Greenlight Card Review

Personal finance literacy is the knowledge that should be gained from childhood and most modern parents understand this. This is what, for instance, Greenlight as a banking solution focuses on. It provides kids and their parents with financial tools to learn how to use their money wisely with parents being able to control this.

Thus, let’s check the Greenlight card review, what it offers in terms of core debit card features, saving and investing, and find out whether this solution is worth it. I’ll start with the question that you definitely want to get answered here.

Greenlight card review verdict

Is Greenlight card worth it? Yes, Greenlight card is a leader in the market and it’s a good option for kids to learn how to spend money, save and invest. Greenlight card is a worthy financial product for kids and teens. It’s a good option for parents to teach their children personal finance while controlling their spending. Greenlight provides access to a cutting-edge learning program, financial control system, saving and cashback plans (depending on the subscription plan), and investment programs. Also, the interface is very user-friendly and easy to understand with charts and diagrams. Finally, there are also lots of challenges and benefits, such as holiday ones, that make children’s experience more fun and gamified. However, Greenlight might be too expensive for some customers.

Best for:

Greenlight debit card is best for 9-18-year-old users but it has no age limits. However, it is available in the US only and the price gets steep with more expensive plans.

Pros
  • Spending control with the ability to limit purchases within certain product categories or even in particular shops
  • Broad savings features with up to 5% of saving rewards
  • 1% cashback
  • Investment feature for parents and kids
  • Mobile payments with Apple Pay or Google Pay
Cons
  • Available in the US only
  • Greenlight Max and Greenlight Infinity plans are quite expensive
  • Doesn’t work with money transfer apps like Venmo
  • Loading money into the Greenlight account might take longer than expected

About Greenlight Card

GreenLight (or Green Light) is a fintech company offering an educational money app with a prepaid debit card for kids. Greenlight positions itself as a finance app, created by families for families. It unites the teenage card program, family financial management, educational program, and lots of rewarding features such as cashback or deposit interest. The card allows kids and teens to pay cashless and the app allows to earn money through chores or in a form of allowance and spend it wisely. Moreover, kids can set savings goals and invest what they have made.

At the same time, the Greenlight app allows parents to control how their kids spend money. Also, the parents get access to the more “serious” features, such as long-term investments, college savings, family budget planning and setting paid chores for the children. Nevertheless, the “adult” interface is equally friendly and easy to use, just with more functions to unlock.

Greenlight was launched in 2014 by Tim Sheehan and Johnson Cook, it’s located in Atlanta, Georgia, and has over 3 million users. Greenlight partners with Community Federal Savings Bank, a member FDIC that holds and manages all their deposit and debit cards. All accounts are FDIC-insured. 

Greenlight is available for all the main mobile platforms and also for the desktop version. It has three plans, each allowing up to 5 kids to use Greenlight.

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Visit Greenlight

How Greenlight works

The Greenlight card for kids works like a regular debit card with some additional features. Parents can load money using the app and then children can use this money with cashless payments or by withdrawing the needed amount. Additionally, parents can send money automatically as allowance or define the conditions when a kid gets money–for instance, when completing chores.

There is also the Greenlight app that allows you to check transactions of your kids, set chores and goals, save money and invest, and also provides access to educational content on financial subjects. All these tools are designed for children to learn how to manage their money and for parents to help their kids in this task.

You can send money to a Greenlight debit card through your bank account. Venmo doesn’t work with Greenlight.

To get a Greenlight card, go to greenlight.com, enter your phone number, and wait for verification.

Greenlight cost

Greenlight has three pricing plans. All three options include debit cards for up to 5 children and an educational app. All plans offer core financial tools for saving, spending, and earning as well as giving parental control.

PlanPrice
(per month)
You’ll pay
for a year
Savings
reward
InvestingCashback
Greenlight Core$4.99$601%Only parents can invest
Greenlight Max$9.98$1202%Investing for parents + kids1%
Greenlight Infinity$14.98$1805%Parents + kids1%

Both Greenlight Max plan and Greenlight Infinity also include theft protection, priority customer support, and a modern Greenlight Black Card. Meanwhile, the most expensive plan, Greenlight Infinity also offers additional notifications like family location sharing, alerts to emergency contacts, and crash detection.

Greenlight also offers a one-month free trial. After it ends, you will automatically be billed $4.99/mo.

Here are some of the additional fees by Greenlight Gift.

  • In case you need to replace your card, you’ll need to pay $3.50.
  • A custom card with your own design would cost $9.99.
  • You can additionally buy a Greenlight Gift card for a sum of $5 to $100; the flat service fee is $1.99.

Card shipping is free and it will return in 7-10 business days. If you want to get the card faster, there’s a fast service available (2-3 business days) for $24.99.

Greenlight features overview

Here is a quick overview of the main features of Greenlight debit card for kids:

  • Kids can use the card to make online or offline purchases and use it in an ATM
  • Kids can learn how to earn money with allowance and chores
  • An app by Greenlight is designed for both kids and parents
  • Parents can use the spending control feature and get real-time notifications
  • Parents can select stores where kids are allowed to make purchases
  • Parents can instantly transfer money to kids’ cards and pay allowance
  • Parent-paid Interest rate that can be set as 1-100%
  • Greenlight allows both kids and parents to invest
  • 1% cashback to save on every purchase 
  • Up to 5% savings reward
  • Greenlight allows setting savings goals
  • Greenlight has a donation option
  • Card with a custom design is available

Now let’s go into detail.

Allowance and chores

Greenlight allows setting automated allowances that can be paid out monthly, weekly, or bi-weekly. Parents can choose whether a kid would be able to spend it everywhere or whether it would be moved to Savings.

There is also an ability to send a kid payment after they complete chores. Greenlight offers preset chores or custom ones. You can also choose between one-time (all chores here are custom) or a weekly recurring chore (preset or custom). Moreover, parents are able to select a reward amount and a due date. After a kid completes a chore, a parent will get a notification with an option to pay immediately or later.

On top of that, you can connect allowance to chores. In this case, Greenlight will automatically calculate the payout based on the number of chores completed and the amount you set per each chore.

Spending control

Greenlight allows parents to track how their children spend money and limit unnecessary purchases. While parents receive real-time notifications of transactions made by their kids and can block a transaction, there are additional ways to control spending within the Greenlight app.

The company has two levels of spending controls–categories and stores. The first one means there are five common spending categories (ATMs, Gas Stations, Grocery Stores, Restaurants, and Online Gaming) where parents can set spending limits for each. The second level means that parents can set how much money a kid can spend in a specific store or completely block purchases there.

There are also default unchangeable Greenlight restrictions of where a kid or teen cannot see their cards:

  • Online casinos
  • Horse or dog racing
  • Non-sport internet gaming
  • Wires or money orders
  • Security brokers or deals
  • Lotteries
  • Dating/escort services
  • Massage parlors

Additionally, parents can freeze a Greenlight debit card of their kid at any time (e.g. when a teen lost their card).

So, there are a number of parental controls available with a Greenlight card for kids.

Savings

Greenlight has a general account for saving and a separate account for a saving goal that a kid can set. After reaching a saving goal, a kid can close the goal and get money to the main account or increase the goal amount and continue to save. Moreover, parents can pay an interest rate for the money saved within the goal.

Parent-Paid Interest is a unique feature by Greenlight that means parents set and pay an interest rate for their kids, from 1% to even 100% on any of the savings accounts.

Greenlight also has the Savings Reward feature which means families can earn up to a 5% annually as a reward for kids’ savings. It is calculated based on the average daily savings and is paid at the beginning of each month. 

The company has another feature for savings called Round-Ups. It allows loading the roundup to the next dollar from purchases into the savings account. It can be done automatically from each transaction or in specific cases.

Finally, Greenlight debit card features 1% cash back on each purchase which is deposited directly into a saving account.

Investing

Greenlight has an investment option for both kids and their parents, available in Greenlight Max plan. Kids are able to buy shares of over 4,000 real stocks and ETFs with a brokerage account held in the parent’s name. So, a kid is able to conduct research to find stocks or ETFs they would like to buy and send a request. Then, parents must approve this investing request for a kid to purchase it. With this tool kids and teens learn the basics of how to invest and build their investment portfolios.

What is a huge benefit of investing via the Greenlight platform, is that the company doesn’t have any trading or other fees (except for a regular monthly fee for card usage). On the downside, Greenlight Invest accounts are not FDIC-insured.

Meanwhile, parents also can have a brokerage account with Greenlight to invest in their kids’ futures. Moreover, if parents know little about investing, they can learn it with Greenlight alongside their kids.

Donation

Greenlight also teaches kids how to give back with the option of being able to donate to non-profits. The company cooperates with Charitynavigator.org, and a kid or teen can choose an amount to donate with the app.

Mobile payment

There is also a helpful benefit that a Greenlight card can be used for mobile payments. And other debit cards for kids usually don’t allow this. On top of that, you can pay for an Uber or Lyft ride by adding the card details to the Uber or Lyft app. 

Greenlight limits

Let’s see what are the limits of a Greenlight debit card.

  • The purchase limit is $1,000 per day or $5,000 per month per family.
  • Kids are allowed to withdraw from an ATM max of $100 per card per day with a limit of $500 per month per family.
  • Greenlight allows has a limit for its card balance which is $10,000 per parent account and $5,000 per child account.
  • Debit card transfer limit is $20-$500 per day or $20-$2,500 per month

Greenlight card designs

You can choose a photo of your children on their card, a drawing, or a standard green-colored card.

However, there is a list of images that cannot be used on a Greenlight custom card:

  • Photos of other people, including celebrities or cartoon characters
  • Branded images like logos
  • Personal information like a telephone number or a website address
  • Sensitive images like weapons, violence, alcohol, marijuana, religious symbols, and similar

Greenlight gift card

This is a card for sending a kid gift funds for birthdays, holidays, and other occasions. The recipient will get a gift code that will allow getting this money into the account directly. You can choose how a kid will be able to use the money: spend anywhere or put off the Greenlight Savings. Greenlight Gift can be any amount from $5 up to $100 with an additional fee of $1.99 added.

To get such money, a recipient needs to be a current Greenlight user who will get the funds to their card. Meanwhile, anyone can send the money to such a card; there is no need for the sender to have a Greenlight account.

Customer service

You can contact customer service via support@greenlight.com or call them at 1-888-483-2645. However, it doesn’t seem to be very helpful and many clients say they have bad English. 

Greenlight Card Reviews

With over 4500 customer reviews, the company has a rating of 4.1 out of 5 on Trustpilot. The majority of Greenlight reviews are positive or neutral ones. Parents and grandparents emphasize that the card has a lot of useful features for both parents and kids and their kids enjoy it.

“Awesome way to teach children about working for their earnings, as well as, savings and investments!”

“Teaching my granddaughter to be responsible with money and easy way to give her birthday and rewards for grades. Learning to save for something she wants.”

“Greenlight has been a wonderful tool for our family. My child feels responsibility and is learning how to manager funds all while we have complete and utter control of her saving and spending.”

“I’ve been using Greenlight for my 14-year-old for a few months now, and it’s been very helpful. The chore schedules are simple to use and understand, and my son can use his debit card for purchases, save and make his own financial decisions. The chores occasionally need to be refreshed, which isn’t hard, but it’s a tad bit annoying occasionally. I’m sure it’s a software glitch that’ll get worked out.”

“I like Green Light and I have it for my 3 grandchildren. I can give them allowances each week and see how they are spending money. I also invest in stock for them. I just don’t like how if I sell stock I don’t have access to the money to withdraw if needed

However, there are a few complaints. For instance, some customers mention that the monthly fee is too high.

“I like the idea of a parent-controlled debit card for my child. The ease of use, transferring money, locking/unlocking the card, monitoring transactions and even the option of personalizing the card. I do not like the $4.99 monthly transaction fee. I think its too high.

“The service is really expensive for what you get. Unfortunately there’s no similar alternative.

A few customers have also experienced delays with card shipment.

I haven’t even received my card yet. Eta is 1 month after I originally ordered my card. No reason for the delay.

There are also complaints that it may take too long to load money into the Greenlight account.

The connivance for the kids is nice. However, it takes 8 days to load into the parents wallet once it comes from the parents bank account. So be prepared for long delays, and huge kid smiles.

“Delay in Funds has been an issue for me. It takes up to 5 days for funds to be transferred from my bank account to the Greenlight account. This has caused some issues when my child needed money for a school event and the money had not crossed over yet. With my child’s busy schedule and my busy schedule, this has made the process quite difficult.”

Some customers also don’t like setting up chores within the app.

“My experience had been pretty good. Just a few things I think could be easier. Setting up the chores is kind of a pain when you have 3 kids since you have to do it for each one. It would be much easier if I could assign the chore to all 3 at once.

FAQ and Greenlight

How much is Greenlight per month?

The price is from $4.99 to $14.98 per month depending of the plan.

Is Greenlight a prepaid card?

Yes, you need to pay before getting the card and you can use it only if there are funds on the card.

Is Greenlight card good?

Yes, the card is one of the best options on the market that allows kids cashless payments and teaches children and teens financial literacy.

Is Greenlight safe?

Greenlight blocks ‘unsafe’ spending categories and provide additional layers of protection to our families in the form of the face or fingerprint recognition.

Is there a minimum age to use Greenlight?

No, there is no age limit but the average age is 9 to 14 years old.

Main Greenlight alternatives

Among the main Greenlight alternatives are BusyKid and Gohenry which offer very similar core features. However, Greenlight has more benefits and more advanced functionality when comparing the cards.

Check out the detailed comparisons of Greenlight with its main competitors.

We hope our Greenlight debit card review was useful!

Disclosure: Self-Starters team has not received any compensation from Greenlight or anyone else associated with the company for this review. However, this review contains affiliate links, which means that, if you click & purchase from these links then, we will receive a small commission. This commission helps us to maintain this website. But you don’t pay anything extra.

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David is an advocate of financial literacy. Having previously worked as a financial advisor and being a father of two daughters, he wants to show solutions to improve financial behavior.

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