All-in-one mobile banking for teens


It can seem like a daunting task for parents who want to put their children on the path to financial success. You might want to boost your child’s credit score and open a bank account for them, but you’ll have to go to a bank and make your child a authorized user on your credit card thereby. It’s here that Walka new mobile banking service designed for teenagers makes its debut.

Step is an all-in-one bank account, credit card, and money management app. Founders CJ MacDonald and Alexey Kalinichenko created Step with the intention of serving teens who were just beginning their financial journey and opening their first bank account or credit card.

Step has caught the eye of many famous and influential investors such as TikTok superstar Charli D’Amelio, actors Justin Timberlake and Will Smith, and soccer player Eli Manning.

Select explores how Step works and some of the pros and cons of this all-in-one banking service.

What is Step and how does Step work?

Walk is a mobile banking service for children aged 13 to 18. It is a completely free service that offers users a bank account and a Visa Step card. MacDonald explains that Step resists labels, it’s neither a checking account nor a savings account, and the Visa Step card is neither a credit card nor a debit card.

“We sort of combine the solutions…where they [customers] have a deposit account where they keep all their money and then they have a secure spending card that they can [use to] shop anywhere Visa is accepted,” MacDonald said.

The Stage card

First of all, the Visa Step Card is a type of secure card. However, it is not a secure debit card or credit card. A secure traditional credit card is a card designed to help people with bad or no credit build their credit score. Secure credit card function similar to a debit card but unlike a debit card, they can help improve your credit score.

With the Visa Step card, teens can only spend up to the amount deposited in their Step bank account. If your account has $100, you can only spend $100. Unlike traditional secured credit cards, the Visa Step Card does not require you to make monthly payments on your purchases, as all the money you spend with the card must be backed by money in your Step account. This means you can build your credit history without having to make monthly payments.

If, however, you’re 18 or older and want to earn rewards on your spending while building your credit score, a card like the Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fee” Visa® Credit Card or the Discover it® Secure credit card might be a better option for you. The Petal 2 card is a alternative to a secure card – it requires no credit history, has no fees and requires no deposit. This allows cardholders to immediately earn 1% cash back on qualifying purchases and if you make 12 monthly payments on time, you can earn up to 1.5% cash back on qualifying purchases.

Since the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is a secured card, you must be at least 18 years old to be approved and you will need to pay a deposit of at least $200. Beginning seven months from account opening, Discover will automatically review your credit card account to see if you can upgrade to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit. You can earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter and 1% back on all other purchases with this card.

Discover it® Secure credit card

On Discover’s secure site

  • Awards

    Earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, automatically earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

  • welcome bonus

    Discover will match any Cash Back you have earned at the end of your first year

  • Annual subscription

  • Introduction AVR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance Transfer Fee

    3% initial balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

The Step bank account

To open a Step account, teens under 18 will need a sponsor over 18. Sponsors can monitor their teen’s spending, add money to the account, and manage or block a teen’s card. You can technically open an account with Step if you’re under 18, but you’ll need a sponsor, such as a parent or legal guardian over 18, to add money to your account or to start using Visa Step. Map.

You can transfer money to your teen’s bank account from another bank account, debit card, Venmo, Cash App, and PayPal. There is no way to deposit money or checks directly into a Step bank account, but you can receive direct deposits into one.

Step also offers functionality similar to Venmo’s peer-to-peer payment tool that allows cardholders to instantly send money to others with a Step account. However, you cannot write checks from a Step bank account.

The Step Bank Account offers no interest on deposits and is FDIC insured up to $250,000. This means it’s probably not a good choice for parents or teenagers who plan to hoard a lot of cash due to the lack of interest offered. A high yield savings account is a better option to save money that you don’t use for your regular needs and will give a better return.

The other important element of Step is the application, which is available in the Apple Store and the Google Play Store. The app gives users insight into their own spending habits, making it easier to budget and understand which spending categories they can cut.


Step is a completely free service: there is no minimum deposit, no ATM access fees, no monthly fees, no overdraft fees and no interest rates. However, if you want to withdraw money from an ATM, you must use one of the 35,000 ATMs in the Step network to avoid ATM fees. Step makes money like most credit cards, through interchange fees each time someone uses a Step card.


Walk is a good choice for teens getting their first credit card and/or bank account. Since Step charges no credit card interest, has no fees, and requires no minimum deposit, it’s unintimidating for teens to start building their credit and learning more about expenses, budgeting and finance. Plus, because it’s an all-in-one service, parents won’t have to open a separate checking and savings account for their teen and can boost their teen’s credit without worrying. monthly credit card payments.

A disadvantage of Step is the lack of interest on deposits. If you plan to use your Step account as you would a checking account, this is probably a good choice. However, if you are looking to save a lot of moneyyou are better invest it in an index fund or by placing it in a high-yield savings account.

Visa Petal 2 credit card issued by WebBank.

For Discover it® Secured rates and fees, click here.

Editorial note: Any opinions, analyses, criticisms or recommendations expressed in this article are those of Select’s editorial staff alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise endorsed by any third party.


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