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CertifiKID Field Report: Greenlight® - The Debit Card for Kids

This is a photo of my son's shorts about to go in the washer, an all too familiar weekly scene in our laundry room. I don't even want to know how much cash he's lost around town (**insert facepalm here**). Despite all our teaching about financial responsibility and money management (yes, he owns a wallet!), we needed some help. When I heard about Greenlight, I was excited to give it a try.

Greenlight is a debit card just for kids that parents can fund and manage in real-time right from an app on their phone. There are a couple of things that impressed me right away about Greenlight compared to other options we considered: (1) There is no minimum age requirement (Our credit union wouldn't issue a debit card or even a low-limit credit card to our son until he turns 16.) and (2) Greenlight allows you to view and control accounts and spending limits for up to five kids all in one place for one low monthly fee, which is super convenient and cost effective for families with multiple kids like us. Even better, with this CertifiKID deal, your first month is FREE and you even receive $20 to spend just for trying it out!

We decided to get Greenlight cards for all three of our kids, ages 8, 13 and 15. Setting up our Greenlight account was quick and easy - no burdensome paperwork to fill out or credit check required. Everything is done right on your phone through the app. All I needed was my mobile phone number and other basic identifying information to get started, and the account number for a valid debit card to fund my kids' cards. If you want your child to be able to view and manage their account on their own phone, you need to enter their mobile phone number as well and download the app on their phone.  

About a week after setting up our Greenlight account, the kids' cards arrived in the mail. It was an exciting day!

Things we love about Greenlight so far:

Permission-Based Spending

Greenlight allows you to set both general spending limits, as well spending limits for categories (e.g., gas or restaurants) and even specific stores. For instance, you can fund your child's card with $25 to spend wherever they choose and/or $25 they can spend only on gas or only at Target. How great is that? We set up automatic pay for our kids' weekly allowances (more on that below), which is their "Spend Anywhere" money. We also funded each of our sons' cards with money they can spend only at our neighborhood grocery store. Thanks to Greenlight, we can send them on errands to pick up groceries without having to dig up cash or worry about them losing it somewhere along the way!

During a recent trip to Busch Gardens, our boys went off on their own with their Greenlight cards funded with money they could spend only at the park. We received a notification on our phones every time they made a purchase and could see how much money they had left throughout the day. When they ran low, we were able to immediately transfer money to their accounts right from our phones instead of having to meet up with them to hand over cash. Greenlight even let us specify that any change be automatically refunded to our Parent's Wallet at the end of the day.


Automatic Allowance
Greenlight allows you to pay allowances automatically on a weekly or monthly schedule - no more remembering to hit the ATM or cleaning out your own wallet on pay day. This is also a great visible way for kids to see progress toward a goal if they are saving up for something special, as they watch their Spend Anywhere money grow with each deposit.

Built-in Budgeting
Greenlight has already proven helpful in getting our children, especially our two oldest, to better appreciate and adhere to a budget. It's easy for them to see exactly where their money is going and how much they've spent. If like mine, your kids are constantly coming to you begging for money to meet their friends at Chipotle, or Starbucks, or Chick-Fil-A, Greenlight makes it easy to set a monthly budget for food purchases by funding their cards a set amount that can be spent only at restaurants. Once our oldest is driving, I anticipate using Greenlight to set a monthly gas budget, too. 

Peace of Mind
If your child's Greenlight card is ever lost, misplaced, or stolen, it can immediately be shut off from either your or your child's phone. No more keeping track of loose bills or worrying about cash falling out of your child's pockets or backpack (or going through the wash!). It's also great not having to worry if I've sent the kids with enough money when they go off on their own. I can transfer money to their accounts any time right from my phone. And if they are ever short, they can request additional money right from the app. Greenlight even integrates with Apple Pay, so kids with iPhones who forget their cards at home can still pay for purchases at participating stores.

Excited about trying Greenlight for your family? With this CertifiKID offer, try Greenlight FREE for 30 days and receive $20 in your account. After your trial ends, pay just $4.99 per month for your whole family.

~ Kim

This post is sponsored by Greenlight®. However, we only promote businesses that we genuinely believe in and think will appeal to CertifiKID subscribers.

Tags: kids parents finances saving spending debit financial responsibility money management