Have a teenager, and you’re wondering the best way to teach them about money?
Maybe they’re launching their own business or making money in some other creative ways.
Now they need a debit card.
And like everything else in life, the best way to learn is through real-life experience.
We signed up for the Greenlight Debit Card in the past.
I liked it, but it bugged me that it had a monthly fee.
So I did some searching to find a better solution.
I found this fintech company called Step.
It was the same thing, but with no costs, so I gave it a try.
So here’s my Step Card Review.
Step is a financial technology app (not a bank itself).
It operates with a banking partner, but you won’t have a physical branch you will visit.
Its goal is to get teens to learn how to use money.
And it’s a very forgiving way to do so since a parent helps set the controls.
Searching for the pros and cons of using the Step card?
I’ll admit, we haven’t found the cons, but there are plenty of pros.
To get started with Step: if you’re under 18, you’ll need a parent sponsor (sorry teens!), but this is a good thing.
As a parent, you’ll order the card for your child.
The Step Card will help build the young person’s credit but doesn’t come with the dangers of overdraft fees.
This is excellent news!
Disclaimer: We still think Step is a great product, but my family have moved our son’s money management over to Cash App. We already like and use Cash App, and when they expanded to allow teens under 18, it made total sense for us to switch.
Today’s financial app market is pretty competitive – here’s a comparison of Venmo, Cash App, and Zelle – honestly, they’re all pretty great!
Ok, back to Step…
What is Step?
Step is a fintech company that’s app-based.
It started in 2018, so it’s a young company looking to grow fast.
Step just raised another $100 million, and they’re using social media influencers like Steph Curry and Charlie D’Amelio to promote it.
Step isn’t a full-service checking account, but it does have many account features that you are used to.
They started the company to educate the next generation to be smarter with money.
Now, this is a mission that I can get behind!
It’s wild how important personal finance is, yet it’s not a mainstream topic in most schools.
The Step Card works like a credit card, but without the dangers.
A credit card creates a balance that you will owe the credit card company, the Step Card deducts the funds from your account.
So you won’t get in trouble with overdraft fees or missed payments to your credit card company.
This is an important part of my review.
It’s one of the pros. Like, I said earlier, if you’re looking for pros and cons of Step, I’ve really only got pros for you.
How The Step Card Works
The Step Card is your new debit card that will get sent in the mail. It will take 7-10 days to get to you.
If you’re a teenager, you can’t use it until your parent has set up their account first. You can link your bank account, Apple Pay, or Google Pay.
Withdrawals And Deposits
The Step Card isn’t going to work like a regular checking account. You won’t be getting paper checks in the mail, and you can’t deposit checks directly into it.
But you can link the app directly to a brick-and-mortar checking account, and you can deposit checks into it and transfer those funds over in 1-3 days.
Also, you can link up any debit card to the Step Card and instantly transfer these funds.
You can also directly transfer cash between Step Users, much like how Cash App and Venmo works.
I think this feature is cool.
How Does Step Card Make Money?
How does it make money if the Step Card is free to get and use and there aren’t any fees?
I asked myself the same question.
Step receives a percentage of debit card fees that businesses are charged. These are called interchange fees.
These fees are how the Step Card makes its money.
[One thing’s for certain. No matter which card you decide on, you should not use cash, as the card will be safer. Watch my video that explains why.]
I have an example of how using a card was safer than cash.
We had a situation where my son lost his wallet. I was quickly able to open up the app and pause his card.
A cool part of the story is that Mike mailed the wallet back (see story below!!)
Do you believe people are good? ##helpusfindmike !!♬ Blue Blood – Heinz Kiessling & Various Artists
Final Thoughts on Step Card
We switched from the Greenlight Card to check out Step – you can read about that experience here.
The Step Card app is a bit easier to use and it’s simple and seamless.
And then, fast forward and we moved over to Cash App.
For us it was easier because we were already users.
But Step offers some really cool education that makes it an excellent choice for many.
If you need a full-blown banking solution, it might be best to co-sign on a local bank account with your teen entrepreneur.
But for most teens under 16, getting a Step Card is a great way to expose them to the personal finance world and banking safely.
I’m happy to answer any questions!
Step Card FAQ
Yes, you are FDIC insured (through the U.S. government). Step partners with a bank partner (Evolve Bank & Trust).
In my opinion, Step is the modern version of Greenlight. They offer everything (and more!) but at no cost.
Although we no longer use Step, it’s an amazing company. They’re doing an incredible job of providing a tech solution and education to teenagers.