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Step review

An app and preloaded Visa card that teaches kids financial literacy with credit-building and cashback perks.

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Our verdict

Step stands out as a free app and Visa card that helps kids and teens build their credit score without overdrafts or racking up credit card interest. Unlike traditional credit cards, kids spend only what's preloaded in their Step accounts, making it one of the safest ways to build credit. They can also scoop up time-sensitive cashback offers from favorite stores, and try crypto investing with a parent's permission. But Step charges $0.50 anytime you want to give your kids less than $25.

Best for: Parents of kids and teens looking to build credit and earn cash back.

Pros
  • No monthly fee
  • Build credit without interest charges
  • Cash back on select offers
Cons
  • No phone support
  • Fee for transfers under $25
4.5

★★★★★

Finder rating

Go to site
on Step's secure site

APY

N/A

Fee

Free

Age requirements

Any age

How the Step card works

The Step Visa card isn’t a traditional credit card, but it works like one. Each time your child uses the card to make a purchase, Step removes that amount from their deposit account and reminds them of their remaining balance. Once a month, Step uses your child’s account to pay off the card’s balance without charging any interest.

Once your child turns 18, they can opt to send their Step transaction history to the three credit bureaus, effectively helping them build their credit scores.

Step boasts that 18-year-olds who used Step for seven months saw an average credit score of 725.

Where it shines: Step card features

We love that Step doesn’t charge a monthly fee like other competitors do. For a free card and app, kids get lots of features including rewards, savings roundups and an optional crypto investing platform. Here’s how these features work:

Rewards and savings

Step gives your kids several chances to earn money, helping it stand out in the kids’ banking world.
  • Cash back. In the app, kids can switch on cashback offers from their favorite stores, as long as they meet certain spending requirements. Only a few competitors follow suit, such as Jassby, which offers payouts as kids learn about finances.
  • Crypto rewards. With a parent’s permission, kids can open a crypto investment account and choose to earn rewards in crypto, rather than cash back.
  • Referrals. Your kid and their friend each get $1 with a successful referral, not a huge incentive but still a way to earn extra.
Step also provides common savings features like savings goals, although you won’t find roundups with most platforms.
  • Savings goals to which parents can contribute toward.
  • Savings roundups which round up purchases to the nearest dollar and add the difference into their savings.

Crypto investing

Step is one of the only banking platforms that lets kids open a crypto trading account to invest. Kids ages 13 to 17 will need their parent’s approval to start investing, and parents can limit the amount that kids invest up to $1,200. Unlike competitors like Greenlight, though, kids don’t need a parent’s approval before each trade.

Currently, kids can invest in Bitcoin, but Step has plans to expand to 12 cryptocurrencies by the end of the year. Each crypto purchase includes a 2% markup to cover Step‘s trading costs. As is with all crypto investing platforms, your kids’ investments aren’t insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

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.

Coming soon, Step will add features like loans and stock investing that will help teens and young adults continue their financial journey.

Parent-managed accounts

Best for young kids without a phone, you can open a parent-managed account for kids ages six and up. You’ll track their spending, set up savings goals and give them access to their Step card at your discretion. We like this unique feature since other kids’ platforms hand over the reins to managing money right away.

Where it falls short

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

You also can’t touch base with customer service over the phone, so you need to be comfortable communicating with the company solely online. Customers have complained about its long two- to three-week wait for getting your Step card in the mail after signing up. Most platforms send out their kids’ debit cards within seven to 10 days.

Another drawback is that you’ll get charged $0.50 for transferring less than $25 to your kids’ card — a turnoff when you need to transfer money in small amounts.

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 cashback 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 the problem could be resolved by customer service. Customers also complained that reaching customer service by email can take time.

Compare Step app with other accounts for kids

Compare popular debit cards for kids based on their fees, interest rates and ATM networks.

Step logo

Step

★★★★★

Finder rating 4.5 / 5

Go to site


Fee

$0


Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

N/A


Minimum deposit to open

$0

Greenlight logo

Greenlight

★★★★★

Finder rating 4.6 / 5

Go to site


Fee

$4.99 for Greenlight core, $9.98 for Greenlight Max, $14.98 for Greenlight infinity


Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

5.00% on balances of $0 to $5,000
2.00% on balances of $0 to $5,000
1.00% on balances of $0 to $5,000


Minimum deposit to open

$0

Jassby logo

Jassby

★★★★★

Finder rating 4.2 / 5

Go to site


Fee

$3.95 per month
(can be waived)


Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

N/A


Minimum deposit to open

$0

How Step’s fees compare to other kids’ cards

Step sets itself apart as the only kids’ card that helps your kids build credit. It also doesn’t charge many fees, giving it a competitive edge over other kids’ cards on the market.

FeeAmountHow it compares to other kids’ cards
Monthly account fee$0Most kids’ cards charge $4 to $5 per month for their service.
Card fee$0Most kids’ accounts come with a free debit card.
Replacement card$0 for first two replacements, then $5Most cards offer one free replacement, then charge $3 to $4.
APR0%Other kids’ cards don’t charge interest on purchases, but secured credit card APRs can run from 15% to 30%.
Transaction fee per ACH transfer$0This is comparable to other kids’ cards, which don’t charge to load funds to the account.
Minimum funding amount fee$0.50 per transfer that totals less than $25Most kids’ cards don’t charge to load funds to the account.
Foreign transaction fee0%This is lower than other kids’ checking accounts, which charge 1% to 3% foreign transaction fees.
Cash advance (ATM)$0, ATM owner fees may applyATM withdrawals usually pull from your kids’ account. With Step, the cash amount acts as a loan against credit, though it gets paid back via funds from the deposit account.
Overdraft fee$0Kids’ checking accounts often charge around $35 for this fee.

Step card limits

You’ll find that Step keeps its transaction limits the same as or lower than the competition, helping you keep close tabs on your kids’ spending.

LimitMaximum amountHow it compares to other kids’ cards
ATM withdrawals$250 within 24 hours
$1,000 within 30 days
This ATM withdrawal limit is much lower than other cards, which may allow $800+ per day.
Debit card transfer limit$500 within 24 hoursThis daily transfer limit is comparable to other kids’ debit cards.
Spending limitNo more than the amount in your deposit account

Up to $1,000 per day

The $1,000 daily limit is lower than other prepaid cards, which may allow $2,000+ per day.
Transfers from Step to bank account$500 within 24 hoursThis daily transfer limit is comparable to other kids’ debit cards.

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 all transactions are protected by Visa’s Zero Liability Protection, 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.

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 or child’s Parent-Managed Account with one-time or recurring transfers.
  • Supports cash deposits. Deposit cash at one of 70,000 participating retailers, including 7-Eleven, CVS and Walgreens.
  • 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.
  • Debit card. Kids can use the debit card or link their account to Apple or Google Pay to make purchases, while parents monitor their spending via the app.

How do I contact Step?

Contact Step in three ways:

  • Email hello@step.com.
  • Chat with a representative through the Step app.
  • Contact Step through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.

Kids’ debit card ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

We analyze top debit 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 cards for kids by these factors: monthly fees, features, customer support options and account availability.

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

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