Step Banking App Review 2021: Banking Services for Teens

GOBankingRates Score

4.8
Quick Take: Step banking for teens was created in 2018 in an attempt to provide teens with experience in financial management. Since its creation, it has made changes to benefit teens even further. At this time, it not only provides a way for them to track and spend money but also a way to improve their financial future.
  • Mobile App
    4.7
  • Interest Rates
    5.0
  • Fees
    5.0
  • Ease of Use
    4.5
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Helps teens build credit without paying interest
  • Teaches teens money management
  • No fees
  • Easy way for parents to send allowance or lunch money
  • FDIC insured
  • Parental monitoring

Cons

  • No traditional way to deposit money

What Is Step Banking for Teens?

Step is a banking app available for anyone over the age of 13 including adults, but it is built with teens in mind. Founders Alexey Kalinichenko and CJ MacDonald saw that most children lack an understanding of financial management and created Step to help teens get a headstart before heading out into the world.

Features

Here’s a look at some of Step’s best features.

  • Allows users to easily transfer money in and out of the account as needed.
  • You can link the card directly to your digital wallet for ease of use.
  • Earn a $5 referral reward for every person you get to sign up.
  • Earn double rewards through the exclusive Step Squad.
  • Parents can easily send money to their teens for lunch, school fees or allowance.
  • Teens can complete simple peer-to-peer payments to split the cost of a pizza.
  • User-friendly app to track balance and transactions.

What Does Step Banking Offer?

Step offers a checking account for anyone in the U.S. over the age of 13. However, any users under 18 have to get permission from a parent. Step verifies this permission through a link sent directly to the parent’s phone. Without that consent, the teen can not move through the rest of the sign-up.

When teens use their card, it immediately deducts the amount from their checking account, like a debit card. However, it shows as credit card usage, helping teens to build a good credit history without having to pay interest.

Additionally, transactions are only approved if money is in the account, meaning there are never any overdraft charges. Additionally, parents are able to easily monitor the teen’s spending.

One thing that Step does not offer that traditional checking accounts do is the ability to deposit cash directly. Instead, you have to use an external app, like PayPal or Venmo, or an external checking account to transfer money in. Teens can use Step for direct deposit through an employer and withdraw at an ATM, however.

Fees

Step does not charge users any fees. There are no monthly fees or service fees. Additionally, as teens can only spend money that’s in their account, there are no overdraft fees to worry about.

How To Open an Account

Opening a Step account is simple with the following steps:

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Visit www.step.com.
  2. Click “Get Step”.
  3. Enter your phone number.
  4. Download the app.
  5. Enter your personal information, including your social security number.
  6. Create your username and password.
  7. Customize your card.
  8. For teens under 18, a link will also be sent to the parent’s phone to confirm they are okay with their child opening the account.

You can transfer money into your account as soon as it’s opened. Though it takes up to 10 days to receive the Step card, account holders can use it immediately. As soon as the account is created, you receive a digital card, which you can use for online purchases. You can also add that digital card number to your mobile wallet for in-store use.

Is Step Banking Safe?

Yes, Step is safe. Its services are provided in conjunction with Evolve Bank & Trust, which is insured by the FDIC for up to $250,000. This protection covers Step users.

Additionally, the Step card is provided by Visa, which comes with a Zero Liability Policy. This means that Step users are not held responsible for any unauthorized transactions.

Is Step Banking Worth It?

Step banking can be an amazing resource for teens, especially if they don’t yet have a traditional bank account. The ease with which they can manage and track their money through Step is very beneficial to the development of their financial awareness.

Even more impressive is that it can give teens a good start with building credit. This is an opportunity that most teenagers do not get, but it can make a huge impact on their future.

Advice

Step can be useful even if your teen already has a checking account. Traditional accounts don’t help build credit and they can be more difficult to make person-to-person transfers from.

About the Author

Brandy Woodfolk is an entrepreneur, teacher, and freelance writer. She received my Bachelor of Business Administration from Everest College, Digital Marketing Certification from Shaw Academy, Certificate in Personal and Family Financial Planning from the University of Florida Through Coursera, and she is completing her Master’s of Project Management from Northcentral University. She has dedicated her freelance writing career to creating content related to digital marketing and SEO, business, personal finance, family, and health and wellness.

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