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Greenlight card review

A kids' debit card with flexible parental controls and a robust financial literacy app — with savings and cashback rewards.

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Greenlight

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Our verdict

The Greenlight card gives you granular control over your child's money by allowing you to set spending limits on specific stores. Depending on your plan, it comes with cashback rewards, a 1% to 5% annual savings bonus and an investing platform that teaches your kid the power of stocks. We like that it's one of the only kids' debit cards that offers protections for identity theft, cellphone and purchases. But these perks come with an unavoidable monthly fee.

Best for: Parents who want control over their kids spending and additional safety protections.

Pros
  • Store-level spending limits
  • Safety protections like SOS alerts and crash detection
  • Up to 5% savings bonuses and 1% cashback rewards
Cons
  • Unavoidable monthly fee
  • Doesn't accept direct deposits from PayPal, Apple Cash or Venmo
4.6

★★★★★

Finder rating

Go to site
on Greenlight's secure site

APY

Up to 5.00%

Fee

From $4.99 per month

Age requirements

Any age

Greenlight plans and cost

All Greenlight plans come with a 30-day free trial, then cost a flat price. You’ll receive debit cards for up to five kids.

PlanMonthly costFeaturesLearn more
Greenlight core30-day free trial, then $4.99
  • Debit cards for up to five kids
  • Category and store-level parental controls
  • 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
Go to site
on Greenlight's secure site
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 coverage for five phones
  • Purchase protection with Greenlight card purchases
  • Identity theft monitoring and alerts
  • Priority customer service
  • Greenlight Black Card
Go to site
on Greenlight's secure site
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
Go to site
on Greenlight's secure site

WATCH: Our Greenlight card review

What makes it shine: Greenlight features

Dive into the features and functionality of Greenlight’s 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 and a selection of 10 diversified ETFs.

But when you upgrade to Greenlight Max, kids can learn about investing. They can research over 4,000 ETFs and stocks, which is similar to its competitor BusyKid. Kids can purchase shares — and fractional shares — of their favorite companies and even request trades. The best part? There are no trading fees and parents approve every trade.

Parental controls

Send money to your child to spend anywhere or set spending limits for categories like gaming, restaurants or specific stores. We also like that your child can move money from their spend account to savings, but will have to send you a request to do so. If your child is out and needs money, they can request and get it instantly when you transfer it.

Other helpful controls include Greenlight‘s detailed chores and allowances. Assign chores on a one-time basis, on certain days or daily, and set up the allowance to pay out automatically or as your kid finishes their chores.

Most kids’ cards offer basic chore and allowance features, but Greenlight lets you opt for all-or-nothing payments to encourage kids to complete all chores. This is a unique feature not offered by most competitors. Its store-level spending limits are similar to GoHenry and Mazoola, although spending limits aren’t a common feature for kids’ debit cards.

Safety protections

Greenlight is one of the only kids’ debit cards that goes above and beyond by offering safety protections for the whole family, including:
  • Location sharing. Share your location with family members, and see others’ locations if you’ve shared your location with them.
  • SOS alerts. Tap the SOS button to send an alert to an emergency contact, 911 or both if you’re ever in an emergency situation and need help.
  • Crash detection. If you get in a crash, this feature uses your phone’s motion sensor to detect when a crash has happened and notifies 911.
  • Identity theft protection. Greenlight partners with Experian to monitor your child’s personal information on the web, alerting you automatically if it notices anything off.
  • Phone insurance. An unheard-of benefit with kids’ debit cards, this card comes with cell phone protection up to $600 per claim, or $1,000 total for two claims within a year. The phone should be the one used for the child’s account, and it’s available with Greenlight Max and Greenlight Infinity.
  • Purchase protection. Claim up to $100 per item or $1,000 total per year for damaged or stolen items that your kid paid entirely with their card — a benefit you’d usually find with a credit card.

Rewards: Savings, cashback and referrals

  • Savings bonus. Greenlight lets you earn a 1% to 5% bonus for balances up to $5,000, a rare reward for a kids’ bank account. The exact bonus depends on your plan, with the highest reserved for Greenlight Infinity members.
  • Cash back. Greenlight Max and Greenlight Infinity plans let you earn an unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase. To compare, its competitor Jassby also lets kids earn cashback, but they have to work at financial learning and earn up to 100 points to redeem it. If you’re after rewards tied to financial literacy, Jassby is a good choice, otherwise go with Greenlight if you want your kid to meet their savings goals faster.
  • Referral rewards. When you get others to join, your child and their friend can earn a high referral reward of $30 each, whereas other platforms like Step only offer a $1 referral reward.

Customer service

Greenlight offers robust access to customer service like text messages and 24/7 phone support. And if you’re on the Greenlight Max or Greenlight Infinity plans, you get priority support that sends your call to the front of the customer service line. Get in touch with a representative in these ways.
  • Call 888-483-2645 to speak with a representative 24/7.
  • Text 404-974-3024.
  • Send a message through the app or by emailing support@greenlight.com.

Where it falls short

Greenlight’s biggest downside is its high monthly price tag, costing over double what competitors charge if you go with Greenlight Max or Infinity. Greenlight Core costs a similar price to feature-rich competitors like FamZoo and BusyKid, but you’ll sacrifice investing for kids, safety protections and a savings bonus.

To get started, you also need to deposit at least $1 if you connect a bank account, or $20 if you use a debit card for funding. Other kids’ debit cards like GoHenry and FamZoo require $5 as the initial deposit.

Is Greenlight worth it?

Greenlight is worth the cost if you know you’ll use its many chore tracking, allowance payments, investing and other features. Depending on the plan you choose, you’ll pay between $4.99 to $14.98 per month. But you can add up to five kids to any plan, a plus for big families.

Your child will also earn a savings bonus that goes up with each tier of Greenlight. They’ll earn 1% with Greenlight Core, 2% with Greenlight Max and 5% with Greenlight Infinity.

If you don’t need all of Greenlight’s features, you could find a better deal elsewhere. For example, BusyKid offers investing and charity giving and costs around $4 per month — billed annually. And Step lets kids earn cash back on purchases for free.

If you’re a Chase customer you could get Greenlight‘s basic features for free by opening a Chase First Banking account, which is powered by Greenlight. You’ll have free access to features like store-specific spending limits, chores and allowances and transfers.

Greenlight card alternatives

Not sure if Greenlight is the best choice for your family? Here are other accounts to consider with similar features.

GoHenry

Both GoHenry and Greenlight let parents set up an allowance, get transaction notifications, track chores and save money. They also both offer controls over where your child can spend their money and how much at each store.

GoHenry stands out for its interactive games to help kids ages 6+ learn about finances at a level developed for their age. The lessons give bite-sized information and then quizzes your kids on what they just learned, awarding points and badges for motivation.

While you might choose GoHenry for its financial games developed by experts, Greenlight offers an annual savings bonus as well as an investment platform that the entire family can use.

FamZoo

Both FamZoo and Greenlight come with the standard chore and allowance tracking, notifications and instant transfers from the parents’ account to the kids’ debit cards. Unlike Greenlight, FamZoo also allows parents to automate charges to their kids’ cards for family expenses. And kids can borrow money and pay it back with parent-defined interest, teaching them important lessons on getting a loan.

However, FamZoo doesn’t offer an actual investing platform like Greenlight — instead it comes with a feature that teaches kids about investing through mock stocks. Greenlight also offers a 1% to 5% annual bonus rate, while FamZoo sticks to parent-paid interest like most kids’ debit cards.

Current

With Current teen banking, you get standard features free of charge, including instant transfers to your kids’ account, assigning chores and automating allowance payments. Current also lets you block certain stores so that your kid can’t spend there, similar to Greenlight except that Greenlight lets you set store-level spending limits.

You might choose Current over Greenlight if you want standard chore and allowance features for free. Otherwise, you might go with one of Greenlight’s plans to help your kid learn the ropes of investing or to get more control over your kids’ spending and saving.

BusyKid

BusyKid is a good alternative to Greenlight if you mainly need features to assign chores or pay allowance with or without chores done. We like that you can send a percentage of your kid’s allowance to savings or even charities with BusyKid. Greenlight doesn’t offer giving to charity as an option through its platform, though your child could use the debit card to give.

You also might choose BusyKid if you want your child to invest. Greenlight charges $4.99 monthly for parents to start investing and more if you want your child to learn the ropes themselves. BusyKid charges $48 per year, or $49.74 with debit or credit card funding, which works out to around $4 a month. BusyKid comes with investing for kids, whereas Greenlight lets kids invest if you upgrade your plan, costing $9.98 or $14.98 per month. However, Greenlight lets you get more granular with parental controls. Greenlight also offers a savings bonus and cash back.

Step

Step is the only card on the market that lets your teen build credit without having a credit card or APR. Kids can only spend up to the balance in their bank account, so you don’t have to worry about kids overspending. You and your kids can transfer money to each other or to friends, and you get to use your Step account for free.

However, Step doesn’t come with chore tracking or store spending controls like Greenlight. For that reason, Step works best for responsible teens looking to build credit and practice controlling their spending.

Compare Greenlight to other debit cards for kids

Check out the monthly fees and features for other kids’ accounts.

Greenlight logo

Greenlight

★★★★★

Finder rating 4.6 / 5

Go to site


Maintenance Fees

$4.99 monthly


Card purchase fee

$0


Age requirements

1 to 17 years old

Step logo

Step

★★★★★

Finder rating 4.2 / 5

Go to site


Maintenance Fees

$0 monthly


Card purchase fee

$0


Age requirements

Any age

GoHenry logo

GoHenry

★★★★★

Finder rating 4.3 / 5

Go to site


Maintenance Fees

$4.99 monthly


Card purchase fee

$0


Age requirements

6 to 18 years old

How do Greenlight’s fees compare to the competition?

Here’s how Greenlight‘s fees and limits compare to other leading prepaid cards for kids:

Greenlight‘s fee & limitsAmountHow it compares to other kids’ cards
Monthly fee$4.99, $9.98 or $14.98The lowest tier is average, but the higher tiers are more expensive than other prepaid cards for kids.
ATM withdrawal$0Most cards for kids don’t have an ATM withdrawal fee.
Cash reload fee$0Most cards don’t have a cash reload fee.
Card replacement feeFirst one free, then $3.50This is average, but you’ll find other cards — like Akimbo — that offer $0 or up to four free cards before you see a fee.
Maximum card balance$10,000 per parent account

$5,000 per child account

This balance is higher than what most cards for kids offer.
ACH transfer limit$200 a day

$300 a month

This limit is lower than what you’ll find with other cards.
Debit card transfer limit$20 to $500 a day

$20 to $2,500 a month

This transfer limit is higher than most.
Direct deposit limit$100 a day per child account

$500 a day per family

$5,000 a month per family

This limit is pretty standard with most kids’ cards.
ATM withdrawal limit$100 a day per child

$500 a day per family

This is average, but FamZoo and Akimbo offer higher limits.
Purchase limit$1,000 a day per family

$5,000 a month per family

This is limit is lower than the average you’ll find with other cards.

Is Greenlight safe?

Yes, Greenlight is a safe option for kids. It’s a legit product and definitely not a scam. The Greenlight card has an EMV chip in it, which helps keep your data safe and secure each time your child makes a purchase. As a parent, you can set spending controls that are just right for your child, and you’ll get instant notifications each time they spend money. Together, these features help make Greenlight a safe option for your child. Through Greenlight‘s Max plan, you also get 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 your child is ready to handle real money. Greenlight‘s average age ranges from 9 to 14 years old, according to a customer service rep we spoke to.

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 by a 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 for five years 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 4,000 reviewers have left Greenlight with 4.1 out of 5 stars. Happy customers love the app’s instant transfers, chore and investing features. However, several people have had trouble getting refunds or have seen double-charges for the monthly fee.

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.
  • Top up your child’s balance.Transfer money from your bank or debit card to the parent account. Once the money clears, you can transfer some or all of it to your child’s account.
  • Activate features. Follow the app’s prompts to activate features like crash detection and the SOS alert, if you have these on your plan. You may need to turn on your phone’s motion sensor or location data.
  • 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 with a job can set up direct deposit and have their hard-earned check go straight into the spend anywhere fund. The check should be in the child’s name, and government funds or cash app deposits aren’t accepted.

Greenlight card designs

You can customize your child’s Greenlight card with a picture for a one-time fee of $9.99. Images must be 840 x 840 pixels and up to 10 megabytes, and your best bet is to upload an original photo. Greenlight’s image guidelines include no uploading copyrighted, trademarked or branded images.

Other than the custom card, your child will receive a Greenlight Black Card if they’re a Greenlight Max member. The card’s color sounds like it is — a black card signifying that you bought one of Greenlight’s top-tier plans.

The Greenlight card can be used internationally — except in these countries

If you’re traveling internationally, use this list to see whether or not you can use your Greenlight card abroad. Greenlight doesn’t support using your card in these countries.

  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Austria
  • Belarus
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Bulgaria
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • Cuba
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Egypt
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Honduras
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Kosovo
  • Kuwait
  • Lao, Peoples Democratic Republic
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Former Yusoslav Republic of Macedonia
  • Mauritius
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Nigeria
  • North Korea
  • Pakistan
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Philippines
  • Romania
  • Russian Federation
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Serbia
  • Sierra Leone
  • Slovenia
  • Somalia
  • South Korea
  • South Sudan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Syrian Arab Republic
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Tortola in the British Virgin Islands
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • Venezuela
  • Yemen
  • Zambia

Kids’ debit card ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

We analyze top debit cards for kids and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. We rate kids’ checking accounts by these factors: Monthly fee, features, ATM access, customer support options, and availability. We also consider APY as a factor only for those that earn interest. We rate prepaid debit cards for kids by these factors: monthly fees, features, customer support options and account availability.

Read the full methodology of how we rate Kids’ debit card accounts.

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    AngelaJuly 31, 2019

    Is it $4.99 per child for the card?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaJuly 31, 2019Staff

      Hi Angela,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. 😃

      Regarding your question, the answer is no. The $4.99 rate is a flat fee regardless of how many children you have on the account.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

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