It takes a lot to become a successful trader, but the most important element is capital. If you don’t have any money to trade, you’re going to have a hard time getting started.
That’s where funded trading programs come in. Certain proprietary trading firms will fund traders, no matter where they’re from or where they went to school.
It’s quite simple. Choose a funded trader program, pay for and pass their trading skills evaluation, and you could be funded up to $1 million.
Quite a few prop firms offer funded trading accounts, but some make the trading evaluation much harder than others, some only offer certain instruments to trade, and some don’t actually have the traders’ best interests in mind. It’s critical, therefore, that you chose the best funded trader program.
Funded Trader Program Review Summary
|BEST FOR INSTANT FUNDING||BEST FOR FUTURES||BEST CURRENT PROMOTION|
|Initial balance/fees||$6K – €235|
$10K – €385
$20K – €745
|$50K – $165|
$100K – $325
$150K – $375
|$10K – €99|
$25K – €249
$50K – €449
$150K – €649
$250K – €999
$500K – €1799
$1 mil – €2899
|Promo code or discount||Click for 5% off||Click for 20% off||Click for unlimited free retries (for + accounts without violations)|
|Highlights||No evaluation; |
start with up to $20K
Simple rule: 6% equity stop-out based on initial balance
Hit 6% profit target, get 4x the capital for second level of funding
Forex, gold, silver, some indices
50/50 profits splits
Scaling up to $4 million
|Keep 100% of first $5K in profits; 90% beyond that|
Two-step evaluation can be done in as few as eight days
For $50K evaluation, 6% profit target,
$1,000 daily loss limit,
$2,000 trailing max drawdown
Has more than 600 funded accounts per month on average
Offers CME & CBOT futures, including forex futures
|Account sizes up to $1 million|
80%–90% profit splits
Bonus for completion of second
stage (up to $30,000 for a $500K account)
Trade forex, shares, various CFDs, crypto
Two stage evaluation.
10% profit target, 10% max loss; max loss to 5% for second stage
1:100 max leverage
|Get started||The 5%ers||Topstep||Fidelcrest|
My top pick: Topstep Futures — 9.3/10 (Best for trading futures)
If you’re a futures trader or hope to be, Topstep offers the best funded account by a substantial margin. Their profit splits are the best in the industry, their coaching and trader support are second to none, and their current 20% off promotion means they’re also a great bargain.
Topstep is so good, that some of their most glowing reviews come from traders who never actually achieved a funded trading account. Why are they still impressed? Even if they didn’t get funded, they still got a masterclass in futures trading.
With daily market videos, one-on-one coaching, performance reviews, educational videos, live trading sessions and more, you can’t help but learn a lot. I learned more through Topstep than I did in a futures course I took at a pretty decent university.
All that’s not to say that Topstep doesn’t fund traders, because they do—more than 600 traders a month on average. And those traders are also unquestionably content. Once you get a funded trader account with Topstep, they’ll give you 100% of your first $5,000 in profits, and 90% thereafter.
So how easy is it to get funded with Topstep? So long as you abide by the trading parameters, Topstep gives you unlimited time to hit an attainable 6% profit target in both steps of their Trading Combine.
Of course, the faster you hit your targets, the faster you get funded, and with Topstep, you can complete both evaluation stages in as few as eight days. The first step of their Trading Combine requires traders to be active over five trading days, but the second step has no minimum days. Start an evaluation on a Monday, pass, and you could already be fully funded the next week.
Topstep is also one of the increasingly rare funded trader programs that gives out actual capital. Many prop-trading firms keep their traders in a demo account even after they are funded. These demo firms pay out real money, of course, but their traders are never actually in the real market. Topstep is real. In fact, Topstep traders trade an average of more than 5,000 real futures contracts per day.
And finally, I can’t overstate how trustworthy Topstep is. They’ve been in the funding trader business for more than 10 years and are well known around the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade. While some firms might drag their feet when it comes time to pay out, Topstep processes most payments in less than one business day. I’ve worked with a number of prop firms, and Topstep is, in my experience, simply the best when it comes to payouts.
Topstep’s 20% discount is also the best discount I’ve found among reputable prop firms.
If you’re not into trading futures, despite their upside, you’ll obviously have to look to a different prop firm. Topstep toyed with offering a forex funded account for a while, but ultimately decided to stick to their strengths.
The Topstep Combine requires you to close out any positions before the end of the trading day (3:10 p.m. CT). The next trading day starts just an hour and 50 minutes later, but you have to be flat in the interim. It’s not a big deal for disciplined traders, but for someone used to the 24-hour forex market, it could be an adjustment.
Topstep also charges monthly fees rather than a one-time sign-up fee like other funded trader programs. That could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how long it takes you to pass the Combine. The monthly fees go away once you’ve been funded, so pass the Combine in a few months or less, and you made a great deal.
Topstep is the best at what they do. They educate, encourage, and fund futures traders, and they reward good traders with the best profit splits in the industry. Top-of-the-line products usually come at a significant price, but for a limited time, you can sign up with Topstep for 20% off, an incredible deal.
#2 The Funded Trader — 9.2/10 (Best for forex)
If you prefer to trade forex over futures, the Funded Trader has quickly become my favorite for forex funded accounts due to simple trading rules, relatively easy profit targets, high leverage, a great trading community, and up to 90% profit splits.
Their name makes it sound like they’re the original funded trader program, but the Funded Trader is actually relatively new. In just a few years, they’ve won over thousands of traders, thanks to great prices and a very trader-friendly program.
Founded by the forex traders behind Forex League and VVS, I feel like the Funded Trader took a good hard look at FTMO, who is pretty much the original funded trader program, and decided they could be a little more efficient, a little more trader friendly, and a little more affordable. They’ve succeeded and then some.
The Funded Trader has the best price point of any of my favorite forex funded trader programs, so let’s start there. Currently, a $50K account from the Funded Trader is 20% less than a $50K account with FTMO. That’s substantial savings already, but the Funded Trader also offers frequent promotions that bring that price down even more.
A good price point for funded trader programs isn’t always a good thing—a general rule of thumb is that the cheaper the cost, the harder they make it for their traders to succeed. The Funded Trader is the happy exception to that rule.
Despite the price, the Funded Trader has pretty lax trading rules. Their overall max loss of 12% combined with a 6% daily max loss gives traders a much longer leash than a lot of other funded account programs.
They are also very lenient when it comes to trading styles. Basically anything goes, so long as you don’t try to game the system by manipulating your demo account. Trade copiers are okay as long as the Funded Trader is the principal account, and holding positions overnight and over weekends is okay for most assets. The Funded Trader is mainly designed for forex traders, but you can also trade indices, crypto, shares, and some commodities.
The Funded Trader community is also a big advantage, especially to new traders who might need help with trading ideas, platform issues, or anything else. The Funded Trader’s discord channel has more than 50,000 members, a lot of whom are very active and eager to discuss trade opportunities and give tips on how to become funded.
The one thing I don’t really like about the Funded Trader is that they keep their funded traders in demo mode. At no point will you be trading real capital. Your payouts will, of course, be made in very real money, but your trades will never be actually entered in the real market. That’s not uncommon in the prop-trading world, but for some traders it just isn’t the same. If you really want to trade real cash, Topstep is a better choice.
There’s also the fact that the Funded Trader is still pretty new to the game. So far I haven’t seen them make a single significant misstep, but it’s a tricky industry to navigate, and I’m always a little biased toward firms that have been around for more than a few years.
This is a tiny nit, and doesn’t at all affect your trading, but I’m not a huge fan of the medieval motif. Feels a little too much like a renaissance fair on the edge of town for my tastes, but I’m willing to overlook some aesthetic differences for a truly great funding program at a great price point.
If you’re into forex trading, the Funded Trader offers the best price, the simplest trading rules, the highest profit splits, and some of the best promotions in the industry. Sign up with promo code “MARBLE” for 10% off plus 10% payouts for profits earned during evaluation.
#3 Fidelcrest — 9.2/10 (Best for large accounts)
If you’re ready for the big leagues, Fidelcrest has account sizes that reach $1 million. That’s right, pass a two-step challenge and you could be earning 80%–90% profit splits on a $1 million trading account. Factor in the unlimited retries, and this is the perfect time to take your shot.
For me, the headline with Fidelcrest will always be that million dollar account. Other funded trader programs have started offering one as well, but at a much higher price point. I’m not one who is awestruck by big numbers, but the chance to trade a million dollars is an amazing opportunity.
Of course, Fidelcrest doesn’t just hand you the million. You have to earn it through a two-stage evaluation process, but the Fidelcrest Trading Challenge is pretty trader friendly in a lot of ways. For one, there are no minimum trading days, so if you hit your profit target on the first day and don’t run afoul of the trading guidelines, you pass right away.
The profit targets are also pretty attainable, especially for the micro trader accounts, which require only a 5% profit to pass. The normal pro accounts have a 10% profit target, which is industry standard, and the aggressive pro accounts have a 30% target, although you’re given a longer leash in terms of a higher max loss.
As you may have guessed from the previous paragraph, Fidelcrest has a number of account options. Of my favorite firms, I’m pretty sure Fidelcrest has the most choices, and I’m sure you’ll find one that suits your skill level and trading style. Micro accounts start at just $10K and offer a really cheap way to get your feet wet without putting too much money on the line. Depending on your trading style, you can choose either “micro aggressive” or “micro normal,” with the same two choices for the pro accounts as well. I think I may have mentioned: Pro accounts go up to $1 million.
Another great thing about Fidelcrest is that you are already earning money during your evaluation. More and more funded trading programs are doing this now, but Fidelcrest has their own method. If you pass the second stage, you get a bonus for passing that you’ll receive with your first payout. How much that bonus is depends on your account size, but it is always generous. For example, pass with the $150K account, you’ll get a bonus of $9,000 with your first payout.
For a limited time, Fidelcrest is also offering unlimited retries for traders that haven’t violated in trading rules and maintain a positive balance on their account. So if you miss out on your profit target, you can continue trading until you hit it.
Finally, Fidelcrest gives real capital to its funded traders. No more demo accounts—you’re in the actual market.
Fidelcrest gives out massive amounts of capital, but they want to make sure you’re able to take care of it. That means their trading parameters are pretty tight, especially in the second phase of their evaluation. For the first stage, there’s a generous 10% max loss, but Fidelcrest cuts it in half to 5% for the second stage.
A 5% max loss isn’t unheard of in the funded trader business, but a lot of traders fail because they don’t realize the yardstick has changed for the second evaluation phase. As always, make sure you understand all the trading rules before you join a prop firm that funds traders.
Also, as nice as it is to have options, Fidelcrest almost has too many account types. Take your time to make sure you find the perfect one for you.
Succeeding with Fidelcrest is better than succeeding anywhere else, thanks to their enormous account sizes, generous bonuses, and great profit splits. It might not be the easiest, but the quickest path to $1 million in capital is through Fidelcrest. Sign up (now offering unlimited retries) to take the first step.
#4 The 5%ers — 9.1/10 (Best for instant funding)
The 5%ers is one of the few remaining reputable funded trader programs that offers instant funding. There’s no evaluation—just sign up and you could be trading up to $20,000 of real capital in a matter of hours. The 5%ers is easily the most trader-friendly instant-funding account in the world.
I don’t know if anyone in the funded trader business is as quick to give out capital to good traders as the 5%ers. Say you’ve spotted a great trading opportunity and need capital fast. The 5%ers will give you $20,000 ASAP.
The 5%ers also have the best scaling plan in the business, so they reward you with 4x your opening capital, and they do it almost immediately because they have no minimum trading days. Now you have $80K. Continue winning those trades, and they’ll double that capital, and continue to do so—all the way up to $4 million.
With that kind of money on the line, you’d think the 5%ers would have a ton of trading and risk management rules, but they actually have only one very simple trading parameter: an equity stop-out level of 6%. If your account drops 6% below your opening balance, you’re done. That goes down to 4% once you’ve reached the third level, but still that’s all you have to worry about. There’s no daily drawdown, trailing drawdown, relative drawdown, or anything else.
The 5%ers also welcome traders of any stripe. If you’re a swing trader or a scalper, you can trade with the 5%ers. If you want to hold positions overnight or over weekends, no problem. The 5%ers even allow EAs in most cases. Basically, the 5%ers will fund any trading strategies that work.
I’m also a big fan of the 5%ers’ educational resources and trader support. Considering how much money they hand out to traders, it makes perfect sense that the 5%ers will do everything they can to give their traders a leg up in the market. They offer one-on-one coaching, daily strategy sessions, a number of videos, courses, and more.
I’ve also always been impressed by the speed of the 5%ers when it comes to processing payments. I’ve never waited more than a day or so. The 5%ers has one of the most trusted funded trader programs on the market, and this is one of the main reasons why.
One of the reasons the 5%ers are so quick to give out tons of capital to good traders is that they take a pretty healthy cut of the profits. Fifty percent, to be exact. To those of you used to seeing 80%–90% payouts, keep in mind that those are for accounts that require extensive evaluation.
The 5%ers, on the other hand, put their money on the line immediately—their risk goes up, their reward goes up. I also don’t mind the 50/50 split because it means the 5%ers have real skin in the game and are heavily incentivised to help me succeed.
The 5%ers also have a somewhat limited array of tradable assets compared to other funded trader programs. They recently added the ability to trade gold, silver, and a selection of six indices. It’s a far cry from Fidelcrest, which offers crypto, far more indices, shares, and other assets as well.
The 5%ers give good traders capital as fast as they can. With instant funding, rapid account scaling, manageable profit targets, personalized coaching, and simple trading parameters, the 5%ers design their program to help great traders succeed. Get your capital now and start the rapid ascent towards a $4 million account with the 5%ers.
#5 FTMO — 8.9/10 (Most reliable)
For the longest time, FTMO was the gold standard when it came to funded trader programs. If they weren’t the ones who invented the modern funded trader program, they were certainly the ones who popularized it. In doing so, they funded thousands of traders, paid out millions of dollars, and built up a stellar reputation.
That reputation is still intact, and FTMO still has one of the world’s best funded trader programs. The truth is, however, that they’ve fallen behind the competition a bit in terms of prices, profit targets, account sizes, and more. It is now possible, for example, to set up an account with the Funded Trader, save significant money and have nearly the same experience, or you can sign up for a $1 million account with Fidelcrest, while FTMO tops out at just $200K for initial capital. (I’ve put together a handy chart that compares all these firms, if you’re interested.)
Despite that, FTMO still brings in thousands of clients, many of whom are attracted to the security of the FTMO brand. While the other funded trader programs may have FTMO beat in certain categories, they are all still relatively new to funding traders, which can be a pretty risky business. My Forex Funds might have eclipsed FTMO in popularity, but will it be around in 10 years? Hopefully, but we know FTMO will still be around.
And for all I said about FTMO being bested by the competition, they still have some pretty trader-friendly terms. Ten percent profit targets in step one, which dip to 5% for step two of their evaluation, which is known as the FTMO Challenge, are very reasonable. And a max loss of 10% with a daily max loss of 5% is close to industry standard. Why? Because FTMO built the industry standard.
I personally have had some ups and downs with FTMO, but they are consistently quick to make payouts, fair with their profit targets and trading rules, innovative when it comes to designing trading apps, and as safe a bet as you can make. If you’re not one to trust a flash in the pan and want the consistency of a funded trader program that’s been around forever, sign up with FTMO here.
#6 My Forex Funds — 8.8/10
My Forex Funds has been the hot new kid on the block long enough to be taken seriously at this point. They became so popular so quickly that they experienced some growing pains, which were most visible in their overwhelmed customer service department.
Now, however, most of that is behind them, and it is time to focus on what made MFF so popular in the first place. We’ll start with the price. At current exchange rates (FTMO charges in euros) MFF is around 20% cheaper on larger account sizes, and on the smaller sizes, like a $10K account, MFF actually charges half the price.
MFF has also been quite innovative when it comes to the accounts they offer. No matter your trading experience or style, you can find an account designed to meet your needs. MFF offers a Rapid account for beginners that allows you to learn the market while receiving a small piece of your profits while you learn. There’s also an Evaluation account, which is a pretty standard two-step evaluation program. Then there’s also an Accelerated program, which is an instant funding account with 50/50 profit splits.
The knock on MFF is that they have some odd rules that you won’t find in other funded trader programs. For example, the Rapid program for beginners mandates that traders make trades on three days a week and that they abide by a “consistency rule,” which is too complicated for me to go into in this space. Rules in the Evaluation and Accelerated programs are closer to industry standard.
In a short time, MFF has built up an almost cult-like following among funded traders. If you want to join the masses and save some money along the way, sign up with My Forex Funds.
#7 Lux Trading — 8.5/10
Lux Trading is a no-nonsense prop firm that is looking for a very specific type of trader. When they find that individual they throw heaps of capital at them. I’m talking millions. If you’re not that type of trader, they will kindly tell you to seek your funds elsewhere.
More than any other funded trader program I know, Lux values consistency. They want the grinders—the traders who amass a lot of smaller, profitable trades and avoid the big losses. This is most evident in their maximum relative drawdown, which is a pretty stingy 5%, and their minimum days requirement. To become funded at Lux, you have to trade for more than 29 days. That’s 29 days to pass phase one of their evaluation plus however long it takes to pass phase two, which no longer has a minimum. As other firms are getting rid of minimum trading days altogether, Lux cut the minimum days for phase two, but is holding firm for phase one.
On the flip side, you can take as long as you need to hit a modest 6% profit target. Like I said, they reward steady winners. And here’s how they reward it: from a $200K account, you can work your way up to $10 million worth of capital in just six stages.
So if you are a cautious trader who understands risk management, you can sign up with Lux Trading and begin your ascent to a $10 million account.
#8 SurgeTrader — 8.3/10
SurgeTrader is another newcomer, having launched in the fall of 2021. They are more expensive than a lot of their counterparts, but they might just be worth it considering that their evaluation is just one stage.
Furthermore, that one stage has no minimum trading days. With SurgeTrader, you can be funded the minute you hit your 10% profit target. That’s about as close as you can get to instant funding without being instant funding.
I also like the simplicity of SurgeTrader’s rules. There’s basically just four of them, and three of them are considered “soft rules” and will result in your violating positions being closed, rather than a complete forfeiture of your account. The soft rules: close all positions over the weekend, use a stop loss on every trade, and you can only trade a certain number of lots at any given time. The hard rule is this: Stay above a 5% daily loss limit and 8% overall loss limit.
SurgeTrader pays out a much higher profit percentage than instant funding programs, although I have an issue with their payouts. SurgeTrader is one of those programs that advertises their profit splits as “up to 90% of profits.” Technically that’s true, although the fine print will tell you that you’ll pay an extra fee to boost yourself up to the 90% split. Most traders are paid out 75%. I wish they were a little more straightforward about that, although 75% is still pretty good considering how fast they’ll give you capital.
SurgeTrader is new enough that they are still evolving, but it seems like they are becoming more trader friendly and moving in the right direction. To take advantage of a one-step evaluation process and join an up-and-coming funded trader program, sign up with SurgeTrader.
Methodology: How I ranked the best funded trader programs
In order to rank these funded trader programs, I grade them on scale of 1–10 based on their performance in the following categories:
- Trading rules: Some firms make it much harder to get their capital than others. I looked at max losses, max drawdowns, profit targets, and any other rules that might affect your ability to become a funded trader
- Costs/value: Of course I looked at which funded trading programs offer the cheapest sign-up fees, but I also considered what you get for your buck. Some firms offer so much in the way of guidance and education that they are worth a few extra dollars.
- Tradable assets: Some funded trading programs offer access to more financial instruments than others.
- Profit splits: I found a pretty narrow range here. Most funded trading programs that have evaluations offer 80%–90% splits, and most instant-funding firms offer 50%. Some firms throw in a wrinkle, however, by offering “up to 90%” but the 90% is only offered on a few accounts. I took these marketing gimmicks into account.
- Scaling opportunities: “Scaling” in the funded trading world is when a firm rewards successful traders with increasing amounts of capital. Some firms are more aggressive than others. The best in this category offer a clear, obtainable path to give their best traders the most money.
- Educational resources: I think this category is important not only because a lot of traders are just entering the market, but I’ve also found that the firms that truly care about their traders’ success spend the most time and money on keeping their traders educated and informed.
- Customer service: Funded trading programs can prove confusing. There’s often a lot of rules to abide by. Good programs dedicate a lot of resources to helping their traders understand and abide by these rules.
What is a funded trader program?
A funded trader program does exactly what the name implies: funds traders. If you are a trader who needs capital to get you started, you can open an account with a funded trader program or proprietary trading firm. You will have to pay for an evaluation and prove that you can profitably trade while abiding by the program’s risk management rules. If you’re successful, you’ll be funded up to a $1 million, and will split the profits with the firm, taking home up to 90%. If you fail, you lose your evaluation fee, but the firm will cover any trading losses you incurred.
How can I become a funded trader?
There are two ways to become a funded trader. The most common is to pay for an audition with a proprietary trading firm, and then pass their trader evaluation by proving you can turn a profit while abiding by the firm’s trading rules. Once you’ve passed you’ll be entitled to up to 90% of any profits you make.
There are also some firms, like the 5%ers, that will instantly fund traders. All you have to do is sign up, pay the fee, and start trading. If you trade by their rules and turn a profit, you’re entitled to 50% of what you made.
How do funded trader programs work?
Funded trader programs give capital to traders, sometimes as much as $1 million or more, but not without a few strings attached. Traders have to pay for and pass an evaluation to make sure they can profitably trade without taking on too much risk. Once the traders become funded, they still have to abide by the program’s trading rules, or they will lose their account. Any profits that are made are split between the trader and the funded trader program (or prop firm), with the trader keeping up to 90%.
Firms that instantly fund traders don’t have an evaluation, but they are usually more expensive to join and take a larger cut of the profits.
Are funded trader programs legit?
Yes, there are many legit funded trader programs, starting with the list above. Typically, traders have to pay for an evaluation and pass it by trading profitably and keeping within the program’s rules. If they do so, they can become funded traders and can keep a significant percentage of any profits they make.
Conclusion: My best funded trader program
Funded trading programs offer a great opportunity to help launch your trading career and maximize your profits, but not all programs are designed to help traders succeed. Choose your program carefully. If you value your money and your time, don’t settle for anything less than the best. In my opinion that’s Topstep. Sign up here for 20% off my choice for the best faded trader program.