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Is Topstep Trader a Scam – My Perspective as I Work My Way Through the Combine:

I might technically need to get funded through Topstep first before calling myself a “Topstep Trader”.

But based off my experiences researching Topstep through blog posts, podcasts, YouTube videos, free trials, and my current endeavor of working my way through their $150,000 Futures Combine, I think I can speak to whether or not the program is a scam.

Is Topstep Trader Worth it

From what I’ve seen and heard from other Topstep users, there aren’t all that many complaints. But when grievances do come up, they’re usually in regard to three main aspects – Rules, Tryout Fees, and Profit-Splits (which will be discussed in detail below).

So far, I haven’t personally had any issues with these components of the program. I think the rules and fees are both necessary and fair. As I continue my journey through the Topstep Combine, I’ll update my thoughts and write additional posts about it.

From where I stand right now (a few weeks into the Combine), this is how I feel about whether Topstep is a scam or not.

Topstep Trader Complaints – 3 Common Criticisms From Topstep Users:

From my extensive research into the Topstep Trader program, these seem to be the top 3 most common complaints:

1. Topstep Trader Rules

When you enter the Topstep Combine, there are various rules in place to prove that you can capture profits while appropriately managing risk. These rules dictate maximum position sizes and daily/weekly losses, among a handful of other guidelines.

There are also times, like during certain economic news releases, when you’re not allowed to be in any positions 1 minute before until 1 minute after the event. All of these rules are in place to help you manage risk and instill discipline into your process.

Topstep Trader Combine Review - Pricing and Rules

For certain traders – depending on style and/or personality – the rules can seem a bit limiting. They don’t want to be confined by rules. They want the best of both worlds – access to firm capital, as well as the freedom to do whatever they want with it.

But you have to understand that earning firm capital is going to come with some tradeoffs. Topstep isn’t going to fund traders with large five to six-figure trading accounts and not have rules in place for their own financial safety – that just wouldn’t work.

So if you don’t agree with the rules that Topstep has in place, you can always search for other funding programs with looser rules or even risk your own capital. But in many cases, traders at Topstep welcome the rules for the guidance and protection they provide.

2. Topstep Trader Combine Fees

The Topstep Trader Combine is essentially a tryout in a simulated environment for the chance to earn funding. If you pass the objective tryout by not breaking any rules and hitting the predetermined profit targets, then you get funded – it’s as simple as that.

But there are fees associated with the tryout process depending on the level of funding you’re looking for. The $50,000 futures trading account is $165 per month, the $100,000 account is $325 per month, and the $150,000 account is $375 per month.

What is the Topstep Trader Combine

In my personal opinion, these are completely reasonable fees for the opportunity to earn a multi-thousand dollar trading account in a matter of weeks or months. But there are still individuals who are quick to complain about the Combine fees.

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In all honesty, I think the main reason for these complaints is simply frustration. Those who are upset about them probably haven’t developed an edge or the ability to follow rules – and choose to take their anger out on Topstep for charging fees.

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But you have to understand that Topstep’s business model doesn’t work without charging tryout fees. The whole point of the Combine is to weed out bad traders and reward good traders. But without any fees/skin in the game, it would attract a whole lot of bad traders.

3. Topstep Trader Profit-Split

It’s clear that whenever there are fees/expenses of any sort involved, there will always be complaints to some degree. But as mentioned previously, you have to understand that access to firm capital is going to come with a few tradeoffs.

When you pass the Combine, Topstep will provide you with a funded account. But in return, they expect you to follow their rules. In addition to that, they keep 20% of the profits you generate in your funded account (after the first $10,000 in profits).

Topstep Trader User Reviews and Testimonials

Without a profit-split, there would be no reason for them to provide you with their capital – there would be nothing in it for them except the downside of you losing their money. It would be all risk and no reward – so a profit-split of some sort has to exist.

As you can tell, the rules, fees, and profit-splits are the most commonly complained about aspects of Topstep. But for a funded trader program, there’s no avoiding these components. Rules, fees, and profit-splits are all necessary for Topstep to operate.

Try to look at it from Topstep’s perspective. Would you provide a random person with $150,000 of your own money without proof that can they can follow rules and generate profits? And would you not expect some sort of reward for providing that capital?

So is Topstep a Scam or Legitimate Opportunity to Earn Funding?

While there are some tradeoffs involved with Topstep, I don’t think the program is a scam at all. In fact, I think it offers an incredible opportunity for individuals who wouldn’t otherwise have the means be able to pursue trading at a professional level.

The fact of the matter is that you need capital to pursue trading at a serious level. But many individuals don’t have $10,000, $25,000, or $50,000+ to put into a trading account. They have limited funds available to put toward trading/investing.

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As a result, it’s just not all that realistic for somebody with a few thousand dollars to spare to trade for a living. Even with a 100% annual return on a $3,000 account, that’s only a $3,000 gain at the end of the year – far from a meaningful income.

But if that few thousand dollars was put toward a $100,000 Topstep Futures Combine at $325 per month, you can pay for at least nine months. And in the end, you can end up with a six-figure trading account to work with. Imagine a 100% annual return on that.

Even with the initial Combine fee and then the profit-split once funded, you have a much better chance at making some real money through Topstep. This is what makes funded trader programs so attractive for so many prospective traders.

Please share your personal thoughts and experiences with Topstep in the comments section below.

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Written by Matt Thomas (@MattThomasTP)

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Matt Thomas

Founder of, Creator of the Trading Success Framework Course & Trading Paradigm Skool Community, and Intraday Futures Trader Using Auction Market Theory & Profiling (Volume & Market Profile).


  • Tyler says:

    I think there are better companies to do this with… But, TopStep was one of the first though, I do not agree with what they teach about trading AT ALL, but then again, it may work for other people… I spent 2000 dollars trying to beat combines before realizing there were easier companies to use-I got funded with a different company, lost and now back at it again… No, I am not a professional by any means and need work but, there are easier ones to beat-With discounts too… however, topstep is the most “realistic”. Apex is definitely a fraudster as is LeeLoo. Earn2Trade may be the best bet-

    • Matt Thomas says:

      Hi Tyler – I appreciate you sharing your thoughts/experiences with Topstep and various other funded trader programs as well (Apex, LeeLoo, Earn2Trade, etc.).

      You mentioned that you don’t agree with what Topstep teaches at all – would you be able to expand more on that? Are you talking about the teaching taking place via Topstep blog posts, YouTube videos, the Limit Up podcast – or something else? Based on those resources, I think what they teach is mainly surface-level material – and that Topstep as a company and Topstep users as a community could both benefit from a much more in-depth and structured course of some sort (that would be available to anyone who starts a Combine, for example).

      Because as it stands right now, I think outside training is required for those who pursue getting funded with the goal of trading being a consistent, sustainable source of income. Not just to pass the tryout(s) in the short-term, but actually develop the skills and edge for long-lasting success. What I’m talking about here would be training similar to what Josh Schuler provides at Trade With Profile through his Profile Trading Development Pathway or what Merritt Black provides at Apteros Trading through his NADRO Training Program. Without this immersive/methodical/comprehensive type of training, I think many individuals (especially those in the beginning stages) really struggle to find direction and consistency on their own.

      Overall, the “basics” (which is what most trading-related products/services tend to offer) can only get people so far. It helps to a certain degree as a starting point, but far more robust training is required in most cases. I did, however, see that Topstep is offering a free week-long course coming up in a couple weeks that covers things like market profile, order flow analysis, and more – and I think the education/training provided there might be more substantial/meaningful than anything else I’ve seen out of them to this point – but we’ll see. It at least seems to be a step in the right direction. With that being said, the funding is their top priority, not necessarily skill-building – but I just think if they upped their game in terms of training it would be a massive benefit for all parties.

      Have you seen much in terms of education/training from the other funding programs you have experiences with? If so, which ones have been the best/worst in your opinion?

  • Paolo says:

    Thank you for sharing your opinion with us about TopStep. I was wondering if there was some real argument to be made concerning the criticisms I had been reading. And I am grateful you addressed these complaints. And I agree that many people would not be able to trade at a professional level without their help.

    • Matt Thomas says:

      Hi Paolo – I appreciate your comments.

      I think whenever something isn’t free, there will always be complaints to some degree. Most people don’t like to pay for things – especially when paying for that thing doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. Topstep provides great funding opportunities for traders, but users still have to work hard to develop an edge, manage risk, and pass the Combine. Most of the complaints about cost, in my opinion, are like somebody purchasing a gym membership and then complaining about how they’re not seeing results. The gym simply provides the opportunity/tools to get fit, but it doesn’t force you to work hard for it – or even show up. So there’s nothing automatic here, but that doesn’t make Topstep (or your typical gym) a scam.

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