TopStep Trader Overview
|Initial Capital|| $50,000 – $150,000 |
|Price Range|| $49 – $149 |
|Max Drawdown||3% – 4%|
|Tradable Products|| Futures |
Full TopStepTrader Review
Do you want to learn how to day trade and make big money? Focusing on futures trading, TopStep is ideal for those who want to day trade but don’t have a lot of capital.
TopStep is best for:
- New day traders
- Futures traders
- Day traders who don’t have much capital
The goal of TopStep is to provide prospective day traders with a simulated account. Day traders who perform well and stick to specific parameters of the Trading Combine are rewarded with fully funded accounts.
The platform is open not only to U.S. citizens but the whole world, with 143 countries represented within the trading community. Funded traders can trade futures with TopStep using the firm’s money and keep most of the profits. In 2020, more than $2 million was withdrawn by funded traders.
Read on to find out more in this TopStepTrader review.
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External TopStepTrader Review & Ratings
|Trustpilot||4.3 from 1,875 reviews|
Here are some reviews from traders who have experienced the platform firsthand:
“I’m a loyal Topstep client for more than a year. Started as a complete outsider and learned to trade during your combines. Your tight rules forced me to evolve and create good trading habits, as well as creating a sane risk management. I can only say good things about you and your service. I’m looking forward to retribute what knowledge I’ve learned by making money for both of us with my live trading in the future.”
“Great opportunity for beginners trying to get their foot in the door to the world of trading. Learn and test strategies with minimal risk and lots of potential for reward with success.”
“I appreciate that there is constant support. The Topstep family make it feel like they are really rooting for you to succeed, with free coaching, and this YouTube TV they have, the giveaways, and the way they interact with you makes this whole process and experience worth it. Shout out to Edward from Support who was friendly, patient and helpful. Thank You!”
“This is my first experience with a prop firm, and last. I feel I found a good all around prop firm and see no reason to go with another.
They have a really great customer service base. If you have connection issues? Strong support/customer service to fix your issues fast. having psychological issues with trading or in a slump?
They have Strong customer service w/ really easy to talk to Reps who give actionable advice and exude professionalism (Edward, Leslie and Vincent to name a few). Before prop firms, I had struggled with sticking to a blue print of rules that I’ve created. Coming from stocks/options to now trading futures, they lay out a great structure of how to approach your risk management (much different then I would of with options), trading psychology and execution. 10/10″
What is TopStep Trader?
TopstepTrader, now commonly known as Topstep, is a proprietary trading firm established by Michael Patak in 2012. Located near the West Loop Gate neighborhood in downtown Chicago, it originated on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade.
The company quickly gained traction, becoming one of the US’s fastest-expanding prop trading firms, as noted by INC.5000. As evidence of its global outreach and robust trading community, Topstep has traders from 143 countries and offers trading accounts in 10 different currencies. The firm supports 14 trading platforms, with NinjaTrader, TradingView, and TSTrader among the most recommended.
Impressively, since 2020, they’ve processed over $14 million in funded trader payouts, funded 5,000 accounts just last month, and boast an average payout processing time of 7 hours.
The concept of the platform is traders can create an account and compete within simulated trials on the Trading Combine to be the best. Traders who qualify have the chance to be promoted to the status of funded trader and receive a funded account.
The Trading Combine provides a relatively safe experience for traders, minimizing personal risk while also offering an in-depth look at futures trading. All traders are held to certain restrictions, which cover everything from trading days to weekly loss limits. They must be able to meet these requirements before they have access to funded trading.
Once a trader has upgraded to a funded account, they can actively day trade with the firm’s real money. The first $5,000 in profits are kept for funded traders. After that there is a profit split with traders retaining 80% of profits.
Our review on TopStepTrader shows futures traders have all the tools they need to not only improve their day trading skills but to turn them into a professional trader. This can make the platform seem appealing to job seekers who want to get started in the industry. However, it’s never guaranteed that users will receive a funded account.
No-Fee Trading Platform
Although TopStep’s Trading Combine supports more than 14 different platforms, the best beginner platform is TSTrader.
TSTrader doesn’t charge any fees for Combine trades; it charges $0.79 per contract on a Funded Account. It includes all the basic charts for managing your day trading career, works on any device, and also supports third-party add-ons. While it lacks many of the advanced features of trading platforms like NinjaTrader and TradeStation, beginners can get acquainted with all the basic concepts with TSTrader.
TopStep continues to bring new platforms under its wing. It now supports TradingView, which is one of the best platforms for active traders.
Good Profit Split
Once you’ve successfully navigated the Trading Combine and initiated your Funded account, you can begin to access your trading profits! Initially, traders get the full 100% of their profits up to a threshold of $10,000. Beyond that limit, there’s a profit-sharing arrangement of 90/10, where the trader receives 90% and Topstep gets 10% of the subsequent payouts.
This is one of the better profit split arrangements in the funded trader industry.
Alternative Supported Trading Platforms
You’ll have 14 different trading platforms to choose from while working towards a funded account. TSTrader is the most popular choice, but NinjaTrader and TradingView are good alternatives for the majority of traders.
NinjaTrader is only suitable for traders using a Windows device. Like TSTrader, NinjaTrader itself doesn’t charge you any fees for using the platform in the Trading Combine; Discounted platform fees are offered to funded traders. However, once you have a Funded account, you will need to pay $0.53 per contract.
TradingView works on any device and is compatible with third-party add-ons. You’ll have free and paid options to choose from—platform fees—but it will cost you $0.79 per contract once you have a Funded account.
There are 11 other platforms you can use (for both the Combine & a funded account):
- Bookmap X-Ray
- Order Flow Trading
- R | Trader Pro
- Sierra Chart
- Trade Navigator, and
TopStepTrader has a surprising lack of advanced charting options. When compared to other platforms and the high-risk nature of trading, serious traders will likely need to use a third-party charting platform to extract the most value from their trades.
TopStep contains all the basic charts you would expect, such as:
- Candlestick charts
- Bar charts
- Line graphs
- Point & figure
- Heike nashi
You can also display data for ticks, volume, range, and momentum. However, for day traders these charts can be clunky and can get in the way of trades.
As any short-term trader knows, every second is crucial. The clumsiness of these charts, as a result of no auto-scaling, means these charting options may not provide the right amount of support for the serious trader.
Education and Coaching
Top Step Trader’s commitment to education and coaching enables not only beginners but veterans to learn new tricks to increase their profitability. Some of these coaching options are free, whereas users with more capital can invest in personalized performance coaching sessions.
Its primary trading education offerings include:
- Daily live trading classes
- Lessons on trading psychology & navigating financial markets
- Ability to watch the professionals trade in real-time
All classes are aimed at different levels, with high marks given for the clear progression paths on offer to account holders. Here is a brief overview of the different coaching opportunities currently offered by TopStep.
This bi-weekly webinar is the perfect way to improve your trading skills without the pressure of a one-on-one session. Group sessions take place every Monday and Wednesday at 1 PM CST. In addition to connecting with other funded account owners, you’ll also have the chance to discuss recent market trends and get your questions answered live by an industry expert.
Performance Coaching Plan
Get rid of your bad trading habits quickly with the Performance Coaching Plan. Every month, you’ll receive a one-on-one session with your coach. You will have the opportunity to go over your trades and receive advice on where you made mistakes.
A monthly subscription to the Performance Coaching Plan costs $395 per month, whereas for funded traders this service is free.
As part of the service you’ll receive:
- 30-minute kickoff session.
- Personalized advice on your trading strategies.
- Daily meeting and a weekly personal coaching session.
- Access to the private trader group chat.
These coaches have years’ worth of experience in trading on the open market. Many of the coaches employed by TopStepTrader have also worked on real trading floors and have experience in coaching and mentoring new traders to achieve their goals.
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TopStepTrader has developed a digital coach called “Coach T,” which is specifically designed to help you work towards a Funded account. It offers six main features, including:
- A checklist to organize and effectively address your daily trading habits.
- A trading plan—personalized by you—not only allows you to set clear goals but also to track your progress so far.
- Alerts that can warn you of any market changes that might be detrimental to your current trades and/or trading strategy.
- Trader IQ is a system-generated score that tracks your trading performance. By providing you with easy-to-understand personalized stats, Trader IQ makes it easy to recognize and address any areas of your trading strategy that need improvement.
- A journal to keep notes on your trading journey, identifying what works and what doesn’t along the way.
- Weekly emails to provide you with personalized guidance based on your trade data and history.
One of the best features TopStepTrader has to offer is a thriving community. Users may ask questions in the interactive chat room, where both simulation users and funded traders are happy to answer questions and give honest feedback.
There are also active TopStep communities on social media. Its Facebook community is by far its most active.
Premium Funded Vs. Funded Account
Once eligible for a funded account, traders will have two options: they can upgrade to a Funded Account right away, or they can opt for a Pro account instead. You can think of the Pro account as a bridge between the Trading Combine and a Funded account. Although a Pro account still offers simulated trading, it also offers a real-world payoff.
After reaching a virtual balance of $5,000 in the Trading Combine ($2,500 in the Swing Trading Combine), traders are eligible for a Pro account. Their previous balance will be transferred over to the Pro account, so they’ll be starting off with either $5,000 or $2,500. Unlike the Trading Combine, you won’t need to pay any monthly fees for a Pro account! That said, you also can’t reset your account either.
Unfortunately, there are many trading restrictions to a Pro account. You’ll find them similar to the Trading Combine, but you should always double-check before upgrading as they change from time to time. Still, if you’re able to stay within these restrictions and hit the designated trading targets, you’ll be able to upgrade to a Premium Funded Account.
The benefit of going through a Pro account—rather than jumping directly to a Premium account—is your starting balance. With a Premium Funded Account, your starting balance will be either $5,000 or $2,500 (depending on your plan). With a regular Funded Account, your starting balance will be $0.
TopStepTrader’s Trading Rules
Before diving into live trading, users start with a simulation account to hone their skills. This simulated environment replicates real-time futures markets, but trades aren’t routed to actual exchanges. Instead, they’re evaluated based on paper money profits to determine a trader’s eligibility for a funded account.
In 2023, Topstep launched its ‘1 Step 1 Rule Trading Combine’, streamlining the evaluation process. This update allows traders to transition to a funded account more swiftly, this set them apart, with most prop firms that employ a two-step evaluation.
During this phase, traders are assessed for at least two days, demonstrating both profitability and adept risk management. Success here means you can start real-money trading and withdraw your profits.
The platform sets a few cardinal rules. First among them is avoiding the maximum loss limit; surpassing it results in a Trading Combine failure. The advantage with Topstep is its calculation of this loss limit at day’s end, based on the previous day’s account balance.
To qualify for a funded account, traders must focus on three core objectives:
- Profit Target: Dependent on the Trading Combine size, e.g., a $50k Combine has a $3,000 profit target. However, single trades making over 50% of this target won’t count. So, for a $3,000 target, if a single trade gains $2,000, it’s not included in the goal.
- Consistency Target: Long-term success isn’t about just one excellent trade. For example, in the $50k challenge with a $3,000 target, if a trade profits by $2,000, it doesn’t count toward the objective.
- Daily Loss Limit: Each account type has a distinct daily loss limit, and hitting it terminates the Trading Combine. For instance, the $50k Combine has a $1,000 daily loss limit.
Any unethical tactics, like using slow data feeds, connecting accounts, or deploying scalping algorithms, result in disqualification. These stringent yet simple rules differentiate Topstep from other prop firms, ensuring a fair playing field for all traders.
TopStepTrader offers four different membership options for traders who are trading on simulation accounts. There is also a 14-day free trial, with no requirement to add a credit card. Our TopStep Trader review considers this a major perk.
Membership fees are monthly and come with different targets to meet to be considered for promotion to funded trader status. There are also different maximum positions, buying power, maximum drawdowns, and weekly loss limits to adhere to.
We’ll list the different plans and prices below. However, it’s important to note that these prices and plan limitations are current as of 11/21/2022. TopStepTrader is known for changing its plan requirements unexpectedly, so we always recommend double-checking the T&Cs when signing up.
$50k Buying Power
- $165 per month
- Profit Target: $3,000 (per step)
- 5 contract position max
- Daily loss limit of $1,000
- Trailing max drawdown of $2,000
$100k Buying Power
- $325 per month
- Profit Target: $6,000 (per step)
- 10 contract position max
- Daily loss limit of $2,000
- Trailing max drawdown of $3,000
$150k Buying Power
- $375 per month
- Profit Target: $9,000 (per step)
- 15 contract position max
- Daily loss limit of $3,000
- Trailing max drawdown of $4,500
Resets & Commissions
There are a lot of rules put in place for trading with TopStepTrader. So, what happens if you blow up your Trading Combine account by making a bad trade?
There are fees associated with blowing up your account during the simulation trading phase. TopStepTrader will charge you $100 for every reset.
Considering the fact these fees are charged based on virtual funds in the Trading Combine, this is essentially a barrier to newer traders who may want to experiment with new trading strategies.
Finally, there are commissions to take into account. While the platform does claim to offer no-commission trading, this is untrue. Instead, the commissions are charged as a transaction or exchange fee. Even though it’s only $0.18 per contract, the commission does need to be factored into any trade you make.
How to Withdraw Money From TopStepTrader
Topstep provides two withdrawal methods from a Funded Account: bank transfer and ACH, with processing times ranging from 7-10 business days. While there’s no commission for withdrawals, a payment system-set fee applies. If this fee exceeds $500, Topstep covers it; otherwise, traders pay a $50 charge.
Monthly Trading Combine subscriptions can be settled using various methods including Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, American Express, and Discover. Standard credit or debit cards are preferred as certain credit cards or gift vouchers might face issues.
The time taken to credit funds varies; while bank card transactions take 1-2 business days, e-payments might be quicker. Subscription payments don’t require verification, but withdrawals do.
So what are our final thoughts on TopStepTrader?
TopStepTrader is completely legit and can be a great platform to test your skills. The array of educational content can enable you to take your day trading to the next level using virtual trading capital in the Trading Combine.
The fees from the Trading Combine can add up quickly, especially if you constantly need to reset. While this doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to earn a funded account, funded trading is a daunting milestone that should be treated as such.
Monthly fees are expensive, so we recommend only committing to a month or two. That should be long enough for you to work out whether you have what it takes to become a funded trader.
Overall, TopStepTrader is a great way to get into professional day trading.
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