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Step Visa Card
4.7
★★★★★
Finder score
On Step's secure site
Savings
5.00%
Fee
$0 per month
Age requirements
Any age

Our verdict

A secured card that works like a debit card with credit-building and savings perks.

Step stands out as a free app and Visa secured card with no monthly fees, overdraft or opening deposit. It can help teens and young adults build credit history without the risk of overdrafts or racking up credit card interest. Unlike traditional credit cards, you only spend the money that's been added to your Step account, so you can’t spend more than what you have. With direct deposit of at least $500 each month, you can earn up to 5% savings rewards, and get early direct deposit. Scoop up time-sensitive cashback offers from favorite stores, earn referral bonuses, save faster with saving round-ups and much more. There's also the Step Black card that offers many more perks such as up to 8% in cashback with an annual fee of $99.

Best for: Teens and young adults in need of an all-in-one bank app.

Pros

  • $0 monthly fees
  • No credit check, deposit or interest charges
  • 5% savings reward with direct deposit
  • Optional investing platform

Cons

  • No physical branches
  • $99 annual fee for Black card
  • Best savings reward requires direct deposit

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How the Step card works

The Step Visa Card and Step Black Card aren’t traditional credit cards. Each time you use the card to make a purchase, Step removes that amount from your Step deposit account — kind of like a regular debit card. Once a month, Step uses your deposit account balance to pay off your Step card balance without any interest charges. It’s considered a secured card, but instead of being secured by a security deposit, it’s backed by the Step deposit account.

Step also reports to all three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Step boasts that 18-year-olds who used Step for seven months saw an average credit score of 725.

Plans and cost

You can choose between the free Step Visa Card, or the Step Black Visa Signature Card.

CardCostAge requirementFeatures
Step Visa$0None
  • No credit check
  • No opening or security deposit
  • Up to 3% cashback rewards
  • Credit-building with Smart Pay
  • Access investing platform
  • Earn 5% savings rewards with direct deposit of $500/month
  • Early paycheck arrival with direct deposit of $500/month
  • Savings goals and round-ups
  • Teen features like Money 101 and spending limits
Step Black Visa Signature$99/year13+Everything with Step Visa, plus:
  • Early paycheck arrival with direct deposit (no minimums)
  • Up to 8% in cashback rewards and at least 1% on all purchases
  • Up to $1 million in FDIC insurance coverage
  • Visa Signature access to exclusive events
  • Visa Signature Concierge 24/7 service

What we like about Step

We love that Step offers free and paid card options. There are also no interest charges, opening or security deposit, no credit check and no overdraft fees.

By going with a free card and app plan, you’ll still get a ton of features like cashback rewards, credit-building opportunities, savings rewards, and an optional investing platform. There are extra perks if you set up direct deposit. With at least $500 in direct deposits each month, you can earn up to 5% in savings rewards, two-day early payday deposits and higher cashback rewards. With the Step Black card, you can enjoy even more perks for $99 each year.

Earn cashback rewards

The Step card has a cashback rewards program you’d normally find with a credit card:

  • 3% cash back at select brands
  • 2% cash back on dining and delivery
  • 2% cash back on charitable donations
  • 1% cash back on entertainment and gaming

Points earned can be redeemed for cash and can be automatically deposited into your account. Points don’t expire as long as the account is open and in good standing. You earn one point per dollar on a select group of merchants every month. But those who meet the $500 direct deposit eligibility earn 3x the points on select merchants, 2x on food and donations and 1x on entertainment.

On top of the cashback program, there are other ways to earn rewards:

  • Crypto rewards. Open a crypto investment account and choose to earn rewards in crypto rather than cash back.
  • Referrals. You and a referred friend can each get $1 with a successful referral — not a huge incentive but still a way to earn extra.
  • Savings goals. Set goals and track your progress, and also use savings round-ups that round up each purchase to the nearest dollar to build savings faster.

Credit building with Smart Pay

Step is a secured card, so with each purchase, Step removes that amount from the Step deposit account. While this sounds like a regular debit card, this can actually build credit thanks to Step’s feature called Smart Pay.

With Smart Pay, purchases are automatically paid off every month using the funds in your deposit account and those payments are reported to Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. For those under 18, up to two years of payment history will be reported at age 18 after opting in.

Investing platform

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.

Step Black card has more perks

If you want to step up your Step experience, there’s also the Step Black Visa Signature Card. It works similar to the traditional Step card and other debit-credit cards, but comes with extra perks.

Compared to the regular Step card, the Step Black card offers higher cashback rewards that are up to 8% on purchases up to $6,000 annually with select Step Black Partners, higher FDIC insurance protection and Visa Signature perks:

  • Accepts ages 13+
  • No credit history requirement
  • Up to 8% cashback offers, with 1% to 3% on other categories
  • Get paid up to two days early with direct deposit (no minimums)
  • 5.00% savings rewards with direct deposit
  • Up to $1 million in FDIC insurance coverage
  • Visa Signature Concierge 24/7 service
  • Visa Signature access to events

The Step Black card costs $99 per year. But if you maintain a balance of at least $2,000 in your savings, the 5% rate on your savings would equate to $102 in interest earnings in one year, so it can pay for itself. Just know that you’ll need to meet direct deposit requirements to earn the highest 5% rate on savings.

Step can be great for kids, too

There are no age requirements for the regular Step card, as it only requires that users under 18 have an adult sponsor the account. Parents can also create a parent-managed Step account for their kids. With strong parental controls, spending limits, and no monthly fees, it can be a great first debit card for kids.

Teens can also get payments reported. Once they turn 18, they can opt to send their Step transaction history to the three credit bureaus from the last two years, effectively helping teens build their credit scores before adulthood.

Kids under 18 need their parent’s approval to start investing, and parents can limit the amount that kids invest up to $1,200. And unlike competitors like Greenlight, kids don’t need a parent’s approval before each trade.

For financial literacy, Step offers 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.

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 B on the BBB website due to five complaints filed against the business. Step also has over 900 reviews on Trustpilot, with an overall rating of 4.6 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.

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Is Step app safe?

Yes. Money held in a Step account is insured 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 do I contact Step?

Contact Step in four ways:

  • Email hello@step.com.
  • Chat with a representative through the Step app.
  • Over the phone at 1-888-978-2682 from 9am to 5pm Pacific Time
  • Contact Step through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

Frequently asked questions

Which is better for kids: Greenlight or Step?

If you’re looking for a budget option, Step is the winner. It has no monthly fees at all and is chock full of features. But Greenlight is a tough adversary.

Greenlight may also be better suited for larger families, as you get five debit cards for the Core plan, which costs $4.99 per month. It also features chore and allowance tracking — something that Step doesn’t have. Greenlight also allows for customized spending limits, and interactive financial literacy games. If you want more granular control over your kids’ spending, chore and allowance tracking and don’t mind a monthly fee, Greenlight may be a better choice.

Does Step work with Zelle?

Yes, you can link your Step card to Zelle, but there isn’t a direct Zelle integration with the Step app. You can also add a Step card to apps like Venmo, Cash App and Paypal to transfer funds.

Kids’card ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

We analyze top cards for kids and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. We rate kids’ checking accounts by these factors: Monthly fee, features, ATM access, customer support options, and availability. We also consider APY as a factor only for those that earn interest. We rate prepaid debit and secured cards for kids by these factors: monthly fees, features, customer support options and account availability.

Read the full methodology of how we rate Kids’ card accounts.

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Bethany Finder

Writer, Banking and Loans

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