Greenlight Debit Card Review
If you are looking for an easy way to help your teens learn to manage money, look no further. The Greenlight smart debit card for kids is exactly what you need.
Be sure to scroll all the way down to find out how to sign up for Greenlight and get $10 put into your parent’s account to start.
A couple weeks ago, my 16-year-old daughter called me over to her computer to look at a pair of shoes she wanted to buy online. She has plenty of her own money in the bank from her summer job, but no bank-issued debit card until she turns 17 (bank rules).
“Mom, I really want these shoes,” she said. “Can you put them on your credit card and I’ll go to the bank tomorrow and get some money to pay you back?”
The shoes weren’t cheap—they were $60.00 on sale—but I knew that she had been watching for the price to go down so she could justify spending her hard-earned money on them. I also knew that she didn’t have enough cash in her wallet to pay me right away, and I was hesitant to pull out my card before she paid me.
“Please, mom? There is only one pair left in my size and I’ve been waiting all summer to get them! Pleeeaaaase?”
I sighed and got out my wallet. Her shoes arrived the other day and I still haven’t seen my $60 because she doesn’t get home from her Cross Country practices until after the bank has already closed each day.
And then there’s my 14-year old daughter. She’s always needing money for this or for that. Technically, I owe her for the chores she’s done, but I long ago gave up on our chores and allowance system because I never seem to have enough cash in my wallet.
Instead of paying them a regular allowance, I find myself scrounging up the cash they need pretty often. I don’t mind giving it to them, but they rarely give me enough lead time to actually procure enough cash, so I usually end up running down to the ATM before they have to leave.
Nobody ever told me about this part of motherhood!
Teaching my teen daughters money management is a surprisingly huge job.
I think it’s important for kids to have their own money to learn how to save and how to spend responsibly. I was thrilled that both of my teens had jobs this summer and were able to buy a good portion of their own school clothes. It was clear that they felt a sense of independence and pride as they made their own purchases and I loved watching them shop.
I would like to see them have that ability all year round, and have often wished for some sort of magical tool that would make it easier for me. Lucky for me, that bit of magic may just have arrived in the mail the other day in the form of two Greenlight debit cards with my children’s names on them.
While they didn’t arrive in time for my daughter’s shoes, I am excited to get started using them at our house. Not only are these debit cards going to make my life easier, they are going to help teach my teens the money management skills they need to learn before they leave home.
Greenlight—the Smart Debit Card for Kids
Here’s how it works:
1. Sign up for Greenlight by either downloading the app or heading to the website.
I did the whole sign up process on my phone from the Greenlight app. It was very simple and only took me a few minutes to get everything set up including ordering the debit cards and linking my bank accounts. The app is available on both iOS and Android.
2. Greenlight sends each of your kids a debit card with their very own name on it.
This service costs only $4.99 a month for up to 5 debit cards. At first I just ordered one for each of my teenagers, but after having them for two days and understanding the app more fully I have now ordered one for my 11-year old daughter, too.
3. Transfer money from your linked bank account(s) to your children’s debit cards.
You can do this manually, or you can automate a specific amount to go on their card weekly or monthly. My kids are going to be so happy because they are finally going to get a regular allowance again since it will now be so easy to pay them.
I am going to be happy because I can set it and forget it, it doesn’t cost me any extra to do it this way, and I can stop scrounging for cash or making a mad dash to the ATM.
I was also happy to see that you can link more than one bank account. This will be nice for my oldest daughter, because she can put her own money onto her debit card as well, thus ending anymore online shopping issues for her.
4. Monitor the kids’ spending from your app
The app is very easy to use. The kids can add the app to their phones and sign up with their own accounts so they can request money from you or send you messages via the app. You will get alerts whenever they use their card telling you where they spent money and how much they spent.
You can turn off the card if necessary (especially nice if it is lost or stolen), and continue transferring money in from your bank account to the children’s cards as needed. It is all super slick and user friendly.
How does Greenlight teach teens money management skills?
1. They have independence to spend their own money.
The money on the card is theirs to spend. But mom and dad are in control of how much goes on the card, when it is transferred, and even where it can be spent.
On the app, there are 4 spending categories you can assign money to when you add it to your child’s account: Spend anywhere, gas station, restaurant, or a specific store. This is a great way for you to be sure that money that has been earmarked for a specific purpose does not get spent elsewhere, but also for kids to have the “spend anywhere” category that allows them to make their own choices about how they spend the money.
2. They learn to budget with the money that is available on their card.
Because of the categories and limits that may be placed on spending, they will be learning budgeting more effectively. If they know they are given a certain budget for gas, then they will hopefully be more mindful of how much gas they are using.
And because the card itself has a limited amount of funds available to them, they will learn to pay attention to what they have spent and how much they have left. Hopefully this will help them to begin to make smart money choices and differentiate between needs and wants.
3. They learn how to use a debit/credit card without the risk of going into debt.
I have occasionally sent my girls into a store with my card to buy something for me. Apparently I don’t do it often enough because using the card always makes them super nervous. And they both worry that since it has my name on it they will get into trouble.
Having their own card with their own name will alleviate that particular worry, and will also give them a lot more practice using the card machines.
My very first credit card was a gas card to a specific gas station. I didn’t really realize how quickly I could go into debt by using it, though. While it was a good life lesson for me, I wish I would have had the opportunity to practice using a card without the risk of going into debt.
4. You can assign and pay them for chores via the app.
This is a newer feature (2019), and I am loving it. I can put chores into the app and the kids will get a notification on their phones. They will see what they are supposed to do, when it needs to be done, and how much I will pay them for doing it.
You can also connect allowance to chores now, too.
Want to try Greenlight with your kids?
Sign up for Greenlight and get $10 put into your parents’ wallet to start.
I am super excited to have this amazing tool available to us! I can’t wait to see the growth my kids experience as they use the cards and begin to learn money management skills that will last them the rest of their lives.
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