If you want your child to be successful in life, it pays for them to learn money lessons early on. Children’s debit cards can be a great way to impart these lessons, but choosing the right one can be a challenge.
Do you want a card that teaches your kids about money? Or do you just need something that will let them make purchases? Maybe you’re looking for a card with no monthly fees or one with great customer service.
In this article, I’ll compare GoHenry and Greenlight—two of the most popular children’s debit cards on the market. We’ll go over their features, fees, and pricing to help you decide which one is right for your family.
Chase First banking account is another great choice for a children’s debit card, check out our full review here.
Let’s get started!
- What is a children’s debit card?
- Why should you use children’s debit cards?
- GoHenry or Greenlight: Which children’s debit card is better?
- GoHenry Debit Card Features
- How much does the GoHenry debit card cost?
- GoHenry Debit Card Limits and Parental Controls
- GoHenry Customer Support
- Greenlight Debit Card Features
- Greenlight card designs
- How much does the Greenlight debit card cost?
- What do the different Greenlight plans offer?
- Greenlight Debit Card Limits and Parental Controls
- Greenlight Customer Service
- GoHenry or Greenlight: Which children’s debit card should you choose?
What is a children’s debit card?
A children’s debit card is a type of bank card that is specifically designed for children. It allows them to have their own bank account and make transactions without having to use cash.
While children’s debit cards are fully functional in the sense that they can perform the same basic functions as a regular debit card, there are several key differences:
- Limits: One of the biggest differences between a children’s debit card and a regular debit card is that the former typically has limitations on how much money can be spent per day. This is to prevent children from overspending and getting into debt.
- Simple user interfaces: Most children’s debit cards have simple user interfaces that are easy for children to understand and use. This is in contrast to regular debit cards, which can be confusing—even for adults!
- Parental Controls: Another key difference is that children’s debit cards usually come with parental controls. This means that parents can set spending limits, block certain types of transactions, and even monitor their child’s account activity.
- Fees: Finally, children’s debit cards typically have different fee structures than standard debit cards. For example, they frequently use a flat monthly subscription fee.
- Designs: Getting kids to care about money isn’t easy. A children’s debit card comes with customizable card designs that will help them be interested in getting a bank account.
Why should you use children’s debit cards?
There are a few reasons why children’s debit cards are important. While I could go on and on about the benefits, I’ll limit myself to my top four:
- They help teach children financial responsibility. This is because they have to be careful with their spending and make sure that they do not overspend.
- They can help parents monitor their child’s spending. This is especially useful for parents who want to make sure that their child is not spending money on things that they should not be spending money on.
- They can help parents teach their children about budgeting. This is because the parent can set a spending limit for the child, and then the child has to learn to stick to that budget.
- They can help parents ensure that their child has access to money in case of an emergency. This is because the parent can load money onto the card and then the child can use it if they need to.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a more in-depth look at GoHenry vs. Greenlight.
GoHenry or Greenlight: Which children’s debit card is better?
Now that we’ve looked at what children’s debit cards are and why they are important, let’s compare two of the most popular options on the market: GoHenry and Greenlight.
The structure of this review is pretty simple. I’ll be walking you through four categories (features, cost, limits, and customer service) for both children’s debit card companies.
I’ll finish up with a quick summary of the key differences between them, along with some guiding questions to help you choose the right card. Let’s dive in!
GoHenry Debit Card Features
GoHenry offers a great set of features that are both well-conceived and well-designed. Let’s take a look at some of its key features below.
- Savings Goals: One of the best features offered by GoHenry is the ability to set savings goals. This is a great way to help kids learn about saving money and budgeting for future purchases.
- Spend Categorization: Another great feature of GoHenry is that it automatically categorizes your child’s spending. This is a great way to help parents see where their child is spending their money and whether or not they are sticking to their budget.
- Spend Notifications: GoHenry also utilizes spend notifications, which is a great way for parents to stay on top of their child’s spending. These real-time notifications can be sent via email or push notification (on the parent’s own phone).
- Automatic Payments: Parents can set up automatic payments for their child’s allowance, savings, etc. This is a great way to help kids learn about budgeting and sticking to a schedule.
- Freeze Card: If your child loses their card, you can easily freeze it through the GoHenry app. This will prevent them from being able to use the card until you unfreeze it.
- Custom Cards: Kids can personalize their GoHenry card so that their name replaces the “Henry” in GoHenry—a feature they’re sure to love!
- Mobile App: Finally, the GoHenry mobile app is well-designed and easy to use. It’s available for both iOS and Android devices.
How much does the GoHenry debit card cost?
GoHenry has an incredibly simple pricing model. After the 30-day free trial, you’ll be charged a flat monthly fee of $3.99 per child. There are no other account fees, and you can cancel at any time by contacting customer service.
In addition to the account fee, your child will also need to pay a withdrawal fee of $1.50 whenever they use an ATM with their GoHenry card. While this isn’t a dealbreaker for everybody in today’s day and age, it certainly isn’t ideal.
Finally, if your child loses their debit card, the replacement fee is… $0! This is good news for parents with forgetful kids.
GoHenry Debit Card Limits and Parental Controls
GoHenry offers parents a limited (but effective) set of limits and parental controls. Through the GoHenry app, parents can set weekly, daily, and one-time spending limits.
GoHenry Customer Support
Unfortunately, GoHenry only offers email customer support. From personal experience, I can say that their response times are generally good. With that being said, it’s still not as quick as phone or live chat support.
Greenlight Debit Card Features
Compared to GoHenry, Greenlight is on a whole different level when it comes to its features. Let’s take a look at some of the more useful ones below.
- Savings Goals: Like GoHenry, Greenlight also offers savings goals. This is a great way for kids to learn about budgeting and saving for future purchases.
- “Spare Change” Saving: With this feature, kids can automatically deposit their “spare change” (i.e., the difference between the cost of a purchase and the next whole dollar) in a savings account. This is very similar to the Acorns app for adults, which if you’re interested, I’ve got a full Acorns app review here.
- Automatic Payments: Parents can set up automatic payments for their child’s allowance, savings, etc.
- Freeze Card: If your child loses their card, you can easily freeze it through the Greenlight app.
- Custom Cards: Kids can personalize their Greenlight debit cards with a photo of their choice—a selfie, for example!
- Mobile App: The Greenlight app is available for both iOS and Android devices. It’s well-designed and easy to use.
- Investing: With the Greenlight + Invest and Max plans, parents can set up investing accounts for their children. This is a great way to teach kids about the stock market and saving for the future.
- Mobile Wallet Integration: Greenlight cards can be added to Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. This makes it easy for kids to make contactless payments via their phones.
Greenlight card designs
For some kids, they want anything that they can put their own personal touch on. Greenlight excels in this category, they let you put any picture on their cards. Let your child’s imagination run wild and get them that much more interested in having their own debit card.
How much does the Greenlight debit card cost?
Greenlight charges its monthly subscription fees on a per family basis. After the 30-day free trial, you’ll be charged a monthly fee (based on the plan you choose) which covers up to 5 children!
The plans are:
- Greenlight ($4.99/month)
- Greenlight + Invest ($7.98/month)
- Greenlight Max ($9.98/month)
Unlike with GoHenry, Greenlight doesn’t charge a fee for ATM withdrawals. However, the company does charge $3.50 for any debit card replacements.
What do the different Greenlight plans offer?
The basic Greenlight plan provides you with a debit card for up to 5 kids and provides you with its core financial tools and parental controls. You also get to earn a 1% reward for any money placed into a savings account.
The Greenlight + Invest plan includes everything included in the basic plus an investing platform that’s made for kids. How awesome is that? Your kids can learn to invest their money using a graphically-friendly user interface. It isn’t as robust as a full-on trading platform, but it’s more than enough to teach your kids the importance of investing and compounded growth.
The Greenlight Max has everything in the two plans above, except that any savings will be rewarded with a 2% return instead of the usual 1%. Additionally, kids will receive a Greenlight Black Card which looks a bit sleeker, as well as 1% cash back on purchases made through the card. There are some other perks such as higher priority customer support, identity theft protection, cell phone protection, and purchase protection that go along with this plan.
Greenlight Debit Card Limits and Parental Controls
Greenlight comes with a robust set of parental controls that—honestly—really impressed me. Through the app, parents are able to set spending limits and monitor their child’s account activity. These limits can be set on weekly spending, one-time spending, or within specific spending categories, such as:
- Brick and Mortar Stores
- Online Stores
The amount of control that the app gives parents is great because it really allows them to customize the experience for their child.
Greenlight Customer Service
Greenlight offers excellent customer service, with options for both phone and live chat support. I’ve personally used their customer service before, and I can say that the representatives are extremely friendly and helpful.
GoHenry or Greenlight: Which children’s debit card should you choose?
The answer to this question will depend on your specific needs and preferences. To help you simplify the decision, I’d like to pose some guiding questions:
Do you have more than one child you’d like to get a debit card for?
If so, Greenlight is probably the better choice. You can get cards for up to 5 children without raising your monthly fee, whereas GoHenry charges you more for each additional child.
Do you want live updates about your child’s spending?
If so, GoHenry is the card that excels more in this regard. You’ll receive real-time notifications whenever your child makes a purchase along with reports about their spending and saving habits.
Do you want to teach your child about investing?
If so, go with Greenlight. Investing is allowed when you purchase a Greenlight + Investing or Greenlight Max plan. Investing isn’t supported by GoHenry (for now).
Do you want to avoid ATM fees?
If so, Greenlight is the best choice. The company doesn’t charge for domestic ATM withdrawals—regardless of the provider.
Do you want more robust spending controls?
If so, Greenlight is the better option. The app lets you set spending limits and monitor your child’s account activity with ease.
There you have it—a detailed comparison of GoHenry and Greenlight children’s debit cards. Both cards offer great features, but Greenlight seems to be the better-value choice overall. This only becomes more true the more children you want a card for!
Do you have any experience with GoHenry or Greenlight? Let us know what you think! We’d love to hear from you.