Greenlight Card Review: Is this Debit Card Worth the Money?

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.

the millennial money woman blog post "Greenlight Card Review"

If you want a Greenlight card review that doesn’t cut back on the details, you’ve come to the right place.

Today, we’ll explore Greenlight from top-to-bottom (and even inside and out!)

First, you’ll learn what Greenlight is, how Greenlight works, and then we’ll dive into more detail, such as:

  • The pros and cons of the platform
  • How Greenlight can benefit your kids
  • And how it can make your life easier, as a parent

Ready to see if Greenlight is the best debit card for your kids?

Let’s get started.

Overall Rating:
4.8/5
Monthly Cost
Investment options
Ease of use
Pros Cons

Live notifications

Parental controls

No overdraft fees

Digital deposits only

Relatively high monthly cost

What is Greenlight?


Greenlight is a prepaid debit card and app that parents can use to teach their kids personal finance. The Greenlight card teaches kids about spending, saving, giving, investing, and taking responsibility for their chores – all while parents monitor and approve each transaction.

How Does Greenlight Work?


Greenlight is a one-stop-shop when it comes to parents teaching their kids about money management:

Greenlight Card for Kids

The finance app helps parents save time and money with the following features:

  • Spend controls 
  • Balance tracking
  • Live notifications
  • Mobile payments
  • Instant money transfers

Parents can simply start with a prepaid debit card (minimums typically range between $1 to $20).

With Greenlight you won’t have to pay:

  • ATM fees*
  • Overdraft fees
  • Over-limit fees

*Some ATM operator fees might apply

It gets better: Depending on the tier that you purchase (Greenlight offers 3 tier packages), you could also start teaching your kids how to invest.

Now, thanks to Greenlight, you as a parent have the ability to teach your kids financial principals from an early age.

Pros and Cons of Greenlight


Let’s take a big-picture look at the Greenlight pros and cons:

Pros Cons

Teach your kids how to manage money (no minimum age requirement)         

Monthly costs may be relatively high (starting at $4.99)

Top-level parental controls

The investing option is available only on the 2 more expensive monthly tier packages

No overdraft fees, ATM fees, etc.

Greenlight cards require parents to pay additional interest

Parents can elect to approve child’s transactions

Monthly maximum loads are capped between $4,000 to $7,500

Live alerts for spending transactions

You cannot deposit physical cash – only digital transfers are permitted

Teach your kids how to invest and the power of compound interest

Common customer complaints concern the difficulty of closing a Greenlight account

Pay your kids for chores and teach them responsibility

Customer service might not be as responsive

Incentivize your kids’ savings strategy by boosting interest payments

You cannot take out loans or lend money to your kids

Greenlight Overall Rating


Before reading further, check out my ratings for each of the following 6 categories:

Overall Rating

Liquidity

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Security & Safety

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Usability

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Investment Options

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Fees

⭐️⭐️⭐️

Customer Service

⭐️⭐️⭐️

To give a little more detail on the reason for my ratings, take a look at my breakdown below:

  • Liquidity – Your kids (and you) can use the prepaid Greenlight debit card anytime, anywhere. There is no lock-up period
  • Security & Safety – Greenlight offers FDIC protection for cash, SIPC protection for investments, phone protection, purchase protection, and identity protection
  • Usability – Very intuitive website interface, real-time alerts for parents (when kids make transactions), very easy to use
  • Investment Options – The Greenlight + Invest tier offers mainly ETFs from companies worth $1 billion or more
  • Fees – While monthly fees are not too expensive, they tend to be on the high side (starting at $4.99)
  • Customer Service – A common complaint is the lack of speed at which customer service members respond to requests. However, the customer service phone number is available to call for extended hours during the week and even on weekends

So far, I’m pretty impressed with this platform.

About Greenlight Debit Card for Kids


Greenlight comes with a lot of user-friendly features and services.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

About Greenlight

Year Founded

2014

Headquarter Location

Atlanta, Georgia

Number of Downloads

4 million+

Savings on Greenlight Platform

$50 million

Minimum Monthly Cost

$4.99

Minimum Amount to Fund PrePaid Debit Card

$1 to $20

What You Can Teach Your Kids

- Saving

- Earning

- Investing

- Spending

- Budgeting

- Responsibility

- Goal Planning

Safety Features

- FDIC insured

- SIPC insured

- Overdraft protection

- Deactivate card if lost or stolen

- Parent approval for transactions

- Top level data encryption software

- Parent ability to block unsafe spending categories

Availability

- Android

- MacBook

- Windows PC

- Amazon Kindle

- Apple iPhone (5S or newer running on iOS 12 or better)

Customer Service

- Phone [888-483-2645]

- Email [support@greenlight.com]

Customer Service Hours

- M to F 8am to 11pm EST

- Saturday & Sunday 8am to 9pm EST

Debit Card Country Availability

- No international fees

- No foreign transaction fees

- 150+ countries accept Greenlight

- 74 countries do not currently accept Greenlight Card

- 83 countries accept Greenlight purchases but not ATM withdrawals

If you’re looking to travel abroad and aren’t sure if your Greenlight Card will work for your international travels, just reach out to support@greenlight.com to confirm you can use your card.

The good news is that 150+ countries accept Greenlight at this point.

Greenlight Card Features 


The additional features offered with Greenlight debit card include the following:

  1. Direct Deposits
  2. Customized cards
  3. Instant money transfers
  4. Parental spend controls 

Let’s check them out.

1. Direct Deposits


If you’re looking to teach your child accountability and responsibility, then consider using the direct deposit feature.

With the direct deposits feature, you could:

  • Help your kids manage the money they earn
  • Teach your kids to invest a portion of their paycheck
  • Teach your kids better money management techniques 

Once your child has set up the direct deposit, it should typically take between 1 to 2 pay periods before depositing into the Greenlight account (and this depends on your child’s employer).

When the direct deposit hits your child’s account, Greenlight sends a real-life notification to update them that money is available.

2. Customized Cards


One of the cool things about the Greenlight debit card for kids that I really like is the option for parents and kids to create a customized card.

Greenlight Customized Card

You don’t just have to upload pictures of your kids on these custom cards.

Your kids can add pictures of:

  • Their pets
  • Their family
  • Their friends
  • Their favorite vacation spots 

Just keep in mind that ordering a custom card does cost extra money – $9.99 to be exact.

You can choose literally any image from your photo library and fit that to the custom card builder in Greenlight.

Greenlight Custom Card Builder

Once you have selected an image and fit it to your custom card, you can click “Next” and place your order.

Greenlight Custom Card Builder 2

With the custom card, you can either use standard shipping, which is free, or you can use expedited shipping for $24.99.

3. Instant Money Transfers


In a world where everyone is so busy, having an option to instantly transfer money can be a big plus for parents.

Below is a little more information regarding instant transfers:

Greenlight Instant Transfers

Transfers from your debit card:

Immediate availability

Transfers from your bank account:

2 to 3 business days

If you are in good standing with Greenlight, then your transfers may be immediate.

4. Parental Spend Controls


The parental spend control feature is something most parents will appreciate.

Some additional parental spend controls that you can use include:

  1. Store-specific 
  2. In-app approval
  3. Category-specific
  4. Freezing your kid’s card 

Let’s take a closer look at the parental controls you can implement for your child.

Parental Control #1: Store Specific Limits


If you don’t want your child to spend their money at a certain store, you can now set spending limits on specific stores.

Another neat thing about the Greenlight debit card is that the second your child makes an in-store purchase, you’ll receive a real-life push notification.

Greenlight Notification

If your child does try to purchase something from one of the stores you decided to block, your child’s card will be declined.

Parental Control #2: In-App Approval


The good news is that the Greenlight card offers an open communications system for parents and kids.

For example, if your child shops at a new store and doesn’t have enough money in their “Spend Anywhere” account, then your child can send a real-time request for you to add funds to their “Spend Anywhere” account.

Parental Control #3: Category Specific Limits


Greenlight has determined that the top 5 spending categories for kids and teens include:

  • ATMs
  • Restaurants
  • Gas stations
  • Online gaming 
  • Grocery stores 

You’ll typically see the 5 categories listed on your child’s dashboard like this:

Greenlight Child Dashboard

A smart system that Greenlight has put in place takes ATM withdrawals into account.

Greenlight has deactivated the ability for kids to withdraw more than their balance for ATM spending.

For the following categories, you can elect to have any overages pulled from your child’s “Spend Anywhere” account:

  • Restaurants
  • Gas stations
  • Online gaming
  • Grocery stores 

However, if you prefer that your child’s account settings will not pull overages from their “Spend Anywhere” account, you can easily turn off this setting.

Greenlight Spend Anywhere Overage Option

As you can see from the screenshot above, you can toggle on or off the ability for overages to come from your child’s “Spend Anywhere” account.

Parental Control #4: Freezing Your Child’s Card


In a worst-case scenario, you can also elect to deactivate and freeze your child’s card.

You’ll typically want to resort to this case if:

  • Your card was lost
  • Your card was stolen
  • You don’t want your child using the card anymore 

This can be done from your app (the parent app).

Greenlight Manage Card

First, you’ll navigate to your child’s dashboard, then click on the “Manage Card” headline to turn the card on or off.

Greenlight Turn Off Card

Once you confirm to turn off your child’s card, Greenlight will even send you and prompt to order a replacement card, if you want.

Keep in mind that your first replacement card will be replaced for free and any replacements thereafter will cost $3.50 per card.

Greenlight Plans and Pricing


Let me be upfront about the Greenlight Debit Card fees:

In my opinion, the monthly fees are a bit higher than what I would like to see.

However, the fees are still affordable, and it’s tough to put a price on hands-on financial literacy education for your kids.

Here’s an overview of what you can expect when you open a Greenlight debit card for kids:

Greenlight Card Overview

Minimum Age

None

Minimum Balance

$1 to $20

Maximum Balance

- $7,500 (for kids)

- $15,000 (for primary account owners like parents)

Typical Interest Rate (Parent Paid)

1% to 2%

Safety & Security Features

- FDIC protection

- SIPC protection

- Real-life transaction notifications

- Mastercard Zero Liability Protection

- Unsafe spending categories are blocked

- Turn your card on/off directly from the app

Typical Fees

- Monthly fee (starting at $4.99)

- Custom card (1-time fee for $9.99)

- Replacement card (1 free replacement card per child. Anything thereafter costs $3.50 per card)

Where is Greenlight Accepted?

Most international countries (150+ countries)

Can kids earn cash back rewards?

Yes, Greenlight Max users can earn 1% cash back on purchases

Does Greenlight work with Google Pay?

Yes

Does Greenlight work with Apple Pay?

Yes

Greenlight has 3 plans:

  1. Greenlight
  2. Greenlight + Invest
  3. Greenlight Max
Greenlight Greenlight Invest Greenlight Max

While the cost of the Greenlight card for kids is not outrageous, it could be less.

Below is a better breakdown of the fees and features for each of the 3 Greenlight debit card tiers:

Greenlight Plans

There is even better news:

You can sign up free for 1 month and experience a Greenlight demo package.

That way, you can figure out whether you like the Greenlight debit card for kids.

Plus, you can cancel your monthly subscription at any time.

fiona smith the millennial money woman

The Bottom Line:

Greenlight charges you a monthly, recurring fee for your card use. Fees are relatively affordable (starting at $4.99 per month), and can help teach your child about money using a hands-on approach.

Greenlight Usability & Interface


If I could, I would rate the Greenlight app an 11 out of 10.

It’s extremely user-friendly, intuitive, and it does a great job of displaying the information in a neat and organized fashion.

Greenlight Interface

Here’s what I love (and appreciate) about the Greenlight debit card for kids:

  • No age restrictions
  • The app is easy to use
  • Easy to transfer money 
  • You can teach your kids valuable finance skills

Overall, the Greenlight platform itself is a simple design with an interface that’s fairly intuitive and that can help you manage and review your child’s finances.

Greenlight Customer Service Review


I’m drawing from my own personal experience from speaking with a Greenlight personal representative:

Category Rating (0-5)

Knowledge

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Friendliness

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Customer Experience

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

There are 5 ways you can have your Greenlight questions answered:

  • By email
  • By phone call
  • By text message
  • By reaching out through Greenlight’s social media platforms via direct message
Greenlight Contact Methods

Email

support@greenlight.com

Phone Call

888-483-2645

Text Message

404-974-3024

Social Media

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube

Phone Support Center Hours

- M to F 8am to 11pm EST

- Saturday & Sunday 8am to 9pm EST

While holiday hours may apply, you can connect with a Greenlight representative virtually any time.

To make sure you get the full picture of Greenlight’s customer service, check out Greenlight’s profile on the BBB (Better Business Bureau) or TrustPilot.com.

While it does not appear that Greenlight is rated by the BBB, the company does have thousands of reviews on TrustPilot.

Greenlight Trustpilot Report

A solid 88% of respondents rated Greenlight average to excellent.

While Greenlight does appear to have a pretty good overall rating with its customers, I still think it’s important to periodically read the reviews – both good and bad.

Greenlight Trustpilot Complaint

Above is an example of a common customer complaint about withdrawing money from a child account to pay the monthly fee if the parent account doesn’t have enough cash.

While Greenlight’s customer service team does respond to each and every one of the customer complaints, the responses (90% of the time) are very generic.

As a customer, I probably wouldn’t be too happy to receive a standard response to my complaint.

Always take these reviews with a grain of salt.

Greenlight Card Balance & Load Limits


In the grand scheme of things, Greenlight is transparent and reasonable with its fees.

First, take a look at the ATM withdrawal costs associated with the Greenlight card:

Greenlight ATM Withdrawal Costs

ATM Withdrawal Fees

$0

Maximum Daily ATM Withdrawal Limit

$100

Maximum Monthly ATM Withdrawal Limit

$500                                                                                   

If you ever lose a Greenlight card (which could happen quite frequently to me!), then check out this information below:

Greenlight Card Replacement Fees

First Card Replacement

$0

Second+ Card Replacement

$3.50

Express Delivery for Card Replacements

$24.99                                                                                

Some prepaid debit cards may charge you a small fee to reload your cards.

Not with the Greenlight debit card:

  • Cash Reload Fee – $0

It might be somewhat of a hassle to first load money into your account and then transfer the funds to your child’s account, but at least you don’t have to pay any fees.

Now let’s take a look at the following:

  • Transfer limits
  • Spending limits
  • Minimum card balances
  • Maximum card balances 

Before you start uploading cash to your child’s Greenlight debit card, it’s important to understand the limits you and your child might encounter.

First, let’s take a look at the minimum card balances:

  • Minimum Amount to initially load – $10 to $20
  • Minimum Amount to reload – $1 to $20

There are also different load limits.

Check it out below:

Greenlight Load Limits

Maximum Daily Debit Load Limit      

$1,500 (Per Parent)

Maximum ACH Load Limit

$300 to $600 (Every 3 day rolling period for parent accounts)

Maximum ACH Load per month

$1,000 (For tenured accounts using manual verification)

Maximum Monthly Payroll Direct Deposit Loads

$5,000 (Per Family)

Maximum Monthly Total Load from Invest Accounts

$7,500 (Per Family)

Next, let’s take a look at the maximum card balances:

  • Maximum Card Balance – $15,000 (For parents)
  • Maximum Card Balance – $7,500 (For kids)

Now let’s take a look at the maximum daily and monthly spending limits for both parents and kids:

  • Daily Spend Limit – $1,500
  • Monthly Spend Limit – $7,500

Greenlight + Invest


If you want to teach your kids how to invest, then you should consider the Greenlight + Invest tier.

While the Greenlight + Invest plan costs $7.98 per month, it is a very good feature you can use to teach your kids about investing and compound interest.

For example, if you give your kid $100 and advise your kid to invest $10 every month, from the day they are 10 years old until they are 60, they would have $51,729.17.

Greenlight Savings Chart

As you can see, the future value of your child’s investment over a 50 year time frame increases significantly over time.

And for exactly that reason, it’s important to teach your kids from an early age how to invest.

Below are a few additional features when it comes to the Greenlight + Invest Tier:

Greenlight + Invest

Minimum Age to Invest

None

Do kids actually trade?

No, kids can only request trades

Who places the trades?

Parents actually approve and place the trades

Minimum Investment

$1

Trading Fees

$0

Number of Investments Available

4,000+

Investment Types

- ETFs

- Stocks

Fractional Investing Allowed?

Yes

Greenlight typically stays away from the more alternative investment types (such as micro-cap companies or other, more volatile and risky investments).

fiona smith the millennial money woman

The Bottom Line:

The Greenlight + Invest tier, while more expensive than the generic Greenlight tier, is a fantastic opportunity to teach your kids how to invest using a hands-on and real-life investing app designed for any age.

Greenlight Giving Account


The Greenlight Giving Account is where parents and kids can elect to donate a portion of their cash to a charity of their choice.

You can select to which category you’d like to donate money.

Greenlight Giving

From there, you’ll be rerouted to an outside page, known as charitynavigator.org.

Once you’re on the Charity Navigator website, you can check out specific charities in the category you selected.

Greenlight Charity Navigator

Once you’ve browsed through each charity, you can make a donation in the amount you want.

After you’ve selected your favorite charity, you can confirm your donation and funds will be pulled from your child’s Giving Account.

Greenlight Giving Basket

It’s actually a pretty straightforward process.

How Greenlight Can Teach Your Kids About Money


Here are 7 Greenlight features that teach your kids to be better money managers:

  1. Round Ups
  2. Chore Plans
  3. Savings rewards
  4. Cash back rewards
  5. Allowance automation
  6. Investing in the stock market
  7. Parent paid interest incentives

Let’s take a deep dive into each of these 7 features.

1. Round Ups


Round Ups is a savings feature that helps kids round up spare change from purchases to the next full dollar.

The “rounded up” change is then added to their Greenlight General Savings account.

The reason why I’m a big fan of the Round Ups feature is that you save on an “out of sight, out of mind” basis.

Here’s a quick example:

Round Ups Example

Cost of purchase

$1.25

The Round Up feature increases your purchase to the next dollar

$2.00

Amount rounded up

$0.75

Amount transferred to savings account

$0.75                                 

In other words, the amount of money that is rounded up is automatically transferred to the Greenlight General savings account.

fiona smith the millennial money woman

The Bottom Line:

Round Ups can be very effective because your child can increase their savings without physically having to move money between accounts. Round Ups does this automatically.

2. Chore Plans


Since every child using Greenlight has their own login, you (the parent) can assign chores to your child (and yes, your child will receive real-time notifications).

This is a great system to teach your children responsibility and take ownership of tasks assigned to them.

You could pay your kids in 3 different ways if they complete their chore plan on time:

Greenlight Allowance Pay Out

Flat Rate

Your kids earn money regardless of completing their chores

Partial Payment

If your kid completes 50% of their chores, then you only pay 50%

All or Nothing

If your kid completes every chore, then you pay 100% of their allowance

And since every family works differently, there are many ways to incentivize your kids to complete their chores.

For example, parents could connect their child’s allowance payout to the assigned chores.

You can elect to pay your child based on several factors such as:

  • Partial payments – Your child is paid a percentage of their allowance based on the percent of the completed chore
  • All or nothing payments – Your child is paid 100% of their allowance if 100% of their chores are completed.

In my opinion, Greenlight is a good task and chore management tool on top of being an effective money manager for kids.

fiona smith the millennial money woman

The Bottom Line:

Greenlight helps kids understand the importance of taking responsibility and ownership of their chores. In return, parents can connect allowance payouts with each chore.

3. Savings Rewards


As of August 1, 2021, family accounts can earn annual savings rewards, based on:

  • Accomplishing savings goals
  • The amount of money in a child’s general savings account

Your family could earn 1% annually in savings rewards (if a Greenlight and Greenlight + Invest member) and 2% annually (if a Greenlight Max member).

You’ll then see the savings rewards paid at the beginning of each month.

Here’s how savings rewards are calculated:

  • Every month, Greenlight estimates your child’s average daily savings rate
  • The average daily savings rate is multiplied by how much your child earns annually

Keep in mind that Greenlight and Greenlight + Invest families can earn 1% in rewards while Greenlight Max families can earn up to 2% in rewards.

If you’re curious to see how much your child has earned in savings rewards, you can:

  • Click on your child’s dashboard
  • Click the “Savings” headline
  • Click on “History”
Greenlight Savings

Incentivizing families and kids to save more money is a fantastic way to build wealth and lifelong money management skills.

fiona smith the millennial money woman

The Bottom Line:

Depending on your child’s savings rate and your family Greenlight plan, you could earn up to 2% of interest as a savings reward.

4. Cash Back Rewards


As of August 1, 2021, if you’re signed up to the premium Greenlight Max tier (starting at $9.98 per month), your child can also earn up to 1% in cash back on any Greenlight purchases.

In order to qualify for the 1% cash back, aside from being a Greenlight Max member, families must also:

  • Be in good standing with Greenlight
  • Add a funding account (instead of a debit card) 

Similar to how you can see your child’s savings rewards, you can also review your child’s cash back rewards by accessing:

  • Your child’s dashboard
  • Clicking on the “Spending” Headline
  • Clicking on “History” in the top, right corner
  • Clicking on the “>” at the top, right of the screen (next to the cash back description)

Once you click the “>” you’ll see a summary overview of the total amount of cash back rewards earned per month.

Greenlight Cash Back

While there are better cash back apps, Greenlight still does a good job with this incentive.

fiona smith the millennial money woman

The Bottom Line:

If you are a part of the Greenlight Max tier, then your family has the chance to earn 1% in cash back rewards for purchases. The rewards will be tallied to your account at the beginning of each month.

5. Allowance Automation


As a parent, you can use Greenlight to set up allowances to pay out either:

  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Bi-weekly

You can make changes to your child’s allowance by updating the:

  • Amount 
  • Frequency
  • Location of where the allowance is to be deposited

You can elect to deposit the allowance in the following accounts:

  • Giving Account
  • General Savings Account
  • Spend Anywhere Account

I’ve provided a little more detail about each account type below:

Account Type Description

Giving Account

Donate to your favorite charity for a minimum of $10

General Savings Account

Your child can earn interest based on their average savings rate

Spend Anywhere Account

Your child can use this money for spending purposes and you (the parent) can set spending limits on this account

Keep in mind, if you decided to upgrade to the Greenlight + Invest or the Greenlight Max tier, you can also have the ability to transfer money to your child’s investing account.

For example, you can elect to split your child’s allowance as 70/20/10 (so 70% of your allowance could go to the Spend Anywhere account, 20% to the General Savings Account, and 10% to the Giving Account).

The allowance is transferred from your wallet to your child’s account.

Generally speaking, allowances are paid by 6 am EST on the day your child is to receive the allowance.

And, if your child happens to be grounded and you wish to temporarily suspend their allowance, Greenlight offers a “Pause Allowance” feature.

To pause your child’s allowance, simply:

  • Access your child’s dashboard
  • Click on the “Allowance” heading
  • Click on the toggle to turn off the allowance

And, as mentioned earlier, the allowance tab can also be connected with your child’s weekly chores.

So, if your child completes their chores, they could receive an allowance payout.

fiona smith the millennial money woman

The Bottom Line:

Greenlight helps manage your allowance payouts to your child as well. You can elect to auto fund your child’s allowance and you can even elect to split your allowance distributions between the 3 main Greenlight accounts (Spend Anywhere, Savings, and Giving accounts).

6. Investing in the Stock Market


Coming from the corporate investment management world myself, I think the Greenlight investing platform is an awesome feature for kids to learn how to invest.

You can teach your child how to invest if you’re a member of the following tier levels:

  • Greenlight Max 
  • Greenlight + Invest

The Invest feature actually gives parents 2 options to start investing:

Investing Options

Investing for Parents

Parents invest for their kids’ futures

Investing for Kids

Kids can monitor, research, trade real stocks and ETFs

The following stocks and ETFs are offered on Greenlight:

  • A few leveraged ETFs 
  • Market capitalizations > $1 billion
  • Stocks typically listed on the NYSE and the NASDAQ
  • Exchange-listed sponsored American Depository Receipts (aka ADRs)

Although kids technically can request to trade stocks, since most children who are Greenlight card users are minors, the trading responsibility actually goes to the parent.

Once the parents have executed a trade for their kids, kids can then track the performance of those investments using the “Investing for Kids” section on their Greenlight app.

When your child is setting up their own Investor Portfolio, Greenlight takes the time to ask a Risk Tolerance Questionnaire.

In other words, how much risk can someone stomach?

Obviously, if someone doesn’t care if the stock market goes down by 50% tomorrow, those people typically can stomach more risk (and thus have the potential for more return).

Greenlight Invest Profile

Once the investor profile is completed, it’s time to start researching which stocks and ETFs work based on your child’s portfolio.

And keep in mind that Greenlight offers more than 4,000 stocks and ETFs to choose from!

To explore the types of investment options offered by Greenlight, simply:

  • Click on the “Investing” icon
  • Scroll to the “Investing Options” section
  • Click on “Company Stocks” or “Exchange Traded Funds” to explore individual stocks and/or ETFs
Greenlight Investment Options

Once you’ve accessed either the “Company Stocks” section or the “ETF” section, you can also use the search bar to check out a specific stock or ETF.

Before you can actually make a trade, you’ll need to transfer cash to invest.

You can do this by:

  1. Clicking on the “Investing” icon
  2. Clicking on the “Cash to Invest” headline
  3. Clicking on “Move $ In” headline
  4. Electing how much cash you want to transfer
  5. Selecting from where you want to transfer your cash
  6. Clicking “Move Money”
Greenlight Invest Cash

For the screenshot above, since you’re looking to invest cash, you’ll want to click on “Move $ In” and proceed to the next screen.

Greenlight Move Money

Here, you can select the amount of cash you want to transfer, and from where it should be transferred.

The last step is to click the “Move Money” button.

This way, the parents really maintain control and an overview of their children’s investing ventures.

fiona smith the millennial money woman

The Bottom Line:

Teaching kids the importance of investing from an early age is critical, and Greenlight can do just that. Kids can request trades, which parents will have to execute. From there, kids can learn and research more about the stock market using the hands-on approach.

7. Parent Paid Interest Incentives


If you’ve ever put cash in a savings account, you’ll know that the bank will pay you a certain interest rate.

Sadly, in the modern economy, interest rates are pretty low and the highest interest rate you could obtain is typically from a high-yield savings account.

However, Greenlight offers the parent-paid interest incentive.

How much of your parent-paid interest is transferred to your child’s account depends on the average daily balance of your child’s Total Savings for last month.

Using the parent-paid interest plan, you could pay an interest rate between 1% to 100%.

If you are a Greenlight Max tier member, then you could even earn 2% annually in interest (which is paid by Greenlight).

Here’s how you can set up your parent paid interest plan:

  • Access your child’s dashboard
  • Click on the “Savings” headline
  • Click on “Parent-Paid Interest,” located in the “Savings Boosts” section
  • Specify the interest rate percent you want your child to earn
  • Click “Save”

If you don’t have enough money in your parent-paid wallet to cover your parent-paid interest incentive, then Greenlight will send you an alert to add funds to your account.

fiona smith the millennial money woman

The Bottom Line:

Kids love incentives, and one of the best ways to incentivize your kids to save more is to give them cash rewards. That’s exactly what the parent-paid interest plan does: You can select how much interest you wish to pay your kids (from 1% to 100%) per month based on their average daily savings balance.

Greenlight’s Identity Theft Protection


Is Greenlight safe?

The answer is yes.

In fact, Greenlight uses state-of-the-art technology to protect you and your child’s personal data from leaking into the wrong hands.

Let’s take a look below.

Protection Type What it Means

Zero Liability Protection

You won’t have to pay for “unauthorized transactions”

FDIC Insurance

Your money is protected (up to $250,000 in most cases) if the bank fails

Turn Cards On/Off

Immediately deactivate cards if lost or stolen

Spend Controls

Set a maximum amount of money your child can spend per category (like video games, clothing, etc.)

Now, if safety and security is your No. 1 concern, then you’ll probably want to consider the Greenlight Max tier, which costs $9.98 per month.

That’s because the Greenlight Max plan offers 3 additional features that the other plans do not:

  • Phone protection
  • Identity protection
  • Purchase protection

I went into a little more detail regarding the 3 protection types:

Greenlight Max Protection Types

Phone Protection

Get reimbursed for the cost to replace or repair your kid’s phone for up to $600 per claim (up to a maximum of $1,000 per year). You’ll pay a deductible of $25. If you live in New York, this feature is not available

Identity Protection

- Dark web monitoring

- Automatic security alerts

- Protection is provided by Experian

- ID restoration service for the family

Purchase Protection

If you bought something in full with a Greenlight debit card, and that item was damaged or stolen, Greenlight will reimburse you within 120 days of the date of purchase/delivery up to $100 per item (up to a maximum of $1,000 per year)

Keep in mind that if you do have a claim (and you are using the Purchase Protection plan), then you need to file no later than 60 days after the trigger event.

To file a claim, you can:

  • Click on the “Settings” page
  • Click on “Cell phone & purchase protection”
  • Navigate to the Claim Center and click “File a claim”

You can also always call 866-599-1386 to file a claim.

fiona smith the millennial money woman

The Bottom Line:

Greenlight offers top-notch data encryption and security for all 3 plans. If you are very concerned about your personal data and safety, you may want to consider upgrading to the Greenlight Max plan, which also offers identity, phone, and purchase protections.

Greenlight Education & Resources


The reason why I’m such a fan of Greenlight is that it offers 2 things for your kids:

  • Hands-on money management experience 
  • Interactive financial and educational resources

Not only do your kids learn how to budget, spend, and even invest, but with the Greenlight card, your child can also learn about personal finance basics.

Here’s a more comprehensive list of the educational resources Greenlight offers for both parents and kids:

Resource Descripton

Financial Videos

Access financial videos by clicking on the “Investing” icon and clicking on the “Become a better Investor” section

Personal Finance Quizzes

Learn more about money by answering an assorted number of personal finance questions with answers

Greenlight Blog

Learn about personal finance tips and tricks on the Greenlight blog

Greenlight Help Center

Search for virtually any Greenlight-related question, from investing to giving, to saving, to spending

Million Bazillion

Million Bazillion is a podcast made for kids to learn more about money (it is now in its second season)

FAQs

The typical questions you, as a parent, may ask about Greenlight are listed here in the FAQ section

Greenlight Kahoot!

Teach your kids personal finance basics using the Kahoot! platform’s game-based educational programs

As you can see, Greenlight does not keep you or your child in the dark.

One of my favorite educational resources for kids is Kahoot! (which is free).

Greenlight Kahoot

With Kahoot! kids can play interactive and hands-on financial literacy games to improve their financial concepts.

The Million Bazillion (I love that name!) podcast is another cool place for your kids to learn about personal finance.

Greenlight Million Bazillion

The podcast is now in its second season and talks about personal finance concepts in simple terms.

Greenlight Stock Market Episode

Each of the Million Bazillion podcast episodes bring finance fun facts and finance trivia to your kids, and it’s another great way to learn about money.

Why You Should Get a Debit Card for Your Kids


Do you want to teach your kids about financial literacy?

Then why not start with a hands-on approach.

Most financial institutions, due to the law, don’t allow minors (typically, anyone under age 18) to open their own bank account, credit card, etc.

Not anymore.

Enter the Greenlight debit card for kids.

Greenlight Investing

With the Greenlight debit card, parents can open savings, spending, and investment accounts for their kids – and age doesn’t matter.

How? 

Parents are the true account owners (the child accounts are merely subaccounts, which are “owned” by parents).

Why should you let your kids manage money from an early age?

Children who manage money from an early age learn:

  • Responsibility
  • Accountability
  • Independence

And that’s where the Greenlight debit card for kids really makes a difference.

Greenlight Debit Card

Parents and kids can manage money on a side-by-side basis.

Parents can:

  • Send money to kids
  • Manage chore plans
  • Block in-store purchases
  • Manage allowance money
  • Customize spending controls
  • Approve and execute trade requests

Kids can:

  • Gift money
  • Save money
  • Spend money
  • Place trade requests 

The neat thing with Greenlight is that you can teach your kids real-life lessons in a safe environment with parental controls in place.

How to Open a Greenlight Account


Are you ready to open an account with Greenlight?

First, head over to the Greenlight website.

Next, you’ll want to click on the big, yellow button on the left that says, “Get Started.”

You’ll have to enter a valid US phone number.

Greenlight Card Account

After you’ve entered your phone number, you’ll have to answer a series of questions, such as the one above.

Greenlight will also send you a confirmation code text message, which you’ll need to input.

Greenlight Card Account 2

Next, you’ll have to answer a series of questions about yourself and, of course, your kids as well.

You’ll also have to set up your child’s Greenlight account.

Greenlight Card Account 3

You can add up to 5 children on your Greenlight account application.

Once you’ve included your personal information, it’s time to set up the parent wallet.

Greenlight Card Account 4

In this case, it looks like the minimum initial funding amount is $5.

Once you’ve selected your funding amount, you can connect either:

  • Your debit card
  • Your bank account manually
  • Your bank account automatically (using Plaid)

Once you’ve set up and linked your bank account information, you’ll have access to your parent dashboard.

From there, you can move money to your child’s account through a simple process.

First, from your parent dashboard, click on “Send $” next to your child’s name.

Greenlight Send Money

Then, you can select how much and to which account you would like to send your money:

  • Giving
  • General Savings
  • Spend Anywhere

You can also elect to create Spend Controls so that you limit your child’s purchases, depending on stores or even categories.

When I found out about this unique, custom feature, I thought that was pretty neat.

Greenlight Thank You Message

Once you’ve completed these steps, you can click the “Move Money” button and transfer the cash to your child’s account.

Now, if you want to add money to your child’s investing portfolio, you can do so from your parent dashboard.

First, click on the “Investing” icon.

Greenlight Child Investing Portfolio

Then, you’ll want to click on “Cash to Invest,” which will prompt you to either move money in or out of the investing account.

Greenlight Child Investing Portfolio 2

Once you select the amount of money you wish to move in or out of your child’s account, you should be all set.

fiona smith the millennial money woman

The Bottom Line:

The account opening process is very straightforward and took me about 5 minutes to complete. The rest is all about customizing your parent and child’s dashboards (such as uploading custom images), which could take a little more time.

Greenlight Alternatives


Not sure if Greenlight is the right fit for you and your family?

Here are other alternatives to the Greenlight debit card:

FamZoo does offer some options that are not available to Greenlight users such as:

  • Lending money to your kids
  • You can use either a prepaid card or an “IOU” card
  • You don’t have to connect your checking account with FamZoo
  • You can financially penalize your kids for not completing their chores

However, FamZoo’s basic tier is actually a little more expensive than Greenlight’s basic monthly tier.

FAQs

There is no age limit for the Greenlight card or for investing with Greenlight. It’s typically most effective to offer the Greenlight debit card when your kids are ready to learn about money. Generally speaking, that means your kids are somewhere between ages 10 to 18.

As long as Mastercard is accepted, your Greenlight card will be accepted, both online and in stores. Additionally, Greenlight is accepted in over 150 countries and counting.

Greenlight is a legit and safe finance app. Not only does Greenlight offer FDIC insurance to protect your cash deposits, but it also offers SIPC protection for your investments. Additionally, Greenlight has state-of-the-art data encryption software, PIN codes and EMV chips to keep your data safe.

While Greenlight does collect personal data, your information is securely stored and encrypted using top-notch software. Greenlight collects personal data in 3 ways: 1) Any information you provide; 2) Any information that’s collected automatically through Greenlight’s digital platform (like from cookies); 3) Any information Greenlight receives from third parties (your phone number, address, email, etc.).

You can fund your Greenlight card in 2 main ways: 1) You can connect your bank account to your Greenlight account and make an instant transfer; 2) You can connect your debit card to your Greenlight account and make an instant transfer. Any cash transfers are first deposited into the Parent’s Wallet and can then be moved to your kid’s bank accounts.

No, you don’t need a mobile phone number to apply with Greenlight. While the Greenlight website will require you to input your mobile number to start with the app, you can download the Greenlight App from any app store (for free). The app can be downloaded on devices such as a cell phone, iPad, tablet, etc.

Greenlight was founded back in 2014. The company is based in Atlanta, Georgia and has had over 3 million users and 4 million+ downloads.

Typically speaking, you’ll need a parent or guardian to actually create a Greenlight card account for you. If you are 13 years or older, you can register for a Greenlight account on your own.

The Greenlight debit card for kids is legit and safe. Greenlight offers security features like top-notch data encryption, FDIC insurance, and EMV chips (which protect personal data when making a purchase). On top of that, parents also receive real-life notifications if their kids spend money (and parents can approve each transaction, too!).

The Greenlight debit card for kids is a prepaid debit card that gives parents tighter control over their kids’ financial behavior. Parents can set spending controls, manage chores, transfer allowances, approve or block spending requests, and teach their kids money and investment management using a hands-on approach.

The maximum amount of money you can load on a debit card per day is $1,500 per parent account. The minimum initial load amount varies between $1 (if done via ACH) to $20 (if done via debit card).

Since every Greenlight customer’s savings account is FDIC insured, Greenlight uses a bank, the Community Federal Savings Bank, to protect your money. In addition to the FDIC insurance protection, you will also have SIPC protection (for investing), top-notch encryption, firewalls, PINs, VPNs, etc.

Yes they do! As long as the ATM accepts Mastercard, Visa Interlink or Maestro, then the Greenlight card should also be accepted. Note that Greenlight will not charge for ATM services (individual ATM operators may charge fees). The maximum daily amount you can withdraw from the ATM is $100, while the maximum monthly withdrawal limit is $500.

Since the Greenlight debit card for kids is prepaid, it does not allow kids to build credit history, because Greenlight is not a credit card. This is one of the major cons when it comes to the Greenlight card. However, the pros of the Greenlight card can outweigh the cons.

Greenlight Card Review: The Bottom Line


If your goal is to teach your kids about money management using a hands-on approach, then you should consider the Greenlight card for kids.

Here’s why the Greenlight cards rocks:

  • You can teach your kid how to invest
  • You have spend controls for your kids 
  • You can approve your child’s purchases
  • You can manage your child’s chore plans
  • You can manage your allowance distributions
  • You can incentivize your kids to save more through parent paid interest

Personally speaking, I think one of the coolest features is that parents can invest side-by-side with their kids.

Your kids can check out different companies, research their stocks, etc., and then kids can place a trade request, which has to be verified by you (the parent).

However, Greenlight might not be the best option if you’re not a big fan of the monthly fees.

So, is Greenlight worth it?

In my opinion, yes.

You can’t really put a price on a child’s financial education – especially if you can teach your kid from an early age using a hands-on approach.

Your children will thank you later.

What are your thoughts on the Greenlight card? Let me know in the comments below.

Fiona Smith
Fiona Smith
Fiona Smith is the founder of The Millennial Money Woman. She holds her Master of Science Degree in Personal Financial Planning, has advised decamillionaires for 6 years in the corporate wealth management sector and has co-founded a local non-profit community teaching financial literacy. She is the author of the personal finance book How to Get Rich from Nothing and her work is featured on Forbes and FinCon.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to make

more money?

Sign up for free access to Fiona’s latest financial tips, wealth-building strategies, investing guides, millionaire planning, and much more.

fiona smith the millennial money woman

Want to make more money?

Get free access to Fiona’s latest financial tips, wealth-building strategies, investing guides, millionaire planning, and much more.