Typically, parents give their children an allowance so they can get used to having and spending money. However, it can be easy for you to forget to give your child a weekly allowance. If you do not want to have to worry about your kid nagging you for your allowance, then Greenlight might be worth checking out. In this Greenlight review, we will look at the value that the service can provide.
Greenlight Review: Greenlight Overview
Greenlight is a finance app designed to help parents automate their childrens’ allowances and teach them good financial habits. With Greenlight, you can “disburse” your child’s weekly allowance in the form of a debit card that they can then use to buy things.
The service allows parents to control funding better and markets itself as a way to teach children about finances.
Greenlight is a finance app that allows parents to automate allowance payments for their kids. The service comes with a prepaid debit card that you can set up so that every week your child’s allowance is deposited on the card’s balance. In other words, it’s basically a bank account for kids so they can get used to having one.
The company was founded back in 2017 with the goal of helping parents raise financially literate kids. The platform lets kids get real-world experience managing their finances. It lets you as a parent keep tabs on their transactions and buying habits.
With Greenlight, you can create accounts for up to 5 children all of which you can control from the app. Further, you can divide each account into “Spending”, “Saving”, and “Giving” categories. There are also a bunch of other extra features to incentivize your kids saving their money (more on that later).
How Does Greenlight Work?
Greenlight has a pretty simple setup. As the parent, you download the app and create an account. You will be asked to key in your email address, phone number, names of your child/children, a mailing address, and your social security number. You will also have to provide a valid debit card or bank account.
Once you do that, you can set up accounts for your children. The debit card for kids is a unique feature of the service. Greenlight debit cards usually take about 7-10 days to arrive in the mail. Once they get there, you can activate the card like a normal debit card and your children can start using them.
From the app, you can set up regular deposits into your children’s accounts and also keep track of their spending habits. Parents can transfer money directly to kids, deactivate cards, receive spending alerts, automate allowance payments, and set spending controls.
The Greenlight debit card is accepted anywhere Mastercard is accepted, aside from a few key exceptions listed here. Most stores, including gas stations, accept the greenlight card. The card cannot be used for money orders, broker deals, adult entertainment, gambling, or security brokers. Also, the debit card can be connected to Apple Pay and Google Pay for kids 13+ and 16+ years old, respectively.
Greenlight Review: What Does Greenlight Include?
Here is a quick rundown of the different features that the service includes.
Greenlight Debit Card
The Greenlight card is the main feature. The debit card is a Mastercard product and can be used as a normal card. Parents can load up the debit card with prepaid funds. The card is simply a prepaid card. It is not a credit card, so children cannot spend money that they do not have (a valuable life lesson, no?).
With the Greenlight debit card, you can make instant transfers, automate allowance payments, and set up real-time notifications every time the card is used. The service also has a useful unique feature that lets you set spending guardrails for your child. You can exclude certain types of transactions and set up spending limits through the feature called “greenlights.”
The debit card has some limitations. There is a monthly fee of $4.99 per card and a $5,000 limit per child account ($10,000 per adult account). You can also only load up to $200 in funds per day via ACH and $500 a day from a debit card. Additionally, the card has a $100 per day ATM withdrawal limit. It also has a $1,000 purchase point maximum per day.
The app is where the adult can manage all accounts and settings for their children. The app can be used to set up accounts and change account settings. These include spending limits and account restrictions. You can also deactivate accounts temporarily.
In addition to the parent app, there is a special version for kids where they can check their account balance and access other educational information. With this app, kids can check their chore lists, track balances, read more about saving and investing, and learn about managing a checking account.
The app also has the chore feature so your kids can keep track of their daily/weekly chores. You can make a chore chart through the account dashboard and add a description for tasks. Then, you can add money to the chores so your child will receive the payment when they complete it.
Your child will learn the importance of earning money by getting paid to complete chores.
Since it is a money service for kids, the creators gave parents a lot of discretion in how the accounts are managed. From the parent version of the app and the parent wallet, you can create accounts for children, divide them into spending and savings accounts, and place spending limits.
As a prepaid debit card, you can easily control how much money goes into the account from the funding source, which is the parent.
You can also bar certain types of transactions or deactivate cards. Accounts are restricted so that your kids cannot change account settings.
Savings Account Interest
The company recently introduced their savings accounts which allow kids to set aside money and gain compound interest on it. The accounts do not have all the features of a standard savings account. However, they help children learn the basics of saving money. They also let parents keep tabs on the savings habits of their kid..
You can set up a savings account from your parent account on the app dashboard. Then you can select the interest rate. You pay the interest, not Greenlight, so make sure you pick a rate that suits you. Once you set an interest rate, the process is automated so you do not have to worry about manually adding interest.
The app lets you set the interest rate so your children can better see tangible results from how interest works. It is also meant to teach them the value of planning and saving for long-term goals.
In addition to the savings accounts, your kids can create specific pockets for goals. These pocket accounts can be put aside for a specific purpose such as a new bike, phone, or game.
Goals give your child a bit of flexibility with how they save and what they save for, though ultimately, you are still in the driver’s seat.
Additionally, the savings accounts have a feature that notifies you if your child wants to dip into their account for purchases.
The Greenlight card can be used on any regular ATM with a Mastercard or Visa interface. Parents can set limits on ATM usage for their child’s accounts and get notifications of any ATM withdrawals. ATM withdrawals have a $105 daily limit per card and a monthly limit of $525. The company does not charge ATM fees to withdrawal money, but you still have to pay any fees associated with the ATM machine.
Greenlight Review: Is Greenlight Legit?
Yes, Greenlight is legitimate. It is a real company that is regulated by the relevant authorities and is a licensed business. The app uses standard 256-bit bank-level encryptions so you and your child’s finances are safe.
The service also gives parent accounts ultimate control over transactions of child accounts so your child’s money is safe. Greenlight uses hashing protocols and virtual private networks to secure customer data. In other words, your money will be as safe with Greenlight as it would be at any other standard banking institution.
Greenlight Cancellation Policy Review
If you are not satisfied with the service or just do not need the platform anymore, then you can call customer support and have them cancel your account.
Greenlight does not charge any fees for cancelling and there is no long-term contract that will prevent you from cancelling. So you can try it out without a long-term financial commitment.
Greenlight Review: How Much Does Greenlight Cost?
The service has a basic monthly subscription fee that costs $4.99 a month per card. Each account can have up to 5 children. Also, you get the first month for free when you sign up. The basic plan includes debit cards, educational apps, finance tools for savings and spending, and parental controls.
Greenlight + Invest
Greenlight + Invest comes with a monthly fee of $7.98 and includes everything in the basic package along with Invest. The invest feature gives your children their own investment portfolio. With your help, they can start investing their money to learn good financial habits. The app tracks several well-known stocks and ETFs.
Greenlight Max is the full-package option and costs $9.98 a month. It includes everything in the previous two levels along with priority customer support, identity theft protection, cell phone protection, and purchase protection.
Greenlight Review: Pros and Cons
- Great for children. Children can learn the basics of managing money and set up good habits for future success.
- Parents get a lot of control. Parents can control accounts and set spending limits, cash withdrawal limits, and more. You can have peace of mind that your children’s money is safe and under your control.
- Easy to use. It’s really simple to set up an account and you can have up to 5 children per account. The spending, savings, and earning pockets are easy to set up.
- The debit card has all the functionality of regular debit cards, with a few key restrictions.
- Your child cannot spend money they don’t have, as is the case with credit cards.
- Not available in all countries.
- Limited direct deposits. You can set up ACH and direct deposits from employers, but not from other forms of payment like Apple Cash, PayPal, or Venmo.
- Bad customer reviews. The service has fairly negative customer reviews mostly surrounding cancelling accounts and difficulties transferring money.
- It is fairly difficult to get a hold of a customer service representative.
Is Greenlight Right for Me and My Child?
It depends. On one hand, Greenlight seems like a great option to teach your children about the basics of responsible finances. It offers a way for you to keep tabs on their spending habits and allowance payments. However, there are a lot of negative reviews from customers, most with a complaint about customer service.
However, if you plan to use the app for a while and do not mind dealing with customer service, then the service may be a good option for you and your child.
Greenlight Reviews from Customers
Greenlight has fairly negative reviews from customers. They have a B rating on their BBB page and a low 1.9 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot.
The vast majority of complaints relate to poor customer support and a buggy app interface. Several people reported they had money missing from their accounts or were unable to access money in their accounts.
Also, many customers noticed that there does not seem to be an option to transfer funds from the parent wallet back into a bank account without talking to customer support and canceling their account. Many people have also said that customer service is slow to respond to any instances of fraud or a missing Greenlight card.
generally speaking, the customer response to Greenlight is overall fairly poor. If you are going to try it out, then make sure you understand options for dealing with account problems.
Final Review: Is Greenlight Worth It?
It’s hard to say if the service is really worth it. On the one hand, the idea of the product is interesting and sounds good for any family wanting to teach their child about money, cash, a checking account, or savings goals. However, it falters in its execution.
The main problems seem to be a lack of good customer support and several technical problems with funding accounts and managing money.
Therefore, Greenlight seems like a neat idea, but we have reservations about recommending it. If you do still decide to try it, make sure you know exactly how the app works and what kinds of things you can do with it.
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