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When it comes to prepaid debit cards for teens and kids, there are few brands as well known as Greenlight card.

From its low monthly fee, to its feature-filled product offering or its ease of use, Greenlight is a great option for parents looking to teach their children about responsible financial habits and how money works in the real world.

However, just because Greenlight stands atop the debit card for kids market doesn’t mean it is always your best choice. Other prepaid cards offer similar features at different price points better adjusted to your needs and situation.

So, if you don’t want your child using a Greenlight card right out of the gate, there are several Greenlight alternatives that might be better suited to your needs!

In this article we’ll take a look at some of these alternatives to Greenlight and help you decide which is best for your family.

Best Greenlight Alternatives—Top Picks


Best Free Debit Card for Teens
Best Premium Featured Paid Debit Card for Kids
4.8
4.8
Free
$3.99/month per child
Best Free Debit Card for Teens
Best Premium Featured Paid Debit Card for Kids
4.8
$3.99/month per child

What Are Prepaid Debit Cards for Kids?


investing younger

A prepaid 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 card.

What is the Greenlight Debit Card for Kids?


greenlight card

The Greenlight app offers a feature-filled financial platform meant to help parents teach their kids important personal finance skills and build useful money habits including how to save, earn, invest, spend and give money responsibly.

The Greenlight app and prepaid card function as a purpose-built solution for families to learn about money through use of a prepaid debit card with parental controls, notifications and safety features.

Further, the Greenlight prepaid card and app offers a parent account for establishing chore plans and administering weekly allowance payments for successful completion of assigned tasks.

From there, parents can show their kids how to use the included investing platform (on a higher plan through Greenlight + Invest and Greenlight Max) to invest in stocks for kids and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

This can show real-life lessons of compound interest and encourage children to save and invest funds regularly.

What Are the Best Greenlight Alternatives to Consider?


Below, we’ve compiled a list of the best alternatives to Greenlight that should work for your needs. Look at each and compare which one makes the most sense for your needs.

AppBest ForFeesPromotions
copper banking logo
Copper Banking
☆ 4.8 / 5Free, no feesNone
gohenry logo
GoHenry
☆ 4.7 / 5
Accessible customer service support
$3.99/mo per childFree month trial
busykid logo
BusyKid
☆ 3.6 / 5
Teaching balanced financial approach through chores & allowance; investing fundamentals
$3.99/mo (5 cards); $38.99/yr30-day money back guarantee
famzoo logo
FamZoo
☆ 4.6 / 5
Financial literacy resources
$5.99/mo per familyFree month trial
axos bank logo
Axos First Checking
☆ 4.7 / 5
Best for teens ready to learn about money management and avoid fees
FreeFree
acorns logo
Acorns Early
☆ 4.7 / 5
Automated investing in the background into diversified investments
$3/month - $5/month$10 sign up bonus when making first deposit at account opening
current logo
Current
☆ 4.7 / 5
Innovation and product features
FreeNone
stash logo rebrand
Stash
☆ 4.7 / 5
Everyday people looking to start managing their finances
$1/month - $9/month$5 stock bonus for making a deposit of $5 or more
m1 finance logo
M1 Finance
☆ 4.6 / 5
Fee-free active trading and automated investing
$0 trading or automated investing; $125/year on M1 Plus subscription for custodial account3 months of M1 Plus for free ($31.75 value)
chase logo
Chase First Banking
☆ 4.8 / 5
High customer satisfaction, no fees and educational resources for learning how to manage money as kids
Free, no feesNone
*Apple App Store Rating as of August 1, 2022

 

1. Copper Card


copper card sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: Free
  • App Store Rating: 4.8

Copper Banking was founded with the mission to help teens gain real world experience by giving them access to their money in a way that traditional banks aren’t able to do.

The Copper app and debit card teaches teens how to make smart financial decisions by creating a platform for parents and teens to connect.

With the Copper app, you get easy snapshots of your accounts and, with the Copper Debit Card, it’s easy to shop in-store, online or with Apple or Google Pay.

Plus, users get exclusive access to engaging content curated by a team of financial literacy experts who provide advice and tips on how to take control of their financial future.

Copper is founded on the belief that teens should have equal access to financial education and should be empowered to learn by doing. Cause you’re never too young to get your money right.

Copper Banking Features: 

  • Send/Request: Teens and parents can easily send and receive money all at the touch of a button
  • Spend: Spending using Apple or Google Pay or using the Copper Debit Card. Get a snapshot of all your teen’s spending in an easy-to-read dashboard.
  • Save: Gain quick snapshots of your teen’s savings and helpful tips on how to save even more. Set up savings bucks and save for the things that you want.
  • Learn: With the help of Copper’s team of financial literacy experts, gain bite sized tips on how you can maximize your money and prepare yourself for your financial future.

Read more in our Copper Banking review.

 

2. GoHenry


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  • Available: Sign up here
  • Monthly Fee: 1 month free, then $3.99 per child/month
  • App Store Rating: 4.7

GoHenry is a banking app for minors that competes with Greenlight debit card and comes paired with prepaid debit cards for parents to oversee and manage their children’s account balance.

You have an online account which comes linked to individual accounts for each of your children allowing you to lock and unlock each prepaid card.

You can manage all of the money held in each account through the company’s app and online account portal.

Each child will receive their own GoHenry debit card which comes paired with parental controls you can set for your children.

What’s nice about GoHenry is the ability to spend only the money available on the prepaid card, meaning you don’t need to worry about costly fees for overdrafting or accruing debt.

You open a GoHenry account, receive your children’s debit cards in the mail 7-8 business days later, set up an automatic weekly allowance transfer into your children’s accounts and can set up one-off or weekly spending limits.

This will keep your children’s spending in check and you can block/unblock the card as needed as well as choose the stores where your kids can shop.

With time, the controls provided by the app and the guidance you offer can help your kids to earn, save, spend and give with good money habits.

GoHenry is one of the best debit cards for kids for customer service. They offer 24/7 phone availability, email access and social media engagement, ensuring users can solve their problems quickly and with little hassle.

The product has no minimum age requirements, but recommends starting at 6 or later.

Learn more by reading our GoHenry debit card review.

Related: GoHenry vs. Greenlight

3. BusyKid


busykid sign up

  • Available: Sign up here (Devices: Android, Apple iOS/iPhone/iPad)
  • Price: $3.99/month, $38.99/year (up to 5 cards)
  • App Store Rating: 3.7

Are you looking for a way to teach your kids about money through chores, earning an allowance and managing their money on prepaid debit cards for kids?

BusyKid is an award-winning, parent-approved app that educates kids about money and personal finance while competing with Greenlight debit card. It’s a way to teach your children how to manage their allowance and learn important money lessons.

The BusyKid Visa Prepaid Spend Card lets them spend their money in stores or online with just one swipe of the card. You can even set up automatic savings. The product has no minimum age requirements, but recommends starting earlier than later.

Your child will be able to earn real money by completing chores and tasks around the house each week while learning valuable financial skills like budgeting, saving and giving back.

Plus they’ll have fun earning rewards from brands like Disney on BusyKid’s weekly challenges!

BusyKid is an easy-to-use, interactive kid chore app with a debit card that will help them learn and practice important real-life lessons from the palm of their hands.

They can earn, save, invest, donate or spend – all while having fun! And it couldn’t be more simple.

Parents set chores and allowance gets directly deposited each Friday!

  • Earn – Kids can earn by completing tasks assigned by parents
  • Save – They can save up to 10% of their weekly allowance automatically
  • Donate – They can give back by donating 1% of what they make to charity
  • Spend – When they’re ready for independence, BusyKid has a Visa Prepaid Spend Card so kids are never without cash in hand.

In order to get paid, parents need to approve the Payday text message sent through the app each Thursday if your kids are to be paid on Friday.

Some fees apply for various actions you can take through the app and with the card as well.

Finally, BusyKid also allows children to invest their earnings through the app. Doing so requires setting up a separate Stockpile custodial account.

Related: Best Investment Accounts for Kids

4. FamZoo


famzoo sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Monthly Fee: Free trial, then $5.99/month per family
  • App Store Rating: 4.6

FamZoo is another competing Greenlight service for parents interested in opening prepaid debit cards to manage their children’s spending.

It works by having parents release money into their child’s account and then having the card work with a loaded balance. Money can be loaded onto the cards at any time.

FamZoo acts like a regular checking account with a linked debit card except FamZoo makes sure the account can’t be charged an overdraft fee, saving you money.

Adults are able to monitor the transactions being made. After a free trial, this app costs $5.99 per month, but the price goes down if prepaid in advance.

FamZoo is our top education choice because of its strong financial education library which improves its overall value.

The product has no minimum age requirements, but recommends starting earlier than later.

Related: Greenlight vs. Famzoo

5. Axos Bank First Checking


axos bank first teen checking sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: Free
  • App Store Rating: 4.7

First Checking by Axos Bank is the ultimate starter checking account for teens which also comes with a debit card. The world of banking can be a little scary, but not with the simplicity and power of Axos’ First Checking Account.

The account competes with Greenlight by working as a joint account between a parent or guardian and their teen, allowing for easy-to-set, customizable parental controls with a debit card dashboard.

Parents and teens can manage almost every part of the banking experience through a convenient mobile app or through the online desktop portal. Perfect for modern families who always find themselves on the go.

The First Checking account from Axos Bank gives teens their first taste of financial independence by giving them their own checking account (which pays interest!) and free debit card for teens that has daily cash withdrawals limits of $100 and purchase limits of $500.

This provides safeguards against teens getting carried away with the money held in their account.

Further, you can have up to $12 of domestic ATM fee reimbursements per month, avoid any monthly maintenance, overdraft or non-sufficient funds fees—essentially making the account free!

The account carries the highest level of security through biometric authentication techniques like fingerprint readers, voiceprints and facial recognition (pending smartphone feature availability).

The product has a minimum age requirement of 13 and will convert to an Axos Checking Account after reaching the age of majority.

Read more in our Axos First Checking Account review.

Related: Best Investments for Kids

6. Acorns


acorns

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Monthly Fee: Acorns Personal: $3/month & Acorns Family: $5/month
  • App Store Rating: 4.7

Acorns has become one of the most popular financial apps for minors and young adults but also offers a robust money management platform extending beyond just investing.

The full suite of offerings compares favorably with Greenlight and includes the ability to establish custodial accounts for minors to invest, regular and retirement investment accounts for adults and a bank account with linked debit card.

If you sign up for the Acorns Spend product (available under the Acorns Personal and Acorns Family plans), it creates a bank account that carries FDIC Insurance protection for up to $250,000.

Further, it uses the Acorns “Round Ups” feature which rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar, investing the difference between the transaction amount and the whole dollar. The service claims to help users invest an average of $30/month using this feature.

While not a free stock trading app, Acorns does give you the following subscription options:

  1. Acorns Personal ($3/mo):
    1. Acorns Invest: Invests spare change through the popular “Round-Ups” feature, earns bonus investments and provides access to financial literacy articles
    2. Acorns Later: Tax-advantaged investment options like IRAs
    3. Acorns Spend: Acts as your bank account, offering free withdrawals at over 55,000 ATMs nationwide and no account fees and the ability to earn up to 10% bonus investments
  2. Acorns Family ($5/mo):
    1. Everything in Acorns Personal (Acorns Invest, Later and Spend)
    2. Acorns Early: This allows you to take advantage of the best way to invest $1,000 for your child‘s future and can teach you how to invest as a teenager or minor through opening a custodial account.

For a limited time, the service also offers a $10 sign up bonus in money toward free stocks for people who open an account and $75 for establishing direct deposit and meeting certain conditions. Learn how to start investing money and bank.

Learn more in our Acorns review.

Related: Best Acorns Alternatives: Micro-Investing Apps to Use

7. Current


current sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: Free
  • App Store Rating: 4.7

Current is a banking app designed for all families. The Current app allows you to track your teen’s spending in real-time, set limits on how much they can spend, and even block specific merchants on Visa-enabled prepaid cards.

You also get the peace of mind that comes with knowing their money is safe because it’s not cash. Plus, the company doesn’t charge any fees or interest for student accounts so there are no surprises when bills arrive.

Current helps parents teach teens financial responsibility while giving them a way to learn without having cash around the house and all its temptations.

That means less worry for both parents and kids! With Current, your teenager will be able to do everything from paying friends back to buying groceries at the store–all safely with only her phone!

And teens will have the opportunity to learn financial responsibility and budgeting from an early age. This will allow them to grow their savings and move one step closer to financial independence.

The product has no specifically stated minimum age requirement, but the marketing points toward a Teen Account as the target audience. Therefore, you might be able to open an account below this age for your child.

Read more in our Current review.

 

8. Stash


stash sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: Growth: $3 per month, Stash+: $9 per month1
  • App Store Rating: 4.7

Stash is a leading all-in-one financial platform which offers a mobile-friendly banking account6. With no hidden banking fees, no minimum deposit or balance requirements, and no fees for ATM withdrawals7, Stash may be a strong choice for consumers looking beyond Greenlight who prefer to do their banking and investing all through the same platform2.

Plus, you’ll earn Stock-Back Rewards® at places like Walmart, Amazon and more when you make qualified purchases with your Stock-Back® card8.

If you are a young adult, you may want to use Stash to invest money with regular automatic transfers or even “round up” purchases you make on a linked debit card so that the spare change goes to your personal portfolio.

Stash also offers financial education resources that can help you improve your financial literacy. It covers numerous topics like investing, managing and planning money.

The specifics on the Stash banking account:

  • Minimum Deposit and Balance Requirements: There’s no minimum daily balance requirement, but you do need to open a Stash Invest account to use your Stash Online Banking account7.
  • Yield: None, but you’ll earn Stock-Back® rewards on every eligible purchase made with the Stock-Back® card8.
  • Rewards and Incentives: Earn Stock-Back® rewards on every eligible debit card purchase. Earn 0.125% Stock-Back® rewards on everyday purchases and up to 5% Stock-Back® rewards on purchases with certain merchants that are eligible for Stock-Back® bonuses9. Plus, you can get paid up to two days early when you direct deposit your pay into your Stash banking account10 and enjoy access to thousands of fee-free ATM withdrawals7.
  • Possible Fees: Fees for use of out-of-network ATM withdrawals2.

For additional details and disclosures, please see the fine print at the bottom of this article.

9. M1 Finance


m1 finance sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: Free trades, M1 Plus costs $125/year
  • App Store Rating: 4.6

M1 Finance is an all-in-one super app that does it all, similar to Greenlight. The app allows you to invest, borrow and spend but also open a M1 Finance custodial account to allow your kids to use it as an investment app as well.

They even allow custodial IRAs, making this one of the best custodial accounts. The service requires you to sign up for M1 Plus to do this, however. Be sure to watch out for when the company puts this on promotion, making it free for you to try.

As for managing money and linked debit cards, if you hold money in the app’s free checking account, it comes with FDIC insurance coverage and is part of the entire safe M1 Finance financial app experience.

Read more about this app in our M1 Finance review.

 

10. Chase First Banking


chase first banking sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Price: Free (no fees)
  • App Store Rating: 4.8

Ready to teach your little ones about money, but not quite sure if you have the time, patience and expertise?

Chase First BankingSM offers simple banking for both of you in one location: the Chase Mobile® App—for free. Manage all accounts with this mobile app and encounter no fees as well as find yourself able to withdraw money on 16,000 Chase ATMs around the country.

At the heart of Chase First BankingSM sits one of the best free debit cards for kids and teens that works anywhere Visa is accepted.

Need insight and oversight into your child’s spending and saving? You can set spend alerts and limits as well as specific locations all in your Chase Mobile® app.

Teach your kids to spend, save and earn — all from the Chase Mobile® app. Chase First BankingSM helps parents teach teens and kids about money by giving parents the control they want and kids the freedom they need to learn.

To get started, you’ll first need to be a Chase customer with a qualifying Chase checking account.

Consider opening a Chase Total Checking SM or Chase Secure BankingSM account to qualify.

  • Chase Total CheckingSM also grants access to 16,000 Chase ATMs and more than 4,700 branches as well as a $200 sign up bonus when you set up direct deposit within 90 days of coupon enrollment. You can pay $0 in monthly fees, subject to meeting certain conditions*.
  • Chase Secure BankingSM offers the same Chase ATMs and branch locations as well as a $100 sign up bonus when you make stated qualifying activities and meet certain conditions.

Once you open a qualifying Chase Checking account, you may apply for a Chase First BankingSM account for your child.

Read more in our Chase First Banking review.


Stash fine print:
* Young and the Invested is a paid affiliate/partner of Stash. Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser. Promotion is subject to Terms and Conditions: (https://lp.stash.com/promo-offer-tc/). To be eligible to participate in this Promotion and receive the bonus, you must complete the following steps: (i) click through the link above, (ii) successfully open a Stash Invest Account (otherwise known as your personal portfolio) in good standing, (iii) link a funding account (e.g. an external bank account) to your new Stash Invest Account, AND (iv) initiate and complete a deposit of at least five dollars ($5.00) into your Stash Invest Account.
¹ The Stash Monthly Wrap Fee starts at $1/ month. You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the Custodian. Please see the Advisory Agreement ( for details. Other fees apply to the bank account. Please see the Deposit Account Agreement. Stash doesn’t charge a purchase fee for using your card in a transaction.
² Stash offers access to investment and banking accounts under each subscription plan. Each type of account is subject to different regulations and limitations. See the Advisory Agreement and the Deposit Account Agreement for more information. 
³ The adult (or Custodian) who opens the account can manage the money and investments until the minor reaches the “age of majority.” That age is usually 18 or 21, depending on the Custodian’s state. The money in a custodial account is the property of the minor. Money in a custodial account can be used by the parent or legal guardian, but only to do things that benefit the child.
4 This material is not intended as investment advice and is not meant to suggest that any securities are suitable investments for any particular investor. Investment advice is only provided to Stash customers. All investments are subject to risk and may lose value. All product and company names are trademarks ™ or registered ® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.
Stash does not monitor whether a customer is eligible for a particular type of IRA, or a tax deduction, or if a reduced contribution limit applies to a customer. These are based on a customer’s individual circumstances. You should consult with a tax advisor.
6 Stash banking account opening is subject to identity verification by Green Dot Bank. Bank Account Services provided by and Stash Visa Debit Card (Stock-Back® Card) issued by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Visa is a registered trademark of Visa International Service Association. In order for a user to be eligible for a Stash banking account, they must also have opened a taxable brokerage account on Stash. Investment products and services provided by Stash Investments LLC, not Green Dot Bank, and are Not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value.
Other fees apply to the bank account. Please see the Deposit Account Agreement (https://cdn.stashinvest.com/disclosures/Green+Dot+Bank+Deposit+Account+Agreement.pdf) for details. If applicable, your Stash banking account is a funding account for purposes of the Advisory Agreement. Your Stash subscription fee may be deducted from your Stash banking account balance. Fee-free ATM access applied to in-network ATMs only. For out-of-network ATMs and bank tellers a $2.50 fee will apply, plus any additional fee that the ATM owner or bank may charge.
Stash Stock-Back® Rewards is not sponsored or endorsed by Green Dot Bank, Green Dot Corporation, Visa U.S.A., or any of their respective affiliates, and none of the foregoing has any responsibility to fulfill any stock rewards earned through this program. What doesn’t count: Cash withdrawals, money orders, prepaid cards, and P2P payment. See full terms and conditions (https://lp.stashinvest.com/stash-stock-back-rewards-terms-and-conditions/). Stock-Back Rewards that are issued to a participating customer’s personal brokerage account via the Stash Stock-Back Program, are not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed and May Lose Value. This material is not intended as investment advice and is not meant to suggest that any securities are suitable investments for any particular investor. Investment advice is only provided to Stash customers. All investments are subject to risk and may lose value. All product and company names are trademarks ™ or registered ® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.
Bonuses are subject to Terms and Conditions (https://lp.stashinvest.com/stock-back-boost-promo-terms-and-conditions/).
10 Early availability depends on timing of payor’s payment instructions and fraud prevention restrictions may apply. As such, the availability or timing of early direct deposit may vary from pay period to pay period.
Fractional shares start at $0.05 for investments that cost $1,000+ per share.
About the Author

Riley Adams is a licensed CPA who works at Google as a Senior Financial Analyst overseeing advertising incentive programs for the company’s largest advertising partners and agencies. Previously, he worked as a utility regulatory strategy analyst at Entergy Corporation for six years in New Orleans.

His work has appeared in major publications like Kiplinger, MarketWatch, MSN, TurboTax and CNBC’s Acorns. Riley currently holds areas of expertise in investing, taxes, real estate, cryptocurrencies and personal finance where he has been cited as an authoritative source in outlets like CNBC, Time, NBC News, APM’s Marketplace, HuffPost, Business Insider, Slate, NerdWallet, The Balance and Fast Company.

Riley holds a Masters of Science in Applied Economics and Demography from Pennsylvania State University, Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance from Centenary College of Louisiana.