Greenlight Debit Card: Can it Really Teach Kids About Money?

Teaching kids about money management can be challenging, especially because you don't want to give them too much financial freedom too soon.

But, hands-on experience is one of the best ways for kids to learn about money. The Greenlight debit card teaches kids valuable financial lessons, such as how to save and budget money.

While some parents may be apprehensive about handing over a debit card to their kid or teen, Greenlight has many safeguards to prevent overspending and misuse of the card.

The Greenlight debit card's features and benefits differ from traditional banks.

What is the Greenlight Debit Card?

The Greenlight card is a secured debit card for kids and teens that teaches them financial literacy.

Since the card is secured, money must be loaded onto it ahead of time. Parents can transfer funds via the Greenlight app, and teens can receive direct deposit paychecks if they have a job.

Included with the Greenlight card is the Greenlight mobile app, which parents and kids can access.

However, what parents can do on the app versus what the kids can do is different. For example, kids can view their card balances, check their spending, and create savings goals.

While parents can set up controls that limit how much their children can spend and monitor debit card use. 

Parents also can transfer money from their existing financial accounts and set up allowance payments.

Try the Geenlight Debit Card FREE for 30 Days

Greenlight Debit Card for Kids and Teens: Features and Benefits

The features are essential when considering if the Greenlight prepaid debit card is a good fit for your kids. However, what is even more valuable is how these features will benefit your family.

Here are some of the best features and benefits of the Greenlight debit card.

Spending Controls

Unlike a debit card from a traditional bank, the Greenlight debit card offers many spending controls for parents. This helps parents feel comfortable giving their children access to a debit card.

These parental spending controls include:

  • Being able to turn the card on and off instantly
  • Receiving instant cell phone spending notifications
  • Setting spending limits and ATM withdrawal cash limits
  • Ability to check the available balance and transfer funds

With these safeguards, parents won't have to worry about their kids draining money from their online accounts.

These parental controls are similar to teaching your kids how to ride a bike but starting with training wheels.

Your child will feel like they are getting some financial freedom to manage their debit card account. However, to give parents peace of mind while their kids are learning about money, safeguards are in place to prevent unnecessary spending.

Saving Tools

To motivate kids to save money, Greenlight has some features that'll make saving money automatic and easy. These tools help kids save and get rewarded for saving money.

Round Ups

There's an option to have purchases rounded up to the nearest dollar. The amount rounded up will be transferred into the Greenlight savings account.

For example, if the purchase was for $10.20, the rounded-up amount is $11. Therefore, the amount transferred into the savings account would be $0.80.

This may not sound like much cash, but over time adds up, especially if your child makes frequent purchases.

Savings Rewards

Depending on the Greenlight plan, cardholders can earn between a 1% to 5% savings reward on money in the savings account or part of the savings goals.

Rewards are paid out monthly and transferred into the savings account.

Cash Back Rewards

When kids make purchases, they'll get cashback rewards automatically transferred to their savings account monthly.

While the cashback is 1%, this can add up, especially if many purchases are made on the card.

The basic core plan doesn't offer cash back when making purchases. However, both Greenlight Max and Greenlight Infinity plans provide this perk.

Parent-Paid Interest

In addition to getting cash back and savings rewards paid out by Greenlight, parents can pay interest to their children to motivate them to save.

Teach Your Kids About Money With the Geenlight Debit Card

Where the Greenlight Debit Card Can Be Used

The debit card is accepted at most places that take Mastercard. It's also accepted in over 150 countries, and unlike many banks, you will not be charged foreign transaction fees.

This card is a smart option for parents who travel often, and there is no need to notify Greenlight if you're traveling, which is one less thing to worry about.

Custom Card

The Greenlight debit card is free unless you want a custom card, which is a $9.99 charge. With the custom card, you or your child can pick a photo to be printed onto the debit card.

Your kids will love receiving a personalized card instead of a standard one.

If you have multiple kids, it may be a good idea to have a picture of them on the card; that way, no one will mix each other's cards up.


Besides being able to set up controls, there are other safety features Greenlight offers that'll put parents at ease, including:

  • Logging in with touch or face ID for extra security
  • Mastercard's Zero Liability Protection
  • Blocking unsafe spending categories
  • Debit cards are FDIC-insured up to $250,000
  • Customer support is available 24 hours, 7 days a week

Direct Deposit

Teens who have a job can receive direct deposits to their Greenlight account. With all the saving and budgeting tools the Greenlight account offers, teens can easily budget their paychecks.

Learning about budgeting at a young age will help them become financially responsible adults.

Chores and Allowance System

Parents can set up chore schedules and check off lists within the Greenlight App. Then, when kids complete their chores, parents can pay them through the app. It's a terrific way to organize kids' chores in one place, and parents can set up recurring chores, saving them time.

Another practical option is for parents to enable notifications to remind their kids to complete chores. Kids can also keep track of their allowance, learn how to budget, and track their spending in the app.

Having such a fun chore system is a win-win for parents and kids. Parents will be thrilled with how easy it is to set up chore calendars, and kids will feel a sense of independence and pride.

Greenlight Card Plans and Fees

There are three plans to choose from when signing up for the Greenlight card. Each plan differs in price and offers various features. Before signing up for the Greenlight card, parents should compare plans, so they pick the right plan for their family.

Fee Transparency

While the Greenlight debit card has no hidden fees, it does charge a monthly fee that ranges from $4.99 to $14.98 per month, depending on the plan chosen.

Some hidden debit card fees that traditional banks charge that Greenlight does not are:

  • Overdraft fees
  • International fees
  • ATM fees
  • Minimum spending bank fees

Greenlight Core

  • Cost: $4.99 per month

Greenlight Core is the most basic plan offered. This plan is smart for parents on a budget since it's the cheapest and still offers all the essential features to help teach your kids about money.

Greenlight Core Features include:

  • Debit Mastercard for up to five kids
  • Financial tools
  • Greenlight app
  • Parental controls
  • 1% Savings Rewards
  • Parental Investing (lite)
  • Cash back credit card for parents

Greenlight Max

  • Cost: $9.98 per month

The next tier plan, Greenlight Max, has all the features of Greenlight Core, plus even more perks, including as a 2% reward on savings, up from just 1% in the basic Core plan.

Greenlight Max features include:

  • 1% Cash Back
  • Investing for both kids and parents
  • Priority customer support
  • 2% savings reward
  • Identity theft protection
  • Purchase protection
  • Cell phone protection
  • Greenlight Black Card

Greenlight Infinity

  • Cost: $14.98 per month

Finally, the Greenlight Infinity plan has everything the Core and Max plans offer, except you receive a 5% savings reward plus some additional features, which include:

  • SOS alerts
  • Family location sharing
  • Crash detection

Try the Geenlight Debit Card FREE for 30 Days

Greenlight Sign-Up Process

To sign up for the Greenlight debit card, you'll need to provide the following:

  • Email
  • Physical address
  • Cell phone number
  • Legal first and last name
  • Date of birth
  • Kid's name(s)
  • A current debit card or bank account from a financial institution
  • Social security number

Once you enroll and are approved, your card will be mailed in seven to ten business days. If you need the card sooner, there is a $24.99 fee to get it shipped to you faster.

Also, there is no minimum or maximum age limit for kids to have an account.

Greenlight Card Review

There are other ways to give kids access to money, such as giving them cash or Visa gift cards. However, the Greenlight debit card is the only one that teaches them money management skills.

The downside of giving your child cash versus access to a debit card is that kids can lose money.

In contrast, parents can quickly turn the card off through the app and call customer service to prevent fraudulent charges if the Greenlight card is stolen or lost.

In addition, cash is not accepted online or through apps and, in general, is becoming less of a preferred payment method.

Whereas the Greenlight Mastercard debit card is accepted practically anywhere and can be connected to Apple Pay and Google Pay. It's also better than giving kids a Mastercard or Visa gift card, which typically requires an activation fee.

Is the Greenlight Debit Card Worth it?

So while the Greenlight debit card has a monthly fee, it offers more valuable financial literacy tools and convenience than other options.

The Greenlight card fee is worth it when you consider that money lessons learned at a young age will be the foundation of spending and budgeting habits into adulthood.

Signing up for the Greenlight Debit Card free one-month free trial is a risk-free way to see firsthand how the card will benefit your kids and family. 

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Annie Brown is the founder of Savvy Honey, where she shares frugal living tips, easy recipes, and tons of other fun ideas. She has also been featured in Buzzfeed, GOBankingRates, Woman's Day, MSN, Yahoo, The Spruce Crafts, and more. You can read more from Annie at