
TopstepTrader Review of Funded Accounts
The Trading Combine two-phase screening process will teach you how to grow an account and manage risk so that you can trade borrowed capital with confidence. Only after passing the Trading Combine can you become a funded trader. You can keep the first $5,000 in profits as well as 80% of future profits.
Make sure you understand the rules before you start; otherwise, you won’t get accepted into the funded trader program.
Funded traders have to follow different rules:
- You can trade CME and EUREX, CBOT, NYMEX, and COMEX products, but you must pay a real-time data fee.
- The trading platform TSTrader is free to use. However, others require a monthly subscription.
- Keep in mind that commissions and exchange fees might have an impact on profitability.
- The requirements for a funded account vary. Funded traders are frequently returned to the screening process if they violate any of the rules.
- The maximum drawdown is constantly monitored.
- Withdrawals are allowed at any time and may take up to seven days if the payout is less than $500, with a $50 fee. There is no cost if the withdrawal exceeds $500.
- TradeStation, NinjaTrader, T4, Jigsaw Daytradr, MultiCharts, R|Trader Pro, VolFix, Trade Navigator, ATAS OrderFlow Trading, MotiveWave, Bookmap, and Investor/RT are among the trading platforms available. Some of these sites are free, while the majority charge a fee. Depending on your requirements, the TSTrader is the most popular option.
- A 14-day simulated trial account with a $150,000 starting amount and no credit card necessary.
- No platform fee for TSTrader.
- Available courses and mentoring at various levels, ranging from free to paid.
- Free features: daily live trading classes, trade performance coaching, courses on trading psychology, interactive chat-room, and trading community.
- Performance coaching is provided free of charge to funded traders.
- Your coach will help you improve your skills, identify your strengths, correct bad habits, analyze trades, and provide guidance.
- With a funded account, you don’t have to risk your capital.
- Using a funded trader program, you keep 100% of the first $5,000 profits and 80 % after that.
- Topstep Trader has a high Trustpilot rating of 4.6 out of 5 based on 944 reviews.
- The coaching fee is $395 each month during the Combine.
- Total expenses are hard to estimate and not transparent enough beforehand.
- Monthly fixed costs are higher as a result of exchange data fees.
- TopstepTrader’s success numbers, particularly the amount of Combine traders vs. sponsored traders’ success, are not as transparent. We know that over 1900 accounts were funded in 2019, but how many began the screening process in the first place? The shortest time to reach funded status was 15 days, but what is the average, and how many applications fail?
- Only available for trading futures and forex.
Topstep is a good place to start for traders with little capital or a limited starting balance. Furthermore, if you already have some knowledge and skills, opening a funded trading account provides a great learning curve.
TopstepTrader Review Final Thoughts
We reviewed the Topstep Trader programs, fees, underlying company, their features and trading platform, and pros and cons. Take the time to conduct your own research before investing your time and money in any funding program. Completing a thorough screening process to get a funded account seems to be a difficult process, but you will inevitably become a better trader as a result.