The debit card for kids that parents manage by app
Flexible parental controls that are right for each child and real-time notifications of each transaction.
Greenlight is the only debit card that lets you choose the exact stores where kids can spend.
Greenlight empowers parents to teach trade-off decisions, money management and the power of saving with a special Greenlight app experience just for kids.
“I love Greenlight. It eases my mind to know that wherever they are or whoever they are with, I can make sure they have the money they need for whatever might come up!”
Set Greenlight to pay allowances automatically weekly or monthly.
Know when, where and how much is spent anytime the card is used.
Send instant funds to your child, from wherever you are.
Greenlight Financial Technology Inc, an Atlanta-based producer of a smart debit card, raised $16 million in Series A funding. TTV Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including New Enterprise Associates Inc, Relay Ventures, SunTrust Bank, Ally Financial, nbkc bank, Canapi and the Amazon Alexa Fund.
Michelle Ibbetson, a middle school teacher in Westminster, Calif., said she saw firsthand that children could be careless about cash. At the end of a week, her classroom is often littered with change that students have left behind.
Determined to help her own children be savvy about money, she signed up more than a year ago for an early version of Greenlight. Her children — Dallin, 10, and Adelle, 12 — review their balances themselves, on cellphones that they can check out from their parents periodically.
“Every Monday, they get a deposit if they did their chores the week before,” she said.
Melanie Cox McCluskey, a copywriter in Pittsburgh, likes the idea of having more control over her 10-year-old daughter’s spending. She’s a Greenlight subscriber and initially put $20 on a prepaid card for her daughter, an amount she replenishes as needed. Eventually she expects her daughter will add the money she earns from odd jobs so Ms. McCluskey won’t have to add funds as frequently. Ms. McCluskey says she gives her daughter the freedom to make spending choices, but feels more confident knowing she can make certain stores off-limits.
“It’s just as much for their benefit to learn about money as it is for my ability to have control over spending,” Ms. McCluskey says.
The piggy bank is virtually extinct.
That’s not to say that teaching kids the value of a dollar and how to save money over time isn’t as worthwhile as ever. Yet you can forget counting coins these days, as most payments are electronic and even kids are joining the noncash majority.
To that end, a growing number of card offerings, including Greenlight, gohenry and Current, are geared specifically toward children and teens. Each allows parents to load funds onto them and monitor their child’s spending through an app, rather than using a prepaid card or linking a debit card directly to a checking account.
Greenlight’s mission is to help raise financially savvy kids in a cashless world, said Tim Sheehan, the co-founder and chief executive. The company is backed by Amazon and several big banks, including Ally Financial and SunTrust.
The money on the card can be divided into two categories: funds that can be spent anywhere and money that can only be spent in specific spots, such as Chipotle, or types of establishments you’ve approved in advance, such as restaurants (hence the name “greenlight”). Parents can also receive an alert whenever the card is used, as well as the amount spent.
“I like the training wheels aspect,” said Ted Rossman, an industry analyst at CreditCards.com. Plus, “kids growing up nowadays are transacting in a world of apps and plastic, it makes sense to give them that experience,” he added.
Companies like Greenlight have released reloadable cards that can be used like debit cards — but only for stores preapproved by the card’s primary account holder. Parents can make sure the $500 earmarked for textbooks, for example, is spent only at the campus bookstore, says Greenlight CEO Tim Sheehan. Some companies allow account holders to block categories of purchases, such as alcohol, in addition to individual merchants.
Though it could be nerve-wracking watching your student stumble through adulthood for the first time, methods like these will show if he or she can be financially responsible. “At some point, you’re going to have to release the reins and let them go,” Sun says. “If you raised them properly, you’ve got to trust yourself, too.”
What sets Greenlight apart from most other debit cards are the parental controls. Using the free Greenlight app, parents can divide their kid's money into two categories. The first category enables your child to use the card anywhere. The second category is restricted to specific retailers (e.g., Starbucks) or specific types of retailers (e.g., restaurants). If a child tries to spend money at a store the parent hasn't approved, the transaction will be declined unless the child has sufficient funds in his or her spend anywhere category.
This is by far and away my favorite feature of Greenlight. We all know that interest rates are at historic lows. Even with online banks such as Ally, a savings account doesn't pay more than about 1.50% APY. The low interest rate can be a hurdle when trying to teach children the importance of saving. Watching a savings account grow is worse than watching paint dry.
With Greenlight, a parent can set the interest rate on their child's account. The interest of course comes out of the parent's account, not from Greenlight. But it can be a great way to teach a child the power of compounding. And since we are typically talking about a relatively small amount of money, even a 10% rate won't wreck the parents' budget.
With Greenlight parents can give their kids debit cards that provide unprecedented control and transparency into how and where they are used. By combining the cards with a mobile app that provides account information as well as transaction data,
For a low monthly fee, parents can instantly transfer cash to their children’s cards, get alerts when children make purchases, and set store-level controls around where children can make purchases. It also provides easy ways for parents to automatically fund allowances or freeze cards if they’re lost or stolen.
Whether it’s birthdays, holidays, or graduations, Greenlight Gift allows friends and family members to send custom gifts to your kids directly through Greenlight.
Add the perfect picture to your child’s Greenlight card. Selfies, sketches, the family pet? Sky’s the limit.
After your trial ends, pay just $4.99/month for the whole family. Includes up to five kids.