Interested in money cards for kids? This article covers the reasons why you should consider letting your children have their own debit card and gives an overview of Greenlight and gohenry, two frontrunners in the kids’ prepaid debit card space.
Rumour has it (on the web at least) that eventually, we’ll be dealing with a cashless society. We’re still a long way off from that, but given that many adults prefer to use plastic these days rather than cash, it’s a good idea to get your kids doing the same.
There are several benefits to allowing your kids to use a prepaid debit card, including:
- They aid financial literacy – kids can learn how to earn, save, spend and even invest their own money, to help them develop good money habits for later in life.
- It’s easy to transfer funds – prepaid debit cards are reloadable, and money can be transferred from your account to your child’s card in a matter of minutes.
- They come with parental controls – you can have a complete overview of what your child has been spending money on, and set limits in place if need be.
- Better security – cash can be easily lost while a pin-protected prepaid debit card holds money safely. Even if the card gets stolen, you can put a block on the one that’s missing and order a replacement card instead.
- They’re ideal for emergencies – if your kid needs money in a pinch, as long as they have their card on them, you can transfer funds straight across to help them get home safely or buy something they need.
Greenlight is one of the leading prepaid debit cards and financial apps around for children. It does come with a price tag of $4.99 per month (per family), but many features are included which you may feel justifies the cost.
As a parent, you’ll transfers funds from your debit card or bank account into your Greenlight Parent’s Wallet. From there you can distribute funds to your kid’s Greenlight card and assign money to different categories, such as “spending, “giving” and “saving”.
You can choose to “Greenlight” specific stores that you’re happy for your child to spend money in (the card can also be used at an ATM). Kids can request more money if they run out of funds. You’ll get notified via a text alert, and you can then choose to accept or reject their request as you wish.
Because you can set up the card to only work in certain stores, thieves will be hard pressed to know which stores they are, even if they figure out the card’s pin! Plus, you can switch your kid’s Greenlight card off at any time from the app, just in case it gets lost or stolen.
Allowance-giving is made easy through Greenlight’s app – you can simply “set and forget” allowances to automatically transfer from your Parent’s Wallet, so you don’t have to fish around for change every week. You can also encourage kids to save by setting up parent-paid interest.
Greenlight is suitable for kids of any age, although parents must complete the registration process unless their child is over the age of 13.
GoHenry is quite similar to Greenlight in that it’s a family banking tool that allows children to earn, spend, save and give while parents retain overall control. It’s perhaps best for kids aged 6 or above.
You can set up single or weekly spending limits and choose where the card can be used, for example, in-store, online or at an ATM.
Where gohenry differs is that you can set up task-based earning opportunities to encourage kids to carry out chores in return for their allowance.
Another difference is the price. gohenry costs $3.99 per month, per child. If you have more than one child, you are going to end up paying more for this app, compared to Greenlight, but you may find that the task setting feature is worth the extra cost alone.
gohenry offers card personalization for $4.99 (so the card would be branded as gorachel, for example). This is a tempting upgrade feature that will make any child’s eyes light up! Another advantage to gohenry is that member support is available seven days per week, from 9 am to 5 pm EST (by phone, email and live chat).
Greenlight and gohenry both offer kids a fun and safe way to learn about managing money, while you keep overall control of the finances. Both have useful features, although they differ slightly and of course, there is a cost difference between both platforms.
Before you decide which one to go with, we’d encourage you to check out FamZoo and BusyKid too. These are similar options that come with a prepaid debit card for kids.
*The facts and figures presented in this article are correct at the time of publishing.