- Users of the teen-focused digital banking app Step will soon be able to invest, trade and accrue rewards in both cryptocurrencies and stocks, the company announced Tuesday.
- The San Francisco-based firm said it opened a waitlist for the new offering, which it claims will make it the first financial app to enable customers under the age of 18 to buy, sell, hold and receive crypto.
- The startup is the latest challenger bank to eye crypto product offerings, joining the likes of Current and MoneyLion in expanding into the space.
Step said it has designed the new investing feature responsibly, "with teens’ safety top of mind."
Parents will be able to oversee their teen’s access to the investing feature and will have the ability to manage their teen’s monthly limits, the company said.
Step users under 18 need a parent or legal guardian to cosign a Step account. The fee-free account is Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC)-insured through Step's partner bank, Evolve Bank & Trust, and comes with a secured spending card that allows users to build credit.
The startup, which launched in September 2020, said investing is one of the app’s top-requested features.
"[A] recent survey of Step teens revealed that 56% are bullish on crypto (with Bitcoin and [non-fungible tokens] at the top of the list)," the company said. "Additionally, 25% of teens said they believe investing is the single-most important skill to master before graduating high school."
The company said its users have also "acknowledged a hunger for more education about these newer types of investments."
CJ MacDonald, Step’s founder and CEO, said investing is a "natural next step" for the firm’s more than 3 million users.
"At the end of the day, our goal at Step is to help improve the financial future of the next generation by providing them with access to affordable, modern financial tools and education in a truly Gen Z way, '' MacDonald said in a statement. "We’re excited to be bringing teens and their parents a revolutionary way to start investing at an earlier age so they can reap the long-term benefits and create generational wealth."
The neobank said it is partnering with digital assets infrastructure and regulatory platform Zero Hash to offer the crypto investment product.
Each Step customer will have access to more than 50 crypto tokens, as well as their own crypto addresses or wallets to deposit and withdraw on the blockchain.
Customers will also be able to purchase NFTs and take advantage of staking and other tools, the company said.