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Is the Step card available in Canada?

This prepaid Visa helps kids build credit and get cashback rewards. The Step card isn't in Canada, but there are alternatives.

Millions of kids in the US use the Step card to learn how to manage money and begin building their credit scores. Find out how the Step card works and if it’s possible to get one Canada. Plus, check out alternatives.

How the Step card works

Step isn’t a debit card, but it works like one. The Step card is a preloaded Visa card that allows kids to spend where credit cards are accepted. Unlike a traditional credit card, funds must be deposited onto the Step card before it can be used for spending.

Each time kids use the card to make a purchase, Step removes the amount of their purchase from their deposit account and reminds them of their remaining balance. Once a month, Step uses account funds to pay off the card’s balance with zero interest.

Once kids turn 18, they can opt to send their Step transaction history to the 3 credit bureaus, helping them build their credit scores. Step boasts that 18-year-olds who used Step for 7 months had an average credit score of 725.

Is the Step card available in Canada?

Unfortunately, the Step debit card for kids is not available in Canada, although card holders can pay for purchases in Canada with a Step card. To get a card, you must live in the US and have a US address. As of the time of writing, Step has not announced plans to begin offering the kids debit card in Canada.

Compare Step alternatives for kids

Looking for an alternative to the Step card app in Canada? Take a look at the following apps and accounts that help kids and teens manage their money.

Mydoh Smart Cash Card

$0
Monthly Fee
$0
Transaction Cost
N/A
Rewards
Owned by RBC, MyDoh is an app and prepaid card that kids can use to spend money online and in-store. Parents can load funds onto their kids' cards, check balances and view transactions. The Mydoh Smart Cash Card costs $0 per month, and up to 5 children can be added to one account.
  • Parents set up and monitor the account
  • Helps keep track of tasks and chores
  • Dedicated Visa Debit card for your kid
  • Backed by RBC, a major Canadian bank
  • 30-day free trial (for new subscribers)
  • Kids cannot deposit cheques or cash into their Mydoh account
  • Kids cannot withdraw or deposit using ATMs
  • Additional monthly fee of $0 (but includes up to five youth or kids' accounts under one plan)
Monthly Fee $0
Transaction Cost $0
Foreign Transaction Fee 2.5%
Monthly Fee $0
Minimum Age 18
Minimum Age Teen Account 4
# Included Account 5
Rewards N/A
CIBC Smart Start

CIBC Smart Start

N/A
Interest Rate
$0
Account Fee
unlimited
Transaction Fee
This kids bank account comes with unlimited transactions, free Interac e-Transfers and a debit card. Kids also get discounts at 450+ stores and restaurants with a free Student Price Card (SPC) membership.
  • No monthly fee
  • Comes with a debit card for your child
  • Free, unlimited transactions and Interac e-Transfers
  • 1 free non-CIBC ATM withdrawal per month
  • Earn on savings account balance
  • Teens 13+ can open an account without a parent
  • Discounts on food, fashion and entertainment through the free SPC+ membership for teens 14+
  • BONUS OFFER: Get $100 with CIBC Smart Start and $50 for each friend you refer — up to 10 (T&C apply)
  • $2 fee for non-CIBC ATM transactions
  • Kids under 12 must have a parent or guardian to open an account
Min. Age N/A
Min. Age Teen Account 13
Account Fee $0
Transaction Fee unlimited
Interac e-Transfer Fee N/A
NSF Fee $45

Where it shines: Step card app features

Unlike many competitors, Step doesn’t charge a monthly fee. For a free card and app, kids get lots of features including rewards, savings roundups and an optional investing platform. Here’s how these features work:

Rewards and savings

Step stands out in the world of kids banking by providing several ways of earning money.

  • Cash back. In the app, kids can switch on cashback offers from their favorite stores as long as they meet certain spending requirements.
  • Crypto rewards. With a parent’s permission, kids can open a crypto investment account and choose to earn rewards in crypto rather than cashback.
  • Referrals. Kids and their friends each get $1 USD with a successful referral — not a huge incentive but still a way to earn extra.

Step also provides several savings features to help children tuck money away for the future.

  • Savings goals. Set goals and track progress. Parents can also jumpstart their teen’s nest egg by contributing to their savings goals.
  • Savings roundups. Unlike most platforms, Step offers the unique option of rounding up purchases to the nearest dollar and adding the difference to savings.

Investing

Step is one of the few banking platforms that lets teens open trading accounts to invest. Kids under 18 need their parent’s approval to start investing but not before each trade. Parents can limit the amount that kids invest up to $1,200 USD.

With as little as $1 USD, kids can invest in stocks and ETFs before they turn 18 and pay nothing in commission fees or monthly subscriptions. Stock accounts are insured up to $500,000 USD by the US Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

And for budding crypto investors, kids can also invest in Bitcoin. Step has plans to begin offering other cryptocurrencies in the future. Each crypto purchase includes a 2% markup to cover Step’s trading costs. As is with all crypto investing platforms, investments aren’t insured by the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or SIPC. Step crypto trading is not available in Hawaii and New York.

Financial literacy

While the Step app currently lacks some financial literacy features when compared to other kids’ cards, Step does offer a Money 101 course in over 100 US high schools to help students learn the basics of bank accounts, budgeting, loans and investing. Students of participating schools can access the online course through the app. Plus, they can earn money for getting high quiz scores or improving their scores.

Additional features, like loans and stock investing, help teens and young adults continue their financial journey.

Parent-managed accounts

Best for young kids without a phone, parent-managed accounts can be opened for kids ages 6 and up. This lets parents track their child’s spending, set up savings goals and give their child discretionary access to their Step card.

Where it falls short

Despite providing accounts for young kids, Step isn’t useful for keeping track of chores and allowances tied to each chore. Although users can setup allowances and recurring payments, Step doesn’t include a chore feature.

It’s not possible to touch base with customer service over the phone, so users need to be comfortable communicating with the company solely online. Customers have complained about its long 2- to 3-week wait for getting a Step card in the mail after signing up. Many platforms send out kids’ debit cards within 7 to 10 days.

Another drawback is the $0.50 USD charge users face every time they transfer less than $25 to their kids’ cards — a turnoff for those who send small amounts frequently.

Step reviews and complaints

Step Banking isn’t accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) but has a rating of B+ on the BBB website due to a couple of complaints filed against the business. Step also has over 980 reviews on Trustpilot with an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Positive reviewers love how easy and straightforward it is to sign up and use the app.

However, some customers complain about how difficult it is to reach customer service without a phone number. A number of negative reviews concern fraudulent charges and the amount of time it takes to resolve disputes.

Step card limits

Step’s transaction limits are the same, or lower than, competitors, helping parents keep close tabs on their kids’ spending.

LimitMaximum amount
ATM withdrawals$250 USD within 24 hours
$1,000 USD within 30 days
Debit card transfer limit$500 USD within 24 hours
Spending limitUp to $1,000 USD per day (cannot spend more than the account balance)
Transfers from Step to bank account$500 USD within 24 hours

Is Step app safe?

Yes. Money held in a Step account is insured by the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for up to $250,000 USD through Evolve Bank & Trust. (Crypto is not eligible for FDIC or SIPC coverage.) Accounts also have bank-grade encryption and all transactions are protected by Visa’s Zero Liability Protection, so you won’t be held responsible for fraudulent charges.

Step also boasts over 4 million users with hundreds of positive reviews on sites like Trustpilot. In addition, the Step card is safer than a regular credit card, because kids can only spend what they have in their accounts.

How to deposit or withdraw money

There are a few different ways to move funds into and out of a Step bank account:

Deposit

  • Sponsor deposits. Adult sponsors can fund their teen’s account or a child’s Parent-Managed Account with one-time or recurring transfers.
  • Supports cash deposits. Deposit cash at one of 70,000 participating retailers in the US including 7-Eleven, CVS and Walgreens.
  • Incoming transfers. Account holders can receive up to $1,000 USD a day in transfers from traditional US bank accounts, other Step accounts or apps like PayPal and Venmo.
  • Direct deposit. Employers can deposit directly into Step accounts.

Withdrawal

  • Outgoing transfers. Funds can be transferred from Step accounts to traditional US bank accounts, other Step accounts or accounts tied to apps like Venmo and PayPal.
  • Debit card. Kids can use their debit cards or link their accounts to Apple or Google Pay to make purchases, while parents monitor their spending via the app.

How to contact Step

Unfortunately, there’s no phone number to contact Step customer service. However, users can reach Step by email, chatting with a representative in the app or by reaching out to Step on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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