Greenlight is a prepaid debit card designed for kids to be managed by parents. It offers all of the features of a low cost prepaid debit card, along with a free mobile app that empowers parents to manage every aspect of the card.
The Greenlight Debit Card is specifically designed to enable parents to help their children manage money. It comes with all of the features one would expect from a prepaid debit card along with additional features designed to help parents manage the card. These features include everything from chore management to autopilot allowance to store specific spending controls. It also includes features designed to teach children how to manage their money.
How Does Greenlight Work?
You can think of Greenlight as two separate accounts. The primary account is controlled by the parent using the Greenlight mobile app. The second account is the actual prepaid debit card carried by the kids.
Parents can load money into the Greenlight account via a transfer from a bank account. In fact, during the signup process, parents need to fund the account with at least $20. From there, parents can transfer funds to each of the prepaid debit cards carried by their children. These transfers can be one time transfers, or they can transfer money on a regularly scheduled basis. This can come in handy for example, to pay for allowances.
The Greenlight card is a debit MasterCard. As such, it can be used anywhere that accepts MasterCard including online.
It also works with Apple Pay for kids 13 years of age and older, and Google pay for kids 16 years of age and older. In addition, for those teenagers with a job, they can set up direct deposit of their paycheck to their Greenlight debit card.
The card can also be used at ATM machines to get cash. The current maximum withdrawal per day is set at $105, and the current monthly maximum that can be withdrawn is $525. Parents have the ability to turn off this feature if they don’t want their children getting cash with the card.
The card cannot be used to get cash back at stores. Greenlight has blocked this feature, which is common with prepaid debit cards, so that parents can maintain control over the card.
Spend, Save & Give Accounts
The Greenlight app allows children and parents to separate funds between a Spend account, a Savings account, and a Giving account. The idea is to help parents teach children the importance of saving and giving, not just spending.
The Spend account represents the money that kids have to spend with the card, subject of course to any parental controls set up in the mobile app.
With the Save account, kids can set savings goals and track their progress towards that goal. In addition, parents can pay their children interest at whatever rate they choose based on the amounts in the Save account.
Finally, parents can help children learn the benefit of giving by allocating some of their money to the Giving account. It even has built in features to identify charities to receive the money from the Give account.
Greenlight Plus and Max
Greenlight now enables parents to teach children about the importance of investing through either Greenlight Max or Greenlight Plus. Both of these plans enable kids with parental controls to start investing.
Through the app parents and kids have access to expert analysis of investments powered by Morningstar. There’s instant alerts of proposed trades and an investment dashboard that gives kids clear and simple views of their investments. It also allows them to track their progress over time. And of course every investment requires the parent’s approval
This feature enables kids to receive gifts directly onto their Greenlight cards for birthdays, holidays and other occasions. Anyone can send a gift to the child’s Greenlight card.
What sets Greenlight apart and makes it ideal for families is the Greenlight app. It’s through this app that parents have complete control over the card and how their children use it.
The app includes the following features:
- Chore management: Parents can create an app chore lists and tie the work to perks.
- Allowance on autopilot: Parents can set up automatic transfers to the child’s account for allowances. These transfers can be divided between the child’s Spend, Save, and Give accounts.
- Instant transfers: Parents can instantly transfer funds to their child’s card at any time.
- Real time transaction notifications: Parents can receive an alert anytime the card is used and anytime the card is declined.
- Store specific spin controls: Parents can select each store where a child is allowed to use the card. If a child uses the card where they shouldn’t, the parent receives an immediate alert.
- Educational app: A special version of the Greenlight app designed for children allows them to track balances, work chore lists, and more.
- Switching card off: The app allows parents to turn off a card that’s lost or stolen so that it is immediately disabled. When the card is found the parent can switch it back on.
- Roundups: Kids can have purchases rounded up to the next dollar and have that amount automatically added to their savings account.
- Parent paid interest: Parents can set an interest rate and pay their children that rate based on the child’s savings accounts.
- Personal savings goals: Kids can set real savings goals and track their progress toward reaching them with the app.
- ATM parental controls: Parents can choose whether their kids can use the card at an ATM and how much cash they can withdraw.
- Direct Deposit: Teens that have jobs can set up direct deposit and have their paychecks sent straight to the Greenlight account.
- Referral bonus: Refer someone to Greenlight, and you’ll both receive $10.
- Balanced tracking: Parents can see a historic activity in their kids’ Spend, Save and Give accounts.
Rewards & Benefits
First month free: Try the Greenlight card for free for the first month to see if it works well for you and your children.
FDIC-insured: Funds added to the parent account and child debit cards are FDIC-insured through Greenlight’s partner bank, Community Federal Savings Bank.
EMV Chip: All Greenlight cards are EMV enabled for an extra layer of security.
Refer-a-Friend: You and your friend get $10 when you refer a friend to Greenlight and meet the eligibility requirements.
|Fee||Greenlight||Greenlight + Invest||Greenlight Max|
|ATM Withdrawal Fee**||$0||$0||$0|
|ATM Balance Inquiry Fee||$0||$0||$0|
|Direct Deposit Fee||$0||$0||$0|
*The monthly fee includes debit cards for up to 5 kids.
**While Greenlight doesn’t charge an ATM fee, ATM operators will charge a fee to use their ATM.
|Daily ATM Limit||Set by parents|
How the Greenlight Card Measures Up
The Greenlight Debit Card is best for parents of children of any age who want to help their children learn about money. The parental controls allow mom or dad to manage every aspect of the account. It’s also a great way to pay for chores and to automate allowances. It can also help kids learn about the importance of saving, investing and giving.
Greenlight Card Alternatives
Frankly, there are a few prepaid debit cards designed for kids that compare with Greenlight. There certainly are others that we like including GoHenry and Famzoo. Both are good options. However, Greenlight is one of the least expensive options (particularly for those parents with more than one child) and the one that comes with the most robust features. Its investing feature is unparalleled in the industry, and you won’t find a card with more parental controls.
Yes. Founded in 2014, it’s received almost $300 million in funding and has been widely accepted as one of the best teen prepaid cards available today.
It is an excellent card for kids. Its parental controls are unparalleled as are its features and benefits.
If the card is ever lost or stolen, something I’d personally worry about with my children, parents can disable the card from the mobile app. If the card is then found, parents can just as easily turn the card back on. And the first replacement card is free.
Absolutely. The money is FDIC insured. Greenlight uses state of the art encryption to protect data. They also block unsafe spend categories. As noted above, parents can decide whether their kids can take money out of an ATM. In addition, Greenlight notifies parents, via the app, whenever the card is used or even declined.
As with all prepaid debit cards. It does not affect your credit score.
The Greenlight Debit Card is an Editor’s Pick in the following categories: