One of the most important decisions that parents make for their kids is showing them how to handle their finances.
Whether this means teaching them about budgeting or giving them an allowance, it’s a crucial part of a child’s development and necessary for setting up healthy financial habits for the future.
Children who are given charge over their own money will learn responsibility, accountability and independence—all qualities that will serve them well as adults.
For parents skittish simply handing over the financial reins to their children without any control or oversight might consider the GoHenry Debit Card for Kids.
The service operates as a prepaid card with dual apps for parents and kids that help with managing finances as a family—and giving parents controls over how their children spend money.
The GoHenry debit card and app allows you to distribute your child’s allowance while teaching them about basic financial concepts like earning, saving, spending and giving.
Each plan comes with one prepaid debit card and each additional card per child will cost you $3.99 per month.
This family money management solution works best if you don’t deal with cash on a regular basis, live in a mobile-first world and feel comfortable paying for a monthly fee—$3.99 to start for one child—for this family-first service.
If this sounds like you, this GoHenry review may help you to understand one way you can help your children grow into financially savvy adults: a debit card for kids and teens.
What is a Debit Card for Kids?
As a result of minors not being able to possess capacity in the legal sense, minors do not have the ability to enter into legal contracts.
Because of this, children can’t open their own bank account until they reach the age of majority in their state—often 18 or even 21 years old.
Parents interested in offering their kids a bank account and paired debit card can still choose a number of possible paths:
1) Opening a sub account from their own bank account.
This can provide your kids with a card to use while you can maintain control over the account itself. Under this situation, it’s still likely that your child will need to be at least 13 years old before receiving a debit card.
However, these accounts may not come with the features you want for maintaining control over your child’s spending behaviors.
2) Opening a joint banking account.
Another option to consider includes opening a joint bank account with your kid or teen. This means you both have ownership over any joint bank accounts you share as well as the assets held inside them.
3) Opening a debit card for teens (minors).
This route understands parents’ desires to teach their kids about money, while providing sufficient parental control and oversight to make sure a child’s spending and money decisions are smart.
To accomplish this feat, debit cards for teens offer parents and guardians the ability to customize spending limits for their kid’s cards, receive real-time spend notifications where your kids shop, block channels and ATM withdrawals.
This gives parents peace of mind knowing how much their child is spending and where they are purchasing it from.
Some new apps even allow you to lock the card or limit where your child spends funds.
These also effectively function as a prepaid debit card because you can establish parental control. Traditional banks or prepaid debit cards might not allow you to do this beyond keeping the balance at a certain level.
About GoHenry Card
GoHenry is a customizable prepaid debit card originating from the UK. It recently launched a US-equivalent offering the following features:
- parental control to oversee how and where your child spends funds on their GoHenry debit card
- set spending limits one-off or on a weekly basis
- implement and administer an integrated chore and weekly allowance system for getting pocket money into their hands
- tools to cultivate and hone money management through setting tasks, enabling children to earn money, establish savings goals and give to charity—all good money skills to nurture
The GoHenry card offers a standard set of features found on many kid’s debit card platforms. They offer these to help parents teach important personal finance skills and build useful money habits including how to save, earn, spend and give money responsibly.
Because the GoHenry debit card acts as a prepaid bank card, your child can’t go into debt or overdraft.
You can open a GoHenry account for anyone between the ages of 6 to 18. The membership fees amount to $3.99 per month per child and you can begin with a one month risk-free trial to demo the service and understand its features.
How Does the GoHenry Card Work?
GoHenry is a prepaid card and app for managing family finances, from chores and weekly allowance to spending and using money online or off or accessing cash from an ATM withdrawal.
With the GoHenry app, kids and parents have companion apps with two different experiences.
Kids can save, earn, spend and give — with parent oversight on every transaction through instant notifications about where and how much your kid spent.
Parents can choose where the card can be used (in-store, online or at the ATM), manage chores and allowances, block and unblock cards as well as set single and weekly spending limits.
And because the GoHenry child’s card functions as a prepaid debit card, parents need not worry about their growing cardholders spending what they don’t have. With a normal debit card, this can result in overdraft fees and possible overspending.
GoHenry doesn’t allow this situation to happen because everything is prepaid.
GoHenry Card’s Products
Prepaid Debit Card for Kids
A prepaid debit card is a type of payment card that can be loaded with funds in advance and then used to purchase goods or services without incurring debt from the issuer.
The most common type of prepaid cards is a prepaid debit card (which acts like making bank account withdrawals when purchasing goods and services).
Prepaid cards for a child allow you to avoid non-sufficient funds fees or overdraft charges because they can only spend what they have on the GoHenry card.
Parental controls are one of the key features you look for as a parent in a kid’s bank card. They help your kids understand what’s in bounds and out, as well as give them the sense of financial freedom they likely want.
GoHenry works by allowing parents to block certain channels where your children can shop (ATM withdrawals, in-store or online).
Further, you can establish how much they can spend each week, at one time as well as through an ATM transaction.
You receive real-time spending notifications to learn how much your child has spent and where. If needed, GoHenry allows you to block and unblock the card instantly from within the ‘Card’ tab in your Parent mobile app or desktop portal.
Your GoHenry debit card users also won’t have access to spend in shops marked with an ‘Over 18’ merchant code. GoHenry enables this by blocking transactions from taking place at a number of retailers who classify themselves with specific merchant codes.
Specifically, GoHenry doesn’t allow your kids to make purchases at any of the following establishments:
- Gambling/betting (casinos, betting shops, betting websites)
- Establishments serving alcohol (bars, nightclubs and some restaurants)
- Dating/escort services (dating websites)
- Inbound teleservices
- Gas station pumps (possible to pay for gas inside the station, but not through the pump)
- Wine & beer wholesalers
- Tobacco shops
- Pornography (adult entertainment venues, websites and TV channels)
These blocked merchants happen by default. You can control where your child uses their card from your GoHenry Parent Account on either the GoHenry mobile app or website.
From there, you can edit and save any new limits or spending channels.
Instant Money Transfers
The instant transfer capability is really beneficial for parents. When a child is too small to have a job or your teens are too busy to go with you to the bank, it’s up to you to give them some spending money each week.
Transfers from your card process instantly and add funds to the account. You will need to log into the website of GoHenry mobile app to perform these transfers.
Simply click “Add Money” from the homepage or in the app to enter the amount information as well as confirm this figure. From there, make the payment to fulfill the top up.
Many parents use this as a means to pay for weekly chores or make one-time transfers as needed. The instant transfer capability eliminates the need to make a trip into an actual bank, which could be difficult for children with no transportation or adults pressed for time.
Plus, it helps parents to see how much money they give their children and can help them determine if they should give more or less as time goes on.
Chores aren’t always the most fun, there’s no sense in denying it. There’s even a split in whether you should pay your children for doing chores.
One cohort believes allowance shouldn’t be earned through work but mainly given as a teaching tool to learn how to manage it when stakes are low. The other links paying an allowance to earning a wage and taking pride in your work.
No matter where you fall, chores are useful behaviors to begin building because they can translate to positive outcomes outside of childhood.
GoHenry gives you the tools to set up, administer and oversee a chore plan or schedule. The program offers routine tasks that can start as unpaid which then allow you to add gradual tasks you do pay for because they require more time and work.
You can use your app to schedule or even automate your chore schedule. The app allows you to:
- Set chores that repeat weekly—or multiple times per week.
- Set single-time chores for bigger tasks like spring cleaning, babysitting or mowing the lawn.
- Manage and track recurring chores and also place money transfers on autopilot (if you choose to pay them).
- Provides an open discussion opportunity into the chores expected and what they need to do before checking them off and getting their recurring transfers.
Kids who do their chores tend to have better professional success later in life.
Though, as discussed above, the motivations behind doing chores can also be something worth exploring.
Are your children doing more around the house because they know you’ll pay or because it gives them a stronger sense of accomplishment?
Everyone is different, which means their motivations differ as well. However, establishing routines can build healthy habits that last a lifetime.
That’s why setting up a chore system early and rewarding them with financial earnings can lead to positive outcomes. What we do as children often guides what we do as adults.
Therefore, earning an allowance for helping around the house can give children a sense of responsibility and pride.
GoHenry’s feature, Earn, allows parents to set up specific chores for their children on the parent app. Once they complete that chore or each time it is assigned, they will receive a payment.
Parents can choose whether they want to pay them once every week, or as one-off tasks get completed.
The best part about this feature is that parents can customize the payment depending on their child’s age and what they’re doing around the house.
For example, if your child does regular chores like clearing the table, washing dishes or taking out the trash then you might want to give them $0.25 for every time they do it.
If you want children to do chores that require more detailed instructions, then it’s best to pay them a higher allowance. This will give them the incentive they need and encourages your child to follow through with what is asked of them.
It can be difficult for parents to balance providing children with an allowance while making sure it doesn’t go overboard. By setting up a system with GoHenry Earn, you can measure how much they are earning and the time it takes for them to complete their chores.
The best prepaid debit cards for teens are not just about teaching responsibility. They’re also savings accounts in disguise, since the money gets drawn from the linked debit card or checking account (generally speaking) on the card itself and all transactions go through it.
Learning about money management in this manner can teach kids how to save and budget their money in the short-term but also toward longer-term goals.
GoHenry offers their version of a savings account through its Savings Goals feature. Though, unlike some savings accounts, these don’t pay interest.
You can set up savings goals for an unlimited amount of priorities your child may have. This can be things like a new laptop, bike, birthday gift, college (a parent can dream, right?) and more.
Simply set them up through the app and see them appear with progress charts as they make contributions through allowance payments, gifts you transfer onto their card and more.
GoHenry offers an alternative means for your kids’ to receive money on special occasions from friends and family through Giftlinks. These act as simple and secure means for providing funds through the company’s website without a fee.
It works by a parent providing people with a Giftlink they can use to access a secure web page where the gifter can send money to that same parent’s child’s GoHenry card (without the need to download the app).
The gifter can use any credit or debit card registered to a valid US address, though a prepaid debit card isn’t allowed.
A common feature among kids’ card companies, GoHenry allows you to customize your child’s card. If you’d like to order a Custom Card for $4.99, you can do so by following the prompt at account sign up.
This allows you to choose the name on the card, changing the standard “GoHenry” branding to go + “Your Child’s Name”. Further, you can choose a card design theme suitable to their interests and personality.
GoHenry App’s Fees and Load Limits
Your first month is on GoHenry to demo the product and see if it makes sense for your situation and needs. The company allows you to cancel at any time.
For additional fees and limits, consult the table below.
goHenry Fee Schedule and Balance Limits
|Monthly Usage (only one fee plan, as selected by primary accountholder, applies per monthly billing period)|
|Monthly Fee - goHenry||$3.99||$3.99 per month, per child|
|ATM withdrawal (in-network or out-of-network)||$1.50||$1.50 fee to make cash withdrawals with your Card at any ATM. ATM operator fees may apply.|
|International ATM||$1.50||Plus fees assessed by international ATM operator|
|Card Replacement||$0||No fee for standard card replacement.|
|Different Design Card Replacement||$4.99|
|Custom Card Fee (optional)||$4.99|
|Cash Reload Fee||$0 (N/A)||goHenry doesn't allow for direct cash reloads. Must deposit money through the Parent Account and then have it transfer to child's card|
|Card Balance, Spend, Deposit, Withdrawal and Transfer Limits|
|Maximum card balance||- $6,000 per family of accounts (parent + kids)|
|Maximum daily and monthly spend limits (families)||- $2,500 per day per family
- $5,000 per 4 days per family
- 10 purchases allowed per day
- 20 purchases allowed over 4 days
|Maximum purchase limit||- $2,500 per day per family|
|Direct deposit limit||N/A - Direct deposit not allowed|
|ATM withdrawal limit||- $120 per day
- $480 per 4 days per family
- Maximum 3 withdrawals per day
- Maximum 4 withdrawals allowed over 4 days
|Debit card transfer limit||- $2 to $500 per day (minimum and maximum amounts of a value reload by Debit Card)
- Maximum 3 loads per day
- Maximum 900 loads per year
|ACH transfer limit||N/A - ACH transfers not allowed|
What We Like About GoHenry
- Real-time alerts for spending and ATM withdrawals. The service provides real-time alerts for spending activity as well as ATM visits. This instant notification provides insight into your children’s money activity.
- Customizable cards. GoHenry offers unique, customizable cards for a reasonable fee compared to competitors. This can instill pride in a card and build a personal connection, allowing kids to be more responsible (and hopefully not need to request a replacement card).
- Free trial. Like many services in this space, the company offers a 1-month free trial with the ability to cancel at any time.
- No overdraft fees or non-sufficient funds fees. GoHenry acts as a prepaid debit card, allowing you to avoid concerns tied to overdraft fees or non-sufficient funds fees which come with standard debit card options.
- Chore and allowance management. The GoHenry app allows you to get a handle on chores and allowance through in-app assignment, tracking and assessment as well automated allowance payments. While we’d like manual approval prompts for allowance, some might find these automated payments as a feature so they won’t forget to send money earned as an allowance.
What GoHenry Can Do Better
- Parental controls. GoHenry provides spending controls for parents to utilize for limiting how much they can spend in a given period of time as well as the types of transactions they can experience. However, a competitor like Greenlight stands alone with its level of granularity into parental control on spending and ATM transactions. No other card matches Greenlight with this level of insight and control. For the higher price point on a family of two or more children, we’d like to see more granular control.
- Investment platform. As of this writing, the company doesn’t offer investing services through the app. Competitors like Greenlight and BusyKid offer an investment platform integrated into their services, allowing parents to approve every individual stock or ETF transaction.
- Fee structure. If GoHenry would like to be competitive, it either needs to drop its per card fee or find some manner to reduce the price for adding more cards each month. Currently, unless a customer only has one card in the family, the costs quickly become uncompetitive against others. Greenlight scales by having the ability to provide up to five kids with a card. Additional kids incur an additional monthly fee each.
- Savings rewards and interest. GoHenry offers the ability to set a savings goal for multiple purposes but does not currently offer any features paying interest of any kind.
- Cash back. You cannot receive cash back on GoHenry for any purchases made on the card. Currently, the only kid’s debit card offering such functionality is the Greenlight Max product, allowing kids to earn up to 1% cash back on all Greenlight card purchases. While this cashback rate might not be enough to justify the higher tier for that card, it is a nice feature to see offered.
- Reload options. GoHenry does not currently offer the ability to reload cash directly onto the card from participating retailers nationwide. Having this access, even for a fee, can promote more accessible populations who are currently underserved by financial services. Options like Famzoo allow this at locations like Walmart or Target, albeit for a fee charged by retailers on the Mastercard Reload network.
- Parent / child loans. Options like Famzoo and BusyKid allow parents to lend funds to their kids (either with interest or not) to pay for larger purchases a kid cannot finance alone. Having this feature can be a safe environment for learning about credit (and how parents can help to build their child’s credit) before moving on to a credit card or other loan product outside of the home.
- Parent-paid interest. GoHenry doesn’t offer the ability for parents to pay interest on any savings goal set up by their kids, encouraging them to save and understand the value of compound returns. Greenlight Card and Famzoo offer this feature.
- Direct deposits. If your teen has a job which offers paychecks through direct deposit, GoHenry doesn’t currently support this feature. The only way to add funds to child accounts is through loading money on a linked debit card or possibly credit card. You’ll need to provide your banking information to their employer if they need to receive direct deposits. Greenlight allows kids to direct deposit their paychecks directly onto their card.
- Must call to cancel, even if the child reaches the age of majority. If you decide to cancel your card, the company makes it a bit difficult because it requires you to call to end your member subscription to their service. This also means if your child ages out and becomes an adult, making them ineligible for the card service. While they can use the card until the card expires, the member fees will continue until you call to cancel.
Who is GoHenry Best For?
- Parents who want control over their kid’s spending.
- Smaller families with only one child in need of a card that provides centralized financial oversight, including chore and allowance management as well as transaction notifications on spending activity.
- Parents who want to teach their kids about managing money.
How to Open a GoHenry App Account
- Apply for a GoHenry account through Starting a Free 1 Month Trial
- Enter parent/guardian details (email address, phone number and password). Press Continue.
- Enter your children’s details (first and last name, DOB, select whether this card is a gift). Add as many children as needed. All children must be at least 6 years of age or the prompt won’t allow that child to receive a card through GoHenry. They indicate the card will be addressed to you in the post, not your child(ren). Press Continue.
- Confirm the details shown for accuracy on the pop-up prompt. Edit if needed or press Confirm.
- You can order a customized GoHenry card for $4.99. You can choose to pay nothing now and instead pay for the customized card after you receive the card in the mail and activate it. You can also decline and choose the original card for free. Click Place Order when you’ve made your customizations or if you choose the standard card.
- While submitting your order, the prompt asks you to set up your Parent Account while you wait. Press Continue.
- Provide info about what your child(ren) call you as well as Security Questions and Answers for securing your account. Press Continue.
- Add money to your Parent Account you can use to pay weekly allowance, tasks and transfers to your children’s cards. Enter the amount, choose whether you’d like to add money each time your Parent Account automatically falls below $5.00 through using your linked debit card (you can switch this off at any time through the GoHenry application). You can add money, see your monthly membership fee (free your first month) and then your total. Press Continue.
- Link your debit card by providing your debit card number, cardholder name, expiration date, CVV code and billing address.
GoHenry Debit Card Review
If you have a desire to manage chore plans and allowance distribution, control where your kids can and can’t spend or withdraw funds, and help to build financial skills with safeguards—all from the convenience of your smartphone—the GoHenry prepaid debit card is a worthy option to consider.
While it does come with monthly fees, in the right situations, the costs you face for the number of cards you get are in line or slightly above (depending on family situation) with competitors like Greenlight, BusyKid, FamZoo and Current.
The company doesn’t offer the ability to open an investment account for kids and invest through the platform, leaving you to find other micro investing apps or custodial accounts through apps like Acorns.
Likewise, you can also consider going with all-in-one financial platforms for kids like Greenlight and BusyKid.
Greenlight offers more granular spending controls, a savings account-like feature with interest rates, cash back (only on their Greenlight Max plan), Parent-Paid Interest, and some other bells and whistles.
BusyKid offers comparable features as GoHenry with investing potential at a slightly lower price point.
The primary values you’re likely to get out of the GoHenry debit card will be derived from:
- the spend controls over where they spend or withdraw funds
- the financial teaching tools to develop financial literacy
- chore plans and allowance distribution system
On the other hand, if you’d like to avoid the monthly fee and go with a lower cost option for getting your child a debit card, you might consider a free, traditional joint checking account.
You can use options like Axos First Checking, Nationwide First Checking or Chase First Banking. None of these charge a fee but neither do they provide controls over spending, chore and allowance systems nor the ability to invest. The trade-off of having a monthly fee ($3.99 per child).
Is GoHenry worth the price? If you need help managing your family’s finances with oversight and control as well as a way to teach financial management skills like establishing a savings goal, GoHenry might be a good choice to consider.
Frequently Asked Questions About GoHenry Debit Card
Is there a minimum age to use the GoHenry debit card?
Yes. GoHenry requires children to be at least the age of 6 to enroll and receive a card. When attempting to enter information for a child under this minimum age requirement, you won’t be allowed to proceed by GoHenry.
Is GoHenry Safe?
GoHenry US employs several industry standards and best practices when it comes to safety. This should provide comfort to you knowing these are measures put in place to protect your children and your family’s money.
To understand the protections used, here are the most relevant items to know:
- GoHenry US debit card accounts are FDIC-insured for up to $250,000 per individual through the card’s partner bank, Community Federal Savings Bank (CFSB). This partner bank has FDIC coverage, which protects any balance held on your family’s cards from risk of failure of GoHenry US or CFSB. FDIC coverage works for all accounts held at a financial institution by the primary owner.
- comes with an EMV chip and parent-controlled PIN
- uses industry-best encryption practices as well as firewalls and VPNs to protect your private data.
- allows channel spend controls (ATM, in-store or online), spending limits on daily and weekly amounts and blocked merchants with “Over 18” merchant codes associated with them
- doesn’t allow your kids to get cash back at the register as this would override the spend control functions.
The company lets you select the spending channels where your kids spend their funds—and how much through powerful parent controls. If your children try to spend or get funds where they shouldn’t, GoHenry alerts you immediately.
Further, if you lose your card, you have the ability to turn off that card with a tap on your Parent Account. Likewise, GoHenry comes with Mastercard’s Zero Liability Protection.
This is the industry standard $0.00 of liability if your physical card gets lost or stolen, someone gains unauthorized access to your Virtual Card number or fraudulently makes an unauthorized transfer from your Card Account.
However, to claim this liability waiver, you need to act fast by calling the customer help line within two business days and exercise reasonable care in safeguarding your card from loss, theft or unauthorized use.
Where is GoHenry Accepted?
Anywhere Mastercard credit cards and debit cards are accepted online and in-store with some exceptions. Not because the store doesn’t accept Mastercard but because parents use the mobile application to control where their children can shop online or off.
Further, the company works internationally in 150+ other countries and assesses no foreign transaction fees, serving as a great alternative to credit cards for kids by avoiding interest payments if you can’t pay your bill on time.
Mastercard’s credit card network allows you to use GoHenry cards for kids across millions of locations—though you get to choose where.
Do I Need a Mobile Phone Number to Apply?
No. Your child can download the application through any app-enabled device such as a cell phone, iPad or tablet and use it to get their account info, chores, and make requests.
What Funding Options Do I Have for the GoHenry Debit Card?
You can load your Parent Account by:
- Debit card
However, when setting up an account to conduct this GoHenry review, I managed to add money to my Parent balance through a standard unsecured credit card.
The company’s site language shows this as not possible, making me wonder if this has since been updated within the GoHenry app but not on their site FAQs.
You don’t pay a fee to load your prepaid card for your son or daughter.
1,368 reviews with a 4.0 star rating out of 5, making it one of the better debit cards for teens and kids in terms of customer satisfaction ratings.
- Better Business Bureau
The company is not a Better Business Bureau (BBB) Accredited Business and has received 18 complaints as of this publication in the last 3 years. Of these 18, 4 have been resolved and 9 have been answered in the last 12 months and they relate to the following categories:
- Advertising/Sales: 2
- Billing/Collections: 6
- Delivery Issues: 1
- Guarantee/Warranty: 0
- Problem with a Product of Service: 9
- Total: 18
The company carries a “B-” BBB Rating, meaning the company is likely to interact with its customers when they file complaints.
Of note, these ratings are not a guarantee of reliability nor performance and merely should be used in concert with a number of factors when forming an opinion on the business.
- Apple App Store
5,800+ reviews, 4.7 stars out of 5 star rating. Claims over 1.4 million customers.
- Google Play Store
18,781 reviews, 3.7 stars out of 5 star rating. Many of the GoHenry reviews posted by customers appear to have a response from the company itself, indicating a proactive customer engagement team and priority for the company.
How Can I Contact GoHenry’s Customer Service?
The quickest way to reach GoHenry’s customer service department comes from accessing the Help section in the mobile app. You can also go to the company’s website to initiate a chat, allowing you to speak directly with a customer service agent about your question online.
You can also reach Customer Service via their email address at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them by phone at 1 (877) 372-6466 everyday of the week between 9AM and 5PM EST.
You can get in touch to ask questions, report a problem about your child’s card, order a card replacement (or replacement cards), request information and more.
Can I Have a GoHenry and Greenlight Card?
Because both companies offer 1-month free trials, you can explore both services side by side to see which performs better for your needs.
Do Debit Cards for Kids and Teens Collect Personal Data?
Each company’s policies regarding the collection of sensitive, personal data like names, ages, email addresses, GPS location data, transaction information, and more vary.
Though, some reserve the right to share this personal information with ad and marketing vendors, insurance companies, collection agencies and several other service providers through their privacy policies.
This information may also be collected for the purpose of serving tailored advertisements and content now or in the future.
The rules around this are stricter for kids under the age of 13 thanks to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA. This two decades’ old law requires companies to receive “verifiable parental consent” for collecting minors’ data.
Specifically, the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces the law, states consent must be “clearly and understandably written, complete, and must contain no unrelated, confusing or contradictory materials.”
However, the process for granting this consent isn’t any different based on signing up for accounts by age.
As a result, be mindful of the data you will give access to through your account. If you have reservations about how this data will be collected, treated or used by the company or its affiliates and partners, please consider whether signing up for an account is the right choice for you.
In today’s digital-first world, providing access to your personal information has become an increasingly normal occurrence.
Make sure you know your rights under COPPA (or any extensions seen at the state level like California’s Consumer Privacy Act of 2018) before proceeding with an action to open a kids debit card or any other financial product.