Greenlight Review–A Teen Card That Signals Good Choices
The Greenlight debit card sets the bar for teen debit cards. With an easy-to-use app, digital wallet support, and low cost, it offers parents everything they need to provide a path to financial responsibility.
As teen debit cards go, it’s pretty hard to find fault with Greenlight. It has features that will appeal to both teens and their parents.
Features for Teens
For teens, Greenlight offers a debit card that they can use anywhere Mastercard is accepted–in stores or online.
Or they can skip the plastic altogether and use Apple Pay or Google Pay on their smartphones. Greenlight is one of the few teen debit cards that support both.
It’s not just about how teens spend money, though. It’s about managing money–or at
least starting to. That’s one of the appeals of Greenlight. It provides teens with the ability to set up savings goals. But it’s not just savings for saving’s sake. Instead, it’s savings targeted to what motivates them–whether that’s for a more significant future purchase or even that car down the road.
Older teens with jobs can even direct deposit their paycheck to their Greenlight account.
Greenlight wraps those features in a gorgeous app that meets teens where they live–their smartphones.
Features for Parents
But with great power comes great responsibility. (Source: Spider-Man)
So, Greenlight gives parents the tools to ensure their teens exercise it.
First, all money that gets to the child’s Greenlight account (other than direct deposit of a paycheck for older teens) comes from the parents’ account. So parents know what’s going in, as well as what’s coming out.
With their own version of the Greenlight app, Parents have visibility into their teen’s purchases in real-time. They can even decide which stores are acceptable for their child to use their Greenlight card. And if push comes to shove (this never happens–right?), parents can turn off their child’s spending account instantly.
But enough with the stick. Here’s the carrot. Parents can set up chore schedules and decide whether to tie an allowance to chores. Or they can set up one-time rewards.
Parents can also incorporate parent-paid interest on their child’s saving balance. So, it’s like setting up a little real-world reward and consequence to their child’s decision-making.
Parents with more than one child will also like the ability to manage all of their children’s Greenlight accounts from one app and at no additional cost.
Greenlight charges by the family, not the child. There’s just one cost–a monthly fee of $4.99, no matter how many children have accounts or use the app. And the card and app can be used by children of any age–not just teens. Parents can decide if they want to allow younger children to have a card, perhaps with more restrictions, if nothing else, to act as an allowance card that their kids can use at selected online stores.
There are a couple of add-ons that Greenlight charges for–like a one-time fee of $9.99 for a custom card. The “custom” part means a Greenlight card imprinted with a photo–like your child’s picture or drawing or the family dog–pretty much whatever you want. That’s optional.
The only potential downside to the card is the lack of a free ATM network. Kids can use Greenlight to get cash at most ATMs, and Greenlight doesn’t charge a fee. But the ATM operator probably will. The good news is that parents can control that too.
Bottom Line on Greenlight Debit Card
Greenlight hits the mark in providing teens with a measure of independence to learn to manage their money while providing parents with the control and oversight to decide what measure of independence is appropriate for their children.
The app is clear and accessible, highlighting for teens how they’re spending and what they’re saving. And it’s a time-saver for parents, allowing them to easily manage transfers to their kids and keep an eye out for all of them in one place.
The combination puts Greenlight on our list of the best debit cards for teens.