The Greenlight Debit Card, a prepaid card for teens that allows them to easily and securely manage their spending.
This app gives parents peace of mind that their teenager’s purchases will be monitored. They can set budgets and limits, track purchases in real time, receive notifications of purchases, and have discussions about budgeting.
It also has features that help teens save money, such as reward points and goal-setting tools.
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- The Greenlight debit cards are marketed towards families with children — families like mine! The Greenlight debit card is currently being used by my older two boys. This review reflects their experience.
- Greenlight debit cards offer more to families than just a debit-card for their children. This debit card includes a mobile application for parents as well as a variety of tools to help with budgeting, saving, chores, and more.
- Greenlight debit cards allow parents to set up “rules” or controls for the debit card usage. Parents can also be notified when their child spends money.
- The card has a reward component, which allows kids to earn cash on their savings.
Teach Your Children About Money
As a certified money nerd and financial advisor, I’ve always known that it is important to teach children about money. Finances are an important part of growing and eventually our children will be on their own. We can help them achieve by teaching them how to pay bills, save for the future and budget.
The technology has made parenting much easier.
We used the envelope system, which was inspired by Dave Ramsey & Rachel Cruze. We had a weekly chore list that our children would need to complete. They would then be paid an “allowance” for completing the tasks. Our kids then kept their money in separate envelopes – envelopes for saving, spending, giving and achieving specific goals.
The Envelope System for 4 Kids
It worked well for a time, but as my kids grew older, their financial lives became more complex. My oldest son sells things on eBay and I wanted him to use his own account rather than mine. Cash in an envelope will not help him manage his eBay business.
All four of our kids are also on our payroll so they already have some money in their checking and savings account. The bank that we’ve all been using does not allow kids under 16 years old to use their debit cards.
I thought of making my children authorized users on my card or opening a checking account to give each child a debit card.
This is ultimately what led me discover Greenlight Debit Cards for Kids. The fact that each child could have their own card, and the many tools available for parents, made me sign up my entire family.
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Greenlight began in 2014 as an app that was aimed at kids. However, the product has evolved a lot since its launch. Parents should be aware that Greenlight is more than just a debit card. This debit card works with a mobile application that can be accessed by both parents and children.
You can do the following with a Greenlight Debit Card:
- Create chore charts for children
- App to help your children set savings goals
- Be notified every time your child purchases something.
- Transfer money to children (i.e. Automatically transfer money (i.e.
- Choose which stores you want your children to be able to shop at.
- You can help your children “save” their money by allowing them to round up their purchases to the nearest dollar and redirecting it into savings (similar to ‘s Acorns App).
- Determine whether your child can use an ATM to withdraw cash
- Greenlight + Invest & Greenlight Max can help your children learn about investing.
Greenlight has a rewards program that both kids and parents can use. Greenlight Max rewards kids with 1% cash back on all purchases made using their debit cards. Children can earn 1%-2% depending on if they are a Greenlight + Investing or Greenlight Max member.
Greenlight has the advantage of not having a minimum age requirement for children to download the app. This product is different from other financial products aimed at teens. Many of these set a minimum of 8-16 years old.
Greenlight Plans – Costs
Greenlight is not free. It offers many tools to help children learn about money. This is ultimately one of Greenlight’s biggest downsides. There are many other debit cards available for teens and children that do not charge a monthly fee. However, they offer fewer features.
Here’s an overview of the price of a Greenlight plan, depending on which tier you choose.
|Greenlight —$4.99 per month||Greenlight + Invest — $7.98 per month||Greenlight Max — $9.98 per month|
|Card for 5 childrens|
|Education is all about educating yourself.|
|Core Financial Tools|
|Spend and get 1% Cash Back|
|Greenlight Black Card|
|Priority Customer Support|
|Identity theft protection|
|Cell Phone Protection|
Greenlight has three plans that families can choose from.
Greenlight : With the basic Greenlight plan, parents can get debit cards for as many children as they want. Parents can use this plan to get basic tools, such as creating chore charts, sending money to their children, or being notified whenever their children make a purchase. This tier will reward kids with 1% of their savings.
Greenlight + Invest The Greenlight + Invest Plan costs a little more than the Basic Plan, but families receive the additional benefit of investing tools. The Greenlight app has a feature that allows kids to purchase fractional share in their favorite stocks. They can begin investing as low as $1 without any trading fees. The app allows parents to approve each trade. This tier of kids also receives 1% cash back for their savings.
Greenlight Max : Greenlight Max includes all of the features and benefits from the Basic Plan plus investing. Parents get priority customer service, and children get 1% cashback on debit card purchases and 2% on savings. Also included are features such as identity theft protection and purchase protection. This plan includes a Greenlight Black Card for kids, which is a fancy upgrade to their debit card.You can listen to the post and other posts on this blog. Good Financial Cents podcast on Spotify.
My Family’s Experience With Greenlight
For my family, signing up for Greenlight made sense because the app solved all of our issues with kids having access to their own money. The Greenlight app also allowed me and my spouse to oversee their entire financial life, including the stores that they could spend their money at, their chores, and their savings goals.
I liked that I could send money instantly to my children at any time. This was great for when they finished a task or needed money for an event or school project.
Even my kids would make outrageous requests. Like the time when my son asked for $10,000. The request was made in good humor, but I had to say “no.”
We did encounter some bugs. Families should be aware of the maximum amounts for transfers and withdrawals. There is a maximum ATM withdrawal of $105 per user, per day. Families can withdraw up to $525 per month from ATM .
It may not seem like a big deal, but knowing this ahead of time is important!
When you first start, there may be some glitches. As an example, the first time we registered for Greenlight I transferred money to my son’s Greenlight account. We were going to a car show and thought it would fun to stop at Walmart to withdraw money from his account.
He kept trying, but it didn’t work. We tried three different ATMs in order to withdraw cash using his Greenlight debit cards, but without success.
Greenlight called me back immediately after I submitted my ticket. This was a huge plus. This is when things became complicated. Customer service told me that there are several “buckets” involved when you transfer money between a parent account and a child’s Greenlight wallet.
Each account includes a general bucket where kids can spend money anywhere. However, you need to click another place to allow them to withdraw cash from an ATM. My son was unable to withdraw cash from his account because I had not taken this step.Greenlight has one final disadvantage: you cannot get paid through eBay from this account. This won’t be a problem for most families. However, my oldest son is constantly buying and selling on eBay. To avoid this problem, I set up a savings account for my son to save his eBay earnings. Then, I log in to my phone and can transfer money from the account into his Greenlight account.
It’s not an issue, but it is important to make sure that Greenlight will meet your needs. You should find out if your child is paid by someone other than yourself.
Greenlight also says that kids who have traditional jobs will be paid by direct deposit into their Greenlight account. They say, “Their paychecks will be automatically deposited on their Greenlight card, in their Spend Anywhere control, even if [them] are on vacation or outside of town.”
Greenlight does not accept direct deposit from any government source, such as Social Security, tax refunds (federal, state, and child support), or money transfer apps like Apple Cash, Venmo or Paypal.
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What is Greenlight compared to?
You can find a variety of debit cards for kids, such as the MONEY teen checking from Capital One or Chase First Checking for Kids. Other options do not require a monthly fee but tend to have fewer benefits.
This chart compares Greenlight in terms of cost and features.
|Greenlight||Capital One Teen Checking||Chase First Debit Card for Children|
|Monthly Plan Fee||From $4.98 up to $9.98||$0||$0|
|Ages available||No minimum age||Ages 8+||Ages 6-17|
|Set spending limits and ATM limits on kids||Yes,||Yes,||Yes,|
|Send money to your children through an App||Yes,||Yes,||Yes,|
|App to pay allowance||Yes,||Yes,||Yes,|
|Requirements||Parents are not required to attend.||Parents are not required to attend.||Parents must have a chase checking account|
|App allows kids to invest||Yes,||No,||No,|
|Get cash back for your savings||Yes,||No,||No,|
|Earn cashback on purchases||Yes,||No,||No,|
Sign up for Greenlight
You’ll also need to be willing to use and download the app on your own mobile device. You’ll need the following information to get started:
- Your email address
- Your mobile phone number
- Name(s) of your child/children
- Your legal first name and last name
- Your physical address
- Date of Birth
- What is your Social Security Number (SSN)?
- Valid debit card or bank account
Greenlight is best for whom?
Greenlight is a great app despite some limitations. Parents should read the fine print, including all purchase and withdrawal terms, before signing up. I recommend that you play around with the app to learn how it works. This will ensure your kids don’t find themselves in a situation when they are unable to access their money.
Greenlight is the best choice for:
- Parents who want to monitor their child’s chores and allowances in one place.
- Families that want to give their children their own debit cards for safety reasons
- Parents who are looking for a way to help their children learn how to manage money at an early age
- Families that want to encourage their children to start investing in early life
- Anyone who would like to instantly send money to their children or teenagers through a mobile application
- Parents who wish to be informed each time their child makes a purchase