The Basics

Greenlight is a company on a mission to help parents raise financially-smart kids. The Greenlight card and app were built with a suite of tools to help families manage daily finances and encourage kids to explore lessons in earning, spending, saving and giving. Greenlight app allows parents to choose the exact stores where their children can spend, manage chores and allowances, set parent-paid interest rates on savings and more. Kids track balances, watch their savings grow and learn to make real world trade-off decisions. Greenlight is a debit card for kids, not a credit card. Parents load money onto the card from their own app. Since this is a debit card kids can’t spend what they don’t have. Greenlight was designed with families in mind. It’s a debit card for kids that parents manage by app with flexible controls you won’t find at most banks. Think of it as three different accounts for your kids (spend, save, give), a chores management tool, a robust set of parental controls, a saving motivation machine and a real-time alert system for you to track transactions… all in one. Some of our favorite features include: Instant money transfers from parents to kids Turn the card off from the app if needed Receive alerts whenever the card is used Store-level spend controls to manage kids’ budgets Automated allowance payments Chores management More on all you can do with Greenlight on our details page. Your email address Your mobile phone number Your child’s/children’s name(s) Your legal first & last name Your mailing address Your date of birth Your social security number (SSN). For more information on why we ask for SSN, please click here. A valid debit card or bank account Greenlight costs $4.99/month and includes debit cards for up to 5 kids along with all the tools you need to teach them financial responsibility! Your first month is free and you can cancel anytime. See our details page for more. You should receive your Greenlight card within 5-10 business days. Expedited shipping is available for an additional cost. Greenlight Card can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted, online and in-store. There are a few exceptions in place since, after all, this is a card for kids. Visit our safety page for more. Greenlight also works internationally in 150+ other countries, no foreign transaction fees and no need to let us know when going abroad. We support kids (and grown ups) of all ages. No minimum age here. Greenlight accounts are FDIC insured through our partner, Community Federal Savings Bank, who is compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. All communications between your phone and our servers use state-of-the-art SSL encryption. For more on security, visit our safety page. You can start using Apple Pay and Google Pay (formerly known as Android Pay) as soon as you add your Greenlight card to your Wallet. Remember to add your cards to any device that you want to use with Apple Pay or Google Pay. Note: Apple restricts Apple Pay for children under 13 while Google restricts Google Pay for children under 16.

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.

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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.

Cons

  • Cost is higher than we'd like on the Greenlight + Invest and Greenlight Max products
  • No parent / child lending
  • No cash reload options

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

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • 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.

FAQs

Is Greenlight legit? Greenlight is a legitimate company offering Mastercard debit cards that parents can control through an app. Greenlight cards are issued by Community Federal Savings Bank, an FDIC-insured bank. Because of the FDIC insurance, up to $250,000 of the cash in your account is guaranteed in the event the company fails. Is Current legit? Current is a legitimate company that offers online banking, mobile payment services, and Visa debit cards to adults and teens. Choice Financial Group is the Current card issuer and is an FDIC member. As such, up to $250,000 of money on your card is covered by FDIC insurance. Does Greenlight or Current have a savings account? Both Greenlight and Current offer accounts that kids can set up to stash away savings. You can fund their debit card first and then move money to other accounts to meet savings goals. With Greenlight, you can also set up parent-paid interest. You decide the percentage and your child’s savings will earn that interest rate each month. Kids also have to request to move money from savings, which could help you teach when is or isn’t a good time to dip into savings. What are some alternatives to Greenlight and Current? Besides Greenlight and Current, FamZoo, gohenry, and BusyKid are other prepaid debit card options you could consider using to teach children and teens how to manage cash. Here’s an overview of what each company has to offer:FamZoo: FamZoo provides a prepaid debit card with budgeting tools, savings tools, instant money transfers, scheduled transfers, and activity alerts for kids and parents. gohenry: gohenry offers custom prepaid cards for kids with spending controls, real-time notifications, and the ability to block and unblock the card.BusyKid: BusyKid is a prepaid debit card for kids designed as an account to deposit their allowance. You can monitor your kids’ spending and BusyKid offers an investment option where kids can enter the market with as little as $10.

How to Sign Up for Greenlight

To sign up for a Greenlight account for your family, you’ll need to enter your phone number and be willing to download and use the mobile app yourself. Information you need to get started includes:

  • Your email address
  • Your mobile phone number
  • Your child’s/children’s name(s)
  • Your legal first and last name
  • Your physical address
  • Your date of birth
  • Your Social Security number (SSN)
  • A valid debit card or bank account

Sign Up For Greenlight Here

Rates and fees

One unavoidable downside to the Greenlight card is its ongoing cost: $4.99 per month for the basic plan, $7.98 per month for Greenlight + Invest and $9.98 per month for Greenlight Max. Since you may not be able offset these costs via Savings Boost or cash back, you’ll need to decide whether each plan’s features are worth it.

Outside of these monthly fees, however, the Greenlight card carries hardly any mandatory fees. Unlike many prepaid cards, the Greenlight card charges no fee for adding funds to the card and no issuer fees for ATM transactions at home or abroad (though you may still be subject to standard ATM operator fees). There’s also no fee the first time you need to replace your card ($3.50 per card after that).

There are limits to how much money you can keep on the Greenlight card, but the main caps to consider are the maximum account balances ($15,000 for the Primary Account/parent and $7,500 for the Sub-Account/child), daily spend limits ($1,500 across all accounts), and monthly spend limits ($7,500 across all accounts).

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 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
  • Cellphone protection
  • Purchase protection

The Bottom Line

Overall, Greenlight has a pretty intriguing value proposition. The program costs as little as $5 per month, and you get access to a ton of valuable tracking and goal-setting tools as well as debit cards for up to five kids.

If you want to pay a little more, you can also ensure your kid is earning cash back on their purchases. This app even makes it possible for your kid to learn about investing through fractional shares with your oversight, which is pretty cool if you ask me.

Still, there are other debit cards for teens out there if you take a look, and some of them don’t require a monthly fee at all. You should definitely compare all your options before you sign up. That way, you can find the best banking option for your kids and teens for a price you can afford.

Learn More About Greenlight Here

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