Greenlight card review
Start teaching good saving and spending habits early with flexible parent controls.
The Greenlight card gives you granular control over your child’s money by allowing you to set spending limits for specific stores. Plus, it has unique features like a savings account that earns parent-paid interest and an investing platform where your kid can invest in real-time with your permission. But these perks come with 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.
Monthly maintenance fee
Signature transaction fee
PIN transaction fee
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.
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, saving and investing money at an early age.
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 online and in-person 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 and an investing platform that teaches your kid firsthand the power of compound interest.Greenlight‘s biggest downside is the flat monthly fee. There are other prepaid cards — such as BusyKid — that offer a lower fee. But Greenlight’s features outweigh this fee if you want more say in how your child spends their money.
How much does Greenlight cost?
|Greenlight + Invest||$7.98||Everything in the Greenlight plan, plus:|
|Greenlight Max||$9.98||Everything in the Greenlight + Invest plan, plus:|
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.
How do I get the Greenlight card?
Sign up online using these steps:
- Click Apply now.
- 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 and birthday 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
WATCH: Our Greenlight prepaid card review
What you’ll like about the Greenlight card
- 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.
- Investment feature. Choose the Greenlight + Invest or Greenlight Max plan and your child can invest with real money in real time. They’ll need your approval before they can make any trades.
- 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
- Monthly fee. You’ll pay anywhere from $4.99 to $9.98 a month for Greenlight. Keep in mind, though, this is a flat fee that includes up to five debit cards for kids.
- 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.
Case study: Caroline’s experience – November 2020
Fisk Educational Consulting
We have been using the card for about two years now. The first thing I’ll have to say is that customer service is excellent. If your child loses their card, they’ll replace it quickly. When I call for help, I get a real person who actually works directly with the company. It actually shocked me how nice and genuine they were when I called them because I was expecting the typical large bank experience.
As a parent it has been so much easier not having to try and keep up with my children’s allowance cash or birthday money getting lost. It’s also so much easier for the kids to know where their money was spent and how much money they have left to spend. Since we are becoming so cashless as a society it’s a good lesson for them to learn about using a card.
My daughter loves Greenlight as she has a way to manage her money. She now knows to check her balance before spending. When she is out and has an impulse buy she knows to see if she actually has the money. By checking her account she now questions whether she really wants an impulse buy item. The various features to save, spend and give to charity also teach her how to use her money.
We also use the chore feature where I can list additional chores for her to do for extra money. When she completes the chores, Greenlight will notify me to pay. She has lost the card several times and it’s so easy to turn it off and get a replacement. She also loves that she can customize her card with a picture of her dog.
Is Greenlight a safe option for my child?
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.
Compare Greenlight to other debit cards for kids
Use this interactive table to see how Greenlight compares to other debit cards for kids. Sort the table by monthly fee and ATM withdrawals to find a card that suits your needs.
How do Greenlight‘s fees compare to the competition?
|Greenlight‘s fee & limits||Amount||How it compares to other kids’ cards|
|Monthly fee||$4.99, $7.98 or $9.98||The lowest tier is average, but the higher tiers are more expensive than other prepaid cards for kids.|
|ATM withdrawal||$0||Most cards for kids don’t have an ATM withdrawal fee.|
|Cash reload fee||$0||Most cards don’t have a cash reload fee.|
|Card replacement fee||First one free, then $3.50||This 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.|
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.
How can I reach Greenlight‘s customer service?
There are four ways to reach customer service:
- Visit the Help section of your Greenlight app to send a message directly to customer service.
- Send an email to email@example.com.
- Call 888-483-2645 to speak with a representative.
- Text 404-974-3024.