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Greenlight Review Debit Card for Kids – Forbes Advisor

Greenlight Review Debit Card for Kids – Forbes Advisor

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from affiliate links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect the opinions or assessments of our editors.

Giving children a debit card can be a great way to help them learn the basics of money management. Research shows that teaching children about money at an early age can help them grow into financially savvy adults – and do better in their romantic relationships as well.

Several companies offer debit cards for children, and Greenlight has emerged as one of the most popular options. With the Greenlight card, children can use, save and even invest safely in one place.

Are you wondering if the Greenlight debit card for children is a good fit for your family? Our Greenlight card review gives a closer look at how it works.

Basics of Greenlight

Greenlight is a fintech company on a mission to help parents raise financially smart children. The Atlanta-based company was co-founded in 2014 by Tim Sheehan and Johnson Cook; as of 2022, more than 4 million families have opened Greenlight accounts.

The Greenlight app is specially built for families, and is designed for children of all ages who are ready to start learning about money. By using the Greenlight card for children, parents can teach their children to budget, use wisely, save and invest.

The Greenlight debit card is a secured debit card for children, tweens and teenagers. This debit card has the Mastercard logo and can be used wherever Mastercard is accepted. Kids can even add a selfie to customize their card design.

How it works

The standard Greenlight plan includes the debit card for children and access to the Greenlight app. Greenlight offers debit cards for up to five children per account, which is great if you have an extended family.

Parents can load money on the Greenlight card so children can use or save. You can send money to your child’s account manually or create recurring transfers. For example, if you pay your child a weekly allowance, you can set up automatic transfers so that the money is deposited on the same day each week.

Transfers are scheduled through the Greenlight app. Adults on the account can also perform the following functions.

  • Monitor balances
  • Track expenses and purchases
  • Manage account controls
  • Add tasks or other conditions to receive transfers
  • Establish direct deposits
  • Set limits for ATM withdrawals
  • Set limits on purchases
  • Freeze or unlock child cards
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Parents can set rules for where their children can buy, and they can receive notifications every time the child uses the card. The card can be used wherever Mastercard is accepted, but Greenlight blocks transactions at some retailers. For example, Greenlight cards cannot be used to pay for:

  • Wires or money orders
  • Security brokers or agreements
  • Dating / escort services
  • Massage parlor
  • Lotteries
  • Online casinos or online gambling
  • Horse racing and dog racing
  • Non-sports internet games
  • Money back at the point of sale

Kids have access to the Greenlight app through their own dashboard, but they have a different set of controls. They can see how much money they have to spend and check the transaction history. Kids also have access to core tools in the app to help them learn about using, saving, earning and giving.

Greenlight offers children a savings reward of 1% to encourage them to learn the importance of setting goals and the value of interest rate composition. The savings reward is equal to the interest rates your child would earn from a traditional bank. Adults on the account can also activate “parental pay interest” to help children increase their savings faster.

If you are wondering if Greenlight is legal, the answer is yes. The child’s Greenlight debit card balance is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for up to $ 250,000. Greenlight is registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and is a member of both the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. (SIPC).

How do you get a Greenlight card?

To get a Greenlight card for children, visit the Greenlight website and enter your mobile number. Greenlight sends you a verification code, which you enter on the website. From there, you can register and create a family account.

As a parent or guardian of the account, you must provide Greenlight with some basic information, including:

  • Your name
  • Names of the children you want to get a Greenlight card for
  • Postal address
  • E-mail address
  • Your date of birth
  • Your social security number

You will also need to link to an existing bank account so that you can make transfers to your Greenlight account. You can enter either a debit card number or a bank account and route number.

Here’s an important thing to note when it comes to getting a Greenlight debit card for kids: It’s only free for the first 30 days. When the 30-day trial period expires, a monthly fee of $ 4.99 will apply. Greenlight disclaims the monthly fee, but only if you have a Morgan Stanley CashPlus broker account and connect it to the Greenlight account’s source of funding.

Other Greenlight plans

So far, this Greenlight card review has focused on the standard Greenlight plan. But there are two other levels to choose from: Greenlight + Invest and Greenlight Max.

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Greenlight + Invest comes with all the same features as a standard Greenlight account, including:

  • Debit card for up to five children
  • Greenlight app dashboard for adults and children
  • Parental control
  • Use, save, earn and provide tools
  • 1% savings reward

In addition to these features, parents and children also get access to invest. You can start investing with as little as $ 1, and you have the option to buy fractions of stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs). Children can research the investments they want to make, and parents can approve them through the Greenlight app.

Greenlight Max includes all the benefits of Greenlight + Invest, with some nice additions. Instead of an annual savings reward of 1%, children with Greenlight Max plans receive a reward of 2%. The Max plan also includes a 1% refund on debit card purchases, which are deposited directly into the child’s savings account. Greenlight Max users also get access to other benefits, including:

  • Priority customer support
  • Protection against identity theft
  • Mobile phone protection
  • Purchase protection

But more features and benefits mean higher monthly fees. With Greenlight + Invest, parents pay $ 7.98 per month. The fee for Greenlight Max is $ 9.98 per month. In comparison, the BusyKid card, another of the most popular debit cards for children, has many of the same features as Greenlight and costs only $ 3.99 per month per child. So BusyKid is only a better deal if you only need one card.

Greenlight proffer

Before signing up for a Greenlight card or other debit card for children, it is important to consider what is good – and not so good – about it. Here are some of the best reasons to consider a Greenlight card for children.

  • Parents can set controls for expenses and deposits, including linking transfers to achievements such as completing chores, doing homework or getting good grades.
  • Alerts allow parents to track their child’s transaction history in real time.
  • Some purchases are automatically blocked by Greenlight.
  • Greenlight’s savings rewards, debit card summaries and cashback on purchases help children reach savings goals faster.
  • Children can learn to invest from an early age with a Greenlight + Invest plan.
  • Cash rewards offered with Greenlight Max can help kids increase their savings.
  • The children’s balance is FDIC-insured up to the limit of $ 250,000.

The Greenlight debit card for children can be a good fit if you want to give children the flexibility to use while you have control over their accounts. The fact that Greenlight automatically blocks certain transactions is a nice plus, since some other child debit cards do not.

Greenlight Cons

There is a lot to like about Greenlight, but it may not be right for all families. When it comes to the cons, here are the most important things to keep in mind.

  • Greenlight is not free – you pay $ 4.99 to $ 9.98 per month for this kids’ debit and personal finance app.
  • You need to upgrade from the basic plan to unlock enhanced features and benefits.
  • Greenlight does not work with money transfer apps like Venmo, Apple Pay or PayPal, so you can not use them to make deposits or transfers.
  • You can not add cash to the card in a bank or other personal place, as you can with some prepaid debit cards.
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Greenlight has also received some negative reviews from consumers who have used this product. On Trustpilot, for example, there are many complaints about how difficult it is to cancel the service when you first sign up, because the only way to do it effectively seems to be to call customer service.

The bottom line

The Greenlight card is an excellent way to introduce children to the world of personal finance and money management. Giving them their own card to use or save with makes it easier to understand concepts such as the difference between wants and needs in a practical way. There are other debit cards for children that require lower fees, but the Greenlight card provides good value for money, especially if you have several children.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

No. Greenlight is a fintech company that offers a personal finance app and secured debit cards for children. Greenlight cards are issued by the Community Federal Savings Bank, which is a member of the FDIC financial institution.

Is Greenlight FDIC insured?

Yes. Greenlight debit card balances for children are FDIC insured for up to $ 250,000. This FDIC coverage is provided through the Community Federal Savings Bank.

What happens if the Greenlight debit card is lost or stolen?

If your child’s Greenlight card is lost or stolen, you can freeze the card through the Greenlight app. This can prevent unauthorized purchases. You can then order a replacement card through the app.

How do you close a Greenlight account?

If you would like to close a Greenlight account, please fill out the online cancellation form or call Customer Service at 1-888-483-2645. Based on consumer comments on Trustpilot, you may want to skip the form and call directly to ensure that your account is closed and that you will not be charged additional monthly fees.


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