Step banking review

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This card helps teens learn about money while building strong credit.

finder.com’s rating: 3.6 / 5.0

★★★★★

The Step banking app is a free teen account that includes a secured-spending Visa card that combines the features of a debit and credit card. It helps teens build credit while restricting them to only spending the funds in their accounts. Step cards can be used anywhere Visa is accepted, and adults can use the Step app to fund and monitor their teen’s account. But there’s no ATM access or mobile check deposits.

$0 per month

Fee

N/A

APY

$0

Minimum deposit to open

Details

APYN/A
Fee$0 per month
Minimum deposit to open$0
Intro or bonus offerTeens can earn $6 per referral by joining the Step Squad, which requires three successful referrals, one peer-to-peer transfer and one purchase with the Step Visa card.
ATMsNo access to ATMs
Overdraft fee$0
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Review by


Michael Benninger is a staff banking writer at Finder. He is a former credit analyst and longtime freelancer whose articles have been published by Intuit, Business Insider and the Los Angeles Times. Michael is passionate about all facets of personal finance and has written hundreds of articles about money management during the past decade.

Expert review

The Step banking app lets teenagers learn how to manage money while simultaneously strengthening their credit scores. This is a feature we’ve yet to see in other teen bank accounts, and it means your teen will be one step ahead of the rest when it’s time to get a credit card, take out a student loan or get auto insurance.

Another standout feature is that your teen gets notified of their remaining balance each time they use their card, which helps them visualize their spending and plan out their remaining balance. There are also no fees or risk of overspending and overdrafting on the account.

But the account currently doesn’t offer ATM access or mobile deposit features. If your teen needs access to cash, you’ll want to explore other teen checking account options.

How do I open a Step banking app account?

Getting started with Step only takes about two minutes.

  1. Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
  2. From Step banking‘s website, select Get Step and add your mobile number.
  3. Download and install the Step app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
  4. Create a Step username and password, customize the look of your card and enter your address.
  5. Wait five to seven business days for the card to arrive, then activate.

Adults can fund their teen’s account by installing and using the Step app on their own smartphone.

Eligibility

You aren’t required to be in the US to open a Step account, but you must meet the following criteria to qualify:

  • At least 13 years old
  • US citizen or resident
  • Must own or have access to a mobile phone with a number issued by a US carrier
  • Each account must have an adult over the age of 18

Required information

You’ll need to provide the following information when you open a Step bank account:

  • Valid Social Security number

How does the Step Visa card work?

Each time you or your teen make a purchase with the Step Visa card, Step removes that amount from your deposit account, and the app reminds you of your remaining balance. Once a month, Step uses your secured deposits to pay off your balance without charging you any interest.

What are the benefits of a Step banking app?

Step banking accounts offer several benefits to both teenagers and their parents or adult sponsors:
  • Helps build credit. Unlike traditional debit cards, the Step card can help your teen develop their credit score without worrying about overspending or paying interest.
  • No fees or interest charges. Step is one of the few teen bank accounts that doesn’t have any fees, and although it helps build your credit like a credit card, there are no interest charges on purchases.
  • Adults are in control. Account sponsors receive notifications for each transaction on the account so they can ensure their teen is making smart financial decisions.
  • Impossible to overdraft. Your teen can only spend funds that have been deposited into their account.
  • Referral program. Teens can earn $6 per referral by joining the Step Squad, which requires three successful referrals, one peer-to-peer transfer and one purchase with the Step Visa card.

What should I look out for?

Although Step cards have a lot to offer, there are a few notable drawbacks to keep in mind:

  • No ATM network. Step currently doesn’t support ATM withdrawals, but the company is working on adding that functionality.
  • No mobile deposit. Step doesn’t support mobile check deposits at this time, but it’s a feature they’re hoping to add in the future.
  • No check-writing capabilities. Like most teen checking accounts, Step accounts don’t include any check-writing capabilities.

Compare Step banking app with other checking accounts

Name Product APY Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee
Copper
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★
Copper
0.00%
$0
$0
Copper is a digital checking account that teaches your teen healthy money habits through interactive quizzes and an intuitive mobile app.
Axos Bank First Checking
Finder Rating: 5 / 5: ★★★★★
Axos Bank First Checking
0.10%
$50
Made for teens ages 13 to 17, this account earns 0.1% APY and has no monthly fees.
Alliant Credit Union Free Teen Checking
Finder Rating: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
Alliant Credit Union Free Teen Checking
0.25%
$0
80,000 ATMs for free
$0
No minimum or maximum balance and no monthly service fee.
Capital One MONEY
Finder Rating: 4.8 / 5: ★★★★★
Capital One MONEY
0.10%
$0
39,000+ Capital One and Allpoint ATMs nationwide
A teen checking account with zero fees.
Wells Fargo Teen Checking
Finder Rating: 4 / 5: ★★★★★
Wells Fargo Teen Checking
N/A
$25
$2.50
Everyday checking made easy. Open with $25.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Is Step banking app safe?

Yes. Money held in a Step account is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for up to $250,000 through a partnership with Evolve Bank & Trust. 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.

How do I deposit or withdraw my money?

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

Deposit

  • Sponsor deposits. Adult sponsors can fund their teen’s account with one-time or recurring transfers.
  • Incoming transfers. You can receive up to $1,000 a day in transfers from traditional bank accounts, other Step accounts or apps such as PayPal and Venmo.
  • Direct deposit. Employers can deposit paychecks directly into Step accounts.

Withdrawal

  • Outgoing transfers. You can transfer funds to traditional bank accounts, other Step accounts or accounts tied to apps such as Venmo and PayPal.

Frequently asked questions

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