Topstep is the premier funded trading program for futures traders. They fund thousands of traders a year thanks to their great profit splits, trading options, educational resources and special offer of 20% off.
Topstep is my favorite prop firm for trading futures, and my best overall prop firm for 2023.
- Payouts are outstanding. Depending on which account you choose, you can keep 100% of either your first $5,000 in profits or 100% of your first $10,000 in profits. After that, you still keep a whopping 90%.
- Quick evaluation process. Step 1 can be completed in just five trading days, and Step 2 no longer has a minimum days requirement. Although this isn’t typical, one trader completed both steps and became a funded trader in just nine days.
- A current 20% off promotion makes Topstep a great bargain. Topstep fees go away once you become a funded trader.
- Respected prop firm with ten years in the business and millions of dollars of trader withdrawals.
- Passing the Trading Combine isn’t easy, but it is definitely achievable. Topstep funds an average of 600 traders a month.
- Topstep knows the futures market inside and out. Topstep traders trade an average of more than 5,000 contracts per day.
- No timetable/deadline to meet your profit targets.
- Incredible amount of training and educational resources available.
- Too many account options make things a little confusing. It can be hard to keep track of which rules apply to the Pro Account, Funded Account, or Premium Funded Account. Luckily, Topstep has a world class customer support team to help clear things up.
- For active accounts, you must have five (not necessarily consecutive) “winning days” (in which you profited more than $100) before you can request a withdrawal of your profits.
- When you become a funded trader, you are no longer responsible for Topstep’s monthly fee, but unless you opt for a totally free “Pro Account,” you have to pay exchange data fees via a monthly subscription.
- Keep 100% of the first $5K in profits; 90% after that
- Complete evaluation steps in as few as 8 trading days
- Unlimited time to meet your profit target
- For $50K evaluation: 6% profit target, $2,000 trailing max drawdown, $1,000 daily loss limit
- Monthly costs start at $132 with promo code below
Who should sign up with Topstep?
If you’re a futures trader who just needs access to capital to maximize your profits, Topstep offers funded futures accounts with up to $150,000 worth of buying power for a currently discounted monthly fee.
New futures traders in particular can benefit from Topstep’s trading tools, performance coaches, a very active trading community, and a vast array of educational materials.
If you want to sign up with the best funded trader program for trading futures, sign up with Topstep. No one does futures better.
Who should NOT sign up with Topstep?
If futures trading is not your forte, you should find another prop firm that offers more tradable assets. Other prop firms offer a lot more options, including stocks, crypto, and other assets.
If you prefer one-time fees rather than making a monthly payment to your prop firm, you should also look elsewhere. The downside of the prop firms that only charge one-time fees is that almost all of them give you a very short window to meet your profit targets. Topstep allows you as much time as you need, but you’ll make a monthly payment until you’ve become a funded trader.
Since Topstep is based in the US, it legally cannot do business with citizens of countries that are being sanctioned by the US Department of the Treasury through their Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). If you are a citizen of one of the countries on OFAC’s surprisingly long list, you’ll have to find a prop firm not based in the US.
All things considered . . .
Topstep is one of the best funded trading programs in the world. They allow trading on more than 35 different futures contracts, have great educational resources, fantastic profit splits, and a low, currently discounted monthly rate.
Topstep origin story
Topstep has been in the prop trading game for more than ten years, which is an eternity in this business. You don’t stay in the prop trading business for so long without earning traders’ trust.
Topstep was founded by Michael Patak, trader who lost a small fortune in the futures market and decided to create a business that would allow other futures traders a chance to trade significant capital without risking their life savings like he did.
Fast forward ten years, and Topstep has educated and funded thousands of traders from all over the world.
How does Topstep Futures work?
Topstep Futures awards funded accounts just like most prop firms, although the extra account options after you pass the Trading Combine can make things a little confusing.
In order to get started with Topstep, you have to select one of three account sizes based on how much buying power you want and how much you’re willing to spend in monthly fees.
After you’ve registered, you will integrate your Topstep account with one of their available trading platforms, such as TradingView, pictured below. Then you’ll begin Step 1 of the Trading Combine in order to prove to Topstep that you can make consistent profits without taking on too much risk. You have as much time as you need to hit your profit target, but you have to trade for at least five days.
The current profit target is 6% of the buying power you selected. That means for a $50,000 account you need to make $3,000, which is definitely doable. Of course, you’re also confined by trading parameters designed to limit risk. You are only allowed to have five open contracts at a time, your daily loss limit is set at $1,000, and your trailing max drawdown is set at $2,000. All these limitations are, of course, higher should you choose an account with more buying power.
Once you’ve passed Step 1 of the Trading Combine, you move on to Step 2, which is designed to test how consistent you are as a trader. The rules of Step 2 are a little different, but you can pass in as few as three trading days if all goes well.
For Step 2, you have to meet the same profit target, but your constraints are a little different. Your best day of trading cannot exceed 40% of your total profits. Topstep wants you to prove that you can repeat your trading performance rather than just relying on one good day.
In addition to your daily loss limit, Step 2 also requires you to stay above a weekly loss limit, also set at $1,000, and you’re not allowed to hold positions into major economic releases. Finally, you have to abide by a scaling plan and be certain not to over-leverage your account as your buying power increases or decreases.
Once you pass Step 2, you have a decision to make. You can choose a standard Funded Account or a Pro Account.
The Funded Account allows you to keep up 100% of your first $5,000 in profits and 80% thereafter. You will begin trading real funds and be responsible for professional data subscription fees, but the monthly Topstep fees go away.
The Pro Account, on the other hand, is completely free. You will still be trading with a demo account, but once you meet your profit target, your profits are real and can be rolled into a “Premium Funded Account” from which you can withdraw your money or continue to trade it. With a Pro Account you can keep 100% of your first $10,000 in profits and 90% thereafter.
Funded traders still have to keep within the trading guidelines set for Step 2 of the Trading Combine to maintain their funded account.
How much does Topstep cost?
Topstep charges monthly fees for as long as you are competing in the Trading Combine, but those go away after you’ve graduated to a funded level account.
Those who opt for a Funded Account become responsible for professional data subscription fees, however, which vary in cost depending on your platform and the exchange, but will be somewhere between $100–$150 per month. Traders who opt for a Pro Account do not pay any fees whatsoever so long as they stay in the Pro Account.
Trading Combine fees:
|Account Size (Buying Power)||Monthly Fee*||Monthly Fee* with Current Discount|
I assess prop trading firms based on the following criteria. Topstep ranks very highly in all seven categories and was a clear winner in best funded trading account for futures. To see how Topstep compares to other leading prop trading firms, read my Best Prop Firms of 2023 article.
Profit splits – 10/10
Topstep is as generous as it gets when it comes to profit splitting. If you sign up for a Pro Account after you become a funded trader, you keep your first $10,000 in profits and 90% after that. No one in the industry is as generous.
Scaling opportunities – 6/10
The Topstep scaling plan is a little different than what you’d find at typical prop trading firms like FTMO. Most firms increase your trading capital by a certain percentage after you’ve met profit targets, but Topstep scales your account by increasing your buying power based on your account balance.
Bottom line, you still get increased buying power if you are a profitable trader, but with Topstep, that increased buying power comes as a result of further leveraging the profits you keep in your account, not because Topstep is increasing your funding.
Trade parameters/profit targets – 8/10
The sheer number of traders that pass the Trading Combine each year is evidence that Topstep sets achievable trading parameters and profit targets.
Profit targets are set at 6% of the buying power of the trading combine account you choose. So if you sign up for the $50,000 account, you have to profit $3,000 before you can move on to the next step of the combine. Most other prop firms have a 10% profit goal, and many of them will put you on a clock. With Topstep, you just have to hit your 6% mark, and you have as much time as you need to get there.
Continuing to use the $50K account as an example, a daily loss limit of $1,000 can be a little tight if you’re still learning to manage risk, but it’s higher than other prop firms. The trailing max drawdown in this case is $2,000, which is also pretty reasonable. Of course the loss limits and max drawdowns are substantially higher if you select the accounts with more buying power.
Step 2 of the combine makes things a little harder with addition of a $1,000 weekly loss limit, which Topstep says is necessary to help further develop your risk management skills.
Affordability/value – 10/10
I awarded Topstep a perfect score based on their current 20% promotion. With the promo, you can start the Trading Combine with $50,000 of buying power for just $132/month. When you consider all the resources available to you once you join Topstep, that’s a really great value. If the promo goes away, I’ll update their score
Educational resources – 10/10
This is where Topstep really excels. Their educational resources are widely regarded in the futures industry, and a key reason why they get good reviews even from those who didn’t pass the Trading Combine. Whether you succeed or fail, you will come out of your Topstep experience as a better trader.
Topstep offers training through multiple platforms, so there’s a program designed for you no matter what your preferred method of learning. Topstep offers a digital trading trainer, affectionately known as “Coach T,” group training sessions, dozens of instructional videos, a frequent podcast, an active trading community, blog posts, live market prep sessions and written instructions.
One of their most popular resources is the group coaching sessions held twice a week and featuring instruction from John Hoagland, a veteran futures trader. It’s conducted over Zoom, and “Coach Hoag” answers questions from traders of any experience level.
If none of that puts you over the top, you can also (for a fee) get one-on-one instruction from one of their incredibly knowledgeable trading coaches.
Tradable assets – 10/10
For the purposes of this review, I’m judging Topstep based on the variety of futures contracts they offer. No funded futures trading account offers more CME contracts. You can currently trade 37 different futures contracts in categories such as oil and gas, metals, agriculture, interest rates, foreign exchange, and equities.
Trustworthiness – 10/10
Topstep has funded traders for more than 10 years and you can find numerous proofs of profit online. This is no fly-by-night prop shop. Topstep funded more than 8,500 accounts last year and paid out millions. They are as legitimate as it gets.
My overall rating – 9.1/10
Topstep earned a lot of perfect scores, which isn’t a surprise considering their longevity and reputation in the industry. There’s no such thing as a perfect prop shop, and I wish they’d offer better scaling opportunities, but if you want to trade futures, you won’t find a better prop trading firm, especially at these prices.
What Others Are Saying
Topstep has an “Excellent” rating at TrustPilot with an average review score of 4.5 stars. What jumps out at me about Topstep’s rating is that they have well over a thousand reviews, which speaks both to their popularity and to the accuracy of their reviews. A lot of prop firms have only a hundred or so TrustPilot reviews, meaning the scores are much easier to manipulate. Topstep has enough trader reviews that we can be confident their “Excellent” rating is legit.
Traders had nothing but good things to say about the Topstep educational programs, with a lot of compliments along the lines of “I’m a 10x better trader thanks to Topstep!” The customer service staff is also universally praised.
Google has Topstep rated a 4.1 out of 5, with 55 reviews. Most five-star reviews credited the Topstep trading environment and community with helping them learn trading discipline and connecting with other traders.
Critics expressed frustration at the Topstep trading parameters, with some going as far as to claim Topstep was inventing new rules mid-combine in order to trip them up. Considering how many traders Topstep has, that seems pretty unlikely. More than anything, the Topstep detractors show how important it is to have a crystal-clear understanding of the trading parameters before you participate in the Trading Combine.
Topstep must have disabled the rating function on their Facebook page, so there’s no trader feedback to be found, but their page does have more than 30,000 likes, for whatever that’s worth.
It is worth noting that there are several Topstep community groups, one of which has over 10,000 members exchanging general trading tips and tricks for passing the Trading Combine. This type of online support community is a huge advantage and not something you will find with the smaller prop shops.
You can also find Topstep apparel on their Facebook page, which is a first for me. I know funded traders become loyal to their prop firms, but to be so loyal that you’d wear a beanie with their logo is a whole different level of devotion.
You’re never going to find a funded trading program with perfect reviews. There will always be some traders who don’t make it to the funded trader stage and a handful of them always blame the firm. That said, Topstep’s reviews are generally very good. Those who have made it to the funded trader program are effusive in their praise and extremely loyal to Topstep.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Topstep legit?
Topstep is as legitimate as it gets. They’ve been in the prop trading business for a decade. They have thousands of funded traders and they’ve paid out millions in profits.
Topstep is based in Chicago, just a few stops on the L away from the Chicago Board of Trade and a stroll across the river from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. They’ve become a fixture in the Chicago futures trading community.
Does Topstep offer discounts or promo codes?
Topstep does offer great promotions from time to time, but none better than the 20% off you can claim now by following this link.
Can anyone join Topstep?
Topstep is based in Chicago, so they are subject to the rules of the US Department of Treasury. That means they cannot conduct business with citizens of countries that face US economic sanctions. The Office of Financial Assets Control maintains the list of prohibited countries. Anyone else over the age of 18 is welcome to join.
What is the Topstep Trading Combine?
The Topstep Trading Combine is the two-step evaluation process that you must pass to get your trading account funded. After you select an account size, you will trade with a simulated account in order to test both your trading skills and risk management capabilities. The Trading Combine takes a minimum of eight days to complete, but often can take quite a bit longer depending on how quickly you meet profit requirements.
The Trading Combine exists because Topstep wants to make sure you are a successful, serious trader before they entrust you with real capital.
How do you pass the Trading Combine?
Since Topstep gives you unlimited time to hit your profit target, passing the Trading Combine is more of a test of your ability to follow rules and manage risk than a test of your trading skills. A single trading rule violation will either cost you your account or force you to hit the reset button.
Step 1 of the Trading Combine requires you to make a 6% profit over five trading days or more, but that’s probably the easiest part. You have to incorporate solid risk management into your trading strategy because you have to stay above a daily loss limit and a trailing max drawdown.
For a $50,000 account you have a daily loss limit of $1,000. If your Net P&L dips below that mark, even momentarily with an open position, during the course of the trading day, you’re done.
The trailing max drawdown is a little more complicated. Using the $50,000 account as an example again, your trailing max drawdown is $2,000. Topstep advises that you think of the max drawdown as a minimum account balance. That means you start with a minimum account balance of $48,000. For the sake of the Trading Combine, the trailing max drawdown is calculated at the end of the trading day, meaning you can dip below $48,000 so long as you finish the trading day above.
The trailing max drawdown is a moving target, however. If you make a profit during your first day of $1,000, you start the second day with $51,000 in your account. Your trailing max drawdown of $2,000 means your new minimum account balance is $49,000, and it will stay there even if you lose money on subsequent trading days.
If you continue to profit, however, your minimum account balance will not rise above your opening balance of $50,000. So if you make $3,000 in profits, your balance is $53,000 and your minimum account balance stays at $50,000. You’ve basically raised your trailing max drawdown to $3,000.
You also have to be conscious of when you are allowed to trade certain products because Topstep has certain times that are prohibited for trading. All positions must be closed every day by 3:10pm CST. Sunday through Thursday you can resume trading at 5 p.m. CST. You have to be flat over weekends. There are also certain limits around holiday trading, so you have to be sure to stay on top of the calendar.
Finally, you have to be sure not to go over your maximum position size. For the $50,000 account your maximum position size is five contracts, so you can’t have more than five open positions at any time. For example, you’d hit your limit if you were long three crude oils and short two E-mini S&P.
Once you’ve passed Step 1, you’re automatically advanced to Step 2, which is very similar but is designed to test your consistency. There’s no minimum days requirement, but you have to hit your profit target while making less than 40% of your profits on any single day of trading. You have to prove that your trading strategies can net you consistent profits.
Step 2 has three additional rules. A weekly loss limit is introduced, which is the same as the daily limit but calculated on a weekly basis. You are also no longer permitted to hold positions into major economic releases, so you have to pay particular attention to the economic calendar.
Finally, a scaling plan is introduced in Step 2. Topstep will increase your buying power as your equity increases, allowing you to trade more lots should you choose to do so. However, if you suffer losses, your buying power will decrease along with your equity. Be careful not to trade more lots than your equity position allows.
Follow all those rules and prove your trading skills and you will pass Step 2. Congratulations, you can join the ranks of Topstep’s funded traders.
What can I trade with Topstep Futures?
The Topstep Futures funded trader program allows you to trade various CME Equity Futures, CME Foreign Exchange Futures, CME Agricultural Futures, such as lean hogs and live cattle, CME NYMEX Futures for crude oil and natural gas, CME CBOT Agricultural Futures, such as corn, wheat, and soybeans, CME CBOT Financial/Interest Rate Futures, and CME COMEX futures for gold, silver, and copper.
What types of accounts does Topstep offer?
Topstep offers three choices when you sign up, based on the amount of buying power you prefer. You can choose accounts with $50K, $100K, or $150K. Obviously the more buying power you want, the more you will have to spend.
Currently the $50K account costs $165 per month, but you can knock 20% off that total if you sign up with them here.
When you graduate to a funded trading account, you can choose between a Pro Account, which is still a simulated account but pays out in real money, or a Funded Account, which is the real deal.
The benefit of the Pro Account is that it’s completely free—no exchange fees or Topstep fees, plus you get to keep 100% of your first $10,000 in profits. Once you meet profit objectives in the Pro Account you can graduate to the Premium Funded Account with a positive account balance.
The Funded Account is no longer a simulated trading account. You enter the market with Topstep’s money as a professional trader. The drawback is that you have to join one or more of the futures exchanges, which will mean paying a monthly subscription.
Is Topstep regulated?
No. Like most prop firms, Topstep is not regulated. Since prop firms trade with their own money, do not seek funds to invest on others’ behalves, and don’t act as broker/dealers, they are not subject to US financial regulations. Topstep is also not required to register with the National Futures Association or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
If I violate the trading objectives do I get a second chance?
Yes, Topstep does offer a “reset” should you break the trading rules during the Trading Combine. The reset does come at a price, however. Depending on your account size, you’ll have to pay $89 or more to reset at the same level.
How do I get in contact with Topstep?
Topstep is renowned for their customer service and can be reached by phone between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. CST at (888) 407-1611. They can also be reached via email, and their website has a chat function available during business hours.
My Topstep Review Summarized in Exactly Forty Words
For futures traders who need extra capital to make their financial dreams come true, Topstep is your best bet. The best profit splits. The best trader education. Best customer service. Best futures offerings. And they’re currently offering the best deal.