Kids learn very little about personal finance in school today. It’s a parent’s job to make sure kids learn how to properly budget, save, and spend money so they know how to function in the real world.
Paying your kids an allowance can help them learn about personal finance, but paying cash may not teach them everything they should know. Using a debit card like the Greenlight debit card for kids can be a better way to reinforce good personal finance habits.
With a debit card, kids can learn how to manage their money when they can’t see it. They’ll learn how to budget, follow spending limits, and even invest. The more natural dealing with money becomes for kids, the easier it is to transition into adulthood with good financial habits.
We’ve reviewed the Greenlight Debit Card for Kids below to see if it’s right for your family!
What is the Greenlight Debit Card for Kids?
The Greenlight debit card is a debit card made just for kids. The prepaid card allows kids to make spending, saving, and giving decisions with parental guidance. Parents can see transactions in real-time and can also set spending limits for certain stores or categories.
Parents and kids use the same app, but parents have more parental controls to help ease kids into the task of managing their funds.
The Greenlight debit card has many features, some of which vary based on the plan you choose.
All Greenlight plans include a debit card for up to 5 children or teens. One Greenlight account covers up to five kids.
Instant Money Transfers
You can transfer money to your kids’ accounts in real-time, giving them the funds they need instantly without the need to get cash.
The Greenlight app helps kids and parents manage their money. Kids learn how to save, spend, and give with real money while parents can oversee and interject as they feel is necessary. Parents and kids can also use the historical information to learn valuable lessons about spending (overspending), saving, and other big financial decisions.
Parents can turn the Greenlight debit card on and off. This keeps parents in control and helps kids learn how to manage their money better. Parents can also automate allowance payments or set a limit for how much a child can spend in a day, at a specific store, or in a specific category.
Parent Paid Interest
Parents can set up a predetermined interest rate to pay kids on their savings. This motivates kids to save more. Parents can choose interest rates from 1% – 100% and Greenlight automatically calculates it for them.
Earn 1% Cash Back (with Greenlight Max)
Kids earn 1% cashback on all purchases made with their Greenlight Black card. The cash goes directly into their savings accounts.
Earn up to 2% Interest on Savings
Kids can set up savings goals or have general savings. Either way, they can earn up to 2% interest on the average daily balance. The app shows them not only their current total but also how much interest they’ve earned to keep kids saving.
Other Saving Options
Kids can round up their purchases to the nearest dollar and the spare change will automatically get deposited in their savings account. They can also set up an automatic division of their earnings, with a percentage automatically going to savings each time they get paid.
Direct Deposit for Teens
If you have a teen that works, he/she can put their pay on direct deposit, so the money is always there and immediately earning interest if they have a portion sent directly to their savings account.
Option to Invest
If you sign up for Greenlight Max, kids have access to investing tools and education to expose them to the world of investing. Kids can learn about stocks and ETFs and even buy fractional shares, all with parental support.
Parents can set up automatic allowance payments with either a flat rate, a percentage based on the completed chores, or ‘all or nothing’ where kids don’t earn their allowance if they don’t complete every chore.
Is There a Monthly Fee for the Greenlight Debit Card?
All new families get the first month free to try the Greenlight debit card. After the first month, though, there is a monthly fee based on the plan you choose.
- Includes a debit card for up to 5 kids
- Educational app for parents and kids to track spending and manage money
- Earn 1% interest on savings
- Parental controls
Greenlight + Invest $7.98/month
Includes everything in the above plan plus investing for kids and parents using the Greenlight tools and educational material.
Greenlight Max $9.98/month
Includes everything in the above two plans plus the following:
- Kids earn 1% cashback on purchases made with the Greenlight Black card
- Earn 2% interest on savings
- Priority customer support
- Cellphone and purchase protection
How to Apply for the Greenlight Debit Card
Parents can sign up for the Greenlight Debit card with these simple steps:
- Enter your mobile number and click ‘get started’
- Verify that you are the parent or guardian by entering the code sent to you
- Provide your email address and create a password
- Add each of your children entering their name and mobile number (birthdate if they don’t have a mobile phone)
- Provide your personal information
- Accept the agreements
- Connect your bank account
- Submit for approval
To qualify, you must either be the parent or guardian of children (and be at least 18 years old yourself) or a child of at least 13 years old can apply.
What are the Advantages?
- Parents can control where children spend and how much. You can set up two types of spending – spend what you want and/or limited spending to help empower kids with their financial decisions.
- Parents can instantly transfer funds electronically if kids are out and need more money. You can approve or deny any requests in the app.
- You can have up to 5 kids on one plan for one monthly fee.
- You can freeze your child’s Greenlight card immediately if it’s lost or stolen.
- You can set up recurring or one-time chores and make payments automatic.
- Greenlight offers kids many ways to save including purchase round-ups, split earnings, and interest earned.
What are the Disadvantages?
- There isn’t a free option. All plans have a monthly fee starting at $4.99/month.
- Kids only earn 2% interest on savings (paid by Greenlight) if you have the Greenlight Max plan.
- Customer service isn’t easy to get in touch with.
Is the Greenlight Debit Card Legit?
The Greenlight debit card has many safety features that help keep your children’s money safe. This includes Mastercard’s Zero Liability Protection should the card get lost or stolen, and FDIC insurance up to $250,000.
Greenlight automatically blocks any unsafe spending categories and you can set up two-factor authentication in the app to ensure your child’s information remains safe.
Can you transfer funds from the Greenlight debit card to a bank account?
Currently, there isn’t an option to transfer funds from your Greenlight account to a bank account, even your parent’s funding account. You can, however, call customer service to request the transfer.
Can you withdraw funds from the Greenlight debit card?
Yes, kids can use the Greenlight debit card at any ATM with the Mastercard, Visa, or Maestro logo.
Can you deposit cash on the Greenlight debit card?
The only way to deposit cash to the Greenlight debit card is to first deposit it into the parent’s funding account that’s tied to the Greenlight debit card. You can transfer the funds from the parent’s account to the Greenlight card then.
Can kids use the Greenlight card on Apple Pay?
Yes, you can set up your Greenlight card in Apple Pay giving your kids contactless payment options. This also reduces the risk of losing the debit card.
The Greenlight debit card can be a great way to teach kids about money with parental guidance behind the scenes. It’s like letting kids loose, making their own decisions with parental boundaries in place just in case things get out of hand.
Kids can learn a lot by having a Greenlight account including how to budget their money, how to save, how to work to earn money (allowance), and how to make smart spending decisions.
Together, you and your children can learn how to manage money and make personal finance a top priority in their lives. While they go to school to grow into successful adults, it’s your job at home to ensure they know how to handle their finances and the Greenlight debit card can be a useful tool in your toolbox.
Theresa is a personal finance blogger. She writes content for busy professional women to take control of their money and investments. She enjoys reading, traveling, cooking, and writing. Her work has been featured on GoBanking Rates, Your Money Geek, Savoteur, the Corporate Quitter, Thirty Eight Investing, and more.