If you’re on the hunt for a bank account with a debit card for your child, you’ve probably already heard about Greenlight. Even though it is one of the most popular choices for parents, there are plenty of Greenlight card alternatives for you to consider.
In this article, we’ve put together a list of some of the best Greenlight alternatives and advice to help you along the way.
11 Best Greenlight Card Alternatives
Here are the best Greenlight alternatives you can open an account with today:
- Axos First Checking
- Chase First Banking
- Copper Banking
- Acorns Early
- M1 Finance
1. Axos First Checking
- Monthly Fee: $0
- Promotions: $20 referral fee
Axos First Checking account is tailored for teens aged between 13 and 17. Parents and kids jointly own the checking accounts.
A $50 opening deposit is required – but Axos charges no monthly maintenance or overdraft fees on these accounts. Unlike most other accounts mentioned in this article, this account is interest-bearing. APY on this account goes up to 0.10%.
You can monitor all transactions through the mobile banking app or switch on real-time spending notifications. You can schedule automatic allowance payments and auto bill-pay features. The prepaid debit cards Axos includes with Axos First Checking accounts can be used for free at network ATMs.
- Interest-bearing account that pays up to 0.10% APY
- no overdraft fees
- No chores or budgeting features
- lower than average daily debit card limits
2. Chase First Banking
- Monthly Fee: $0 for existing Chase customers
- Promotions: N/A
Chase First Banking accounts are subsidiary accounts designed for children of existing Chase Bank checking account holders.
Each checking or savings account holder may have up to 5 Chase First Banking accounts registered in their name. Children between 6 and 17 can use these parent-funded accounts through their Chase app and debit card.
You can set up real-time transaction notifications and spending or ATM withdrawal limits. Children can request money through the app, and you can approve or decline the requests as you see fit.
- Request funds feature
- fee-free access to 16,000 ATMs across the country
- You cannot deposit funds directly into the Chase First account
- you must be an existing Chase customer
3. Copper Banking
- Monthly Fee: $0
- Promotions: N/A
Copper Banking allows teens to improve their financial literacy through real-world experience and carefully curated content. The Copper mobile app allows parents to manually top up their teen’s account or through automated allowances.
Teens can set their savings goals through the app, and parents can monitor their spending. Each Copper Banking account comes with a MasterCard debit card for easy access to funds through over 55,000 ATMs. Teens can shop online or in-store and make payments through Google or Apple Pay.
- Access to 55,000 fee-free ATMs
- up to 5 free teen accounts can be linked to each adult account
- Relatively limited parental controls
- no chore-tracking features
- Monthly Fee: Starting from $4.99
- Promotions: 30-day free trial and $30 referral fee
GoHenry is a banking app designed with kids aged between 6 and 17 in mind. Bank accounts come with customizable GoHenry debit cards in various patterns and designs.
These MasterCard debit cards allow easy access to Google and Apple pay, ATM withdrawals, and other purchases. GoHenry blocks card purchases from retailers that are deemed unsafe for children. The app will also send you an instant notification whenever a transaction is flagged as unsafe and blocked.
The GoHenry mobile app allows parents access to features such as real-time spending notifications, enforcing spending limits, and setting up chores and tasks. You may also block debit cards through the app. Friends and family members may deposit funds straight into a child’s account.
- Extensive financial education content for all ages
- no minimum balance requirements
- savings goals feature
- No free accounts
- ATM fees
- Monthly Fee: Starting from $4 (billed annually)
- Promotions: 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not happy with the service
BusyKid is a mobile banking app with a prepaid Visa spend card for kids to use. Parents can reload prepaid debit cards from their checking accounts as they see fit to control their child’s spending. Kids can use these prepaid spend cards anywhere where regular Visa cards are accepted. They also include perks like zero liability protection.
The app allows parents to assign preset and custom chores that kids can earn money for completing. You can save time checking the app by setting up instant notifications when your child uses their card.
Automated allowances also facilitate fewer manual money transfers. The BusyKid app has an integrated investing platform. It was designed to help kids learn about investing and build investment portfolios through the app.
- Investment options
- multi-parent access
- custom chores feature
- No free accounts
- cards can’t be switched on and off through the app
- Monthly Fee: Starting from $2.50 (when prepaying for 24 months)
- Promotions: $15 referral bonus for referring other families
FamZoo is an online family banking platform designed to help kids learn financial lessons practically. Parents can set up IOU or prepaid accounts depending on their family’s needs. Children’s accounts come with prepaid debit cards and have no minimum balance requirements.
The entire family shares one main FamZoo banking dashboard, which each member can access through individual login credentials. Kids only have access to their accounts, while parents can oversee the family banking system. You can configure spending alerts, automated transfers, informal loan tracking, and chore lists. Kids’ cards can be activated and deactivated by parents whenever they choose.
- Cards can be activated or deactivated at will
- family billing feature to split expenses equally and handle reimbursements
- option of paying out “parent-paid” interest on savings
- Less easy to use when compared to other available options
- no free accounts
7. Acorns Early
- Monthly Fee: $0 for Acorns Early account (Acorns Family costs $5 per month)
- Promotions: N/A
Acorns Early accounts are entirely free. However, they are not traditional bank accounts for kids to use.
Adult Acorns checking account holders may register for an Acorns Family account and create accounts in their children’s names.
Parents may fund kids’ accounts through direct debit from their checking or savings accounts. As with regular Acorns accounts, Acorns Early also allows parents to invest in fractional shares on behalf of their children.
Acorns Early accounts don’t allow children to have access to their money without supervision, and for that reason, no debit cards are available.
- Investment features
- financial literacy content for parents
- No debit cards for kids to use
- kids don’t have direct access to their accounts
- Monthly Fee: $0
- Promotions: N/A
Current is a mobile banking app with built-in financial literacy features to help teens on their journey to financial independence. Parents need to be existing Current checking or savings account holders to open a Current teen account for their kids.
Once you create a teen account, you must link it to your checking account. Once completed, you can pay out allowances or money earned for completing chores. Teens get a Visa debit card that they can use at over 40,000 Allpoint ATMs across the United States.
Current teen accounts come with round-ups, savings pods, budgeting features, and chores. The app allows parents to turn debit cards on and off when they choose, get instant card use notifications, and set spending restrictions.
- Savings pods that pay out interest
- access to over 40,000 network ATMs
- flexible parental controls
- No co-parenting options
- cash deposit fees
- Monthly Fee: $9 for Stash+
- Promotions: N/A
Stash is a well-rounded online and mobile banking app that offers various investment options. Their Stash+ account allows account holders to open custodial accounts for their children. The account is then transferred to the child once they are of legal age. Parents, friends, and family can fund kids’ accounts via direct deposit or automated transactions.
The app is mainly known for its built-in investment platform. It comes with a range of financial education content to help adults make smarter investments, even if they’re new to investing. Parents who have opened custodial accounts for their kids can invest in fractional shares on their behalf.
- Extensive investment options
- guidance on investing through the Stash Learning Center
- Kids can’t access custodial accounts or have the ability to learn by doing
- no free accounts
- Monthly Fee: $0 for the first year
- Promotions: One-year free trial
Mazoola is a digital wallet shared by family members. It does not provide physical MasterCard debit cards. The lack of a physical card can be a good thing if your child is known to lose their cards often. You don’t need to maintain a minimum account balance on these digital wallets.
Kids and parents have individual login information, allowing different access levels. Parents can assign paid chores to family members or leave them unassigned to create competition between kids.
You can easily set up budgeting and savings goals within the app. Parents get to decide where kids can use their digital debit cards and how much they can spend.
- No minimum account balance
- extensive parental controls
- Does not offer kids physical debit cards
- Mazoola does not disclose the fee structure applicable after the one-year trial on their website
11. M1 Finance
- Monthly Fee: Starting from $10.42 (to be paid annually)
- Promotions: 90-day free trial
M1 Finance is a fintech company specializing in digital checking accounts, lines of credit, and investment services. It is not directly targeted at children and offers no features for kids to use.
Parents with an M1 Plus subscription account may open custodial accounts on behalf of their children. Custodial accounts are not available for regular M1 online checking or savings account customers. Parents can invest on their children’s behalf and deposit funds directly into their custodial accounts.
Any funds you deposit into an M1 Finance custodial account are considered irreversible gifts to the minor. Children can’t access funds in custodial accounts directly until they reach the age of majority. You may access funds by using a debit card; however, you must use any withdrawals you make for the use or benefit of the child.
- Extensive investment features
- option to purchase fractional shares and stocks on behalf of your child
- Kids cannot use the account directly
- fees are higher than average
How To Choose The Best Greenlight Card Alternative for Your Child
It’s now easier than ever to help your kids on their way to achieving their financial independence. Here are some things to remember before choosing a financial institution and opening a bank account for your kids.
Financial Literacy Features
Many apps offering kids’ accounts and debit cards have educational features like financial term explanations, educational games, and quizzes to help kids learn through doing. As much as we would like to teach our kids everything to know about banking ourselves, having a little help and reinforcement through an app never hurts.
Extensive Parental Controls
Making sure your kids have room to grow and learn for themselves is ideal. However, since real money is at stake, it’s always best to have parental control. The more features available to you, the better, as these will help you monitor and guide your kids as needed.
Security & Insurance
Traditional banks are usually FDIC-insured, while federal credit unions are insured through the NCUA for up to $250,000.
Some bank accounts, banking apps, and debit cards designed specifically for kids aren’t available from traditional banks or credit unions. As such, they might not always come with standard insurance. Understanding what safeguards are in place for your money if a company goes bust.
Make sure that the financial institution handling your data uses bank-grade security practices. Multi-factor authentication, facial recognition, and identity protection features are becoming the industry standard.
However, you should always read the fine print. Features such as real-time spending notifications and the ability to switch cards on and off instantly are invaluable in case of suspected fraud or identity theft.
COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) requires service providers to advise parents or guardians of any data collected on minors. Ensure any financial institution you become involved with is COPPA-compliant to safeguard your kids’ data.
Greenlight at a Glance
Greenlight is a mobile banking app that empowers parents to raise financially literate children. All Greenlight kids accounts come with a MasterCard debit card to allow easy access to online and in-store purchases.
As with many online banking services, starting your journey with Greenlight is relatively straightforward. Parents or guardians must first create a Greenlight account and link it to their checking or savings account. Once you create your account, you can link up to five kids’ accounts. Kids must have access to cell phones to use the Greenlight mobile app.
Funding kids’ Greenlight accounts
- Direct deposits & recurring transfers: You have complete control over how much money is available through the kids’ accounts at any time. Greenlight allows you to set up direct deposits and recurring payments for things like a weekly or monthly allowance.
- Chores and Tasks: You can also create recurring or one-time chores for your kids through the banking and chore app. This feature teaches kids about financial responsibility and other valuable skills that will come in handy later in life. Once your child has completed their assigned tasks or chores, the app will deposit the pre-set amount into their account.
Greenlight has three plans set at different price points, which offer a wide range of features and services. All plans come with a Greenlight debit card, access to the Greenlight financial education app content, and general banking features. New users get a one-month free trial.
- Greenlight Core: $4.99 per month
- Greenlight Max: $9.98 per month
- Greenlight Infinity: $14.98 per month
Some notable features are real-time spending notifications, customizable Greenlight debit cards for kids, chores features, personal finance guides, and spending or withdrawal limits. Furthermore, you can also restrict where purchases can and can’t be made.
Tips for Helping Your Kids Learn About Finances
Discuss Their Future Plans
Speaking to kids about long-term plans for the family will help them make long-term plans for themselves organically.
Lecturing children on what to do and not to do doesn’t usually go down very well. So you might be better off including your kids in family budgeting discussions so they can ask questions as they arise and learn on the go.
Making them part of the conversation will also make them more invested in the family’s financial future.
Teach Them the Value of Money
The faster kids learn the correlation between working and earning money, the more likely they will appreciate what they already have. In today’s consumerist society, it is sometimes hard for kids to grasp how much parents have to work to provide for their families.
By paying out small fees for chores and tasks completed, kids will feel incentivized to help around the house while having some money to spend as they see fit.
Once they connect the price of an item and how many hours of work it took to earn the amount of money needed, they will start evaluating what is important to them and potentially even save money.
Set a Good Example
Let’s face it; kids are more likely to copy your behavior than listen to your advice. If your children see that you’re in control of the family credit cards and accounts, they are more likely to mimic your budgeting and money management behaviors as opposed to picking up bad habits.
Keep yourself in check and periodically remind yourself that you are setting an example. Seeking out a network ATM to make a withdrawal without ATM fees, for example, might seem like extra effort at times; however, it will teach your kids a lesson passively.
Explain How Credit and Debit Cards Work
Debit cards may seem a little unreal to kids at first. Some kids need help connecting real money and cards. On the other hand, some may be hesitant to use their debit card out of fear that something will go wrong. It is ideal for teaching your kids about security features such as purchase protection and zero liability in case of loss or theft.
Once kids have a solid understanding of debit cards, you can introduce them to the world of credit cards. Credit cards are an ideal way to build credit once they reach adulthood. The earlier they start building their credit score, the easier it will be for them to finance certain purchases down the line.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Greenlight the best kids’ account available?
Defining which children’s account is best is near impossible as it is subjective. Many banking apps are designed for kids nowadays, and Greenlight is one of them. As long as kids have access to Apple and Google pay, along with being able to make purchases both in-store and online, they usually don’t care much about which account makes sense for them.
Since each financial product designed with kids in mind offers a unique range of perks and features, you should evaluate what’s best for you and your child.
How old do kids need to be to have a debit card?
The average minimum age set by most card issuers is six years old for prepaid debit cards. Kids and teens can usually hold their parent-funded accounts until they are 17. Once they turn 18, they are eligible for accounts they can fund themselves.
Which is the best debit card for kids?
Kids’ prepaid debit cards offered by banks, credit unions, and fintech companies come in all shapes and sizes. Some debit cards give cash back on purchases, others have spending controls for parents, and some offer features such as round-ups.
Most kids’ debit cards come with banking apps that are financial literacy focussed, while others are more like regular adult banking apps. Choosing the best debit card for your child depends on what matters most.