How does the Step card work?
The Step Visa card isn’t a traditional credit card, but it works like one. Each time you, your teen or your younger child use it to make a purchase, 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 the card’s balance without charging you any interest.
At age 18, kids 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.
How do I open a Step app account?
Getting started with Step takes about two minutes. Adults can fund their child’s or teen’s account by installing and using the Step app on their smartphone.
- Select Apply now.
- From Step‘s website, select Get Step and add your mobile number.
- Download and install the Step app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
- Create a Step username and password, customize the look of your card and enter your address.
- Wait 14 to 21 business days for the card to arrive, then activate.
8 benefits of a Step app
Step accounts offer several benefits to teenagers or younger children and their 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 monthly fee or interest charges. Step doesn’t have any monthly fees to buy access to its platform, unlike most kids’ debit cards. And although it helps build 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 that they can ensure their teen is making smart financial decisions. Parents can also open a Parent-Managed Account for younger kids and manage their child’s spending and savings until they decide the child is ready to manage the money on their own.
- Savings Goals. This feature lets kids and teens switch between savings and spending tabs. These tabs let your child create savings goals for themselves, to which parents can also contribute.
- Savings roundup. Users can choose to round up purchases to the nearest dollar. Step deposits any additional money rounded up into the savings goal of your child’s or teen’s choice.
- Impossible to overdraft. Your child or teenager can only spend funds that have been deposited into their account.
- Referral program. Referrers and those accepting the referral each receive $1 upon a successful referral.
- Supports cash deposits. Step users can deposit cash at one of 65,000 participating retail locations, including retailers like 7-Eleven, CVS or Walgreens.
5 potential drawbacks
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Although Step cards have a lot to offer, there are a few notable drawbacks to keep in mind:
- No mobile check 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 child and teen checking accounts, Step accounts don’t include any check-writing capabilities.
- ATM withdrawal limits. You can’t withdraw more than $250 from an ATM in a day.
- No phone support. Step doesn’t offer customer service by phone, although you can chat with a live representative from the app during business hours.
- 14- to 21-day wait for your physical card. You may have to wait a full 14 to 21 business days for your Step card to arrive in the mail, although you can create a virtual card to use online or via a digital wallet.
Step Banking 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 checking accounts
Compare popular debit cards for kids based on their fees, interest rates and ATM networks. Then, select Compare to see up to four of your top choices side by side.
How Step‘s fees compare to other kids’ cards
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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’ cardsMonthly 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, though you may pay $3 or $4 for a replacement card.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’ cardsATM withdrawals$250 within 24 hours$1,000 within 30 daysThis 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.
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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 kids’ spending is tied to the funds in their deposit account. They can only spend the amount that they have in their account. Yet kids still build credit by opting to send their positive transaction history to the three credit bureaus at age 18.
However, be aware that some customers have reported problems with getting funds back from Step when closing their accounts. Since you can only reach customer support by live chat or email, solving these issues may take time.
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:
How do I contact Step?
Contact Step in three ways:
- Email [email protected]
- Chat with a representative through the Step app.
- Contact Step through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.