Greenlight the Debit Card and Money App for Families

Greenlight the Debit Card and Money App for Families

Start teaching good saving and spending habits early with flexible parent controls

finder.com’s rating: 4.4 / 5.0

★★★★★

The Greenlight card gives you granular control over your child’s money by allowing you to set spending limits for specific stores. Plus, it has unique features like a savings account that earns parent-paid interest and an investing platform where your kid can invest in real-time with your permission. But these perks come with an unavoidable monthly fee.

  • Get this card if you’re a parent who wants to control how and when your kids use their money.
  • Choose another card if you want a card that doesn’t have a monthly fee.

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Can my parents see what Ive bought on my Greenlight debit card?

Parents may technically see where a product was purchased as well as the total dollar amount paid. However, they can’t see what you bought. Your debit card purchases, however, can raise questions; for instance, if you spend money on a gas station when you don’t have a car, they might ask.

What Greenlight Can Do Better

  • Monthly fee on Investing plan. While useful to have every financial decision housed on the same platform, Greenlight’s investing plan starts at $7.98 per month for up to five kids. If parents don’t need the controls or insight provided by the Greenlight debit card, they could instead opt for a cheaper custodial account through an Acorns Family plan ($5/mo) at a lower monthly fee. Likewise, you can go with a BusyKid debit card system which costs only $19.99/year (though $7.99 per year per extra card with other fee potential as well). While it has less functionality and lower customer satisfaction scores, it does come at a lower price point as compared to the Greenlight + Invest plan’s fee.
  • Require approval for allowance transfer (not automated). After using the mobile application to pay my son for chores as a test, I noticed how the feature automatically transfers funds without requiring prior approval. If I took no action, the payments would transfer regardless. If I set single time chores which require manual approval, I don’t believe this would happen.
  • Reload cash options. Greenlight does not currently offer the ability to reload cash directly onto the card from participating retailers nationwide. Having this access, even for a fee, can promote more accessible populations who are currently underserved by financial services. Options like Famzoo allow this at locations like Walmart or Target, albeit for a fee charged by retailers on the Mastercard Reload network.
  • Parent / child loans. Options like Famzoo and BusyKid allow parents to lend money to their kids (either with interest or not) to pay for larger purchases a kid cannot finance alone. Having this feature can be a safe environment for learning about credit before moving on to a credit card or other loan product outside of the home.

Greenlight Customer Service

When you cancel your Green Light, the only way to do it is via a phone call.

Bad move.

If there’s one thing you can do to make a frustrated customer that wants to cancel more frustrated, make it difficult for them to cancel.

It’s a routed international call center with non-native English speakers.

When English isn’t a speaker’s first language, it doesn’t bother me, but this can make some people frustrated.

As consumers, we want to reduce friction and be able to click a button to cancel.

I mean, check out this awesome-looking espresso on Amazon and see how many clicks it takes you to make a purchase and have it on its way.

Not many.

As a business decision, maybe it’s wise for them to do it this way as it forces you to call so that they can try to keep you as a customer.

I still say it’s a bad move for the Greenlight customer service team.

I had already found Step before I called to cancel our Greenlight account.

They tried to offer me up to three months of the service for free to stay with them.

I went ahead and canceled.

My son has been using Step for a few months now and we’re both pleased.

He doesn’t care which card he uses and I get to save $60.

Good luck! 

Greenlight Debit Card

4.2

Apply now on Greenlight’s secure site

Annual fee

$4.99 per month

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended credit

See Terms

Is Greenlight safe?

Is Greenlight legit? Yes. Greenlight debit accounts are FDIC-insured and you can use Greenlight debit cards nearly everywhere Mastercard is accepted.

Where can’t Greenlight be used? Greenlight has safeguards in place to prevent the Greenlight debit card from being used for purchases that are not considered child-friendly, such as dating services or online gambling. Greenlight debit cards also cannot be used to purchase wire or money orders or to receive cash back at the point of sale.

What about the Greenlight app – is it also safe to use? Yes. The Greenlight app uses industry-standard encryption to ensure that all data communicated through the app is as secure as possible.

Bankrates Take: Is the Greenlight Debit card worth it?

If you’re looking for a simple way to help your child learn responsible saving and spending habits, the Greenlight Debit card is easily one of the best kid-centric debit cards on the market. Though you can’t avoid fees, the card comes with a ton of unique tools like customizable chore lists, automated allowances and real-time spending notifications, and the level of money management control you get is more granular than what rival cards offer.

While Greenlight’s Savings Boost makes the basic $4.99 monthly plan a bit more valuable than many competitor offerings, the $9.98 Greenlight Max plan’s flat-rate cash back, higher Savings Boost and other perks should give you the best bang for your buck.

Competitor Analysis

Here’s how Greenlight Debit Card compares to some other options for kids:

Card Price Age Features
Greenlight $4.99 to $9.98 per month Up to 17 years
  • Parental controls
  • Real-time fund requests
  • Parent-paid interest
  • Investment and saving opportunities
Gohenry $3.99 per month 6 to 18 years
  • Free trial
  • Spending insights
  • Customer chores and tasks
Copper Free Above 13
  • Automated saving features
  • Instant funds transfers
  • Financial quizzes
FamZoo $2.50-$5.99 per month Up to 17
  • Instant money transfer between family members
  • Free card load options
  • Parent control and visibility

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What is the Greenlight debit card?

The Greenlight debit card is a debit card for kids. This prepaid debit card allows parents to transfer allowance money and other funds into their children’s debit accounts and gives kids the ability to learn how to manage money with a debit card instead of using cash for their day-to-day spending.

How does Greenlight work? Parents start by setting up a virtual wallet with Greenlight. Once the parent’s Wallet is in place, parents can transfer money directly to their kids’ Greenlight debit accounts, as well as set limits on where that money can be spent. Parents also get an alert every time the Greenlight debit card is used to help them monitor how their children are spending their money.

Children can use the Greenlight mobile app to track their balance, create savings goals and set aside money for charitable giving. If parents decide to link their children’s allowance to specific chores (including recurring and one-off responsibilities), children can use the Greenlight app to track their chore list and mark chores as completed.

Greenlight card reviews are mixed, with the company receiving a B from the Better Business Bureau and 4.3 out of five stars on Trustpilot. The most common complaints involve unexpected difficulties with financial transfers, whether a parent is attempting to put money into or withdraw money from their child’s Greenlight account.

Keep in mind that the types of Greenlight card reviews that show up on sites like the Better Business Bureau are often heavily weighted towards the negative. So, if you’re considering the Greenlight debit card for your kids, it’s worth looking into the card’s pros and cons before making your decision.

About Greenlight Debit Card for Kids

The Greenlight app offers a feature-filled financi

The Greenlight app offers a feature-filled financial platform meant to help parents teach their kids important personal finance skills and build useful money habits including how to save, earn, invest, spend and give money responsibly.

The Greenlight app and card function as a purpose-built solution for families to learn about money through use of a prepaid debit card with parental controls, notifications and safety features.

Further, the Greenlight app offers a parent account for establishing chore plans and administering weekly allowance payments for successful completion of assigned tasks.

From there, parents can show their kids how to use the included investing platform (on a higher plan through Greenlight + Invest and Greenlight Max) to invest in stocks for kids and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

This can show real-life lessons of compound interest and encourage children to save and invest funds regularly.

How Do Greenlights Fees Compare To The Competition?

In this section, we compare Greenlight to some of

In this section, we compare Greenlight to some of the other top cards in the debit card industry geared towards kids.

BusyKid

In terms of options and features, BusyKid is perhaps one of the closest card products equivalent to Greenlight, including the possibility to assist your child in opening an investment account and discovering the foundations of investing.

In addition, BusyKid is less costly than Greenlight. BusyKid family plans are $19.99 annually. They include one BusyKid pre-loaded Visa spend card. If you wish to create BusyKid accounts for several children, you’ll have to pay an extra $7.99 per child every year

FamZoo

FamZoo, like Greenlight, allows parents to deposit real money straight to their children’s debit cards and assists them and their children in tracking saving, spending, and giving. Nonetheless, FamZoo does not provide the kid-friendly investment alternatives that the Greenlight premium plans do.

A FamZoo membership costs $5.99 per month; families can save money by prepaying for numerous months (or years).

GoHenry

GoHenry is another popular kids’ debit card. Like Greenlight, parents may fund their children’s accounts, establish spending limits, assist their children in dedicating some funds for charity donations, and more. However, the biggest distinction between GoHenry and Greenlight, as with FamZoo, is that GoHenry does not provide any investing infrastructure.

GoHenry charges $3.99 per child every month, and you may purchase a card customization for your children’s debit cards for an additional $4.99.

Try Greenlight Here

The Greenlight Mobile App

The Greenlight mobile app comes with tools that give you more flexible controls than other debit cards, like parental controls to manage precisely where and how much your kids can spend or the ability to create chores and pay allowances. Your kids can also use the mobile app with a different experience to yours to access money management and financial, educational tools, like their chore lists to earn money. However, your kids can still use the debit card without the mobile app if, for example, they don’t have access to a smartphone.

Let’s review the different plans Greenlight offers through their app:

Greenlight Debit Card at $4.99/month

Access core tools for your kids to earn, save, spend and give money, with a debit card managed by you that is FDIC-insured up to $250,000. Some of the features you can access through the mobile app to help your kids become financially independent and responsible include:

  • Set up to five children under your parent account.
  • Assign chores and create chore lists tied to monetary perks for your kids to “earn” their cash.
  • Set up automatic transfers to automatically pay allowances that your kids can divide between their Spend, Save and Give accounts.
  • Make instant transfers from your bank account to your child’s card.
  • Get real-time alerts when your child’s Greenlight card is used.
  • Select specific spending limits, locations, and stores where your kids can spend money with their debit cards.
  • Track balances and transactions of your child’s account at any time.
  • Freeze the debit card in case of theft or misuse. You can turn it on and off from the app.
  • Your kids can round up purchases to the next dollar to automatically add the change to their savings.
  • Your kids can set savings goals and track progress to teach them about the importance of saving.
  • Decide if you want your kids to use the debit card at an ATM or not and how much money they can withdraw.
  • If you have a teen who is old enough to have a job, set up a direct deposit to get paychecks paid directly into their account.
  • Choose if your kids can use their debit card to pay through Google Pay or Apple Pay, as long as they meet the minimum age required to use these apps.
  • Have complete visibility on your kids’ spending, saving goals, transactions, and more.

Greenlight Debit Card + Greenlight Invest at $7.98/month

When you upgrade your plan to this one, you get all the core tools and debit card features explained above as well as a platform where your kids can invest in real-time with your permission. Greenlight opens a brokerage account in your name that your kids can use to make investments with your approval. There are no fees on the trades you make, only the cost of upgrading to this plan. The extra investment features on this plan include:

  • Buy companies’ shares.
  • Start investing with as little as $1.
  • Pay no trading fees.
  • Approve every trade right from the app.

Greenlight Max at $9.98/month

Access all the features on the Greenlight app, the Greenlight debit card, the managed investment platform for your kids, PLUS identity theft, phone, and purchase protection. Get all the features of the plan above and these extra ones:

  • Access priority customer support to reach their customer service team faster.
  • Get alerts, monitoring, and restoration for your whole family in case of identity theft.
  • Cover damaged, lost, or stolen cell phones up to five kids.
  • Repair or replace items you purchase that are damaged or stolen.

About the Author

Scott Jeffries is a seasoned technology professional based in Florida. He writes on the topics of business, technology, digital marketing and personal finance. After earning his bachelor’s in Management Information Systems with a minor in Business, Scott spent 15 years working in technology. He’s helped startups to Fortune 100 companies bring software products to life. When he’s not writing or building software, Scott can be found reading or spending time outside with his kids.

Information

Seller
Greenlight Financial Technology, Inc.
Size
221.7 MB
Category
Finance
Compatibility
iPhone
Requires iOS 12.0 or later.
iPad
Requires iPadOS 12.0 or later.
iPod touch
Requires iOS 12.0 or later.
Languages

English

Age Rating
4+
Copyright
© 2022 Greenlight Financial Technology, Inc.

Price Free

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