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Being a parent can feel like being a human ATM. You can’t (and likely don’t want to) just keep handing your child cash forever. Fortunately, there are much easier ways to give your kids money.

Debit cards for kids are a convenient way to transfer money to your child. Plus, kids’ debit cards teach them money management skills. Depending on the card, there may be numerous other useful features as well, such as interest on savings, investing capabilities, and more.

Since you’re here, you’ve likely narrowed your search down to Greenlight and Current, but aren’t sure which to choose. It’s an understandable dilemma as either card will make your life easier. The good news is that I can help you make that final decision.

Today, I’m going to directly compare Greenlight and Current. For each card, I’ll provide an overview, costs, key features, and other important information. And just in case you aren’t fully convinced either card is the perfect fit for your family, I’ll also give my thoughts on a few other competitive debit cards.

Greenlight vs. Current Comparison


greenlight logo transparent text thin leftAffiliate CTA Apply Nowcurrent logo transparent text thin new leftAffiliate CTA Apply Now
WealthUp Rating☆ 4.8 / 5☆ 3.8 / 5
App Store Rating☆ 4.8 / 5☆ 4.7 / 5
Price*Core: $4.99/mo.
Max: $9.98/mo.
Infinity: $14.98/mo.
No monthly fees
BillingMonthlyN/A
Special OfferFree 1-month trialN/A
Allowed Cards Per Subscription51
Minimum Age**NoNo
Features That Make This Card Stand ApartExceptional parent controls; Max, Infinity: Identity theft, purchase, and phone protectionSpending insights through money management tools, gas hold removals

Basics

greenlight logo transparent text thin leftcurrent logo transparent text thin new left
SpendingYesYes
SavingYesYes
InvestingCore: No
Max, Infinity: Yes (Stocks and ETFs)
No
Giving/DonatingYesNo

Funding

greenlight logo transparent text thin leftcurrent logo transparent text thin new left
Funding Source(s)Bank account, debit cardBank account, debit card, check, third-party app, cash
Direct DepositYesNo
AllowanceYesYes
ChoresYesYes
GiftingYes (Free)Yes
Cash Reload FeeN/A (No cash reload)$3.50 per transaction

Saving/Spending

greenlight logo transparent text thin leftcurrent logo transparent text thin new left
Savings APYCore: 1.0%
Max: 2.0%
Infinity: 5.0%
N/A
Round-UpsYesYes
Other Savings FeaturesParent-Paid InterestNone
ATM NetworkNoneAllpoint (40,000+ ATMs)
ATM Transaction Fee$0 (Greenlight does not charge an ATM fee, but it is not part of an ATM network, so an ATM operator fee will apply)$0 (Operator fee may apply at out-of-network ATMs)
Card NetworkMastercardVisa
Compatible Mobile WalletsApple Pay, Google PayApple Pay, Google Pay

Parents

greenlight logo transparent text thin leftcurrent logo transparent text thin new left
Parental ControlsHigh (Store-level controls and limit setting)Medium (Spending limits, transaction type-level controls)
Parental MonitoringYesYes
Parental NotificationsYesYes

Other Features

greenlight logo transparent text thin leftcurrent logo transparent text thin new left
Cash BackCore: No
Max, Infinity: 1%
No
Builds CreditNoNo
Customization optionsAny image you wantNo
Refund PolicyNo refunds given, month-to-month pricingN/A
Affiliate CTA Apply NowAffiliate CTA Apply Now
* Prices do not include processing fees when applicable.
** Many cards have different suggested minimum ages. We are only listing any hard-and-fast minimum age requirements.

Greenlight Overview


greenlight sign up new
Greenlight

The Greenlight debit card allows kids to begin spending, but provides parents with peace of mind by giving them control over where their kids can spend money. Parents also can choose to receive alerts that tell them when, and how much, money is spent on the Greenlight debit card.

Greenlight works like a prepaid debit card, allowing you to transfer money onto the card for your child to pay for expenses at approved locations. You can choose how much money to load onto the card, and your child will be cleared to make approved purchases so long as a money balance backs up the card.

If your child asks for extra money to get added to the card, you can have them take a photo of the purchase they want to make and receive your approval. This gives you control and allows you to have discussions with your child about why a purchase might be a good or bad idea.

And if your child has a job, they can add their own funds to the card as well.

Greenlight boasts numerous other features, too. For instance, parents can open an investment account for kids to get their children investing in stocks and ETFs for the first time.

Greenlight also offers monthly savings rewards based on your tier: 1% per annum for Core members, 2% per annum for Max, and 5% per annum for Infinity. You may set up “Parent-Paid Interest” between you and your child. This allows you to foot the bill and pay interest on accounts for up to five kids.

The Greenlight debit card is a good choice for parents looking to teach their kids the importance of saving money and making prudent financial decisions. This financial product can be an effective learning tool for helping kids to understand why saving should be a priority and how to simplify paying an allowance or tracking chores.

Greenlight has no minimum age requirements but recommends starting at age 6 or older.

Each monthly Greenlight subscription includes debit cards for up to five kids. Replacement cards cost $3.50 each but are free the first time. If you need to replace your card quickly, you can get express delivery for $24.99. The company also offers a personalized card, with your own photo or design, for $9.98 per year.

Read more in our Greenlight Card review.

Related: 40+ Ways to Make Money as a Teenager

Greenlight Plans + Costs


Greenlight has three subscription tiers that unlock and/or upgrade various sets of features:

PlanMonthly FeeFeatures Offered Under Plan
Greenlight Core$4.99

    - Greenlight debit cards for up to five kids
    - Educational app
    - Core financial tools
    - Granular parental controls (store-level and category-level)
    - Savings Reward: Earn 1% on savings
    - Ability to earn, save, spend, invest and give
Greenlight Max$9.98Everything under the Greenlight Core plan, plus:

    - Savings Reward: Earn 2% on savings
    - Investing platform (parents must approve all individual stock and ETF investments)
    - 1% cash back on purchases
    - Priority customer support
    - Identity theft protection (identity theft monitoring, alerting and restoration for the whole family)
    - Cell phone protection (coverage for damaged, lost or stolen phones for up to five kids)
    - Purchase protection (repair or replace Greenlight purchases that are stolen or damaged)
    - Greenlight Black Card (modern, bold and black card)
Greenlight Infinity$14.98Everything under the Greenlight Max plan, plus:

    - Savings Reward: Earn 5% on savings
    - Family location sharing (can toggle on/off)
    - SOS alerts (swipe to send an alert to emergency contacts, 911, or both)
    - Crash detection (alerts 911 when a crash is detected)

Greenlight offers a free one-month trial for all plans.

One thing to note about Greenlight: It does not have a fee-free ATM network. So while Greenlight doesn’t charge ATM fees, your child likely will incur third-party charges whenever they withdraw money from an ATM.

Related: Best Investing Apps for Teens [Stock Apps for Teens]

Greenlight Features


family mom dad kids children smartphone

Greenlight is an app and debit card that’s rich in bells and whistles. Read on as I go through some of its most noteworthy features. (Note: Features available on all plans unless otherwise noted.)

Greenlight Card

Every Greenlight account comes with Greenlight cards—a Mastercard-branded prepaid debit card—for up to five kids.

In general, prepaid debit cards are an ideal solution for parents who want to start giving their kids some financial independence without completely opening the floodgates. With Greenlight, parents load the parent wallet via either a debit card or an ACH transfer from a checking account. (Neither loading method charges a fee.) Parents then load each child’s Greenlight card from the parent app, and their kids can only spend what’s on the card. This prevents common spending missteps such as getting hit with non-sufficient funds fees or overdraft charges.

The Greenlight card can be used virtually anywhere Mastercard is accepted, in-store and online, in the U.S. and more than 150 other countries worldwide. (And no foreign transaction fees, either!)

Greenlight debit card accounts are Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)-insured for up to $250,000 per individual through the card’s partner bank, Community Federal Savings Bank (CFSB). And because the Greenlight card is a Mastercard, you enjoy Mastercard’s Zero Liability Protection, which doesn’t hold cardholders responsible for any unauthorized transactions as long as they used reasonable care from protecting the card from loss or theft and promptly reported any fraud to Greenlight.

Want to shake things up? Your kid can upgrade to a custom Greenlight card for a one-time fee of $9.99. And Greenlight offers one of the most customizable cards, allowing people to decorate their card with a picture of themselves, a pet, a graphic, and other types of fun images.

Related: Best Brokerage Accounts for Minors

Parental Controls

I think parental controls are one of the most important features of a kids’ debit card, and Greenlight has them in spades. In fact, I think Greenlight is the industry leader in parental controls.

Greenlight uses a permission-based spending rules system that allows parents to set rules that limit not just spending amounts, but types of spending categories and even specific stores. (In my personal testing of this product, I was able to limit spending at a local creamery where my family celebrates weekly “Ice Cream Fridays,” effectively making any store, big or small, within reach of the robust parental controls offered through the Greenlight product.)

greenlight adding store specific spending controls meadowlark

Greenlight also offers spending notifications, real-time money requests and approvals if children don’t have enough money for a purchase, and the ability to freeze a kid’s debit card if the card is lost or stolen or the parents want to temporarily disable it for some other reason.

Chores + Allowance

Greenlight lets parents automate allowance, and even link it to chores.

The parent picks a frequency (monthly, biweekly, even weekly) and amount for allowance. Then, they can set up rules determining how much is paid out, and when:

  • The allowance is paid out with no connection to chores.
  • A percentage of the allowance will be paid out depending on what percentage of their chores they completed. (In other words, they can get part of their allowance if they do part of the chores.)
  • The allowance will only be paid out if all chores are completed.

Chores can be assigned on a one-time or recurring basis. And parents can help kids divvy up their allowance or earnings among Spending, Saving, Investing, and Giving.

Savings Reward

Earned interest on savings accounts is a great way to motivate children to save more. While Greenlight technically doesn’t offer interest, it offers something awfully close: the Savings Reward.

Your child receives a monthly savings boost—1% for Core plans, 2% for Max, and 5% for Infinity—based on the average daily savings balance in their Greenlight account, on up to $5,000 of savings. (So, kids can earn a maximum of $50, $100, or $250 annually depending on the plan.)

Parent-Paid Interest

Parents can also help their kids save faster by turning on Parent-Paid Interest.

With Parent-Paid Interest, a parent sets an annual interest rate between 1% to 100%, then every month, the applicable amount (based on the average daily balance of a kid’s Total Savings, which is whatever’s saved in both General Savings and Savings Goals) is paid from the parent’s wallet to the child’s General Savings area.

Round Ups

Greenlight offers yet another way to help their kids save even faster: Round Ups. Round-up apps all generally work the same: Whenever you spend, the purchase amount is rounded up to the nearest dollar (or some other preset dollar level or percentage), and the “spare change” is set aside in savings. Some round-up apps are more flexible and customizable than others; Greenlight’s Round Ups feature is pretty straightforward, rounding up purchases to the nearest dollar.

Related: Best Automatic Savings Apps + Accounts

Investing (Varies by Plan)

Greenlight offers commission-free investing across all its plans, though there’s a significant step up from the Core plan to the Max and Infinity plans.

With the Core plan, parents have access to Investing for Parents Lite, which allows parents to invest via a handful of exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

The Max and Infinity plans open up the full Investing for Parents, as well as Investing for Kids. Both provide access to more than 4,000 stocks and ETFs, and thanks to fractional shares, children and parents can invest with as little as $1. When kids invest, parents must approve every trade placed.

Not sure what you should invest in? Take Greenlight’s personalized quiz, and Greenlight will recommend a fund for you.

Related: Best Taxable Brokerage Accounts for Parents and Teens

Level Up

Kids can learn more money management techniques through the financial literacy game Level Up. This interactive game teaches both young children and teens budgeting, investing, and other money skills with a curriculum and educational challenges that go beyond the K-12 national standards for personal finance education.

Family Cash Card

All Greenlight subscription tiers allow users to qualify for the cash-back Family Cash Mastercard. Parents can add their kids as authorized users to help them learn how credit cards function and establish a credit history. Building a credit history early on can make it easier for children to qualify for their own unsecured credit cards or other loans when they’re older.

You get a competitive 3% back when you spend at least $4,000 per billing cycle. Spending of more than $1,000 but below $4,000 earns 2% cash back, and spending of below $1,000 earns 1%. There is no limit to the cash-back rewards you can earn. Users can also auto-invest their cash-back rewards.

You can sign up for Greenlight here.

Related: Best Credit Cards for Kids

Current Overview


Current signup new

The Current mobile banking app is designed with families in mind. It offers both adult and teen accounts—and the latter comes with a prepaid debit card that parents load for their children.

This kids’ debit card comes with fee-free ATM access, instant gas hold removals, Round-Ups, and more.

Current allows you to track your teen’s spending in real-time, set limits on how much your children can spend, and even block specific merchants on its Visa-enabled debit cards. You also get the peace of mind that comes with knowing your children’s money is safe because it’s not cash—no temptations, just a tool parents can use to help teach teens financial responsibility and sound money management skills.

Current doesn’t specifically state a minimum age requirement, but the company’s marketing suggests teens are the target audience. Still, you might be able to open an account for a younger child.

Related: The 5 Best Brokerage Accounts for Teens

Current Plans + Costs


Current is a completely free card, so there’s only one “plan” of which to speak:

PlanMonthly FeeFeatures Offered Under Plan
Current TeenN/A

    - Current card
    - Parental controls
    - Allowance and chores
    - Savings Pods
    - Giving Pods
    - Round-Ups
    - Cash deposits
    - Gas hold removals

A parent must create a free Current Individual Account to set up Current Teen Account. However, there are no minimum required balances, fees for transfers to other Current accounts, or in-network ATM fees.

Still, Current users might still incur a few fees, including:

  • Out-of-network ATM usage ($2.50 per transaction)
  • Foreign transactions (3% of the full transaction amount, minimum $0.50.)
  • Late payment (3% of any total due balances outstanding and past due for two or more billing cycles)
  • Cash reloads ($3.50)

Many users can avoid these fees, but it’s still good to keep them in mind.

Current Features


teen young woman credit debit card blue background

Current has several features that help it stand out from other debit cards for teens. Here are the most pertinent aspects you should know:

Current Card

The Current experience centers around the Current Visa debit card. Teens can use the Current debit card to shop both in stores or online, or to withdraw cash fee-free from more than 40,000 in-network Allpoint ATMs.

Parental Controls

Parents have several ways to limit their teens’ spending.

The cards automatically come with daily maximums of $500 for ATM withdrawals and $2,000 for spending, but parents can adjust these as they want.

Parents can also toggle certain spending categories (including ATMs) on and off, and even turn the card on and off, if necessary.

Allowance + Chores

Current has one of the most flexible allowance options available, allowing you to choose monthly, bi-weekly, weekly, and even daily money transfers! (I think daily is a little too frequent, but it’s there if you need it.) Simply set an amount, a funding source, start date, and frequency.

You can also assign chores to your teen (who must mark the chore as completed once they’re done with it), then pay them regularly on a weekly basis. But you have some optionality—you can pay your teen early, and you can also adjust payment if some chores aren’t completed on time.

Savings Pods

Each Current teen account comes with a Savings Pod, which is effectively a savings account—you can name it, set a goal amount, even add an image to it.

Giving Pods

Want to instill the importance of giving back to your child? Current Teen Accounts come with a Giving Pod that allows your teenager to donate to their favorite charity.

Round-Ups

The Current card also offers basic Round-Ups, where every purchase is rounded up to the nearest dollar and the difference is stored in the Savings or Giving Pod. This makes saving simple and automatic.

Cash Deposits

Whether your child has a job that pays cash tips or receives money in celebratory cards, they can deposit that cash into their Current account at more than 60,000 stores nationwide, including popular retailers such as 7-Eleven, Dollar General, CVS Pharmacy, and more.

To find participating retailers, look at the “Add Cash” map. Once there, simply tell the cashier you want to deposit cash. Once the cashier scans the barcode, the funds are immediately available. Deposits can be up to $500 per transaction, though Current does charge a $3.50 cash reload fee.

Gas Hold Removals

Nobody likes having their money tied up, and that’s exactly what happens with gas holds, where a gas station puts a hold—usually of $50 or more—on your account until the transaction goes through. With the parent’s Current account, the teen can get instant gas hold removals.

Interested in Current? You can sign up here.

Related: Best Teen Checking Accounts [Banks for Teens]

Greenlight vs. Current: Our Editors’ Choice Is …


A Current account can fit the needs of some parents, but frankly, Current is in the minor league while Greenlight is a major league debit card.

Current is still a solid choice for those who seek a free kids’ debit card. It has a few useful features that aren’t popular for kids’ debit cards, such as gas hold removals, spending insights, and cash reloads.

However, if you’re willing to pay for a debit card for kids, Greenlight’s features are worth the price. Its powerful parental controls are unparalleled. The Max and Infinity plans offer cash back and, no matter what plan you’re using, children earn an APY on savings; Current doesn’t.

Greenlight also includes direct deposit, enables kids to donate to charity, and debit card customization. Perhaps best yet, those with the Max or Infinity plan can let their kid invest in stocks and ETFs.

Overall, we rank Greenlight higher than Current. You can sign up for Greenlight here. But if Greenlight simply doesn’t fit into your budget, it’s free to sign up for Current here.

Our Pick: Greenlight
Runner-Up: Current
4.8
3.8
Our Pick: Greenlight
Runner-Up: Current

Related: 26 Best Online Jobs for Teens [Earn Money at Home, Age 13+]

Other Debit Cards for Kids to Consider


If you’re still not convinced on Greenlight or Current, you might want to look at these other highly rated options:

AppApple App Store Rating
+ Best For
FeesPromotions
greenlight transparent logo thinGreenlight☆ 4.8 / 5
Customer rating and parental controls
1 month free. Core: $4.99/mo. Max: $9.98/mo. Infinity: $14.98/mo. (Each plan supports up to 5 children.)Free 1-month trial
copper logo thinCopper Banking☆ 4.9 / 5
Teen financial independence
Copper $4.95/mo., Copper + Invest: $7.95/mo.30-days free
gohenry logo thinGoHenry☆ 4.6 / 5
Accessible customer service support
1 month free. Individual: $4.99/mo. Family (supports up to 4 children): $9.98/mo.1 month free
revolut logo thinRevolut <18☆ 4.7 / 5
Parent-paid bonuses
No monthly feesNone
Axos Bank logoAxos First Checking☆ 4.7 / 5
Teens ready to learn about money management
Free (no monthly fees)None
*Apple App Store Rating as of April 1, 2024.

Related:


Revolut <18 Disclosure

The Revolut prepaid card is issued by Community Federal Savings Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Visa.

About the Author

Riley Adams is the Founder and CEO of Young and the Invested. He is a licensed CPA who worked 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, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, The Globe and Mail, 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, Investopedia, The Balance and Fast Company.

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