Greenlight Debit Card for Kids Review: Great for Families + Low Fees

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The Greenlight Debit Card for Kids makes it easy for parents to teach their children the importance of saving money, budgeting, and understanding the overarching value of financial wellness.
  • Monthly Fee:
    $4.99*
  • Credit Limit:
    $5,000
  • Best For:
    Families

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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 Debit Card Review

  • The first month free, then $4.99 per month for up to five kids
  • FDIC insured up to $250,000
  • No minimum age or balance
  • No ATM fees, overdraft fees, or international fees
  • Instant money transfers with granular spending and savings controls
  • Real-time transaction alerts
  • Instantly lock lost/stolen cards – and unlock them immediately when they turn up in the laundry

What is the Greenlight Debit Card for Kids?

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.

How Does the Greenlight Debit Card Work?

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.

  • The Spend account holds the money that kids can use at any time (keeping in mind whatever parental controls are activated).
  • The Save account lets kids set goals, track their progress, and even earn interest based on good savings habits.
  • With the Giving account, children can use built-in features to send money to charities. They can also save money for a specific giving goal, such as church tithe or Christmas toys for kids in need.

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.

Greenlight Debit Card Features and Benefits

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

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!

Autopilot Allowance Payments

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.

Instant Transfer

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 Notifications

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.

Control Spending

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.

Educational App

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.

Balance Tracking

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

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.

ATM Parental Control

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.

Direct Deposits

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.

Parents Can Set Up Interest Payments

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.

Easily Turn Card Off and On

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!

Apple Pay and Google Pay

Greenlight also works with Apple Pay and Google Pay on a restricted basis. Apple Pay is eligible for kids 13 and older, while Google Pay works for kids 16 and older.

Greenlight Gift

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.

Referral Bonus

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!

Greenlight Accounts and Pricing: How Much Does It Cost?

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.

  • Standard Greenlight Account: $4.99 per month, which includes debits cards for up to 5 kids
  • Greenlight + Invest: $7.98 per month, which includes debit cards for up to 5 kids as well as kid-friendly access to investments (all approved by their parents)
  • Greenlight Max: $9.98 per month for all the features above – and more!

Greenlight Max: Teach Your Kids the Power of Investing

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.

Greenlight Max Benefits

  • Black Card: As their website states, this card is “Modern. Bold. Black. And just for Greenlight Max kids.” If your kids weren’t excited to spend money before, they will be now.
  • Priority Customer Support: Who doesn’t love skipping long lines? With priority customer support, your calls skip to the front of the queue.
  • Identity Theft Protection: Greenlight Max includes tools and supports to monitor your account for identity theft, alert you to potential breaches – and restore your name (and money) when it matters most.
  • Cell Phone Protection: Covers lost, damaged, or stolen cell phones for up to five kids. (Note that this feature is not available for New York customers.)
  • Purchase Protection: Items purchased with a Greenlight card are eligible for repair or replacement in case of stolen or damaged goods. (Note that this feature is not available for New York customers.)

Alternatives to the Greenlight Debit Card for Kids

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.

#1. GoHenry

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.

>> More:GoHenry Review and GoHenry vs. Greenlight

#2. FamZoo Prepaid Card

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).

>> More:FamZoo Prepaid Debit CardandFamZoo vs. Greenlight

#3. Current Visa Debit Card

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. 

>> More:Current Bank Review and Current Visa Debit Card

Greenlight Debit Card for Kids FAQs

Is the Greenlight Debit Card Legit?

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).

Is the Greenlight Debit Card FDIC Insured?

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.

Is There a Minimum Age to Get the Greenlight Debit Card?

No. A child of any age can receive and use a Greenlight debit card.

Is the Greenlight Debit Card a Good Prepaid 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.

What Happens if My Child Loses Their Greenlight Debit Card?

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.

Who Issues the Greenlight Debit Card?

The Greenlight Mastercard is issued by Community Federal Savings Bank in partnership with Greenlight Financial Technology, Inc.

Is the Greenlight Debit Card Free?

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.

Bottom Line: Greenlight Debit Card Review

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.

 

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.