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Step vs. Current: Which kids’ card is worth it?

Step helps kids build credit, while Current lets parents set up chores.

Step and Current are some of the only free kids’ banking options. Most kids’ debit cards charge monthly fees, usually starting at $5 per month. But while there’s no monthly or annual fee for both, Step offers extra features you won’t find with Current.

Step vs. Current: A quick comparison

Step
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Current teen banking
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Finder score 4.4★★★★★ 4.8★★★★★
Fee $0 per month $0 per month
Age requirements Any age Any age
Card purchase fee $0 $0
ATM withdrawal $0 $0
ATM out of network fee $0 $0
Foreign ATM withdrawal fee $0 $3

How features compare

Step and Current are both great options to get your kids started with banking and learn financial literacy. However, they’re likely best suited for teens aged 13 and up, and they’re very different.

Step’s card is a secured card that helps kids build a credit history. The card is backed by a deposit account, which acts as your kid’s spending limit. When your kid uses their Step card, the amount charged is repaid by the deposit account at the end of the month. Those payments are reported to all three credit bureaus once they turn 18, up to two years retroactively, helping them build a credit history before adulthood. Step doesn’t charge any interest, annual fees or overdraft fees.

Current teen banking is an all-one-in digital account for teens aged 13 to 17. There are no monthly or overdraft fees, parents can set up spending limits, and there are chore and allowance features, which is something that Step lacks.

FeaturesStepCurrent
Spending limitsYesYes
Accepts direct depositYesYes
Chore and allowance featureNoYes
Cashback rewardsYesNo
Savings rewards or APYYesNo
Builds creditYesNo
Educational featuresYesNo
Custom cardYesNo
Investing featuresYes, optionalNo
Free replacement cardYesNo

The similarities

Both Step and Current don’t charge any monthly or overdraft fees, making them affordable account options for parents looking to get their kids involved with banking. This gives both accounts a huge advantage over competitors, as most other kids’ debit cards charge monthly fees.

Step and Current both accept direct deposit and are both geared toward teens. While kids of any age can get a Step account, it only reports two years of credit history once they turn 18, making it a better option for teens at least 16 years old.

Step and Current both use Visa cards and offer virtual cards that can be added to digital wallets.

Which card is worth the cost?

Both Step and Current are free to open and maintain, so either is worth your investment. But to open a Current teen account, you must first get your own Current account, which is also free.

When comparing cost and value, Step has more going for it. Teens can earn up to 5% in savings rewards, cashback rewards and build credit history. Step also features a Money 101 education program that teaches financial literacy, an optional investing platform, and custom cards.

But if you want your teen to have a more traditional banking experience and you want chore and allowance features, Current may be the better option for your family.

Which one’s safer?

Both Step and Current are fintech companies with banking partners that are FDIC-insured up to $250,000. The Step and Current‘s Visa cards come with a zero liability policy, offering protection if the card is lost, stolen or fraudulently used.

But Current offers some extra protection by allowing parents to toggle the Current card on and off at will, block specific merchants and set spending limits. Although Step also has spending limits, parents can’t customize them.

Step vs. Current: Which one’s better?

Step has more features, so it’s a clear winner in that realm. But given how the accounts function, one may be better for your teen.
  • Step is best for building credit and earning rewards
  • Current is best for parental controls and chore features

Alternatives to Step and Current

While Current and Step are two of the best teen banking options, there are plenty more to choose from. And if you’re interested in just saving up for your kid’s future or teaching them the importance of saving, there are also savings accounts for kids.

If Step and Current aren’t perfect fits, here are some close alternatives:

  • Axos Bank First Checking: A checking account designed for teens, Axos Bank First Checking has no monthly fee and offers 0.1% APY. It also has a very large ATM network, making it easy for you and your teen to access cash at over 90,000 ATMs nationwide. But you need at least $50 to open the account.
  • Chase First Banking: If you’d prefer a more traditional banking option, Chase First Banking is worth looking at. This account has no monthly fees or opening deposit requirement and comes with strong parental controls, as well as chore and allowances features. But parents need to be a Chase customer.
  • Till Financial: A teen debit card by Till Financial has no monthly fee or opening deposit requirements. The standout feature with Till is the savings match feature, which allows parents to contribute a percentage of their kid’s savings contributions each month, acting like a parent-lead interest rate.

See how even more cards stack up:

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