Greenlight card review
Start teaching good saving and spending habits early with flexible parent controls.
As a parent, you want to set your kids up for success any way you can — and that likely includes teaching the value of earning and saving money. The Greenlight card lets you assign chores, pay allowances, set spending limits for specific stores and pay them interest on savings. But it has an unavoidable monthly fee.
- Get this card if you’re a parent who wants to control how and when your kids use their money.
- Choose another card if you want a card that doesn’t have a monthly fee.
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Rhys Subitch is a writer and editor at Finder who tackles topics across the site. With half a decade of experience researching, editing and writing for a Fortune 500 company, university and several independent publications, Rhys brings readers the most up-to-date and curated info on all things finance.
The Greenlight card is best for parents who want granular control over their child’s spending. The app lets you set spending limits for specific stores, plus you can indicate how much “fun money” they can spend out of their total account balance each month. The app also comes with a savings account that has parent-paid interest, so you can reward your kid for choosing to save vs. spend.
Greenlight’s biggest downside is the flat monthly fee of $4.99. There are other prepaid cards — such as BusyKid — that are free to use once you pay the one-time card fee. But Greenlight’s features outweigh this fee if you want more say in how your child spends their money.
What you’ll like about the Greenlight card
The Greenlight card has general prepaid card features, such as no credit check and a convenient mobile app that lets set the level of notifications you want to receive about your child’s spending. But it also has these noteworthy features:
- Two categories you can fund. Deposit money in two categories: one that can be spent by your child anywhere and anytime, and the other that has parental control features. As the primary cardholder, you can receive alerts when purchases are made or declined, requests come in, balances get low and more.
- Set up chores and allowance payouts. Create one-time and recurring chores in the app that you can monitor and incentivize with payouts. Then, set recurring allowance payments and make it easier for you and your kids to keep track of and manage the funds.
- Parent-paid interest. Encourage savings by setting up an annual percentage yield rate that you pay toward your kid’s general savings. It’s based on the average daily balance of the general savings and pays out monthly.
- Real-time extra funds requests. If your child’s out shopping and needs to make a purchase that exceeds the funds they have, they can send you a request for additional money in real-time. Any transfers made from the parent to the child’s wallet are instant and free.
- Flexible plans. You can have up to five children on one parent account. Plus, you can customize your child’s card with a photo of them for a one-time fee of $9.99.
- Few fees. Greenlight doesn’t charge any purchase, reload or withdrawal fees — although you may pay ATM operator fees. If your card gets lost or stolen, the first replacement is on Greenlight, and any after will cost $3.50.
What to watch out for
While the Greenlight card can be an effective teaching tool, there are a few potential downsides to consider.
- $4.99 monthly fee. Keep in mind, though, that this is a flat fee regardless of how many children you have on the account.
- Not accepted in several countries. Check the list of countries where the Greenlight card isn’t accepted before you send your kid across borders with it.
- Direct deposit is limited. Your child can receive direct deposits to their card from their employer — but not from other income sources, such as Apple Cash, PayPal, Venmo or the state or federal government.
If you’re looking for a prepaid debit card with minimal to no fees, you’ll want to keep looking. As always, compare your options when choosing a prepaid debit card.
Compare with other prepaid cards
How do I get the Greenlight card?
Sign up online using these steps:
- Go to the Greenlight site.
- Enter your phone number and click Get started.
- Choose I’m the parent or guardian.
- Enter the verification code that’s messaged to you and click Next.
- Enter your email address, create your password and select what your kids call you and click Next.
- Enter your child’s name and mobile number — or name, birthday and gender if they don’t have a mobile number — then select Next or Add another child.
- Enter in your personal information, accept the cardholder agreement and click Next.
- Set up funding and submit your application for verification.
Kids who want to sign up before their parents need to be at least 13 years old, but there’s no age minimum for a kid who’s signed up by a parent. The primary accountholder needs to meet these requirements:
- At least 18 years old
- US citizen or permanent resident of the US
- US address that isn’t a PO box
The primary accountholder will give the following information when they sign up:
- Full name, mobile number and home address
- Date of birth and Social Security number
The parent wallet can be loaded by:
- ACH transfer from your bank account
- Debit card
The child’s prepaid debit card can be funded by:
- Transfers from the parent account
- Direct deposit from the child’s employer
How long will it take to get my card?
The card should arrive five to seven business days after the parent account is verified and approved.
I got my Greenlight card. Now what?
Now that you have your card in hand, here’s how to make the most of it:
- Download the app for you and your child. Check balances, transfer funds, monitor chores and more from your smartphone.
- Encourage your child to set up their savings. The general savings account also comes with savings goals that you can set and work toward.
- Sign up for direct deposit. Children who already have a job can set up direct deposit and have their hard-earned check go straight into the prepaid debit card’s anytime fund.
- Contact customer service with any questions. Call the number on the back of your card or 888-483-2645 with questions — Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET. You can also email through its site.