Wise parents know that financial literacy is what their children should learn from early childhood as it’s an essential skill. Today, there’s no trouble finding solutions for that task. In this article, we are going to review BusyKid, one of the most popular prepaid cards for kids that give access to money and simultaneously educate a kid.
Our verdict: Is BusyKid card worth it?
Useful and affordable app but with fewer features than competitors offer & with a number of fees.
BusyKid is a useful tool for your kids to learn money management and for you to help them while controlling this process. The company is one of the cheapest on the market but it’s also not the best one out there. BusyKid has a limited features offering, no in-app educational content, limited parental control, and a lot of additional fees. Check out its best alternative–Greenlight.
- Useful app for kids to learn how to use money
- A lower price than what its main competitors offer
- Includes features to encourage savings
- Easily add a co-parent with a separate account
- Fewer features and customization options than what its main competitors offer (e.g. Greenlight)
- ATM, declined transactions and a number of other fees
- Limited parental control
- No educational content within the app
- Not user-friendly
The main BusyKid is Greenlight. Check out the detailed comparison of Greenlight vs BusyKid.
What is BusyKid?
BusyKid is a prepaid card for kids issued by Visa. It allows online transactions, offline payments, and ATM withdrawals. BusyKid comes with an app that helps to manage all the spending as well as educate kids and teens.
So, BusyKid offers a solution to teach children how to use money and give them a way for cashless payments. Meanwhile, it helps parents send money, track it, and make sure it’s safe. The core concept of the BusyKid app is chores for allowance. Money in an account of a kid is divided into 3 buckets: Spend, Save, and Share.
With BusyKid, you can have up to 5 children per account with a single payment for all. The best age to use the card is 5 or 16.
The BusyKid card can be gotten within the US only but it can be used abroad.
BusyKid was launched in 2011 and was called MyJobChart. The owner is Gregg Murset who has 6 kids. So, he created the app based on his need to track chores and allowances.
BusyKid has quite standard features of prepaid cards for kids. These include the ability to send money, spend them, save, and also provide access to donating and investing.
Let’s break down each feature.
BusyKid allowance and chores
The allowance and chores are the core features of BusyKid.
There are two types of allowance: Payday and Bonus. The first one means automatic payments on Fridays for chores that are completed by then. Technically, a parent needs to approve allowance each time by checking the chores done or they can set auto-payment with no need for approval.
The second one, Bonus, is a manual payment and can be paid by a parent at any time and for any reason. All in all, it’s the fastest way to add money into a kid’s account is by sending a bonus
BusyKid app has a list of preset chores that are designed for each age group separately. Allowance is mainly tied to the chores a kid completes. Each chore has its own cost. For example, folding laundry will cost $4, or pulling weeds will be $2.
Save, share, and spend
BusyKid has three categories within each account: Save, Share and Spend. This means that money that comes into a kid’s account is sorted by its goal: funds that can be spent by a kid, money that is saved for some purpose, and money that can be donated.
When sending allowance, you can choose the percentage allocated to each–for instance, so that a kid would get 50% of allowance to their savings. Parents can also move money between each category or lock the ability of a kid to move the funds.
Spending and tracking
BusyKid prepaid card can be used anywhere where Visa is accepted. A parent sends money to their kid’s BusyKid through the BusyKid app. Then kids can use this money for online or offline purchases. However, the insufficient balance could lead to declining fees or the card becoming inactive.
Parents can track transactions and also lock a card if it’s lost or stolen. However, parents cannot decline their kid’s transactions and limit purchases from particular stores (as with Greenlight, for example).
The transaction history can be viewed in the app.
Money from the card can be withdrawn from Allpoint ATMs and generally from any ATM. There is a $1.50 fee for this kind of operation.
BusyKid allows mobile payments with Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Adding money to a BusyKid account
For paying allowance and for other activities, parents can link their checking account, debit or credit card as a funding source. BusyKid recommends a checking account so not to pay a transaction fee each time. However, you cannot link PayPal or Venmo accounts.
There is also a BusyPay feature that allows anyone to send money to kids as a birthday present, as payments for outside help like mowing grass for a neighbor, or for any other occasion. To get such payment, a kid has to share a QR code and an adult would easily send money to one of the areas (Save, Share and Spend). The fee for using BusyPay is $1.
One of BusyKid’s goals is to teach a kid to save money and there’s a separate category for this. Usually, parents decide which percentage of what their children earn will go into the Save bucket; however, children can change it themselves.
To encourage kids to save more, parents can match up to 100% of their kid’s weekly savings (this is called “Savings Match” within the app).
Investment and Donation
BusyKid has no inbuilt features for investment and donations. However, it shows sources where to do that. So, technically the company does not offer these services–it just guides you.
For instance, when a kid wants to make a donation, a message will be sent to their parent for approval. Then, a parent technically makes the donation from their funding source.
BusyKid has an easy pricing model with only one pricing package. So, BusyKid costs $4 per month but it’s billed annually at $48. The annual payment allows 20% savings over the total monthly payment.
The price is for one account which includes Visa cards for up to five family members (who are up to 18 years old).
There are no fees for loading money and inactivity.
Here are the additional fees:
- If your card is lost or stolen, you can order a new one for $5.
- If you want a new design, you will need to pay $7.99.
- There is a $1.5 fee to use an ATM.
- BusyPay fee is $1.00 for one transaction
- Declined purchases are $0.50 per transaction
BusyKid allows choosing among 11 different designs with the majority of them being mostly black and white. Also, the card has the kid’s and parent’ names printed on the back and it cannot be removed.
How to open a BusyKid account?
- First, a parent needs to sign up by entering a name, phone, and ZIP code.
- Then, download the app from Google Pay or App Store.
- Next, link your bank account, debit or credit card.
- After you confirm the details, you’ll receive your BusyKid card in about 14 days.
We have collected some of BusyKid reviews available online.
“I’ve been having trouble figuring things out. Like loading money to the spending account. Having trouble with my daughter using the pin. I feel like it needs a little more work. Simplicity”
“The BusyKid app has really got my children excited about chores. I also like that they can learn basic financial fundamentals with this app. The children are also excited about being able to make donations to organizations that help make our world a better world!”
“Needed customer service bc of app issue to set up, but after that all good- they were great at helping and responded quickly. Very easy to use, kiddo likes checking off chores!”
“Set up an regular allowance- worked great. I moved fund regularly to kids Busy debit cards. Stock- there is a third party so you can’t purchase the stock right away until you open and download another stock broker account.”
“This gives a false impression they are integrated when really stocks and donations just send you to another link and tell you to do it yourself on an external site. Quite annoying. I can do that myself and could have chosen more favorable banks or services to do that”
“My son is 7 and until busy kid we struggled to get him motivated and on task with chores. He’s a little to young to really understand how a bank account works and it’s a big responsibility. We have one that we manage for him but definitely wouldn’t trust him w/a debit card to all that money tied to a bank with concerns of over drafting etc. So this is a perfect happy medium. He can see his hard-earned money come through on pay day and he can decide how that many will be split between savings, charity, and spending. Then when he wants something he can load his card and is ready to make his own purchase with his very own debit card. It gives him some control and independence and motivation and risk free.”