Venture Funding

Step Unveils Banking Service for Teens

SAN FRANCISCO –– Step, a new financial services company built for families and teens, has introduced an all-in-one banking solution that integrates certain key features and benefits of checking, savings, credit, and debit cards into one easy-to-use account. The new service is set to launch this spring.

Step has raised $3.8 million in seed funding from Crosslink Capital, Collaborative Fund, and Sesame Ventures, and it is working with Evolve Bank and Trust to develop this first-of-its-kind offering.

Step offers a complete banking solution which includes a unique bank-issued spending card that combines many of the benefits that traditional debit and credit cards offer while adding features specifically designed for parents and teens. The Step card is linked to the Step mobile app which enables users to send and receive money instantly, shop online or in-store, as well as use Apple Pay. The Step card is integrated with a fee-free deposit account that earns 2.5% interest on your money. Step customers are not required to have a minimum balance and will not be charged any hidden or overdraft fees.

Most financial interactions between parents and teens occur via cash where allowances and other funds essentially go untracked or are easily lost. With Step, teens can request money from their parents in real-time and in return, parents can set guidelines and gain oversight into their child’s spending and saving, which is imperative in teaching teens financial responsibility. Users also have the benefit of keeping their money in one place instead of constantly moving it around or having the burden of carrying multiple cards. Step’s all-in-one banking solution gives parents control, security, and instant tools that most banking solutions do not provide, and it allows teens real-time access to their money.

There are currently 75 million children and young adults under the age of 21 in the U.S. This underserved demographic is overwhelmingly forced to deal with cash, even though they can’t use it to shop online, pay for a ridesharing service, download music, or participate in online gaming sites. The ability to transact and have your money real time is essential as checks and cash become less relevant in today’s digital world.

“Teens expect instant services, but existing banks have failed to innovate to meet their specific needs,” said Step co-founder and CEO, CJ MacDonald. “Most banks charge fees and implement rules and restrictions that hurt teens’ financial progress. The result is a lack of financial literacy that teens carry with them into adulthood. Step aims to change this by providing teens the tools they want along with some financial training wheels that will prepare them to be financially responsible in the real world.”

Parents and teens can sign up for the Step waitlist and begin earning money by inviting friends. When you invite a friend, you each get $1 in your account when your friend signs up. The company plans to roll out access to the Step platform on a first-come, first-served basis starting this Spring.