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Is the Greenlight card available in Canada?

The Greenlight debit card helps kids save and earn cash back rewards. It's not available in Canada, but there are alternatives.

Millions of parents in the US use the Greenlight debit card to teach their children how to manage money wisely. We break down how the Greenlight card works, if you can get one in Canada and alternatives to consider.

Is the Greenlight card in Canada?

Unfortunately, the Greenlight debit card for kids is not available in Canada, although card holders can pay for purchases in Canada with a Greenlight card. To get a card, you must live in the US and have a US address. As of the time of writing, Greenlight has not announced plans to begin offering the kids debit card in Canada.

What is the Greenlight card?

The Greenlight card gives parents granular control over their kids’ money by allowing them to set spending limits for specific stores. Depending on the plan, the Greenlight card comes with cash back of up to 1% to your savings, an annual bonus savings rate of up to 5% and an investing platform that teaches your kid the power of stocks.

Greenlight alternatives for kids in Canada

Even though Greenlight is not available in Canada, there are several spending accounts in Canada designed to help your kids learn how to manage their finances. Explore the following Greenlight alternatives in Canada.

Mydoh Smart Cash Card

$0
Monthly Fee
$0
Transaction Cost
N/A
Rewards
One of the most direct comparisons to the Greenlight card in Canada is the the MyDoh card. Offered through a partnership between RBC and Visa, the MyDoh prepaid card lets kids decide how to spend their money online and in-store. Parents can transfer funds, view their child's balance, view transactions and add up to 5 children to their account. The Mydoh Smart Cash Card has a $0 monthly fee.
  • Parents set up and monitor the account
  • Helps keep track of tasks and chores
  • Dedicated Visa Debit card for your kid
  • Backed by RBC, a major Canadian bank
  • Kids cannot deposit cheques or cash into their Mydoh account
  • Kids cannot withdraw or deposit using ATMs
  • Additional monthly fee of $0 (but includes up to five youth or kids' accounts under one plan)
Monthly Fee $0
Transaction Cost $0
Foreign Transaction Fee 2.5%
Monthly Fee $0
Minimum Age 18
Minimum Age Teen Account 4
# Included Account 5
Rewards N/A

BMO Performance Chequing Account

Earn $600
Bonus Offer
$17.95
Monthly Account Fee
unlimited
Free Transactions
Under the family bundle, you can select a primary account and an account holder, which must be an adult, and then select and set up a separate bank account for your teen. Not only does your teen pay no monthly fees, but they get unlimited no-fee daily banking, including Interac e-Transfers. If you open a new account and meet certain requirements, your family gets a welcome bonus of $600.
  • No monthly fee for your teen
  • Parent pays only one account fee per month
  • Each account is separate and private
  • Unlimited monthly transactions, including Interac e-Transfers
  • Parents get a $40 rebate on a BMO Mastercard annual fee
  • Attach a no-fee BMO savings account and earn 5.50% on all deposits Valid until July 2, 2024.
  • 1 free non-BMO ATM withdrawal per month
  • Free teen debit card
  • OnGuard Identity Theft Protection at no charge
  • Must keep a $4,000 minimum balance to waive monthly fee
  • Earn 0% on account balances
  • Parent must be a BMO bank account holder
  • $5 fee each for overdraft protection, international ATM withdrawals and global money transfers
Min. Age 18
Min. Age Teen Account 13
Account Fee $17.95
Youth Account Fee $0
# of Accounts Included 20
Overdraft Fee $5
ATM Out-of-Network Fee $2
U.S. ATM Fee $5
International ATM Fee $5
CIBC Smart Start

CIBC Smart Start

N/A
Interest Rate
$0
Account Fee
unlimited
Transaction Fee
This kids bank account comes with unlimited transactions, free Interac e-Transfers and a debit card. Kids also get discounts at 450+ stores and restaurants with a free Student Price Card (SPC) membership.
  • No monthly fee
  • Comes with a debit card for your child
  • Free, unlimited transactions and Interac e-Transfers
  • 1 free non-CIBC ATM withdrawal per month
  • Teens 13+ can open an account without a parent
  • Discounts on food, fashion and entertainment through the free SPC+ membership for teens 14+
  • BONUS OFFER: Get $100 with CIBC Smart Start and $50 for each friend you refer — up to 10 (T&C apply)
  • $2 fee for non-CIBC ATM transactions
  • Kids 12 and under must have a parent or guardian to open an account
Min. Age N/A
Min. Age Teen Account 13
Account Fee $0
Transaction Fee unlimited
Interac e-Transfer Fee N/A
NSF Fee $45
Scotiabank Getting There Savings Account

Scotiabank Getting There Savings Account

0.10%
Interest Rate
$0
Account Fee
unlimited
Transaction Fee
Teens will love the Scotiabank Getting There Savings Account. Not only does this bank account for teenagers come with a free kids debit card (with unlimited, free debit card transactions) but teenagers aged 14 and older can earn Scene+ points that can be cashed in for free movies and Cineplex purchases. Teens will earn 0.05% on deposits up to $499.99 and then 0.1% on deposits of $500 and up.
  • Teens 16+ can open account without parent
  • Teens aged 12 to 15 can open an account on their own with adequate ID
  • No monthly fee
  • Comes with a debit card for your teen
  • Earn points on debit card purchases
  • Free, unlimited debit card transactions
  • Free, unlimited Interac e-Transfers
  • Low charge of $2 to use non-Scotiabank ATM
  • Kids 14+ can collect Cineplex Scene+ points (or Scotia rewards)
  • Free paperless or paper statements
  • Mobile cheque deposit
  • Works with Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay
  • No monthly fee
  • Low interest rate
  • Kids under 11 need a parent to open an account and do not get an access card
  • Youth 12 to 15 require a parent's help to get a teen debit card
Min. Age N/A
Min. Age Teen Account 12
Account Fee $0
Transaction Fee unlimited
Interac e-Transfer Fee free and unlimited

Greenlight plans and cost

All Greenlight plans come with a 30-day free trial, then cost a flat price. Account holders will receive debit cards for up to 5 kids.

PlanMonthly costFeatures

Greenlight Core

30-day free trial, then $4.99
  • Debit cards for up to five kids
  • Category and store-level parental controls
  • Financial literacy game and educational app
  • Tools for saving, spending, earning and giving
  • 1% savings reward per year on balances up to $5,000 per family
  • Investing for Parents Lite with few ETF options

Greenlight Max

$9.98 after trialEverything in Greenlight Core plus:
  • Investing for parents and kids
  • 1% cash back on card purchases
  • 2% reward on savings balances up to $5,000
  • Cell phone protection
  • Purchase protection with Greenlight card purchases
  • Identity theft monitoring and alerts
  • Priority customer service

Greenlight Infinity

$14.98 after trialEverything in Greenlight Max plus:
  • 5% savings reward on balances up to $5,000
  • Family location sharing
  • SOS button with 911 dispatch
  • Car crash detection
  • Personalized driving reports for your teen
  • Notifications in real time when your kids are on and off the road

What makes it shine: Greenlight features

Dive into the features and functionality of the Greenlight card to see how it stands at the front of the crowd for kids debit cards.

Investing

Greenlight Core gives parents recommendations on their ETF investments. With Greenlight Max, kids can learn about investing with the ability to research 4,000+ ETFs and stocks. They can even purchase stocks — including fractional shares — of their favorite companies. The best part? There are no trading fees, and parents approve every trade.

Parental controls

Parents can send their children money to spend anywhere. Plus, they can set spending limits for categories like gaming, restaurants and specific stores. Kids can move money from their spending account to their savings account but will have to send their parents a request to do so. Children can send a request when they need money and access funds instantly when their parents transfer.

Other helpful controls include Greenlight detailed chores and allowances. Parents can assign one-off or recurring chores and set up allowances to be paid automatically or when kids finished chores.

Greenlight lets parents opt for all-or-nothing payments to encourage their kids to complete all their chores, a feature not commonly offered by competitors.

Safety protections

Greenlight is one of the only kids’ debit cards in the US that goes above and beyond by offering safety protections for the whole family, including:

  • Location sharing. Share users’ locations with family members, and those who have shared their locations can see others’ locations as well.
  • SOS alerts. Users can tap the SOS button to send an alert to an emergency contact, 911 or both if they’re in an emergency.
  • Crash detection. This feature uses the motion sensors in users’ phones to detect when a crash has happened, and 911 is notified.
  • Identity theft protection. Greenlight partners with Experian to monitor kids’ personal information on the web, automatically alerting parents anything seems off.
  • Phone insurance. An unheard-of benefit with kids’ debit cards, the Greenlight Max and Greenlight Infinity plans come with cell phone protection up to $600 USD per claim, or $1,000 USD total for 2 claims within a year. You’ll have to pay a deductible of $25, and the protected phone must be the one used for the child’s account.
  • Purchase protection. Claim up to $100 USD per item or $1,000 USD total per year for damaged or stolen items paid entirely with a Greenlight card — a benefit you’d usually get with a credit card.

Rewards: Savings, cash back and referrals

  • Savings bonus. Greenlight lets you earn a 1% to 5% bonus for balances up to $5,000, which is rare for kids’ bank accounts in the US. The exact bonus depends on the plan, with the highest reserved for Greenlight Infinity members.
  • Cash back. Greenlight Max and Greenlight Infinity plans come with unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase.
  • Referral rewards. Children and any friends they refer can earn a high referral reward of $30 USD each. You can earn up to $70 per referral when you refer three or more friends.

Financial literacy game

Greenlight teamed up with academic and gaming experts to create Level Up, an interactive financial literacy game that teaches kids practical money skills like earning, spending, saving and investing. The game uses story-based gameplay rich with animations, videos, minigames, quizzes and scenario questions to captivate kids and teens.

And since the content uses a curriculum that exceeds US national standards for K-12 personal financial education, Level Up helps give kids the skills and confidence to test-drive their new knowledge in the real world.

Customer service

Greenlight offers robust access to customer service like text messages and 24/7 phone support. Greenlight Max and Greenlight Infinity plan members get priority support that sends their calls to the front of the customer service line.

Where it falls short

Greenlight’s biggest downside is its high monthly price tag. Greenlight Max or Infinity plans cost over double what competitors in the US cost. Greenlight Core costs a similar price to feature-rich competitors for US residents like FamZoo and BusyKid, but that plan’s sacrifices features related to investing for kids, safety protections and a savings bonus.

The minimum amount to load onto your Greenlight card using a debit card is $20.

Is Greenlight worth it for US residents?

Greenlight is worth the cost for users who will use its many features like chore tracking, allowance payments and investing. Depending on the plan, it costs between $4.99 USD to $14.98 USD per month. It’s possible to add up to 5 kids to any plan, a plus for big families.

Children will also earn a savings bonus that goes up with each tier of Greenlight: 1% with Greenlight Core, 2% with Greenlight Max and 5% with Greenlight Infinity.

Users who don’t need all of Greenlight’s features might find a better deal elsewhere.

Is Greenlight safe?

Greenlight is a legit product and not a scam. The Greenlight card has an EMV chip in it, which helps keep data safe and secure each time kids make a purchase. Parents can set spending controls that are just right for their children, and they’ll get instant notifications each time they spend money. Greenlight Max comes with identity theft protection and cellphone protection that covers damaged or stolen phones.

What age is Greenlight card best for?

There’s no age limit to use the card, so it boils down to whether a child is ready to handle real money. The average age of Greenlight users ranges from around 9 to 14 years old.

Kids who want to sign up before their parents join need to be at least 13 years old, but there’s no minimum age for a kid who’s signed up via their parent. Parents should be at least 18 years old, have a permanent address and be a US citizen or resident.

Greenlight card reviews and complaints

Greenlight has been around since 2017 and is accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). It holds a B rating with the organization because of a high number of customer complaints filed. Complaints deal with customers not getting refunds after closing their account, having accounts locked for long periods of time and fraudulent charges not getting refunded.

On Trustpilot, over 5,100 reviewers have given Greenlight a rating of 3.9 out of 5 stars. Happy customers love the app’s instant transfers, chore and financial tracking features. However, several people have had trouble getting refunds or closing their accounts.

How to get started with a Greenlight card

Here’s how account holders can make the most of their Greenlight debit cards:

  • Download the app. Check balances, transfer funds, monitor chores and more via smartphone.
  • Top up the balance. Parents can transfer money from their bank or debit card to the parent Greenlight account. Once the money clears, some or all of the funds can be transferred to the child’s Greenlight account.
  • Activate features. In-app prompts make it easy to activate features like crash detection and SOS alerts, if the account holders have this with their plan. It may be necessary to enable motion sensing or location sharing on the phones being used by the parent(s) and child.
  • Set up savings goals. The general savings account comes with the ability to set goals that kids can work towards.
  • Sign up for direct deposit. Children with a job can set up direct deposit and have their hard-earned money go straight into their accounts. Government funds and cash app deposits aren’t accepted.

Greenlight debit card designs

The Greenlight card can be customized with a picture for a one-time fee of $9.99 USD. Images must be 840 x 840 pixels and up to 10 megabytes. Your best bet is to upload an original photo. Greenlight’s image guidelines prohibit uploading copyrighted, trademarked or branded images.

Greenlight Max members will receive a Greenlight Black Card. It’s just what it sounds like — a black card signifying that you bought one of Greenlight’s top-tier plans.

Using the Greenlight card internationally

Greenlight card holders can use their cards when travelling outside the US. If you are a US resident traveling to Canada, you can use your Greenlight card in Canada the same way you would in any other international setting. But there are restrictions for some countries.

Countries where you cannot make Greenlight card purchases

  • Afghanistan
  • Crimea
  • Cuba
  • Eritrea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Iran, Islamic Republic of
  • Iraq
  • North Korea
  • Libya
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Syrian Arab Republic
  • Yemen
  • Serbia

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Written by

Cassidy Horton

Cassidy Horton is a freelance personal finance copywriter and past contributing writer for Finder. Her writing and banking expertise have been featured in Forbes Advisor, Money, The Balance, Money Under 30, Insure.com, and other top digital publishers. She holds a BS in public relations and an MBA from Georgia Southern University. See full profile

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