Step, a teenager-focused US mobile banking startup backed by Stripe, has enlisted TikTok star Charli D’Amelio to help publicise its launch this week.
The brainchild of Gyft co-founder CJ MacDonald and Square veteran Alexey Kalinichenko, Step is building a mobile-based bank account - held with Evolve Bank - specifically designed for teens that is interest bearing and has no hidden or overdraft fees.
Last year it raised $22.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Stripe and joined by movie star Will Smith, through his Dreamers fund, and rapper Nas.
The firm's celebrity strategy is continuing with D’Amelio, the hugely popular dancer and TikTok star who has been brought in to "share her favorite Step features and how she uses the app to manage money, her way".
Says D’Amelio. "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."
The Step app and card promise to help teens learn smart money habits and build positive credit, while also giving parents visibility into their kids' spending.
In addition to signing up a TikTok star, Step is luring teens on Instagram with the chance to win a share of a $100,000 prize pool.
Says MacDonald: "Today’s teens grew up in the online world with technology serving as an integral part of their daily lives. 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."