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Parenting in the modern age comes with a lot of challenges. There’s internet privacy to worry about, TikTok dances to learn, and tons of new ways to embarrass your kids online (and off). Sometimes, it’s hard to keep up with it all.
One change that’s been creeping up for a while now is the slow decline of cash money in favor of plastic – with digital currencies on the way in.
And if you’re a parent who wants to teach your kids the value of money, it’s not enough anymore to hand them a few dollars a week in change in exchange for their chores if you want to prepare them for the future they’ll have, not the past you lived.
Enter the Greenlight debit card: a sleek, modern way to introduce children of all ages to the world of finance – without compromising their safety or your peace of mind. You will soon find out why millions of American families use the Greenlight Debt Card.
Greenlight is a prepaid debit Mastercard that provides kids with a chance to earn and spend their own money – with parental control ensured.
This low-cost option comes with features such as a free mobile app, built-in financial analysis, and on-the-go parental access.
Greenlight comes with both a mobile app and prepaid debit card that rely on each other to work.
Parents add money to their Greenlight account via the app, then transfer funds to their children’s prepaid cards on a one-time or scheduled basis.
Then, kids can use their prepaid cards in-store and online to buy the things that matter to them – with parental approval, of course.
One particularly cool feature is that the Greenlight app divides kids’ funds into Spend, Savings, and Giving accounts.
But while the Greenlight card comes with plenty of benefits, it does have a few limitations, too.
For instance, the way you load funds onto your card is severely limited – you can only use a debit card or bank transfer.
Plus, the first time you load your card, you must fund at least $20 upfront, with later amounts dependent on the transfer method.
Moreover, Greenlight can’t be used to get cash back at stores – though this is a fairly standard feature of prepaid cards.
Greenlight also comes with money limits: $5,000 per child account and $10,000 per parent account. And none of these accounts are eligible for interest, fee waivers, or bonuses of any kind.
The Greenlight debit card is packed with features to ensure that parents can help their children learn not only the value of earning money but of saving, spending, and even giving, as well.
Chore management features in the mobile app let parents tie allowance to action.
Parents can create chore lists, link work to perks, and ensure that children learn how to manage their money and load a dishwasher at the same time. You can even set up deadlines and cash bonuses!
Greenlight aims to make allowance easy for all parties involved by enabling automatic transfers between the parents’ and child’s accounts.
Parents can also help their children split payments between Spend, Save, and Give accounts.
One of the best features of Greenlight is its ease and speed of access. Parents can transfer funds to their child’s card anywhere and anytime – instantly.
Real-time transaction notifications provide another way for parents to maintain a bird’s-eye view of their child’s spending.
Greenlight sends alerts when a card is used – and declined. These alerts let parents know how much money is spent at which store.
Parents can select where their child can spend money (and where they can’t) to ensure that certain stores are off-limits.
You can even set spending limits at specific stores, allowing for unprecedented granular control.
And if a child attempts to use the card where they shouldn’t – or exceed their spending limits – parents receive real-time notifications for that, too.
Greenlight also offers a special version of their app for children’s logins. With the educational app, kids can access their work chore lists, track their balances, analyze their spending, and more.
With balance tracking, both parents and kids can examine where kids spend their money in real-time.
Balance tracking doesn’t just look at the Spend accounts either; it also offers a full breakdown of the Save and Give accounts.
Round up purchases provide kids with a chance to increase their savings by rounding every purchase to the next dollar.
The difference is automatically deposited in their savings account, similar to how many bank and investment accounts work for adults.
In addition to controlling card spending, parents also have a say in ATM cash withdrawals.
Currently, Greenlight allows daily withdrawals up to $105, with a maximum monthly withdrawal of $525.
Parents can set limits below these numbers or turn off ATM withdrawals entirely if they want to maintain more control, such as for younger or more irresponsible kids.
Teenagers who have jobs but don’t want a bank account can opt to have their checks directly depositedto their Greenlight account.
While parents can still maintain control of the funds, this allows families to progress into more autonomy with teens’ spending and saving habits.
Greenlight also offers a unique option for parents to pay their children interest based on how much their kids save.
Think of it like APY in a high-yield savings account – except parents are the ones footing the bill. Parents can set whatever interest rate they choose and change the rate at any time.
With a single tap, parents can turn the Greenlight debit card on and off. This allows parents to control spending – for instance, if a child is grounded – and ensure that funds remain intact if the card is lost or stolen. And just as quickly as the card turns off, it turns right back on!
With Greenlight Gift, anyone can send money to a child’s Greenlight card. This feature comes in especially handy for birthdays, holidays, and special occasions.
Greenlight cards also come with a promotional referral bonus. If you refer someone to Greenlight, you’ll both receive $10. That’s a two-month subscription!
All Greenlight accounts come with $0 PIN and signature transactions, direct deposits, and ATM balance inquiries.
Greenlight doesn’t charge for ATM subscriptions, either, though specific ATMs may charge operator fees.
Greenlight Max provides parents with a way to jumpstart their kids’ investing future.
Both Greenlight Max and Greenlight Plus include investment options with full parental controls.
In addition to investment access, Greenlight partners with Morningstar so parents and kids alike can enjoy expert analyses, a simple investment dashboard, and progress tracking over time.
The Greenlight debit card is a great way for parents to control kids’ spending, savings, and even investments.
But it’s not so great for kids who want to earn interest on their regular checking and savings accounts – and there’s no way to waive that monthly fee.
GoHenry is another popular kids’ debit card that offers features such as parental funding, spending limits, and even giving accounts. But there are some key differences – one big one is that GoHenry lacks an investment platform.
GoHenry costs $3.99 per month, per child, meaning that it’s cheaper if you only need one card – and immediately more expensive for growing families. At the same time, GoHenry also charges $1.50 to withdraw ATM funds, making it more expensive for children who need a lot of cash.
FamZoo is similar to both Greenlight and GoHenry, though, like GoHenry, it doesn’t offer kid-friendly investments.
Their prepaid cards are part of the MoneyPass network, so children who often use ATMs can dodge ATM withdrawal fees. And did we mention no card replacement fees?
FamZoo ranges in price from $2.50-$5.99 per month for four cards, with lower prices available if you pay months or years in advance.
This makes it cheaper than Greenlight for large or growing families, with the trade-off of no investment platform. FamZoo also comes with more ways to load money on your card (albeit for additional fees).
Designed by Current – which is a mobile banking app and debit card – the Current Visa Debit Card is a safe choice for families and teens. Parents can set up a free checking account and then assign their kids a Current Visa Debit Card that they can monitor.
Parents can easily set-up direct deposits, real-time alerts, block specific purchases, and so much more.
Yes, the Greenlight debit card is a legitimate debit Mastercard that has been around since 2014. Kids can use this card at any online or in-store retailer that accepts Mastercard (with parental approval, of course).
The Greenlight debit card works with Community Federal Savings bank, which means that any funds in either the parent or child accounts are FDIC-insured, just like a regular bank account.
No. A child of any age can receive and use a Greenlight debit card.
Greenlight is an excellent debit card for children and teens who are ready to learn the value of their money. It offers excellent parental controls, a simple yet comprehensive dashboard, and tons of features for a low monthly price.
Lost or stolen debit cards can be immediately turned off via the Greenlight app – and turned on immediately if/when the card is found. If the card never resurfaces, the first replacement card is free.
The Greenlight Mastercard is issued by Community Federal Savings Bank in partnership with Greenlight Financial Technology, Inc.
No. Depending on which membership plan you choose, the Greenlight debit card costs $4.99, $7.98, or $9.98 per month for up to 5 debit cards.
The Greenlight debit Mastercard is a great, relatively low-cost option for parents who want to teach their kids how to responsibly manage their money (and even get a head start on investing).
It comes with tons of standard features, such as spend controls and balance tracking – and a few unorthodox features, like ATM controls and parental interest payments.
In short, for parents who take an allowance-based approach to their child’s early financial dealings, Greenlight is an excellent first “bank account.”