Content of the material
- Why You Should Get a Debit Card for Your Kids
- What We Like About Greenlight
- Greenlight Debit Card
- Greenlight vs. other debit cards for kids
- How Greenlight Can Teach Your Kids About Money
- How much does the Greenlight debit card cost?
- Cardholder perks
- Parental controls and money management options
- Savings features
- Greenlight Gift
- Greenlight + Invest
- Exclusive Greenlight Max protections
- Rewards rate
- How you earn
- How to redeem
- How does Current work?
- Which banking product should you choose?
- How to Open a Greenlight App Account
Greenlight is the debit card and banking app for kids and teens, complete with an educational investing platform for the whole family. With the Greenlight app, kids and parents have companion apps with two different experiences. Kids learn to save, earn, invest, spend and give — with parent approval on every transaction. Parents can choose the exact stores where their kids spend, manage chores and allowances, set parent-paid interest rates and more. Parents can also invest for their kids’ futures — college, first car or any other goals. Because Greenlight is a prepaid debit card, kids can’t spend what they don’t have. No overdraft fees. No overspending. No surprises. PARENTS CAN: – Invest for college — or anything else — with an easy, flexible platform – Send money instantly – Receive real-time alerts of kids’ spending activity – Turn card on or off from the app – Manage chores – Approve kids’ investments – Automate allowances – Put limits on spending – Set parent-paid interest rates – Manage access and budgets for ATM withdrawals KIDS AND TEENS CAN: – Track balances in Save, Earn, Invest, Spend and Give accounts – Receive money from friends and family – Manage their own budgets – Learn to invest in stocks of their choice and research their favorite companies – Set savings goals – Set up direct deposit for their paychecks – Use Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay SAFETY FIRST. AND SECOND. AND THIRD – Greenlight comes with an EMV chip and parent-controlled PIN – No cash back at the register to curb unmonitored spending – Automated blocked categories for unsafe spending – Greenlight uses several security features to help protect your accounts from unauthorized access – Funds available through the Save, Earn, Give and Spend functionality are FDIC-insured, through our partner Community Federal Savings Bank – Funds available through the Invest functionality are not FDIC insured but may be SIPC insured through our partner DriveWealth, LLC. Our Support Team is available to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week Your California Privacy Rights: https://www.greenlight.com/privacy/#your-california-privacy-rights Do Not Sell My information: https://www.greenlight.com/data-request/Greenlight Greenlight is a financial technology company, not a bank. The Greenlight app facilitates banking services through Community Federal Savings Bank, Member FDIC. The Greenlight card is issued by Community Federal Savings Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International. Investment Advisors, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor provides investment advisory services to its clients. Investing involves risk and may include the loss of capital. We only use the Value of Investment within the app store screen to show how the app works. It does not represent real customer investments or accounts.
Why You Should Get a Debit Card for Your Kids
Do you want to teach your kids about financial literacy?
Then why not start with a hands-on approach.
Most financial institutions, due to the law, don’t allow minors (typically, anyone under age 18) to open their own bank account, credit card, etc.
Enter the Greenlight debit card for kids.
What We Like About Greenlight
- Industry-best parental controls. Greenlight stands alone with its level of granularity into parental controls on spending and ATM withdrawals. No other card matches Greenlight with this level of insight and control.
- Investment platform. Greenlight has an investment platform integrated into its service and allows parents to approve every individual stock or ETF transaction.
- Parent-paid interest. Greenlight offers parents the ability to pay interest on savings goals set up by their kids, encouraging them to save and understand the value of compound returns.
- Savings rewards and interest. Greenlight provides savings rewards as interest (1% – 2%, depending on plan).
- Cash back. On the premium Greenlight Max product, kids can earn up to 1% cash back on their Greenlight card purchases.
- Flat monthly fee for up to five kids. Greenlight scales by having the ability to provide up to five kids with a card. Additional kids incur an additional monthly fee each.
- Real-time alerts and requests for spending and ATM withdrawals. The service provides real-time alerts for spending activity as well as in-app, real-time requests for additional funds needed in kids’ Spend Anywhere accounts.
- Chore and allowance management. The Greenlight app allows you to get a handle on chores and allowance through in-app assignment, tracking and assessment as well automated allowance payments. While we’d like manual approval prompts for allowance, some might find these automated payments as a feature so they won’t forget to send their kids money they’ve earned as an allowance.
Greenlight Debit Card
Apply now on Greenlight’s secure site
Annual fee$4.99 per month
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Greenlight vs. other debit cards for kids
The Greenlight debit card isn’t the only debit card for kids out there. Here’s how Greenlight stacks up against FamZoo, GoHenry and BusyKid, three of the most popular competing debit cards on the market.
- FamZoo vs. Greenlight: Like Greenlight, FamZoo lets parents transfer money directly to their kids’ debit cards and helps parents and kids work together to track saving, spending and giving. However, FamZoo doesn’t offer the kid-friendly investment opportunities that come with the Greenlight + Invest and Greenlight Max plans. A FamZoo subscription costs $5.99 per month, though families can save by paying for multiple months (or years) in advance.
- GoHenry vs. Greenlight: GoHenry is another popular kids’ debit card, and like Greenlight, parents can fund kids’ accounts, set limits on spending, help their children set aside funds for charitable giving and more. As with FamZoo, the biggest difference between GoHenry and Greenlight is that GoHenry does not offer any type of investing platform. GoHenry costs $3.99 per child per month, and you can customize your children’s debit cards for $4.99 each.
- BusyKid vs. Greenlight: BusyKid is probably the closest match to Greenlight, in terms of features and options – including the option to help your child set up an investment account and learn about the fundamentals of investing. BusyKid is also less expensive than Greenlight. A BusyKid family plan costs $19.99 per year and comes with one BusyKid prepaid Visa spend card. If you want to set up BusyKid accounts for multiple children, you’ll pay an additional $7.99 per child per year.
How Greenlight Can Teach Your Kids About Money
Here are 7 Greenlight features that teach your kids to be better money managers:
- Round Ups
- Chore Plans
- Savings rewards
- Cash back rewards
- Allowance automation
- Investing in the stock market
- Parent paid interest incentives
Let’s take a deep dive into each of these 7 features.
How much does the Greenlight debit card cost?
The Greenlight debit card has three payment tiers: Greenlight, Greenlight + Invest and Greenlight Max.
You won’t be able to give your kids the Greenlight debit card without paying a monthly fee; however, you will be able to decide which tier is best for your family.
|Greenlight + Invest||$7.98|
No matter which monthly plan you choose, the Greenlight card should offer solid perks that can help kids save money and build responsible financial habits.
All Greenlight cardholders earn at least 1 percent on their average daily savings balance and get access to unique money management features and basic protections like FDIC insurance and zero fraud liability. But for a little extra, you can also unlock additional rewards opportunities and features, including the card’s cash back program.
The base Greenlight plan, available for $4.99 per month, will get the job done if you’re satisfied with a 1 percent Savings Boost, money management tools and education, but it may be worth opting for the Greenlight + Invest level (available for $7.98 per month) if you’re interested in additional features that help kids learn about investing and make it easy for parents to invest for their child’s future.
The third tier, Greenlight Max, may offer the best value. You’ll enjoy all the perks of the base and Greenlight + Invest tiers, plus an extra 1 percent Savings Boost (for a total of 2 percent earnings), as well as unlimited 1 percent cash back on purchases and exclusive perks like dedicated customer service and future limited-time offers on top of the rewards.
Here’s a quick look at some of the key benefits that come with the Greenlight card, depending on your plan:
Parental controls and money management options
The Greenlight program is made of three components that both the parent or guardian (the primary accountholder) and the child (sub-accountholder) can use: the sub-accountholder’s debit card, the sub-accountholder’s Greenlight mobile app and the primary accountholder’s mobile app. Kids can use the physical or digital version of the debit card to make purchases, while parents can use the app to:
- Monitor and approve each purchase as it happens
- Set general spending limits and limits on specific store or category purchases
- Create chore lists and one-time tasks for kids tied to an allowance
- Reload the card balance
- Set up direct deposits to teens’ cards if they work part-time
- Freeze and unfreeze each debit card
These features help kids get hands-on experience with budgeting and earning money while giving parents visibility and control over where and how much they spend. According to Greenlight’s research, the top transaction categories for kids and teens are grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, online gaming and ATMs, so you can even set spending limits for each of these individual areas.
While many of these features are similar to those you’ll find on other kid-centric debit cards programs, Greenlight offers more in-depth customization options than most.
The Greenlight card can also help kids learn the power of responsible saving decisions. You can set up “Savings Goals” toward big expenses like college or a car, or short-term purchases like games. Meanwhile, the “Round Up” feature can help pitch in by taking the leftover change from each purchase and putting it toward these plans or your child’s general savings.
You can take things a step further and teach kids the value of compounded interest with its “Parent-Paid Interest” rate you set yourself that accrues using the primary accountholder’s funds. You can set this rate at anywhere from 1 to 100 percent, allowing savings to grow at a much faster pace than you’d get with the typical APY and demonstrating how money can grow when you save.
As with similar kid-centric debit cards, Greenlight offers a gift option that allows people outside your family accounts to load cash onto the card. Friends and family can send a gift of $25, $50, $75 or $100 via text or email, which can be redeemed easily through the app. Gift-givers can even designate how kids can use their funds—anywhere, at a select store or only toward their Greenlight Savings account.
Greenlight + Invest
A unique feature among debit cards for kids, the Greenlight + Invest monthly plan will unlock educational modules and parent-approved stock and ETF trading opportunities for your family.
Since it’s tailored for learning about the investing space, it’s built to be easily accessible. You can set your risk tolerance, establish your investment timeline and buy most U.S. market stocks with no trading fees to worry about. You can even buy into fractional stocks with as little as $1.
All the while, you’ll stay entirely in control since your child can’t make trades without your permission and the brokerage accounts are in your name as the primary accountholder. You decide how money is invested and how any gains are used.
The investment platform available with the mid-tier monthly plan is one of Greenlight’s most unique and compelling features and isn’t offered by competitors like Famzoo and Gohenry.
Exclusive Greenlight Max protections
Along with an extra 1 percent Savings Boost and unlimited 1 percent cash back on purchases, the Greenlight Max tier gets you several valuable perks that can easily make the extra cost worth it. Not only are these features—including purchase protection, cellphone protection and account monitoring—usually reserved for credit cards, but they can also come in especially handy for kids and teens.
The Greenlight card’s cellphone protection covers eligible damage, theft and breakdowns up to $600 per claim across up to two claims (or $1,000 in total reimbursement) each calendar year per card on your account. This is already a relatively rare and prized perk among credit cards, but the Greenlight plan stands out with the inclusion of breakdown damage over time and the fact that you don’t have to pay your cellphone bill with the card to be covered. Unfortunately, however, New York residents aren’t eligible.
Eligible purchases are also covered against damage or theft for up to $100 per item (up to $1,000 per year) for 120 days (90 days for New York residents) from the date of purchase or delivery if it was paid in full with the card and damaged or stolen. This purchase protection even covers popular consumables like beauty products, fuel, food and medications.
Greenlight Max also comes with robust account monitoring tools. While primary cardholders get a run-of-the-mill credit monitoring service through Experian, children get an extensive Child Monitoring Service that scours the web and dark web for their personal information, including their Social Security number, email address, phone number, banking account details, medical ID number and more. If your child’s information is compromised, you’ll even get a dedicated agent under the full-service identity restoration service to help you with next steps.
Considering this level of service usually requires additional subscriptions, the Greenlight Max plan could be a great resource to have in your corner if your child is still learning to be safe online.
Depending on your Greenlight card tier, you can get unexpected value from its unique Savings Boost feature, flat-rate cash back or both.
All cardholders earn at least a 1 percent Savings Boost reward each month based on their average daily savings account balance (on balances of up to $5,000). That’s an impressive rate of return considering the current average APY is 0.60 percent.
Greenlight Max members fare even better, earning double the Savings Boost (2 percent) and unlimited 1 percent cash back on all purchases. Taken together, that’s much better than most cash back debit cards can offer.
While you may not earn enough via cash back or Savings Boost to completely offset your monthly Greenlight plan fees, they can still help young cardholders see how their savings can grow through responsible use.
How you earn
Without Greenlight Max, the only way to earn rewards from the issuer is through the 1 percent per annum Savings Boost that’s awarded monthly based on the child’s General Savings and Savings Goals balances. Subscribing to Greenlight Max doubles the Savings Boost to 2 percent, but every tier only earns these rewards on an up to $5,000 average daily savings account balance per family (with a maximum of five cards on your plan).
Savings Boost works by multiplying your child’s average daily savings account balance by the rewards rate and dividing the result by 12 to determine the monthly reward. For example, a $1,500 balance with the basic monthly plan would earn $1.25. This would then be added to the savings balance and apply toward the following month’s potential reward. This is essentially an issuer-funded increase to the child’s APY that makes compound interest more noticeable, encouraging smart saving.
Greenlight Max members also earn unlimited 1 percent cash back on all eligible spending, which gives young cardholders an excellent opportunity to practice earning rewards before they get a full-fledged rewards credit card. Only some debit cards earn rewards—let alone unlimited, flat-rate cash back. For example, the Discover Cashback Debit account, a popular cash back debit card, only earns 1 percent cash back on your first $3,000 in purchases each month.
How to redeem
All Savings Boost and cash back earnings are automatically added to your child’s savings and counts toward their next month’s Savings Boosts reward. This makes it easy for kids to save, with no need to worry about which redemption options will offer the most value.
How does Current work?
Current is an online bank that offers teen debit cards with an app that provides parental controls. You can choose how much your child can spend per day and limit shopping at certain merchants. You can also set up automatic transfers to send an allowance to your child daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
The primary way to fund your teen’s account is external by bank transfer, which can take three to five business days to process. However, Current offers two ways to get faster transfers:
- Qualify for instant direct deposit. Current offers an instant transfer option to people who complete a trial period, pay the $36 annual subscription fee, and establish good account history.
- Open your own Current account. If you open a Current account, funds that you’ve added to your account can automatically be transferred to a teen account.
Teens can use Current accounts for spending and saving. Current lets you set savings goals using the Savings Pods feature, and you can stash cash by setting up roundups that round transactions to the nearest dollar and save the difference.
Although your kids get some freedom to swipe, you also have the power to guide their spending by turning on and off the card and setting a daily usage limit. And although it won’t protect your funds if your teen overspends, up to $250,000 of your money is backed by FDIC insurance, so you can rest assured knowing money is guaranteed in the event that the company goes under.
For a full breakdown of Current features, read our Current review.
Which banking product should you choose?
Which banking product you should choose between Greenlight and Current depends on your goals and your preferences for how to manage your money. If you’re simply looking for a way to send money to your child so they can have cash for lunch, gas, or the occasional shopping trip, Current could help you do this without racking up high fees.
The Current card has a low annual fee, no minimum balance, no overdraft fees, no transfer fees, and no activation fees. Current could cost less per year than Greenlight because the base Greenlight tier costs about $60 per year and Current charges $36 for the year.
However, for a kid to get the most value from Current, you may need to open your own personal Current account. Otherwise, you may not be able to send money quickly until you qualify for instant transfers. Standard transfers from an external account into Current could take three to five business days and might not be helpful if your teen calls needing cash to fill up their gas tank in an emergency.
Although the Current debit card may be good for day-to-day spending, the Greenlight may be a better tool for providing money lessons because there are more features that can help you create teachable moments. For example, Greenlight has educational content, and you can teach about how interest on savings works because of the parent-paid interest feature. Plus, if you upgrade the account, your child can learn how to invest.
How to Open a Greenlight App Account
- Apply for a Greenlight account
- On the landing page, enter your mobile phone number and click the “Get Started” button to submit
- Go to your phone to collect your confirmation code and enter it in the box labeled “Enter Confirmation Code” and click “Confirm Code“
- Create your account by entering your email address, creating your own password and selecting what your kids will call you. Click Next.
- Begin by entering your child’s name and mobile number (if they have one) and birthday. Click Next if you only have one child to add or Add another child if you have more than one to add. Do this for each child you wish to get a Greenlight card.
- Provide your personal information followed by accepting the Cardholder Agreement and hit Next.
- Finally, set up your funding source and submit your Greenlight application for verification and approval.