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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.

Is the Step card available in Canada?

No, the Step card kids is not available in Canada, as you must have a Social Security Number and be a US resident to sign up. That said, card holders can pay for purchases using a Step card while traveling in Canada.

Compare Step alternatives for kids in Canada

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
One of the most direct comparisons to the Greenlight card in Canada is the the MyDoh card. Offered through a partnership between RBC and Visa, the MyDoh prepaid card lets kids decide how to spend their money online and in-store. Parents can transfer funds, view their child's balance, view transactions and add up to 5 children to their account. The Mydoh Smart Cash Card has a $0 monthly fee.
  • 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
  • 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

BMO Performance Chequing Account

Earn $600
Bonus Offer
$17.95
Monthly Account Fee
unlimited
Free Transactions
Under the family bundle, you can select a primary account and an account holder, which must be an adult, and then select and set up a separate bank account for your teen. Not only does your teen pay no monthly fees, but they get unlimited no-fee daily banking, including Interac e-Transfers. If you open a new account and meet certain requirements, your family gets a welcome bonus of $600.
  • No monthly fee for your teen
  • Parent pays only one account fee per month
  • Each account is separate and private
  • Unlimited monthly transactions, including Interac e-Transfers
  • Parents get a $40 rebate on a BMO Mastercard annual fee
  • Attach a no-fee BMO savings account and earn 5.50% on all deposits Valid until July 2, 2024.
  • 1 free non-BMO ATM withdrawal per month
  • Free teen debit card
  • OnGuard Identity Theft Protection at no charge
  • Must keep a $4,000 minimum balance to waive monthly fee
  • Earn 0% on account balances
  • Parent must be a BMO bank account holder
  • $5 fee each for overdraft protection, international ATM withdrawals and global money transfers
Min. Age 18
Min. Age Teen Account 13
Account Fee $17.95
Youth Account Fee $0
# of Accounts Included 20
Overdraft Fee $5
ATM Out-of-Network Fee $2
U.S. ATM Fee $5
International ATM Fee $5
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
  • 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 12 and under 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

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 three US 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.

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. Kids can earn up to 8% cashback from their favorite stores as long as they meet certain spending requirements.
  • 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

In the Step app, you can open a stock account to start investing in stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) with as little as $1. You’ll also pay nothing in commission fees or monthly subscriptions.

There are over 1,000 popular stocks and ETFs to browse, and Step will recommend investments based on your volatility tolerance. The stock account is insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) for up to $500,000.

Step also offers users to invest in Bitcoin, and each crypto purchase includes a 2% markup to cover Step’s trading costs. As is with all crypto investing platforms, those aren’t insured by the FDIC or SIPC, and it’s not available in Hawaii or 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

The only real downside with Step is the lack of physical branches. You’ll need to be comfortable communicating with the company solely online, or over the phone. Customers have also complained about its long two- to three-week wait for getting your Step card in the mail after signing up.

Step reviews and complaints

Step Banking isn’t accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) but has a rating of C on the BBB website due to a couple of complaints filed against the business. Step also has over 1,076 reviews on Trustpilot with an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars.

Positive reviewers love that the app allows their teen to build credit, its ease of use and the ability to earn cash back from participating retailers.

However, several customers have reported problems with getting money back from Step when closing their accounts. A few others had their account closed without their permission, leaving them without funds until customer service solved the problem. Customers also complained that reaching customer service by email can take time.

Is Step app safe?

Yes. Money held in a Step account is insured for US residents by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for up to $250,000 through Evolve Bank & Trust. Accounts also have bank-grade encryption, and Visa’s Zero Liability Protection protects all transactions, so you won’t be held responsible for fraudulent charges.Step also boasts over 3 million users with hundreds of positive reviews on sites like Trustpilot. In addition, the Step card is safer than a regular credit card because your kid can only spend what they have in their account.

But be aware that some customers have reported problems with getting funds back from Step when closing their accounts. Also, funds invested in crypto through Step’s platform are not insured by the FDIC or SIPC.

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 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.

More on kids banking

Written by

Sarah George

Sarah George is Staff Writer for Small Business Loans at BankRate and formally a personal finance writer at Finder focusing on all things banking and insurance. Her know-how has been featured in such publications as CBS, CNET and Reviews.com, and she was a panelist in Finder’s 2020 money-saving webinar. Sarah earned an English education degree and is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance. See full profile

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