Topstep Futures: Rules, Hidden Rules, withdrawals and more

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Even though Topstep is the most potent, legit, and most known funded trading program for futures and forex, it also has, like most of the competitors, some disadvantages that users feel uncomfortable with, some complex rules that people don’t like, or difficulties that traders may have due to misunderstanding of the platform.

In this article, we will describe the futures program from TopsStep, the rules of the challenges, the regulations in the funded account, the withdrawal policy, and much more.

What is a funded trading account?

From a trading firm perspective:

Companies are looking for successful traders that can manage their funds with significant profits, they can’t give their money to any trader that claims that he is a good trader, so there will be a test, a challenge that the Trader has to win, he must trade in a virtual account with live data for a specific time, he must follow some rules, and reach a sure profit to prove his skills. Then when the Trader passes the challenge successfully, he will get a real trading account funded by the company.

From a trader’s perspective:

Source of capital

As a new futures trader, you will struggle to find money to start your journey into Trading; you will need at least 2000$ to be comfortable while Trading, and it’s still not enough. This is why funded trading accounts are a perfect opportunity for beginners; after you win their challenge, it will allow you to start trading with at least $25000 in a real trading account. It’s not just that, you will be sure you are not risking your own money.

Education:

As a new trader, let’s say you have learned a new winning strategy that should make you money. But you will never be sure that it’s a winning strategy until you test it in a real account. Testing strategies in a virtual account – like all traders already know – is not an excellent way to try your Trading. In a virtual account, you are not faced with real emotions, real feelings, or real interaction with the market. You will open as many positions as you want just because you can, and you don’t have anything to lose. But in a real account or in a challenge where you spent some money, you are doing everything possible to win your traders; it will not be a joke for you; it’s real money, genuine emotions, and better testing of your strategies in the market.

What is Topstep?

Topstep (formerly TopstepTrader) is a funded trading program for forex and futures traders. In this article, we will focus on the futures trading program.

Topstep program For Futures

Topstep offers futures traders three options to test their skills:

  • $50K BUYING POWER account size
  • $100K BUYING POWER account size
  • $150K BUYING POWER account size

Those challenges’ prices fluctuate but click here to get 20% off any option.

When you start one of those challenges, you have to respect some rules (see in the following paragraphs all rules) and reach a profit target. 

When a trader passes the test successfully, he will get a real funded futures trading account, supported by Topstep proprietary trading firm partner.

When the Trader makes profits, he will get 90% of the profits, and 10% goes to Topstep.

When the Trader loses, the funded trading account will be closed, and he must redo the challenge to get funded again.

Topstep Founders:

Topstep was founded as an LLC by Michael Patak in 2012. It’s one of the oldest and known funded trading programs. The idea behind creating Topstep is to offer traders a platform where they don’t have to risk their own money and test their strategies in the real market.

When you go through the Leeloo Trading Platform, OneUpTrader or Earn2Trader, or any other platform, you will have difficulties collecting enough information about the team. But one of the powerful things about Topstep is that they are 100% transparent about their founders, teams, and goals.

Check here and go to “Our Team” below the page to get everything you need about the team.

Topstep team

Topstep Futures Challenge: The Trading Combine

What is the Trading Combine?

The Trading Combine is the name of the Topstep challenge/test for traders.

One of the most important differences between the Topstep Challenge (The Trading Combine) and other challenges is that the Topstep challenge is a 2 step evaluation, you need to start step 1 with specific rules, and if you pass that step, you will begin with another evaluation account in step 2.

The Trading Combine: Step 1

In this step, you have to prove your Profitability. Topstep wants to be sure that you can make profits, so this step comes with rules that don’t limit your profitability-making skills.

All Rules & Characteristics in step 1

  • Minimum 5 Trading days: You must complete five trading days in this step, but there are no maximum trading days rule.
  • Reach the target profit: it depends on the offer that you did choose:
Account SizeProfit Target
$50K BUYING POWER$3,000
$100K BUYING POWER$6,000
$150K BUYING POWER$9,000
  • Daily Loss Limit: it’s your max loss permitted in a single day. The value of the daily loss limit also depends on the account size that you have chosen:
Account SizeDaily Loss Limit
$50K BUYING POWER$1,000
$100K BUYING POWER$2,000
$150K BUYING POWER$3,000
  • Trade during approved times: you have to be an intraday Futures trader since all positions must be closed before 3:10:00 PM Central Time every Monday to Friday. Traders must also be aware that Trading is restricted on holidays.
  • The trade-allowed product: here are CME Group products that traders can use to trade in the Trading Combine®:
CommoditiesSymbols
CME Equity Futures(ES) (MES) (NQ) (MNQ) (RTY) (M2K) (NKD)
CME Foreign Exchange Futures(6A) (6B) (6C) (6E) (6J) (6S) (E7)
CME Agricultural Futures(HE) (LE)
CME NYMEX Futures(CL) (QM) (NG) (QG)
CME CBOT Agricultural Futures(ZC) (ZW) (ZS) (ZM) (ZL)
CME CBOT Equity Futures(YM) (MYM)
CME CBOT Financial/Interest Rate Futures(ZT) (ZF) (ZN) (TN) (ZB) (UB) (GE)
CME COMEX Futures(GC) (SI) (HG)
  • Respect the Trailing Maximum Drawdown: The Trailing Maximum Drawdown defines the minimum account balance allowed at any time during your trading day; it moves when you make profits but doesn’t move when you lose trades.
So Let’s explain with the Trading combined $50k account: The account Loss Limit for the $50k account is $2000.So your minimum balance when you open your account is $48000, which means if you reach this minimum balance, your account will be eliminated. If you made $500 profits in your first trade, your balance would be $50500, and your minimum account balance will also move to $48500.If you lose 300$ in your second trade, your balance will be $50200, but your minimum account balance will not move back; it will stay at $48500. This means the Trailing Maximum Drawdown doesn’t push back when you make losses. The Trailing Maximum Drawdown will never go over the account’s starting balance, which in this case is $50,000. This means that when you continue making profits, you become much safer. Your Trading Combine will be eliminated if your balance, at any point, drops below your Trailing Maximum Drawdown.
Trailing max drawdown at Topstep
  • Respect the Maximum Position Size: always check the maximum number of contracts your account allows trade. And remember that Topstep considers Micro Contracts as complete contracts. Here are the number of contracts allowed in every account size:
Account SizeMaximum Position Size
$50K BUYING POWER5 Contracts
$100K BUYING POWER10 Contracts
$150K BUYING POWER15 Contracts

The Trading Combine: Step 2

This step will be easy if you have a perfect risk management strategy. Topstep designed this second step in the Trading Combine to identify traders that can manage trading accounts with a good risk management strategy. 

All Rules & Characteristics in step 2

  • Reach the target profit: it depends on the offer that you did choose:
Account SizeProfit Target
$50K BUYING POWER$3,000
$100K BUYING POWER$6,000
$150K BUYING POWER$9,000
  • Consistency Target: in October 2021, Topstep changed the minimum trading days in step 2 of the trading combine to a new rule called the Consistency Target rule. It is simple, when you reach the target profit, make sure that your best-day profit is below 40% of your total profits earned. If you find that your best day equals or is more than 40% of your total profit, then you will have to continue trading until it goes below 40%.
  • Trade during approved times: you have to be an intraday Futures trader since all positions must be closed before 3:10:00 PM Central Time every Monday to Friday. Traders must also be aware that Trading is restricted on holidays.
  • The trade-allowed product: here are CME Group products that traders can use to trade in the Trading Combine®:
CommoditiesSymbols
CME Equity Futures(ES) (MES) (NQ) (MNQ) (RTY) (M2K) (NKD)
CME Foreign Exchange Futures(6A) (6B) (6C) (6E) (6J) (6S) (E7)
CME Agricultural Futures(HE) (LE)
CME NYMEX Futures(CL) (QM) (NG) (QG)
CME CBOT Agricultural Futures(ZC) (ZW) (ZS) (ZM) (ZL)
CME CBOT Equity Futures(YM) (MYM)
CME CBOT Financial/Interest Rate Futures(ZT) (ZF) (ZN) (TN) (ZB) (UB) (GE)
CME COMEX Futures(GC) (SI) (HG)
  • Daily Loss Limit: it’s your max loss permitted in a single day. The value of the daily loss limit also depends on the account size that you have chosen:
Account SizeDaily Loss Limit
$50K BUYING POWER$1,000
$100K BUYING POWER$2,000
$150K BUYING POWER$3,000

  • Scaling Plan: In step 2, you must respect the scaling plan. Let’s take the $50k account as an example. Even if your account allows a maximum contract of 5 contracts, you will not be able to use all those contracts on the first day; you have to respect the scaling plan. You will be allowed to use only 2 contracts until you make a profit of $1501, then you can use three. You can use all five contracts when you make $2001 profits in your account.
Scaling Plan in the futures trading combine Topstep

Note that Topstep considers micro contracts as complete contracts too.

Here are all rules and differences between step 1 and step 2 of the Trading Combine:

trading combine rules Topstep

Futures-funded trading account:

That’s the real account that you will receive after completing the Trading combine test successfully. All earnings in this account will be split between the Trader (90%) and Topstep trading firm (10%).

What happens after completing the Trading Combine:

After you pass the trading combine challenge, here are the significant events that will occur:

Subscription cancelation

Topstep will turn off your monthly subscription fees to avoid being charged next month.

Funded Account Agreement

You will receive a document that you need to fill out and sign. It’s the funded account agreement between the Trader and the funding company. When you do that, you will be asked to verify your email during this process to validate the document.

Live market data fees

As you may already know, you must make monthly payments for the live market data. Unfortunately, Topstep can’t provide this for free, like all other platforms.

It doesn’t matter when you make the first payment; Topstep will not activate it until your account is enabled. So make sure to pay earlier to speed up the process.

It will be a $105 monthly payment, but you can check other options below:

ExchangePermitted ProductTSTrader, TradingViewAll Other Platforms
CMEES, MES, NQ, MNQ, RTY, M2K, NKD, 6A, 6B, 6C, 6E, 6J, 6S, E7, HE, LE, GE$125 per month$105 per month
NYMEXCL, QM, NG, QG$125 per month$105 per month
COMEXGC, SI, HG$125 per month$105 per month
CBOTZC, ZW, ZS, ZM, ZL, YM, MYM, ZT, ZF, ZN, ZB, UB, TN$125 per month$105 per month

Funded futures trading account rules:

Now you own a funded trading account from Topstep, so you must trade more carefully and follow your winning strategy. Because if you lose this account, you will have to redo the trading combine challenges.

Many rules are the same as in the trading combine, but there are also some differences. Here are all rules for the funded account:

Trade only approved products during approved times

  • Trade during approved times: you have to be an intraday Futures trader since all positions must be closed before 3:10:00 PM Central Time every Monday to Friday. Traders must also be aware that Trading is restricted on holidays.
  • The trade allowed product: here are CME Group products that traders can use to trade in the Trading Combine®:
CommoditiesSymbols
CME Equity Futures(ES) (MES) (NQ) (MNQ) (RTY) (M2K) (NKD)
CME Foreign Exchange Futures(6A) (6B) (6C) (6E) (6J) (6S) (E7)
CME Agricultural Futures(HE) (LE)
CME NYMEX Futures(CL) (QM) (NG) (QG)
CME CBOT Agricultural Futures(ZC) (ZW) (ZS) (ZM) (ZL)
CME CBOT Equity Futures(YM) (MYM)
CME CBOT Financial/Interest Rate Futures(ZT) (ZF) (ZN) (TN) (ZB) (UB) (GE)
CME COMEX Futures(GC) (SI) (HG)

Daily Loss Limit

  • Daily Loss Limit: it’s your max loss permitted in a single day. The value of the daily loss limit also depends on the account size that you have chosen:
Account SizeDaily Loss Limit
$50K BUYING POWER$1,000
$100K BUYING POWER$2,000
$150K BUYING POWER$3,000

Scaling Plan

You will have to respect the scaling plan. Let’s take the $50k account as an example. Even if your account allows a maximum contract of 5 contracts, you will not be able to use all those contracts on the first day; you have to respect the scaling plan. You will be allowed to use only 2 contracts until you make a profit of $1501; you must contact Topstep to use 3 contracts instead of 2. When you make $2001 profits in your account, you get Topstep support to update your number of contracts to use all 5 contracts.

Scaling Plan in the futures trading combine Topstep

Note that Topstep considers micro contracts as full contracts too.

Respect the Trailing Maximum Drawdown:

The Trailing Maximum Drawdown defines the minimum account balance allowed at any time during your trading day; it moves when you make profits but doesn’t move when you lose trades.

So Let’s explain the $50k account size: The account Loss Limit for the $50k account is $2000.So your minimum balance when you open your account is $48000, which means if you reach this minimum balance, your account will be eliminated. If you made $500 profits in your first trade, your balance would be $50500, and your minimum account balance will also move to $48500.If you lose 300$ in your second trade, your balance will be $50200, but your minimum account balance will not move back; it will stay at $48500. This means the Trailing Maximum Drawdown doesn’t push back when you make losses. The Trailing Maximum Drawdown will never go over the account’s starting balance, which in this case is $50,000. This means that when you continue making profits, you become much safer. Your funded account will be eliminated if your balance, at any point, drops below your Trailing Maximum Drawdown.
Trailing max drawdown at Topstep

Do not hold positions within 2% of a product’s Daily Price Limit

Here is more information about how to trade within 2% of a product’s daily price limit.

And also a video from Topstep that gives more details about this rule.

More info, more understanding

Topstep Withdrawal

Even if Topstep allows you to withdraw your first 5000$ profits and split the subsequent profits 90% for the Trader and 10% for the firm, there is a Withdrawal Policy provided by Topstep. Here is all information needed to know about withdrawals:

  • Traders can make withdrawals after 5 winning trading days.
  • A winning day according to Topstep, is when you make $100 profits or more daily.
  • After 5 winning trading days, you can withdraw up to 50% of your earnings.
  • After that, you must wait for another 5 winning trading days to withdraw 50% of your earnings.
  • If you break a rule, you will receive all profits more significant than the account’s starting balance.
  • This is a very Important note: after you make a withdrawal, your Maximum Trailing Drawdown will automatically be set to $0. That means that you can’t go below your starting balance anymore. So it’s better not to make significant withdrawals until you reach $0 Maximum Trailing Drawdown by yourself.
  • You can withdraw 100% of your first $5000 only once with Topstep. After that, if you create another account, the profit split will be 90/10.
  • You can withdraw via Checks, ACH Wire, or Standard Bank Wire.
  • Topstep doesn’t allow withdrawals via PayPal.

Supported Platforms

Like most funded trading programs, Topstep supports almost all known platforms. But they recommend only four trading platforms for their users:

recommended Topstep trading platforms for futures

TSTrader®

This trading platform is built by and for Topstep users only, Tradovate powers it. It’s an online platform that you can access from your browser, also available for mobile browsers. It’s free to use during the trading combine and for the funded account.

TradingView

It’s the most known online trading platform. You can also use it for free for the Trading Combine and the funded account. If you plan to use this offer, We recommend you to check this page to get 20% off

NinjaTrader

This is the most used trading software by professionals. It offers everything a trader needs; unfortunately, Topstep doesn’t provide a free license for the funded account; you can get a free license only for the Trading Combine. And it’s not available for mobile.

TradeStation

This is also an online trading platform, and Topstep helps you use it for free during the Trading Combine and the funded account. And it can be accessed from your mobile too.

Other supported platforms:

other supported Topstep trading platforms for futures

Conclusion

Topstep is the market’s safest and most transparently funded futures trading program. You can access their website here to learn everything you want before starting your challenge, even if we already gave you all the information needed in this article. 

But there is a critical note about rules. When you break a rule, like max contracts allowed or trading times, it acts exactly like their competitor Earn2Trade, the trading account will be closed, and you have to add a reset fee or wait for your next monthly payment to access a new trading account. Until now, only the Leeloo Trading program doesn’toesn’tike this; when you break a rule at Leeloo Trading, Leeloo will reject your action automatically, and you can continue trading.

But even with this little problem, Topstep remains the leader of funded trading programs on the market. If you want to join Topstep, we recommend you Click here to Get 20% off futures Trading Combine.

icon Topstep trader Click here and Get 20% off from all offers

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