Apex Trader Funding vs. Top Step Trader: A Comprehensive Showdown

Verified Trader Funding Nov 26, 2023
1420 People Read
TopStep Trader Funding Vs Apex Trader Funding
Table of Contents
  1. Introduction: Navigating the Proper Firm Landscape
    1. Apex Trader Funding at a Glance
    2. Top Step Trader: The Trading Combine®
    3. Deep Dive into Apex Trader Funding's Evaluation Rules and Parameters
    4. Key Rules for Evaluation Accounts
    5. What does this actually mean?
    6. Max Drawdown for Various Plans
  2. Additional Fees:
  3. Topstep Trading Combine® Program Overview
    1. Objectives and Rules
    2. TopStep Consistency Target
    3. TopStep Trader Daily Loss Limit
    4. Additional Notes
    5. Wrapping Up the Evaluation Section: Apex Trader Funding vs. Topstep Trader
    6. Apex Trader Funding: A Gateway for New Traders
    7. Funded Account Stage: Apex Trader Funding
    8. Transitioning to a Funded Account
    9. Post-Evaluation Process:
    10. Key Considerations for Traders
    11. TopStep Trader Funded Account Explained
    12. With top-step traders, they first put you into an express-funded account, and then you move on to the live-funded account once you've withdrawn about $5000. When you move, you don't have a choice in the matter I think it's good that you're eventually moved to a live account; it is more like a legit prop firm in this way.
    13. Overview of Topstep's Express Funded Account (XFA)
    14. Step-by-Step Activation Fee Explained
    15. Overview of Topstep's Live Funded Account
    16. Transition from XFA:
    17. Wrapping Up: A Comparative Overview of Apex Trader Funding and Topstep for Traders
    18. Apex Trader Funding: Ideal for Newcomers
    19. The Dual Approach: Maximizing Income
    20. Final thoughts on apex trader funding vs Topstep Trader

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. This site is not intended to provide financial advice and is for entertainment only. 

Introduction: Navigating the Proper Firm Landscape

In the intricate world of day trading, selecting the right prop firm is more than a choice; it's a strategic decision that can shape your trading career. Today, we're zooming in on two industry giants: Apex Trader Funding and Top Step Trader. With my extensive trading experience, I'll guide you through their offerings, starting with a brief overview and then diving deep into their evaluation and funding stages.


Apex Trader Funding at a Glance

Apex Trader Funding has emerged as a prominent player in the prop firm arena. Known for its impressive compensation stats and trader-friendly policies, Apex has been a game-changer for many in the trading community. With an average monthly compensation of over $5 million to its traders since January 2023 and a total payout exceeding $65 million since 2022, Apex is clearly committed to its traders' success.


Top Step Trader: The Trading Combine®

Top Step Trader takes a unique approach with its Trading Combine® program, designed to hone the skills and discipline of traders. This program is more than just a funding gateway; it's a journey towards consistent and disciplined trading. With no monthly subscriptions for its Express Funded Account™ and Live Funded Account, Top Step focuses on sustainable growth and skill development.


Deep Dive into Apex Trader Funding's Evaluation Rules and Parameters

Apex Trader Funding offers a straightforward and accessible path to success for traders, with a set of clear and concise rules for their evaluation accounts. Understanding these rules is crucial for anyone looking to navigate their way through Apex's evaluation process successfully.


Key Rules for Evaluation Accounts


Profit Goal and Max Drawdown: The primary objective is to meet the profit goal without hitting the max drawdown specific to the chosen evaluation Account.


Minimum Trading Days: Traders must trade for a minimum of 7 days, which do not need to be consecutive.


Code of Conduct: Adherence to professional standards as outlined in Apex's Code of Conduct is mandatory.


Account Security: It's imperative to ensure that only the account holder trades and that account credentials are not shared.

Trading Platform Requirements: Traders are required to use Rtrader/Tradovate to monitor max drawdown and as a backup for closing trades.


General Guidelines and Trading Conditions

Trade Closure: All trades must be closed, and pending orders cancelled before 4:59 PM ET, with earlier closures required on certain holidays or market conditions.


Trading on Holidays: Trading is allowed on holidays if the market is open, but half-day holidays do not count as a trading day.


Failsafe Feature: While there is a failsafe to attempt to close open positions by 4:59 PM ET, it's the trader's responsibility to ensure trades are closed to avoid hitting the drawdown threshold.


Understanding the Trailing Threshold Drawdown

Dynamic Drawdown Management: The max loss drawdown varies for each plan, and there is no daily max drawdown limit. The drawdown threshold is dynamic, trailing the highest live profit by a set amount specific to the account plan.


Example Scenario: If a trader's balance reaches $52,000 during a trade but closes the trade at $51,000, the drawdown threshold will be set based on the highest balance ($52,000) during the trade, not the closing balance.


What does this actually mean?

Decoding the Trailing Drawdown: The 'Rope' Metaphor

Imagine you're climbing a mountain with a rope tied around your waist, and the other end is anchored at a certain point below you. This rope represents the trailing drawdown in your Apex Trader Funding evaluation account.


As You Climb Higher (Profit Increase): Every time you climb higher (i.e., your account balance reaches a new peak), the rope (trailing drawdown) follows you upwards, maintaining a fixed distance (the max loss limit) below your

current position (account balance).

Apex trader funding evaluation trailing drawdown


The Catch-Up Mechanism: If you stop climbing or start descending (your trade goes against you), the rope doesn't extend; it stays at its highest fixed point. This means if you fall (your account balance drops), you have less room before the rope tightens (you hit the drawdown limit).

The Safety Net and Risk: The rope acts as a safety net, preventing a free fall (protecting from significant losses), but it also limits how far you can descend from your highest point (peak account balance) without getting caught (hitting the drawdown limit).


Max Drawdown for Various Plans


Account Type

Profit Goal


Contracts

Drawdown TD

Monthly Fee (Rithmic/Tradovate)


25K FULL

$1,500

4 (40 Micros)

$1,500

$147 / $167


50K FULL

$3,000

10 (100 Micros)

$2,500

$167 / $187

75K FULL

$4,250

12 (120 Micros)

$2,750

$187 / $207

100K FULL

$6,000

14 (140 Micros)

$3,000

$207 or $227


150K FULL

$9,000

17 (170 Micros)

$5,000

$297 / $317


250K FULL

$15,000

27 (270 Micros)

$6,500

$517 / $537


300K FULL

$20,000

35 (350 Micros)

$7,500

$657 / $67




Additional Fees:

Evaluation Resets: $80/Reset (Rithmic), $100/Reset (Tradovate), No Limit

Paid/Funded Account Fee: $85 Per Account/Month (Rithmic), $105 Per Account/Month (Tradovate), 20 PA Accounts Maximum


TopStep Trader's Evaluation Stage the Combine

Topstep Trading Combine® Program Overview

Objectives and Rules

Profit Target: Reach and maintain the profit target.


Consistency Target: Ensure your best day is below 50% of total profits made.

Daily Loss Limit: Do not hit or exceed the Daily Loss Limit; otherwise, your account will be deactivated for that trading day.


Maximum Loss Limit: Do not allow your account balance to hit or exceed the Maximum Loss Limit.


TopStep Consistency Target

Purpose: Measures a trader’s ability to make repeated profits while managing risk.


Requirement: Your best day must be no greater than 50% of your total profits.


Calculation: Best Day Profit ÷ Overall Profit = Best Day % of Total Profit.


Example: For a $50,000 account, if your best day profit is $1,200 and your overall profit is $2,800, the calculation is $1,200 ÷ $2,800 = 43%.


TopStep Trader Daily Loss Limit


Objective:

 A temporary break from trading if the net P&L hits or exceeds the daily loss limit during the trading day.


Impact: 

Account auto-liquidation for the remainder of the trading session.

Limits per Account Size:

  • 50K Trading Combine: $1,000

  • 100K Trading Combine: -$2,000

  • 150K Trading Combine: -$3,000


Maximum Loss Limit


Function: A minimum account balance that trails with your profits.


Calculation: Calculated from your account balance at the end of the trading day.


Example: In a $50K account, if you make $500 on the first day (account balance = $50,500), the maximum loss limit becomes $48,500. If the balance falls below this during trading, the account will be liquidated.


Additional Notes

Subscription: The Trading Combine® requires a monthly subscription. Express Funded AccountTM and Live Funded AccountTM have no monthly subscriptions.

Evaluation Resets: Available for traders who need to restart their evaluation process.

Trading Platforms: Compatible with various trading platforms, including NinjaTrader.


Topstep and apex trader funding

Wrapping Up the Evaluation Section: Apex Trader Funding vs. Topstep Trader


As we conclude our exploration of the evaluation processes of Apex Trader Funding and Topstep Trader, it's time to reflect on their respective offerings and determine which might be more suitable, particularly for beginner traders.  For me personally, apex trader funding evaluations are much easier to pass  I'm not sure if it's just my trading style or the fact that with Apex Trader Funding, there really is only one rule: don't hit The trailing drawdown


Apex Trader Funding: A Gateway for New Traders

Apex Trader Funding Rules


Cost-Effectiveness: Apex Trader Funding shines in its affordability. For beginners who are cautious about initial investments, Apex's frequent sales and lower entry costs are a significant advantage.


Simpler Evaluation Rules: Apex's evaluation rules are relatively straightforward. For beginners, this simplicity is a blessing because it frees them up to concentrate on honing their trading skills rather than worrying about complex requirements.


Trailing Drawdown: While the concept of a trailing drawdown can be challenging, it's an essential aspect of risk management. Apex's approach to trailing drawdowns is more forgiving, offering a gentler learning curve for those new to trading.


Topstep Trader: For the More Seasoned

No Trailing Drawdown: Topstep A trader's lack of a trailing drawdown is a double-edged sword. It can be less stressful for traders, but it also means that traders need to be more disciplined in managing their trades and risks.


TopStep Trader Funding

Consistency Target: Topstep's focus on consistent profitability is commendable. However, this can be a challenging hurdle for beginners who are still finding their footing in the trading world.


Comprehensive Evaluation: Topstep offers a more rigorous evaluation process. This might be more suited to traders who have some experience and are looking to refine their strategies under stricter conditions.


Final Thoughts: Apex Trader Funding as the Beginner-Friendly Choice

After trading with both platforms myself, my perspective leans towards Apex Trader Funding as the more beginner-friendly option. Its cost-effective approach, simpler rules, and more forgiving environment make it an ideal starting point for those new to trading evaluations.


Topstep Trader, while excellent in its own right, might be more suited for traders who have already cut their teeth in the trading arena and are looking for a platform that challenges their consistency and discipline.


In the end, the choice depends on your experience level and what you're looking to achieve in your trading journey. Apex Trader Funding offers a gentler introduction, while Topstep Trader presents a more challenging but potentially more rewarding path.

Funded Account Stage: Apex Trader Funding

Let's dive into the funded account stage with Apex Trader Funding, breaking down the transition from the evaluation stage to the funded stage. This is where things get exciting for traders who have successfully navigated the evaluation process.


Transitioning to a Funded Account


Post-Evaluation Process: 

After passing the evaluation, you don't need to take any immediate action. Importantly, do not cancel your evaluation account. Apex Trader Funding will contact you within 2 business days after the 7th day with the contract and payment link.


Topstep trader funded live account

Verification: 

Ensure you have completed 7 trading days and met your account balance target. This might be updated on the 8th day. Stop trading if your balance dips below the profit target to avoid disqualification.


Automated Process: The transition to a funded account is automated. Apex will recognize your completion of the 7-day trading requirement and initiate the process.


Email Communication: You'll receive an email with instructions to pay for your Performance Account (PA), cancel your evaluation account, and sign the contract for a PA.


Setup and Trading: Once you've signed the contract and paid for the PA, you'll receive an email notification. You'll use the same login credentials as your evaluation account. The trading process and connection remain the same.


Funded Account Details

Trading Limits and Drawdown: Each plan has specific trading limits and maximum loss drawdowns. For instance, a $50,000 plan starts with a maximum drawdown of $47,500.


No Daily Max Drawdown Limit: Unlike some other platforms, Apex Trader Funding doesn't impose a daily max drawdown limit.


Drawdown Mechanics: The max loss drawdown varies by plan and is dynamic, trailing your highest profit point. It's crucial to monitor this on your RTrader dashboard.


Profit Share: You're entitled to 100% of the first $25,000 in profits and 90% thereafter.


Payout Process: Payouts can be requested twice per month, with specific request and approval periods. You can continue trading after requesting a payout, but you must trade as if the funds were already deducted.


Minimum Balance for Withdrawal: Each account size has a minimum balance requirement for withdrawal requests.


Withdrawal Limits: The first three months have a maximum withdrawal limit, which varies by account size. From the fourth month onwards, there's no maximum withdrawal limit, provided the account maintains the required minimum balance.


Topstep trader payouts

Key Considerations for Traders

Consistency and Discipline: Apex looks for traders with a disciplined, consistent trading system. Erratic trading or high-risk strategies are discouraged. When you request the payout, no more than thirty percent of your profit for that payout can be from one single trading day


Trading System: A well-defined trading system with set rules for entries, stops, and take profits is crucial. Apex values consistency in trading size, days traded, and risk management.


Prohibited Practices: Certain practices like news trading, high-frequency trading, or erratic 'windfall' trading are prohibited. The focus is on steady, systematic trading.


Respect and Professionalism: Traders are expected to maintain professionalism in all interactions and adhere to the company's code of conduct.


In summary, transitioning to a funded account with Apex Trader Funding involves a straightforward, automated process post-evaluation. The funded stage offers greater freedom but requires disciplined trading within the set guidelines. The platform's structure encourages consistent growth and risk management, making it an attractive option for serious traders. The contract you sign once you get funded is pretty in-depth, and it will show that they are seeking traders who are professionals. They go into just about every strategy and style the effect is that in the live account, you just need to trade consistently and not try to scam them a lot of traders, when they first change their payout structure, we're just trading news going Yolo and this is why apex has implemented these stricter styles of trading, but I have never seen anybody refuse to payout That is, tradingin a manner that is notscammylike,ike putting on a micro, taking it off to count as a trading day and then high-impact news hits and you go 10 contracts all in. 


TopStep Trader Funded Account Explained 

With top-step traders, they first put you into an express-funded account, and then you move on to the live-funded account once you've withdrawn about $5000. When you move, you don't have a choice in the matter I think it's good that you're eventually moved to a live account; it is more like a legit prop firm in this way.


Overview of Topstep's Express Funded Account (XFA)


Purpose and Pathway:

The XFA serves as an intermediate step for traders who have successfully passed the Trading Combine. It's a simulated trading environment designed to prepare traders for real-market conditions.


Key Features:


Simulated Account with Real Potential: Although simulated, the XFA allows traders to earn real money based on their trading performance.

Starting Balance: The account begins with a $0 balance, reflecting only the profits or losses made.


Scaling Plan: 

A crucial component is guiding traders on responsibly leveraging their accounts and managing risks.

Rules and Objectives:


Primary Rule: Avoid hitting or exceeding the Maximum Loss Limit.

Objectives: Achieve 5 winning days of $200+ and adhere to the scaling plan without exceeding the daily loss limit.


Apex Trader Funding Activation Fee

Activation Fee: A one-time, non-refundable fee is required to activate each XFA.

Transition to a Live-Funded Account:


 Step-by-Step Activation Fee Explained

The activation fee is a one-time, flat fee of $149.

Purpose:


Account Onboarding: The fee supports setting up and configuring your Express Funded Account, including account creation, establishing risk parameters, and covering platform and Level 1 data fees.


Ongoing Support and Services: Access to group coaching, direct communication with risk managers, support from funding specialists, and processing payouts.

Account Management: Assists in the risk managers' review of traders' abilities and performance, including analysis of historical trading data and adherence to trading rules.


Based on Performance: Transition is contingent on consistent performance and is at the discretion of Topstep's risk managers.


Overview of Topstep's Live Funded Account


The Ultimate Goal:

The Live Funded Account is the final stage for successful traders at Topstep, representing the transition to trading with real funds in the live market.


Transition from XFA:


Performance-Based Selection: Traders are moved from the XFA to the Live Funded Account based on their consistent trading success.


Mandatory Transition: Once selected, traders must either move to the live-funded account or close their XFA.

Account Management:


Starting Balance: The full balance of the XFA becomes the starting balance in the Live Funded Account.


Maximum Loss Limit: Set at 0, emphasizing the importance of risk management in live trading.

Earnings and Payouts:


Real Money Earnings: Traders earn real money based on their trading performance.

Payout Requests: Available after accumulating five winning trading days, with each day's net PNL being $200 or more.


Wrapping Up: A Comparative Overview of Apex Trader Funding and Topstep for Traders

As we conclude our exploration of trader funding options, it's essential to highlight the distinct advantages of Apex Trader Funding and Topstep, especially for different stages in a trader's journey.


Apex Trader Funding best option for new traders

Apex Trader Funding: Ideal for Newcomers


Key Advantages:


Simplicity: Apex Trader Funding offers a straightforward approach, making it accessible for beginners.


Lower Costs: The initial costs and fees associated with Apex are generally more affordable for those just starting.


Beginner-Friendly Evaluations: The evaluation process is designed to be less intimidating, providing a gentle introduction to the world of trading.


Transitioning to Topstep: A Strategic Move for Growing Traders

Once traders gain experience and start earning payouts with Apex, they might consider either running accounts with both Apex and Topstep simultaneously or transitioning entirely to Topstep. 


Here’s why:


Topstep Trader for traders going to the next level

Topstep’s Enhanced Benefits:


Better Payout Structure: Topstep offers a more lucrative payout structure, which can be more beneficial for traders looking to maximize their earnings.


Professional Growth: The platform's structure and support are geared towards fostering professional trading skills and discipline.


Risk Management Emphasis: Topstep’s focus on risk management and strategic trading aligns with the practices of seasoned traders.


The Dual Approach: Maximizing Income

Running accounts with both Apex and Topstep can be a strategic approach to diversify and maximize income streams. This method allows traders to leverage the strengths of both 

platforms.


Apex for Continuous Practice: Keep honing skills and strategies in a relatively lower-risk environment.


Topstep for Higher Earnings: Utilize Topstep’s favorable payout structure for potentially higher returns Due to the lack of consistency rules, you can trade when you want, however you want, without having to worry about 30% of your profit being made in one single day The top-step trader does not have this rule.


Making the Switch: Why Topstep?

For traders who prefer a singular focus, transitioning to Topstep after achieving success with Apex can be a wise decision.


Advanced Trading Environment: Topstep’s environment is more conducive to the development of advanced trading strategies.


Greater Earning Potential: With its superior payout structure, Topstep can offer more significant financial rewards for skilled traders.


Professional Development: The platform’s resources and community are tailored to support serious traders in their professional growth.

Conclusion


Final thoughts on apex trader funding vs Topstep Trader

I have traded with both of these companies I find That Apex’s minimal rules easy to understand and navigate, but let's keep it real Their payout structure stinks; the cost is very low to take an evaluation


 On the other hand, for a new trader, this is going to be the cheapest route as you pay your tuition and get used to trading for a prop firm. You are looking at a $18 cost for a 1550K evaluation right now, which is extremely cheap If you're curious about the latest discounts, you can always check the discounts on this website


You can click right there and then it'll take you to the discount page I hope this blog helps you decide which funding company is going to be the right decision for you. 


I have always held the belief that each company has their own upsides and downsides and by using them all, you can have a complete all-in-one business that will feed you and your family for a lifetime to come  don't miss out on these funding opportunities shoot your shot, especially now as prices are so cheap 


good luck and I hope you reach your funding and trading goals if you would like to learn more about how I trade, check out my YouTube channel. Jered King Trading 


I trade live multiple times a week I do analysis three times a week after the market closes. Feel free to subscribe to my membership. i've made it extremely cheap, only $3.99 per month This is unbelievably low cost  Hopefully, I'll see you on the charts you can also check out my Twitter and I'll have a Facebook group as well for ict smc traders you can also subscribe to my newsletter VTF NewsLetter and get discounts, tips and tricks on how to get funded and stay funded straight to your email I know this is log, guys but I got to shoot my shot with you and hopefully you see the value that I provide and subscribe.


Table of Contents
  1. Introduction: Navigating the Proper Firm Landscape
    1. Apex Trader Funding at a Glance
    2. Top Step Trader: The Trading Combine®
    3. Deep Dive into Apex Trader Funding's Evaluation Rules and Parameters
    4. Key Rules for Evaluation Accounts
    5. What does this actually mean?
    6. Max Drawdown for Various Plans
  2. Additional Fees:
  3. Topstep Trading Combine® Program Overview
    1. Objectives and Rules
    2. TopStep Consistency Target
    3. TopStep Trader Daily Loss Limit
    4. Additional Notes
    5. Wrapping Up the Evaluation Section: Apex Trader Funding vs. Topstep Trader
    6. Apex Trader Funding: A Gateway for New Traders
    7. Funded Account Stage: Apex Trader Funding
    8. Transitioning to a Funded Account
    9. Post-Evaluation Process:
    10. Key Considerations for Traders
    11. TopStep Trader Funded Account Explained
    12. With top-step traders, they first put you into an express-funded account, and then you move on to the live-funded account once you've withdrawn about $5000. When you move, you don't have a choice in the matter I think it's good that you're eventually moved to a live account; it is more like a legit prop firm in this way.
    13. Overview of Topstep's Express Funded Account (XFA)
    14. Step-by-Step Activation Fee Explained
    15. Overview of Topstep's Live Funded Account
    16. Transition from XFA:
    17. Wrapping Up: A Comparative Overview of Apex Trader Funding and Topstep for Traders
    18. Apex Trader Funding: Ideal for Newcomers
    19. The Dual Approach: Maximizing Income
    20. Final thoughts on apex trader funding vs Topstep Trader

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. This site is not intended to provide financial advice and is for entertainment only.