Greenlight vs. FamZoo: Which Debit Card is Better?

Written by Jordan BlansitUpdated: 16th Apr 2022
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Debit cards are an ever-increasing necessity in the modern world – but when it comes to your children, it’s crucial not to let them run free with their funds.

At least, not without building a few essential budgeting and savings skills first.

That’s where services like Greenlight and FamZoocome into play.

These prepaid debit cards allow you to fund your kid’s childhood while simultaneously teaching them about finances, responsible money habits, and the value of a dollar.

Snapshot: Greenlight Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Only $4.99 for up to five children
  • Clean mobile app packed with parental controls
  • Multiple ways to fund accounts
  • No minimum age requirement

Cons:

  • Best features require more expensive memberships
  • No pay-in-advance memberships
  • Some members report that cancelling service can be difficult

Snapshot: FamZoo Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Affordable service
  • Pay-in-advance memberships come at a significant discount
  • Tons of parental controls and options to earn, spend, and save

Cons:

  • App is somewhat clunky and dated
  • No store type restrictions
  • Confusing website navigation

Greenlight vs. FamZoo Overview

Greenlight and FamZoo are prepaid debit cards designed with families in mind.

They offer a variety of similar features such as real-time spending alerts, parental controls, and incentives to encourage kids to budget responsibly and save money.

Plus, with allowance and pay-per-task options, your kids will learn the value of working for their income.

Additionally, as both services come with smartphone apps and link to Apple Pay and Google Pay (FamZoo also works with Samsung Pay), you can teach your kids to manage their finances in the modern age.

Plus, using the apps’ built-in charitable giving buckets will encourage your kids to support worthy causes.

What is the Greenlight Debit Card?

The Greenlight debit card is a family-friendly alternative to adding authorized users to your bank account.

The card is available for children of any age – so long as their cards are linked to an adult’s primary account – for a flat rate of $4.99 to $9.98 per month for up to five kids. Currently, Greenlight services are only available in the United States.

The Greenlight Debit Card makes teaching your children about budgeting and financial management a breeze.

Parents are encouraged to take advantage of the wide array of controls at their disposal, such as:

  • Daily or weekly spending limits
  • Automated allowance payments – with a handy-dandy chore chart
  • Store-level spending limits or blocks
  • Real-time notifications on all spending activities

For your children, Greenlight offers a chance to increase their savings automatically with their “Save the Change” roundup.

Plus, starting August 1, all Greenlight savings accounts will earn 1% interest on their savings balances.

And when it comes to protecting your money, Greenlight has you covered with FDIC insurance on all banking products, as well as SIPC insurance on investing accounts.

How the Greenlight Debit Card Works

Signing up for the Greenlight card is easy – simply download the app or create an account on their web page.

Then, you can order up to five cards, which should arrive in 7-10 business days. In the meantime, you can use your primary account to toggle on parental controls and set up bank account, debit, or Apple Pay or Google Pay funding.

Once your kids have their cards in hand (and the app downloaded, if they have a smartphone), you can start teaching them about money management.

From the parental app, you can nudge them in the right direction with:

  • Automated weekly allowance payments tied to Greenlight’s chore chart
  • Parent-paid interest for saving and spending responsibly
  • Direct deposits (for teenagers with jobs)
  • Links to Apple Pay or Google Pay

Plus, higher tier Greenlight memberships also come with investing opportunities to get your child started in the stock market.

Here, they can learn the basics of investing, compound interest, and the merits – and drawbacks – of trading stocks.

Read Our Full Review

What is the FamZoo Debit Card?

FamZoo is a prepaid debit card suitable for all ages. The service costs $5.99 per month for up to four children (less if paid upfront) and comes with a family finance app.

You can also choose to use FamZoo’s IOU account instead of their traditional debit card for children who are too young or immature to handle the responsibilities of a card.

FamZoo also comes with tons of parental controls, educational resources, and family-oriented tools.

At the same time, the app encourages your children to take the initiative by setting their own budgets, tracking their spending, and checking off their completed chores.

And for parents, FamZoo comes with a handy-dandy calculator to help figure out allowance payments.

How the FamZoo Debit Card Works

FamZoo offers two products to help you attain your goals of raising financially savvy children.

With the FamZoo prepaid card account, you can load funds into your account via direct deposit, bank transfer, PayPal, PopMoney, or one of several smartphone-based wallets.

Then, you can “push” funds onto your kids’ FamZoo Mastercard, so the app doesn’t learn your main checking account information.

From the app, you can set spending limits, assign chores (and penalties for not completing chores).

Plus, FamZoo lets parents institute nifty features such as parent-paid interest, parent-to-child loans with a set interest rate, and shared accounts so everyone chips in their fair share of the phone bill.

The FamZoo IOU account is different. Essentially, this is a digital way to record money that goes in and out of your child’s online “piggy bank,” though no real money changes hands.

For instance, if your child wants to buy a candy bar, they can use “their” balance, while you pay for the actual candy and deduct the amount from their account.

Read Our Full Review

FamZoo vs. Greenlight Debit Card: Features and Benefits

FamZoo and Greenlight share several similarities – but it’s their differences that really set them apart.

FamZoo Features and Benefits

Low Fees

A FamZoo subscription entitles you to up to four kids’ prepaid cards for just $5.99 per month – though paying upfront comes with significant discounts.

The price is the same whether you use the FamZoo prepaid Mastercard, the IOU account, or both.

Great Educational Resources

FamZoo offers a variety of educational resources to help your kids learn the value of money.

For instance, they’ll discover the merits of working for their allowance with chores; budget their money into spend, save, and give accounts; and split payments with you to learn that nothing in life truly comes free.

Plus, take advantage of savings goals, progress tracking, and even informal loan tracking.

Parental Controls

FamZoo also offers parental controls that let you maintain visibility and control over all your kids’ accounts.

You can set allowances for chores, rewards, penalties, parent- or child-paid interest, expense sharing, and more.

Activity Alerts

Another handy parental control is the instant alert feature, which informs you on all activities including spending, donations, and card declines. Plus, you can choose who receive which alerts and in what format.

Schedule Transfers

One nice perk of FamZoo is the ability to schedule instant or recurring transfers and move money from account to account.

You can even assign funds to various sub-accounts such as spending or saving.

Greenlight Features and Benefits

New Cashback Features

Greenlightoffers two new earnings features for kids to promote saving and education on compound interest.

To start, all kids will earn 1% interest on their savings accounts beginning on August 1st. Greenlight Max kids will earn even more, with 2% interest earned on their savings and 1% Cash Back on every purchase they make.

Parental Controls

Greenlight provides all the tools you need to monitor your child’s financial activity and nudge them in the right direction.

You can set spending limits, block transactions at certain stores, receive real-time notifications on all transactions, and deactivate cards as needed.

Awesome Educational App

Oh yeah – and you can do all that from Greenlight’s comprehensive, clean-cut mobile app.

But the app is so much more than a tool to facilitate parental controls: it’s also where kids learn the value of spending, saving, and investing.

Here, they can track their balances, complete their chore lists, build responsible savings goals, and more.

Balance Tracking

Aside from all the other cool tools, Greenlight helps your kids track their balance, spending, and budgeting and savings goals – all from the same app you use.

Chore Management

And of course, who could forget about Greenlight’s chore management dashboard?

From here, you can assign chores, tie work to perks, offer automated and manual payments, and even pay bonuses for extra work completed.

Your kids learn the value of hard work and a dollar – and you get someone to wash the dishes after dinner.

Greenlight Debit Card vs. FamZoo Prepaid Debit Card: Pricing and Fees

Of course, as relatively different services, Greenlight and FamZoo come with their own pricing plans. Let’s take a quick look under the hood.

How Much Does Greenlight Cost?

Greenlight comes in three packages, each with different pricing and perks.

Greenlight

The standard Greenlight subscription costs $4.99 per month for a family of five kids.

At this price, you can take advantage of all the parental controls, spending features, and savings goals your heart desires. Plus, your kids will earn 1% on their savings accounts.

Greenlight + Invest

Greenlight + Invest offers all the basics of the standard subscription plus investing tools for just $7.98 per month.

With this plan, you can teach your kids about the stock market in a safe, parent-approved environment.

And while your kids can learn about investing on their own, they’ll rely on you to approve every trade and safeguard their decision-making.

Greenlight Max

Greenlight Max is the all-inclusive Greenlight package.

For $9.98 per month, your kids can take full advantage of Greenlight’s saving and investing tools – while you get peace of mind knowing that Greenlight Max comes with purchase and identity theft protection, too.

How Much Does FamZoo Cost?

FamZoo costs $5.99 per month if you pay on a monthly schedule. But you can also pay in 6-, 12-, and 24-month increments, with each tier lowering your overall costs.

The 24-month plan comes out at just $2.50 per month, or $59.99 upfront.

Who Should Get the FamZoo Prepaid Debit Card?

The FamZoo prepaid debit card can be a great option for teaching older, more tech-savvy kids about managing their finances.

And while free or cheaper services exist, many of them don’t offer the in-depth spending and saving options that FamZoo is known for.

Who Should Get the Greenlight Debit Card?

The Greenlight debit card works well for larger families who need more parental controls or want to teach their kids the value of investing.

Greenlight vs. FamZoo FAQs

Which is Better: FamZoo or Greenlight?

The better card for your family depends on your needs. Greenlight tends to have increased functionality at a better price.

And with up to 2% interest on savings and 1% Cash Back on all purchases (on select accounts), it’s hard to beat $4.99 per month for a family of five.

That said, FamZoo does offer steep discounts for paying for their service in advance. And their IOU account is a great option if your kids aren’t responsible enough to earn or spend their own funds yet, but still occasionally want a treat from the mall.

Is FamZoo Cheaper than the Greenlight Debit Card?

Greenlight is cheaper for larger families and comes with more features. That said, FamZoo is significantly cheaper if you pay for two years upfront.

Is Greenlight or FamZoo Better for Families?

Both cards share similar features, such as parental oversight tools and parent-paid interest. And while Greenlight offers investing features, FamZoo is more geared toward families on the whole, with options like IOU accounts, shared family expenses, and informal loans.

Is the Greenlight Debit Card or FamZoo Prepaid Debit Card Worth It?

Either card can be worth it for your family situation, depending on your and your child’s needs. But when it comes down to pure cost, FamZoo is cheaper, while Greenlight’s more expensive tiers offer more bang for your buck.

Bottom Line: FamZoo vs. Greenlight Comparison

Having a trusted prepaid debit card can be an essential component to teaching your children about modern finances – while you’re still there to guide the way.

But when it comes to FamZoo vs. Greenlight, FamZoo offers some unique family-oriented options, while Greenlight is widely considered one of the best debit cards for kids on the market.

Jordan Blansit
Jordan Blansit

Jordan Blansit is a Senior Writer, Researcher, & Product Analyst for SimpleMoneyLyfe with an inexplicable predilection for mortgages, investing, and personal finance. When she’s not click-clacketing from the comfort of her living room, you can find her in the California Redwoods or Oregon Siskiyous. Jordan’s areas of expertise are mortgages, personal loans, credit cards, and investing.