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Goalsetter vs Greenlight Prepaid Debit Card for Teens (Help Choosing)

What sets the Greenlight prepaid debit card apart from the Goalsetter app? Get help quickly deciding which is best for your family.

How to choose between Goalsetter vs. Greenlight’s prepaid debit card?

teen girl with prepaid debit card, smiling, text overlay "best prepaid debit card for your family? Goalsetter vs Greenlight"

While each of these apps has similar functions that overlap each other, perhaps the best way to show you the difference between the two is what each was created for:

  • The point of Greenlight is to help manage your child’s spending habits
  • The point of Goalsetter app is to help your child set and manage savings goals

Let’s dive into each of these apps – first looking at their similarities, and then what makes them different – so that you can choose the best one for your family.

Goalsetter and Greenlight App Similarities

Let’s start with what makes these two similar: both Goalsetter and Greenlight offer prepaid debit cards.

The major difference between the two is that Greenlight’s app is centered around the prepaid debit card, whereas you can use the Goalsetter app with or without a prepaid debit card.

But before we dive into the differences, here’s what you get with either the Goalsetter or Greenlight app:

  • Both offer allowance and chore system management
  • Both have varying degrees of parental spending controls
  • Both allow you settings to set-and-forget allowances, or pay-per-tasks functionality
  • Both offer your kids the chance to set and track progress towards savings goals

Greenlight vs Goalsetter – Differences

DetailsGoalsetterGreenlight
Suggested Age6-16 years8-18 years
ProductAn educational fin lit financial management app with an optional prepaid debit cardA prepaid debit card attached to a financial management app
Cost$0 (pay-what-you-can, suggested between $1.00 and $10.00 per month) $4.99 – $9.98/month (up to 5 kids)
Functionality– Roundup savings from purchases made out of bank account or on debit card
– Offers a weekly financial literacy quiz you can tie to certain app functions (like being able to spend money on the card, or earning extra cash)
– Robust savings goal dashboard
– Roundup savings from purchases on debit card
– Savings goal dashboard
Spending Controls– Parents can lock moving money out of a certain savings goal so that kids don’t spend the money elsewhere
– Parents can put a limit on weekly spending
– Category and store level limits and controls – parents can block transactions from specific retailers
– Parents can see spending activity in real-time
Direct DepositNoYes
ATM AccessNoYes
Digital Wallet AccessApple Pay, Google PayApple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay
Cash Back Earnings and Savings IncentivesPays a .25% APY bonus if the savings account is more than $500 – With the Max plan, link your bank account for 1% cash back to savings on each purchase made with prepaid debit card
– 2% savings rewards with the Max plan
Card CustomizationNoYes ($9.99 each)
Donation CapabilityNoKids can donate directly to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America from their “give” category
Investing CapabilityNo (you can get on the waitlist)Kids can use the Greenlight + Invest app to research stocks, invest an amount of their choice and track progress over time (parents must approve buys)
Replacement Card Fee$8.00First replacement card free; $3.50 after that
Inactivity Fee$1.00 after 12 months of no transactionsNo

This is a great snapshot of what each of these apps offers that the other does not (or what they both offer), but how are you supposed to choose which one is right for your family?

Which is Better? Choosing the Right Prepaid Debit Card for Your Family

In the end, choosing the right prepaid debit card for your family comes down to your own situation.

Let me give you some guidance to help you decide.

For starters, is the heart of what you’re looking for to help your child with a savings goal and ensure they’re learning some financial literacy skills in a formal way? Then Goalsetter is probably for you.

But if you want to focus more on your child’s spending habits and have a robust set of spending controls, then Greenlight could be the one.

If cost is an issue, then Goalsetter is definitely a good choice so that you can pay what you can afford each month (between $1 and $10). And if you’re not ready for a prepaid debit card at all, but still want the functionality of an app for allowance and chores and whatever else you’d like help with managing your child’s money, then Goalsetter is a great option.

Finally, if you want to get your kids started in investing right now, then Greenlight is the way to go, as Goalsetter’s investing platform is not ready yet.

Goalsetter vs Greenlight App — don't get too caught up on over-analyzing the perfect one for you and your family. Make your best decision, based on the information provided, and start to use one. You'll understand better how this can help with allowance and chore management, teen and kid money management, and more, as you go.

And if you’re still on the fence? Then be sure to check out:

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Amanda L. Grossman is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, a 2017 Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Money Prodigy. Amanda's kid money work has been featured on Experian, GoBankingRates, PT Money, CA.gov, Rockstar Finance, the Houston Chronicle, and Colonial Life. Read more here.

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