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Greenlight offers a banking and investing app that helps kids and teens kickstart their financial education. Users get physical debit cards, and parents are able to control where and how they shop. You can also automate your child’s allowance through the app and set chore lists that they have to complete before being paid.
- No age restrictions
- Spending controls
- Beginner-friendly investment platform
- No overdraft or ATM fees
- Requires a monthly subscription fee
- No check or cash deposits
Greenlight helps young people manage their money and gain financial literacy. Users get actual debit cards, and they can start investing with as little as $1. However, Greenlight does require a monthly fee.
What is Greenlight?
Greenlight is a financial technology company offering a smartphone app that helps young people bank and invest. Parents can load their children’s debit cards with money, track expenses and even control what stores their kids can shop at.
Greenlight is not a bank, so banking services are provided by Community Federal Savings Bank (CFSB), which also issues Greenlight debit cards. Because CFSB is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), all Greenlight accounts are insured up to $250,000.
How does Greenlight work?
To get started with Greenlight, sign up through the app, enroll in a plan and fund your Parent’s Wallet. You’ll need to provide basic personal information as well as your Social Security number (SSN) and a valid debit card or bank account.
There are three Greenlight plans to choose from:
- Greenlight is the company’s basic plan. It offers debit cards for up to five kids, app access, financial tools, parental controls and 1% savings rewards.
- Greenlight + Invest includes everything in the basic Greenlight plan and adds investing for kids and parents.
- Greenlight Max is an upgrade to Greenlight + Invest that adds 1% cash back, Greenlight black cards, priority customer support, identity theft protection, cell phone protection and purchase protection. Savings rewards are also increased to 2% with Greenlight Max.
Once you and your kids are set up on the Greenlight app, you’ll have different user experiences. Children can spend and set up savings goals with their parents' approval while earning money through allowances and completing chores. Kids can also personalize their debit cards by adding their favorite photos to their cards.
For parents, the app makes it easy to set up chores and allowances while tracking all expenses and limiting the stores where their kids can shop. Parents can also encourage their kids to save by setting up Parent-Paid Interest.
Greenlight provides multiple benefits to help families understand and manage their finances. The specific features you can access depend on which plan you sign up for.
- Prepaid debit card
- Your Greenlight debit card allows you to monitor and put limits on your child’s spending. You load the card with funds for transactions, and there is no required spending minimum. There are also no ATM, overdraft or trading fees.
- Flexible parental controls
- Greenlight comes with multiple features to help you manage your child’s account, ranging from store-level controls to instant notifications any time they make a transaction. You can also activate or deactivate your child’s card on the app.
- Chore and allowance plans
- You can set up weekly, biweekly or monthly allowance payments as well as chore lists. Chore lists can feature recurring or one-time chores and automated payments once they’re complete.
- Instant transfers
- You can make instant transfers from your account to your child’s Greenlight card. Working teens can also set up direct deposits to receive payments from their employers straight to their Greenlight accounts.
- Saving and investing tools
- Greenlight comes with a variety of saving and investing tools, depending on your plan. There are 1% to 2% savings rewards available, and you can set up Parent-Paid Interest to further encourage your kids to save. Greenlight also offers 1% cash back on spending with the Greenlight Max plan.
With the Greenlight + Invest and Greenlight Max plans, your child can invest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) with your approval. That means they can learn how to invest and pick up some fundamental financial skills under your guidance, and because they can buy fractional shares, they can get started investing with as little as $1.
Greenlight card fees
To use Greenlight, you’ll need to subscribe to one of its plans:
- The basic Greenlight plan costs $4.99 per month.
- The Greenlight + Invest plan costs $7.98 per month.
- The Greenlight Max plan costs $9.98 per month.
All prices are accurate at the time of publishing. Each plan can accommodate up to five kids and two adults.
Debit cards arrive in seven to 10 business days if you choose free shipping, but two- to three-day shipping costs $24.99 at the time of publishing. You’ll also need to pay a one-time fee if you want to upgrade to a personalized card.
Greenlight doesn’t charge commissions on trades or any ATM, overdraft or trading fees.
- What bank owns Greenlight?
- Greenlight is not owned by a bank. It is a private financial technology company founded by Tim Sheehan and Johnson Cook. However, Greenlight’s banking services and debit cards are provided by Community Federal Savings Bank, Member FDIC.
- What age is Greenlight card for?
- There is no minimum or maximum age for using Greenlight. However, younger kids may require more parental guidance to get started.
- Is Greenlight free?
- Costs for Greenlight plans range between $4.99 and $9.98 per month.
- Where is Greenlight accepted?
Greenlight debit cards are accepted almost anywhere Mastercard is accepted. Greenlight cards also work in over 150 countries, with no foreign transaction fees.
There are some protections in place to keep underage users safe, so you can’t use a Greenlight card for certain financial actions, gambling or other potentially illicit purposes. You can also customize where your child can shop in the app.
- Is Greenlight a prepaid card?
- Yes, Greenlight is a prepaid debit card. You load money onto the card and set the limits for your child’s spending.
Is Greenlight safe?
Greenlight accounts are insured by the FDIC for up to $250,000 each, and Greenlight debit cards come with Mastercard’s Zero Liability Protection against unauthorized transactions. Greenlight also blocks spending in unsafe categories and lets you pick and set limits for where you want your kids to shop. You’ll get real-time notifications every time your child spends money with their card, and you have the ability to disable the card with your app if it gets lost or stolen.
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I had an unauthorized charge on my kids account. I called the same day to dispute the charge and the agent said it was just an authorization and it could fall off and advised I call back after so many days to make sure the charge goes through then I can file a dispute. Well I did this and now my dispute has been denied and they won't refund the money. Terrible customer service. They could have stopped the charge from processing from the 1st day. BEWARE!!!!
This company WILL NOT PROTECT YOU. Funds were taken out of my child's account and they really don't care. It's really not worth this much drama, when there are so many companies out there that will look out for you. I regret referring this company to my friends and family and will make sure to have them close their accounts before they lose money. I still cannot believe the outcome.
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