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Guide to the Greenlight debit card for kids

The Greenlight card is a prepaid debit card designed to teach children about the fundamentals of personal finance

Summary

Many parents wish there was an easy way to teach their children about money – and if you’re one of those parents, the Greenlight debit card for kids could be the educational tool you’re looking for.

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Many parents wish there was an easy way to teach their children about money – and if you’re one of those parents, the Greenlight Debit Card for kids could be the educational tool you’re looking for.

The Greenlight card is a prepaid debit card designed to teach children about the fundamentals of personal finance. Parents can deposit money into their kids’ Greenlight accounts and help them set savings goals, make charitable donations and budget for everyday purchases. The Greenlight mobile app allows kids to track their balances, complete chore lists in exchange for allowance money and learn how today’s choices affect tomorrow’s possibilities.

Unlike many competing debit cards for kids, Greenlight also gives your children the opportunity to learn about the fundamentals of investing. Families who sign up for one of the higher-tier Greenlight plans will gain access to a kid-friendly investing platform that can help your children learn how to evaluate risk, choose diversified investments and track investment returns.

How much does Greenlight cost? Is the Greenlight card safe? What do the Greenlight debit card reviews say? We’ve put together a review to help you understand the Greenlight kids debit card – and to help you decide whether it is right for your family.

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 two 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. According to a March 2020 Greenlight Customer Satisfaction Survey, 91% of Greenlight parents believe Greenlight helps them save time and hassle – which means that 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.

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.

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.

PlanMonthly feeFeatures
Greenlight$4.99
  • Debit cards for up to 5 kids
  • Educational app
  • Core financial tools
  • Parental controls
Greenlight + Invest$7.98
  • Debit cards for up to 5 kids
  • Educational app
  • Core financial tools
  • Parental controls
  • Investment platform
Greenlight Max$9.98
  • Debit cards for up to 5 kids
  • Educational app
  • Core financial tools
  • Parental controls
  • Investment platform
  • Greenlight black card
  • Priority customer support
  • Identity theft protection
  • Cell phone protection
  • Purchase protection

Is Greenlight safe?

Is Greenlight legit? Yes. Greenlight debit accounts are FDIC-insured, and Greenlight debit cards can be used 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.

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.

The bottom line

The Greenlight debit card for kids is one of a growing number of debit cards designed to help children learn about saving, spending and giving. Greenlight stands out from its competitors by offering an investment platform that allows kids to become familiar with investing, evaluating risk and tracking compound growth.

While the Greenlight monthly fee may be too much for some families, other families may find the value Greenlight provides – including parental controls and the ability to limit spending – to be well worth the cost.

If you’re thinking about getting the Greenlight kids debit card for your family, you probably have a lot of questions – including whether your children can use Greenlight to make purchases with Apple Pay and other popular mobile wallet services.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Greenlight compatibility:

Greenlight debit card FAQs

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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