Debit Cards for Kids

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My twin daughters turn 11 this month and are very much in the “tween” stage of life. Too old for “little kid stuff”, but still not mature enough for some of the freedoms and privileges of older teens. Recently, I’ve seen a lot of growth in the area of financial management and I’d like to nurture this important life skill. It used to be that whenever the girls received money (as birthday gifts, etc.), they’d INSTANTLY spend it. ALL of it. Like it was burning a hole in their pocket.

We’ve had some serious financial conversations and the girls each have their own 529 college savings account. They’ve learned when they receive money to save some, spend some, and give (donate) some, and the difference between shorter-term savings versus longer-term savings.

Given these recent developments, I think it might be a good time to dip our toes into the use of kid-friendly debit cards. I looked at a couple and wanted to share my own list of comparisons and what I have decided to go with in the end:

Comparing GoHenry vs Greelight


Monthly Fee$4.99 for 1 child;
$9.98 for up to 4 kids$4.99 for up to 5 kids (Core)
$9.98 for up to 5 kids (Max)
$14.98 up to 5 kids (Infinity)

Options for InvestingNoYes, with Max or Infinity plans

App AvailabilityYes Yes

Money TransfersYes – instant from parent accountYes – instant form parent account, and possible direct deposit from child’s job

Budget BreakdownYes – gives report on spending historyYes – gives report on spending history

Parent OversightYes – parents decide where and how much kids can spendYes – parents choose where kids spend and set up spending limits

Cash RewardsNo1% on savings (Core);
1% cash back; 2% savings (Max);
1% cash back; 5% savings (Infinity)

Customizable CardCustom Card available for $4.99Custom Card available for $9.99

Card protectionNoYes, for Max and Infinity plans

There are a lot of similar features, but the big differences are that Greenlight offers more options (cash back and savings rewards, in addition to investing options). The other big thing, for me, is that Greenlight offers card protection on its Max and Infinity plans.

In the end, I decided to sign up with Greenlight’s Max plan. I get my first month free, and then it will be $9.98/month after that. I am hoping this app can grow with my kids, so they can learn more about saving and wisely spending (and even investing!) while they are young and still in my care. I love that I can track all their transactions and set limits on how much they can spend and where.

If anyone else is interested in trying the app, I have a code where you can earn $30 when you sign up.

Has anyone else used a similar app to help manage kid-friendly debit cards? What were your thoughts or experiences?

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