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 In 2020, more than $2 million was withdrawn by funded traders.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.
Start Your 14-Day Free Trial
What is TopStep Trader?
TopStepTrader was founded by Michael Patak in Chicago in 2012. It’s been named one of America’s 5,000 Fastest Growing Companies according to a list from Inc.5000.
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.
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.
Start Your 14-Day Free Trial
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 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.
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.
Check out TopStepTrader’s day trading platform and start your 14-day free trial
Get Started with TopStepTrader