GoHenry and Greenlight are two of the most popular prepaid debit cards for kids. But they both have a lot more to offer than secure, flexible payment cards with built-in parental controls.
Each app has built-in educational tools and budgeting features that empower kids to take control of their own finances — with parent or guardian permission. They make it easy to pay kids for completing household tasks, set spending limits for when they’re out and about, and power longer-term savings goals with an eye to financial independence.
There’s plenty separating GoHenry and Greenlight as well. The two apps aren’t carbon copies, that’s for sure. So before you choose one or another, take some time to familiarize yourself with their features and capabilities.
Key Features of GoHenry and Greenlight — Plans and Pricing
GoHenry and Greenlight are both rich in money management and financial education features.
GoHenry has a single plan that costs $4.99 per month for one child or $9.98 for the entire family (up to four children). Both plans offer one month free and include the app’s entire feature lineup.
Greenlight has three plans with different features and capabilities:
- Greenlight: Includes the app’s core features, including a debit card and built-in savings account, for $4.99 per month.
- Greenlight + Invest: Adds an investment platform for kids and parents for $7.98 per month.
- Greenlight Max: Adds cash back on eligible debit purchases, plus some other value-added features, for $9.98 per month.
GoHenry — Features and Capabilities
GoHenry’s single plan has a monthly fee of $4.99 for an individual child or $9.98 for a family with up to four children. Both fees kick in after a 30-day free trial during which you can cancel at any time without further obligation. It comes with a Mastercard debit card for each enrolled kid and includes all the following features and capabilities.
You can set weekly automated transfers to your kids’ accounts in the GoHenry mobile app. This feature is useful if you pay your kids a regular weekly allowance or reimburse them for recurring expenses, like a cellphone bill.
Setting and Paying for Chores
You can establish recurring chores with defined payment amounts for each right in the GoHenry app. Once the chore is marked complete, your kid gets paid.
Setting and Funding Savings Goals
You can create and fund specific savings goals in the GoHenry app. Your kids have access to these goals as well and can help decide how much they want to contribute toward each.
When your kids need money right away, GoHenry has you covered. You can transfer money instantly to your kid’s account right in the app. The funds are immediately available on the debit card, including for ATM withdrawals.
Real-Time Spend Notifications
GoHenry delivers real-time notifications of spending, ATM withdrawals, and other relevant account activity to the parent app. This makes it easy to keep tabs on your child’s spending habits even when they’re not with you.
Card Locking and Unlocking
You can lock and unlock your kid’s debit card in the GoHenry app. This is useful if the card has been misplaced or stolen, or if you need to give your kid a time-out from spending.
In addition to locking and unlocking your kids’ cards, you can set more granular parental controls in the GoHenry parent app. Choose when, where, and how much your kid can spend, and rule out entire types of transactions (like ATM withdrawals and online purchases) as you see fit.
You can add a co-parent or co-guardian to your GoHenry parent account so that they can share in the joys of account management. This is useful not only for divorced and separated parents but for cohabitating parents who’ve divided up household money management tasks between them.
If your teen has a job outside the home, you can set up direct deposit for their paychecks at no additional cost.
P2P Transfers and Splits
GoHenry allows free peer-to-peet (P2P) transfers from kids’ accounts unless you choose to disable the feature. With P2P transfers enabled, kid users can pay friends and vendors, split bills, and do all sorts of other grown-up things with their money.
GiftLink (Financial Gifts From Friends and Family)
GoHenry’s GiftLink feature makes it easy for people who know and love your kids to send money to their GoHenry accounts, even if they’re not GoHenry users themselves. Gifts are free to make and receive, and gift givers can include personalized messages with the funds.
Recipients have free reign to do what they wish with the funds — just remind them to send a thank-you note in the app.
You and your kids can donate to the Boys & Girls Club of America from within the app — a great way to teach the importance of helping the less fortunate.
Greenlight Plan — Features and Capabilities
Greenlight’s core plan has a monthly fee of $4.99. With a Mastercard debit card for up to five kids and an array of parent- and kid-friendly financial tools, it’s plenty powerful for the typical household, although it doesn’t include everything the Greenlight app has to offer.
Here’s what to expect from it.
Financial Education Content
Greenlight has a trove of kid-friendly financial literacy content and tools: articles, videos, quizzes, and games, all produced with young people in mind. Greenlight regularly runs contests and sweepstakes that encourage sound financial behaviors as well.
Payments for Chores and Allowance
You can set recurring or one-time chores in the Greenlight app and tie weekly, biweekly, or monthly allowance payments to their completion. Choose from a flat-rate allowance that’s not contingent on chores at all, a hybrid allowance that only pays in full when all chores are complete, or a chores-based allowance that doesn’t pay at all unless your kids get their jobs done.
1% Greenlight Savings Reward
Greenlight pays an effective 1% interest rate on eligible savings balances. Payments hit the account monthly, regardless of balance or account activity — giving your kids a real-world demonstration of the concept of compound interest.
Greenlight has a comprehensive set of parental controls. You can turn the card on or off in the app, view real-time spending notifications, disable unsafe spending categories or transaction types, set dollar limits for specific types of spending, and enable touch or face ID for added security.
You can set up direct deposit for older Greenlight users so you know exactly where their paycheck is going — and how they’re spending it.
Greenlight Custom Card
For an additional one-time charge of $9.99, your kid can choose a customized debit card bearing their likeness. The kids’ debit card ships in seven to 10 business days — or two to three business days if you pay an extra $24.99 for expedited shipping.
Greenlight + Invest Plan — Features and Capabilities
Greenlight + Invest costs $7.98 per month. As the name suggests, it includes a low-cost investing platform that serves parents and kids alike — while retaining the parental controls that make Greenlight’s core plan so attractive to parents.
Greenlight + Invest includes all the features and capabilities of Greenlight’s base plan, plus:
Investing for Kids
Greenlight offers a parent-supervised investment account for kid users. Selling points include:
- Parent approval for all trades, right in the app
- No commissions or trading fees
- Start investing with just $1
- Buy fractional shares of eligible stocks
Technically, this is not a custodial investment account. It’s a brokerage account in your name that your kid can use with your permission.
Investing for Parents
You can invest on your kids’ behalf through Greenlight’s investment platform as well. After all, it’s your account. The same benefits apply, including no commissions and low minimums.
Greenlight Max Plan — Features and Capabilities
Greenlight’s top-tier plan is Greenlight Max. For $9.98 per month, it adds a slew of value-added features, including cash back on eligible debit card purchases.
Identity Theft Protection
Kids can fall victim to identity theft just like adults. They’re arguably even more vulnerable because most don’t keep close tabs on their credit, creating opportunities for identity thieves who want to open fraudulent accounts. So built-in identity theft monitoring, notification, and restoration is a nice perk of the Greenlight Max plan.
1% Cash Back on Eligible Debit Card Purchases
Greenlight Max plan holders earn 1% cash back on eligible Greenlight debit card purchases. Cash back accrues monthly and is deposited into kids’ savings accounts at the end of the earning period.
2% Greenlight Savings Reward
Greenlight Max users earn double the interest rate of other Greenlight users. That’s a 2% savings reward on eligible savings balances, paid monthly.
Greenlight Black Card
Greenlight Max users get a special black debit card that looks way cooler than the standard-issue version.
Priority Customer Support
Greenlight Max users always get priority when they call or email Greenlight for help. Greenlight doesn’t make any promises as to how long you’ll wait during busy support periods, but you’ll always find yourself at the front of the line.
Cellphone Protection for Up to Five Kids
Greenlight Max users get complimentary cellphone protection insurance for up to five kids and devices. Coverage is provided by Virginia Surety Company and isn’t available to residents of New York state.
Select Greenlight debit card purchases get complimentary coverage through Greenlight Max’s purchase protection plan, which covers the cost of repairs or replacements up to preset limits. This coverage is also provided by Virginia Surety Company and isn’t available in New York state.
The Verdict: Should You Choose GoHenry or Greenlight?
GoHenry and Greenlight are both excellent apps for teaching kids financial concepts and empowering them to take control of their money. But each has its own set of features, capabilities, and strengths.
You Should Get GoHenry If…
GoHenry is a better fit if:
- You Want to Try Before You Buy. GoHenry comes with a 30-day free trial for new members. You’re under no obligation to continue with GoHenry if you decide it’s not right for you during the trial.
- You Want Powerful Budgeting Capabilities. GoHenry has powerful budgeting features for parents who really want to hammer concepts like “spend less than you earn” and “pay yourself first.”
- You Want to Put Your Kids to Work. GoHenry has robust tools for parents who want to customize and automate their kids’ at-home income streams, be they allowances or chores (or both).
You Should Get Greenlight If…
Greenlight is a better fit if:
- You Want to Teach Your Kids About Investing. Greenlight + Invest offers low-cost investing capabilities for parents and kids alike. It’s the ideal first brokerage for minor children.
- You Want Built-in Identity Theft Protection. Greenlight Max includes identity theft protection for kids at no additional cost — not that it’s even possible to put a price tag on peace of mind.
- You Want to Earn Cash Back on Eligible Purchases. With Greenlight Max, eligible debit card purchases earn 1% cash back. That’s a solid rate of return for a debit card and another way to teach kids the value of a buck (or penny).
Both Are Great If…
Both GoHenry and Greenlight are excellent options if:
- You Want Some Say Over Your Kids’ Financial Habits. Both Greenlight and GoHenry have robust, customizable parental controls and notifications. They make it easy to keep tabs on your kids’ spending and veto unwise decisions.
- You Want to Make It Easy for Friends and Relatives to Give Your Kids Financial Gifts. Both apps have built-in gift-giving features that enable friends and relatives to gift money to the kids in their lives.
- You Want to Protect Your Kids’ Funds. Both apps have FDIC-backed deposit insurance up to statutory limits ($250,000 per account type). That provides valuable peace of mind in the unlikely event that either app goes under.
But don’t let that fool you. Despite superficial similarities, Greenlight and GoHenry serve distinct audiences. The right choice for your family might not be the ideal move for your neighbor’s.
GoHenry is more of a pure money management app. It’s ideal for parents who want to slowly loosen the reins and give their kids more responsibility for their finances over time. It really shines as an allowance-management tool.
Greenlight is more comprehensive. It’s useful for parents who want to introduce more advanced financial concepts, such as investing and insurance, without sacrificing those day-to-day spending basics.
You can’t go wrong with either. But you should still choose wisely.