A debit card is a fantastic tool for kids to learn about finances because they learn to spend only what you have. As opposed to being an 18 year old who gets their first credit card and spends money you don’t have. This is why I absolutely love the idea of Greenlight debit card for kids.
How can a parent teach their kid about finances and the value of money or learn to be charitable? Some parents give kids an allowance or a way to earn money by doing chores. However, this doesn’t mean they’ll learn the value of money, or how to manage money. Give them a Greenlight debit card in addition to chores and things change.
What is Greenlight
Greenlight is basically a reloadable prepaid debit card that’s funded by parents. Parents link the debit card to their existing checking account, and transfer money to the kids debit card.
A Greenlight debit card not only helps parents teach kiddos about money management, but it’s also a way for parents, friends and family to reward or pay kids for doing chores, getting good grades, birthday gifts etc.
Why should kids get a debit card? Since kids learn best by doing and experiencing things rather than watching, the best way a kid or teen to learn avoid the pitfalls of credit card debt and finances is to start with managing their own money.
Finances, debit or credit card management and investment aren’t taught in schools. And budgeting, which is a crucial part of financial stability, is taught very briefly in schools. So the job of teaching kids finances are left to parents.
According to an article from Lending Tree about the average credit card debt in 2021, Americans owe “$807 billion across almost 506 million card accounts“. Credit cards can be a money pit if not used right.
Greenlight is a valuable personal finance tool that educates kids about investing, saving money, cash back, rewards and spending (depending on the plan chosen however).
How does Greenlight work?
Greenlight works by giving parents the ability to give kids a reloadable prepaid debit card instead of cash.
Rather than giving kids or teens cash for chores or an allowance for example, parents instead load the Greenlight debit card. When the kiddo completes the chore or achieves whatever the incentive is that will pay them is complete, the parent pays them through the credit card.
The following image shows what the Greenlight parent and kids dashboards look like
The Greenlight debit card is just like an adult’s debit card that can be used by kids to buy food, games, clothes etc. either in store or online. Additionally, Greenlight card works with Apple Pay or Google Pay to pay for things.
One of the advantages to using Greenlight is that the child gets to control their money, creating a sense of maturity, independence and responsibility while learning to make financial decisions and the value of money.
However, as a parent, you have full control of how much they spend and where.
The parent chooses the chores or goals that will motivate the kiddo to earn money. This could be getting A’s, mowing the loan, cleaning the bathrooms – you name it.
For each motivating assignment they complete you choose how much you pay them.
For kids who don’t hold their end of the bargain, parents can also move money out of their account if they wish.
Through the parent dashboard you designate what the allowance is, how often and how much as well as pause it if the kid or teen is not doing their chores.
The Greenlight app allows the parent to track expenses, approve or deny purchases and determine where money can be spent. You can block the use of the card at select stores. Its that detailed!
My favorite however, is that in addition to chores I also added grades, missing assignments and no tardies as an incentive to earn money or extra allowance. For every A grade, my kiddo got money.
A teenager’s frontal lobe – aka the ability to make sound decisions – isn’t fully developed until later as a young adult. However, we parents can help in our teen’s development by helping them learn decision making and other skills they’ll need later as a young adult.
I remember as a little kid, my niece used to think the ATM is a wonderful machine that gives free money. LOL, if this was true!
There’s no kid age restriction to use Greenlight. Kids age 13 year and younger can get a Greenlight debit card too!
Greenlight allows for the younger crowd to start learning about money and how the ATM or a debit card isn’t a magical money tool. Parents have full control of the child’s Greenlight debit card.
Greenlight debit card Reviews
I always look to see what parent reviews say about something I’m considering. Reviews from the Google Playstore shows Greenlight app has been downloaded over 1 million times (see image below). As of the writing of this post, its been reviewed by over 14,000 people, and has a great rating of 4.2. Knowing that you can’t please everyone, this is a pretty good rating.
Though the reviews show the app is great, most complains relate to app glitches, and having multiple kids to manage within the app. It seems that the main search to fix issues is to reach Greenlight customer service because that’s the only way some glitches can be fixed ( email@example.com).
My experience with Greenlight customer service
Personally, they’ve been very responsive to my questions. I’ve reached out to support a couple of times with issues related to using the debit card at a supermarket.
The last time I reached out I got a call back from an agent and a follow up email. That’s really good customer service in my opinion. I think they improved it because I’ve read some reviews that it was terrible, but I got my issue resolved.
Greenlight Free for 1 month
If you want to try Greenlight debit card but you’re not sure if you’d like it, they have a 30 day free trial. No commitment and you can cancel anytime.
Use the Greenlight trial period as an opportunity to see how useful the debit card is for you and what your kiddo or teen gets out of it.
I recommend to try it free. Additionally, I suggest you don’t tell your kid the debit card is coming (like I did). It took about 5 business days to get it, and every day waiting for it was an impatient ordeal for my kiddo. Once he got the card, his face was priceless! I took a picture but kiddo won’t let me share it here 🙁
$10 Free Bonus
If you decide to keep Greenlight debit card after the trial period ends, a $10 bonus deposit is added to your account when you sign up and keep the account. (this is my referral affiliate link, No code needed)
- Parents have control over where and how much spending
- Parents receive instant transaction and balance alerts
- App lets you use rewards in exchange for chores or good grades
- Automatic transfers
- Kids & teens don’t have to carry cash or borrow your credit card.
- Its not cheap.
- App can be glitchy
- Most complains state customer service can be slow to response
- Learning curve on parents end
Is Greenlight worth it?
In my opinion, Absolutely! Greenlight is more than just a debit card that parents control. It also helps kids learn the value of saving money and the concept of cash back earnings too. These are key aspects that help consumers pay less for needs or wants.
With Greenlight debit card kids are learning to save and manage money starting at a young age, and getting ahead of their peers with savvy financial knowledge.
By financial savvy I mean knowing how to save outside of a traditional savings account which typically pay peanuts on investment.
Today, savvy consumers also save with cash back and rewards programs.
Greenlight teaches kids to learn about a card’s rewards program as a tool for saving money.
Greenlight Savings Reward program pays 1%
Parents who sign up for the Greenlight Max plan earn 2%.
Greenlight Plans & Fees
Greenlight has 3 plans. Greenlight, Greenlight + Invest, and Greenlight Max.
Greenlight cost per plan
- Greenlight – $4.99/month
- Greenlight + Invest – $7.98/month
- Greenlight Max – $9.98/month
All the plans give full parental controls, core financial tools and educational tools.
Greenlight Invest plan, has the option to invest in stocks through Greenlight’s investment platform.
For parents enrolled in the Greenlight Max plan, kids earn 1% cash back on purchases made with their card.
Greenlight max has all the above plus identity theft protection, cellphone protection and purchase protection. Additionally, customer service is readily available, as it also comes with priority customer support. The Greenlight Max credit card is black, giving it the “top tier look” debit card.
All the Greenlight plans introduce key financial vocabulary and concepts that will come in handy as they grow to become financially smart young adults.
Greenlight offers a Greenlight Savings Reward, where families earn up to 2% on Savings
What you need to know: Other fees
There’s also an additional $10 fee to get a custom debit card. The Greenlight custom debit card is basically your kid’s photo on their debit card. This is a nice feature to have if you have multiple kids using Greenlight however.
Additionally, there are fees for expedited card shipping. Talis Tip: Opt for the regular 7 – 10 business day shipping to avoid fees.
Greenlight $30 Referral Bonus
What you need to know: referral link vs referral code
New Greenlight app users and referrers both get $30 referral bonus when a friend that signs up and keep Greenlight. There’s no “Greenlight referral code” to share. Instead there is a Greenlight friend referral link.
When first time Greenlight app free trial period ends, a $10 bonus is added to the account for continuing to use Greenlight.
That’s a $40 bonus deal for new Greenlight app users.
After signup be on the look of for contests and other deals
How to make Greenlight Cash Gift
As kids get older they prefer cash gifts instead of toys or clothes. Money is the way to go for gifts for teens.
To make a gift contribution to the directly to the child’s Greenlight debit card just share your child’s gifting link with friends and family or have them visit https://gift.greenlight.com. Greenlight limits cash gifts to $100 however.
The person gifting can also choose where the child can spend the money or if they want the cash to go to their savings account.
The ‘gifter’ can even select store where to spend the cash gift.
For example, Greenlight gifters can choose to gift money towards a PlayStation game, Starbucks, Steam, Amazon to name a few.
The Greenlight gift can be sent via text, email or print.
To add the cash gift to the child’s Greenlight account simply add the redemption code to the Greenlight account.
Greenlight personal review
Overall I find Greenlight debit card really teaches kids the value of money by giving them hands-on experience with managing money. When paired with doing chores or school grades as an incentive, Greenlight can be an excellent financial educational tool that takes the headache out of getting kids to do their chores.
For us it was a bit of a learning curve but eventually got the hang of it. We also had an issue with using the debit card at a particular supermarket. I didn’t really understood what happened but my kiddo didn’t go shopping there anymore.
Overall our kiddo learned to value of and how to manage money. He also took to completing chores and getting better grades in exchange for money too. In other words, it worked.
This was the whole purpose why we got Greenlight debit card to begin with.
Also, overall attitude towards money was different when it was ‘his money’ as opposed to ‘spending parent’s money’ with Greenlight. The kiddo was much more careful about where and how much was spent. In other words, money had value.
The kiddo also started paying attention to prices and learning whether something was worth paying a certain amount of money for.
It wasn’t just “I want it no matter how much it costs”. LOL!!
No matter what you decide about Greenlight, my advice is to not wait until kids turn 18yrs old to give them a credit card. That’s a recipe for debt disaster as you can see by today’s high credit card debt statistics.
Teaching kids the value of money at a young age is priceless. Try Greenlight Free for a month. There are no contracts. If you don’t like it, simply cancel.
Hope this helps you be a savvy saving family, TaLisThis post may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure HERE. Thank you.