Content of the material
- A deeper look into the current card offer
- Quick highlights
- 5 important differences between Greenlight and Current
- Greenlight Plans and Costs
- How do I sign up for Greenlight card?
- Adding your children to the mix:
- Authenticating your identity:
- Creating a Wallet for Your Parents:
- Greenlight details and features
- Greenlight Debit Card
- Competitor Analysis
- How Does Greenlight Card Work?
- About the Author
- Who is Greenlight Best For?
- How does Current work?
- Does Greenlight work with Apple Pay and Google Pay?
- How Much Does Greenlight Cost?
- Greenlight vs. other debit cards for kids
- Industry-leading parental controls
- Chore and allowance setup, administration and oversight
- All monthly plans include up to five kids
- Interest payments (Savings Boosts, 1% or 2%, depending on plan)
- Real-time alerts, spending notifications and access controls
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: 1 percent monthly Savings Boost rewards, or, with the Greenlight Max Plan, 2 percent monthly Savings Boost rewards and 1 percent cash back on purchases
- Monthly fee: $4.99, $7.98 or $9.98 (based on plan)
- Initial deposit: N/A
- Early direct deposit? Direct deposit supported, but not early deposit
- Out of network ATM withdrawal fee: No issuer ATM fee (operator ATM fees may still apply)
- Overdraft fee: N/A
- Additional savings account included? No, but there is a monthly compounded 1 percent to 2 percent rewards rate on the first $5,000 in a savings account, depending on the plan.
5 important differences between Greenlight and Current
Although the two companies have some similarities, there are some key differences between what Greenlight and Current offer. Here are the biggest differences you should know:
- You can invest with Greenlight. With Greenlight + Invest or Greenlight Max, kids get the option to invest with as little as $1. This feature could help you illustrate the power of investing and compounding interest. Current doesn’t currently offer an investing option.
- Greenlight offers a few more protections. TheGreenlight Max service tier includes purchase protection, cell phone protection, and identity theft protection for the whole family (with some restrictions; for example, cell phone protection is limited to five kids).
- Greenlight lets you fund the kid’s account with debit cards. With Current, you fund and reload your child’s account using your bank account. Greenlight lets you fund accounts with debit cards and bank accounts.
- Greenlight is for all ages and Current is for teens.: To qualify for a Current account, the child has to be at least 13 years old; meanwhile, there’s no age requirement for the Greenlight debit card.
- Current has no minimum balance requirement. For Greenlight, you need to make an initial upload of $10 to your Parent’s Wallet to get started, followed by a minimum deposit of $1 if you’re using a connected bank account or $20 if you’re funding the account with a debit card. Current doesn’t set deposit minimums or maximums.
Greenlight Plans and Costs
While Greenlight offers a ton of tools that can help kids learn more about their finances, this product is far from free. Ultimately, this is one of the major downsides of Greenlight. After all, there are other debit cards for kids and teens that don’t have a monthly fee, although they have a lot fewer features overall.
Either way, here’s a rundown of what you can expect to pay for a Greenlight plan depending on the tier of service you sign up for.
|Greenlight —$4.99 per month||Greenlight + Invest — $7.98 per month||Greenlight Max — $9.98 per month|
|Debit card for up to 5 kids||✅||✅||✅|
|Core financial tools||✅||✅||✅|
|Greenlight savings rewards||1%||1%||2%|
|1% cash back on spending||✅|
|Greenlight Black Card||✅|
|Priority customer support||✅|
|Identity theft protection||✅|
|Cell phone protection||✅|
As you can see, Greenlight offers three different plans for families to choose from:
Greenlight: The basic Greenlight plan lets parents get a debit card for up to five kids. This plan offers basic tools for parents, like the ability to set up chore charts, send their kids money, and be notified when their kids make a purchase. Kids in this tier of the program will also earn 1% in rewards on their savings.
Greenlight + Invest: The Greenlight + Invest plan costs slightly more than the basic plan, yet families get the added benefit of investing tools. This feature within the Greenlight app lets kids purchase fractional shares of their favorite stocks, and they can start investing with as little as $1 with no trading fees. Parents also get to approve every trade right from the app. Kids in this tier also earn 1% in cash back on their savings.
Greenlight Max: Greenlight Max is the top tier plan, and it includes all the benefits of the basic plan plus the investing features. On top of that, parents get benefits like priority customer support and kids also get 1% back on purchases made with their debit card and 2% in cash back on their savings. Other features like identity theft protection, purchase protection, and cell phone protection are included. Kids in this plan also get a Greenlight Black Card, which is just a fancy-looking upgrade for their debit card.
If you would rather listen to this post, and others here on the blog, please check out the Good Financial Cents podcast on Spotify.
How do I sign up for Greenlight card?
Follow these simple steps to get started if you’re a parent, guardian, or the Primary Accountholder who will fund your children’s Greenlight cards:
As a parent or guardian, you must register. This includes the following:
Adding your children to the mix:
You can have up to five children on your account, and each child you add will receive their own Greenlight debit card automatically. After completing your registration, you can upgrade any of your children to a Custom Card.
Authenticating your identity:
We do not run a credit check on you, but we are required by law to verify your information (name, address, DOB, SSN) to protect your account, funds, and children’s cards. Learn more about the US Patriot Act and why we ask for this information here.
Creating a Wallet for Your Parents:
The Parent’s Wallet is a virtual wallet that can be loaded with funds from your debit card or bank account. We only ask that you load funds to complete registration because it helps us offset fees and verifies your debit card or bank account.
You own the money you load, and once you’ve signed up, you can send money to your child whenever, wherever, and for whatever reason you want. After your first month, funds in your Parent’s Wallet can be used to cover your monthly Greenlight subscription fee.
Your children’s cards will be created automatically after you sign up, and they will arrive in 7-10 business days. Meanwhile, log into your app to assist your children in creating their profiles, verify your bank account, and begin reaping the benefits of Greenlight!
Greenlight details and features
The Greenlight debit card offers a variety of features designed to help children learn how to earn, save, spend and invest money.
Depending on which Greenlight plan you choose – Greenlight, Greenlight + Invest or Greenlight Max – you and your kids will have access to any or all of the following card benefits:
- Debit card: All Greenlight plans offer debit cards for up to five kids. This is great for families with multiple children since your Greenlight monthly fee covers up to five individual debit cards.
- Educational app: All Greenlight plans offer an educational app that helps kids track their balances, complete chore lists to earn money and more. Parents can also use the Greenlight app to turn their kids’ debit cards on and off – which means that if your child temporarily misplaces their Greenlight debit card, you can turn off the card’s functionality until the card is either found or replaced.
- Core financial tools: All Greenlight plans give kids the opportunity to learn key financial concepts, like how to set a savings goal. Greenlight’s financial tools focus on saving, spending, earning and giving and can help you pass your financial values along to your children.
- Parental controls: All Greenlight plans offer parental controls, including the ability to set limits on how much your children can spend in a particular category (such as gaming) or at an individual store.
- Investment platform: The Greenlight + Invest and Greenlight Max plans offer a kid-friendly investment platform that teaches children the fundamentals of investing – including how to evaluate risk, diversify investments and how compound growth can increase their investments.
- Greenlight black card: The Greenlight Max plan gives kids access to the Greenlight Black Card – a sleek, modern card that might help kids get excited about saving and spending.
- Priority customer support: The Greenlight Max plan gives parents the opportunity to jump to the head of the customer support line.
- Identity theft protection: The Greenlight Max plan gives everyone in your family access to identity theft monitoring, including fraud alerts and restoration services.
- Cellphone protection: The Greenlight Max plan provides coverage for lost, stolen or damaged phones for up to five kids. (That’s as many as five phones that you no longer need to worry about.)
- Purchase protection: The Greenlight Max plan offers purchase protection for any purchases made on the Greenlight debit card that are stolen or damaged.
Greenlight Debit Card
Apply now on Greenlight’s secure site
Annual fee$4.99 per month
Recommended creditSee Terms
Here’s how Greenlight Debit Card compares to some other options for kids:
|Greenlight||$4.99 to $9.98 per month||Up to 17 years|| |
|Gohenry||$3.99 per month||6 to 18 years|| |
|Copper||Free||Above 13|| |
|FamZoo||$2.50-$5.99 per month||Up to 17|| |
How Does Greenlight Card Work?
Greenlight is a prepaid card and app for managing family finances, from chores and allowance to spending and using money online or off.
With the Greenlight app, kids and parents have companion apps with two different experiences.
Kids can 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.
Further, on higher tier plans, parents can use this same system of controls to encourage saving and investing through savings bonuses, investing features and even earn cash back on purchases made with the Greenlight debit card.
And because the Greenlight debit card functions as a prepaid debit card, parents need not worry about kids spending what they don’t have. With normal debit cards, this can result in overdraft fees and possible overspending.
Greenlight cards don’t allow this situation to happen.
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.
Who is Greenlight Best For?
I really like Greenlight despite its limitations. Before parents sign up, however, they need to read over all the fine print and purchase and withdrawal rules so they know what they’re dealing with. I also recommend playing around with the app and learning how it works so kids aren’t left in a situation where they can’t access their money when they need it.
With all this being said, Greenlight is best for:
- Parents who want to oversee their kid’s chores, allowances, purchases and savings in one place
- Families who want their kids to have their own debit card for safety reasons
- Parents who want a way to teach their kids how to manage their money early in life
- Families who want to get their kids into investing early in life
- Anyone who wants to be able to send their kids or teens money instantly through a mobile app
- Parents who want to be notified each time their kid make a purchase
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.
Does Greenlight work with Apple Pay and Google Pay?
Yes! The Greenlight card is compatible with all three and is very simple to set up, making checkout much easier. As soon as you add your Greenlight card to your smartphone’s Wallet, you can start using Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.
How Much Does Greenlight Cost?
You get the first month of Greenlight absolutely free as a trial and then the monthly fee is $4.99 for the whole family. You get up to five cards.
There are no fees for making purchases, withdrawing money from an ATM, requesting a balance at an ATM, contacting customer service (automated or live agent), or an inactivity fee. If you are traveling internationally, there are no foreign transaction fees either.
There are two fees:
- $9.99 for a custom card (completely optional)
- $3.50 for replacing a card ($24.99 for expedited delivery)
If you don’t need a custom card and you never lose your card, all you pay is the $4.99 monthly fee.
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.
Getting your child their own debit card can take one of those little hassles out of life. Never again will you struggle to pay your kids their allowance, or worry about them losing your cash when they go out with friends.
Plus, a service like Greenlight gives you total control over where they can use their debit card and how much they can spend at particular stores. You also get access to where the card has been used–giving you control and security.
8.5 8.5/10 Strengths Up to 5 kid cards Chores management Spending round-up Very low fees Referral program