Step Launches No Fee Banking App Built for Teens
Step announces $100,000 giveaway and partners with digital star Charli D’Amelio
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Step, the new modern-day financial services company built for teens and families, today announced its official launch, offering a free FDIC insured bank account and Visa card. Through its app, Step offers an all-in-one banking solution with a new type of personalized card that has no interest or fees and helps teens build positive credit. In celebration of the launch, furthering Step’s mission to improve the financial future of the next generation, the company will also be giving away $100,000.
This summer Step began piloting the app with friends and family, experiencing overwhelming interest for this new type of no fee, all-in-one banking solution. After rave reviews from more than 100,000 users during the pilot phase, today Step is available to the public for the very first time.
The company has also partnered with dancer and social media megastar Charli D’Amelio to share her favorite Step features and how she uses the app to manage money, her way. Step recently raised $22.5 million in Series A funding led by Stripe with participation from Will Smith’s Dreamers fund and Nas, as well as existing investors Crosslink Capital, Collaborative Fund, Kombo Ventures and Sesame Ventures. Step’s financial products are powered by its bank partner Evolve Bank & Trust, Member FDIC and insured up to $250,000.
“Today’s teens grew up in the online world with technology serving as an integral part of their daily lives,” said CJ MacDonald, Founder and CEO at Step. “They expect to manage their money in the same way as their social media but banks have failed to keep up––largely overlooking this generation and their unique needs. Step was built to fill this gap, providing modern financial tools that enable teens to easily manage their money while helping to improve their financial literacy at an earlier age.”
Why choose Step
Built for Gen Z, Step provides transparent, digitally native financial products to millions of teens with Junior Achievement (JA) reporting that 34% are currently unbanked. Step is designed to support teens from the beginning of their financial journey. The Step Card combines the secured spending limits of a debit card with the protections of a credit card –– all rolled into one account. Step allows users to:
- Ditch the fees. Step was built to always put the customer first –– removing monthly, overdraft, ATM and late fees with no minimum balance required.
- Learn smart money habits. Step dynamically tracks card balances, reminding users of their remaining balance each time they make a transaction. Parents also have visibility into their teen’s spending to help guide their financial future.
- Build positive credit. Step helps kick-start teens’ financial futures early by building up their credit history to help lower the cost of auto insurance, student loans and more.
- Send and receive money instantly. With a unique P2P payments platform, the Step App enables parents and teens to send and receive money within seconds for an allowance, trip to the mall and more.
- Start earning today. Teens can earn unlimited rewards through Step’s referral program by sharing a unique link with friends and family –– earning $1 for each signup. Users can double their earnings by joining the Step Squad.
“As I started making my own money, it was important for me to find a banking app that felt like it was designed for me,” said Charli D’Amelio. “Step has been a game changer –– I always know how much money I have to spend and it even makes it simple for me to pay back friends for coffee. Unfortunately, we don’t always learn much about how to manage or save money as teens, so I’m excited to partner with Step to help teach people at my age about smart money habits.”
Addressing the financial literacy crisis
Teens recently went back to school and while most things look very different, sadly one thing that hasn’t changed is the lack of financial education in the classroom. According to the Council for Economic Education, only 21 states currently require high school students to take a course that includes personal finance content. Unsurprisingly, this continued lack of education has led the U.S. to record levels of debt with NerdWallet reporting that the average American household owes more than $46,000. When speaking with teens about their financial futures, JA reports that:
- 71% say they are concerned about their credit scores;
- 44% worry about student loan debt; and
- 34% don’t even have a bank account.
The U.S. continues to move towards a cashless society
Additionally, as the U.S. continues to move towards a cashless society –– expedited by the recent coronavirus pandemic –– JA also reports that 80% of teens still receive a cash allowance. Step provides an easy solution by enabling teens and their parents to add money to their accounts by linking their Step Card to other apps, bank accounts and debit cards. The Step App can then be used for quick and secure, contactless payments. The Step Card is backed by Visa and can be used in-store and online anywhere Visa is accepted.
“Visa is committed to connecting the world and helping people thrive through the most innovative and reliable payment network,” said Terry Angelos, Senior Vice President and Global Head of FinTech at Visa. “We’re thrilled to partner with Step to further this mission by offering a bespoke Visa card designed for today’s youth so they can spend and manage their money with ease while learning important financial skills.”
Get started today
Teens and parents each need a Step account. To get started teens can download the app, provide a few simple pieces of information and create their custom Step Card. Once complete, teens will be prompted to invite their parent or guardian to download the Step App. Parents then create their own account so they can unlock their teen’s card. Once approved, within minutes teens can shop anywhere that Visa is accepted and add Step to their Apple Pay and Google Pay wallets while they wait for their physical card to arrive. In the meantime, users can visit Step’s Instagram and enter for a chance to win their share of the $100,000 giveaway.
Step is building the best banking experience to help people achieve financial independence and knowledge at an earlier age, furthering our mission to create a bank that gives you the tools to become smarter with your money from the start of your financial journey.
Step was founded by financial industry veterans CJ MacDonald and Alexey Kalinichenko to provide teens and their families with financial tools for today’s modern-day banking needs and to promote financial literacy for the future. The founding team has 50+ years in combined financial technology experience from companies like Gyft, First Data, Square and Google. Step is backed by Stripe, Crosslink Capital, Collaborative Fund, Kombo Ventures and Sesame Ventures. Step’s financial products are powered by its bank partner Evolve Bank & Trust, Member FDIC and insured up to $250,000. To learn more, please visit: www.step.com.
Visa offers a number of programs and resources to help stand up the fintech ecosystem. For example, Visa’s Fintech Fast Track Program enables fintechs with the ability to more easily leverage the reach, capabilities and security of the Visa global payments network. Learn more about Visa’s Fintech Fast Track program at: www.partner.visa.com.
About the Giveaway
Step is giving away $100,000 to jumpstart teens’ financial journeys. For a chance to win, participants need to create a Step account, follow @stepmobile on Instagram and add a comment with their Step username –– tagging three friends in the post. The giveaway will run from Wednesday, 9/30 through Tuesday, 10/13, providing several opportunities for teens to win anywhere from $10 to $1,000. For more information, please visit: www.step.com/policies/giveaway-rules.
Ellen D. Kiehl