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Greenlight vs. gohenry (Which is the Best Debit Card for Kids?)

An easy-to-read breakdown of Greenlight vs. gohenry, so that you can choose the best prepaid debit card for your kids and teens.

Greenlight vs. gohenry…which prepaid debit card is best for teens?

smiling teen girl with debit card in hand, text overlay "best teen debit card? gohenry vs. greenlight"

I remember the first time my parents gave me a debit card. I was in my teens, and had my driver’s license.

At first, they let me borrow their card as an authorized user so that I could buy things from the grocery store and run other small errands for the family. Then, they let me keep it in my wallet, in case I needed it while I was out.

It felt like such trust and responsibility they were giving me!

You may be looking for the best debit card for kids for your own reasons, such as:

  • Safety Reasons: Giving a teen the ability to pay at the pump for gas instead of inside the convenience store.
  • Travel Reasons: So that your teen has backup spending options when they’re away on a trip.
  • Convenience Reasons: To make your allowance or chore system more convenient, saving you from having to hit up the ATM.
  • Educational Reasons: To give your teen an education in plastic while they’re still young, since they’ll be dealing with debit and credit cards in their adult lives.
  • Spending Controls: To give you, the parent, spending controls that you otherwise wouldn’t have if your child was spending cash.

That’s why I’m taking the time to highlight Greenlight vs. gohenry prepaid debit cards and apps, so that you can clearly choose the best debit card for kids and teens in your family.

What is the Best Prepaid Debit Card for a Teenager? A Prepaid One

A prepaid debit card can function like a debit card in most ways, but doesn’t give your child endless access to your checking account or the ability to rack up overdraft fees.

That’s why it’s a great option for kids and teens who are still learning about money.

A prepaid debit card:

  • Looks like a debit or credit card, but that only has funds available to spend that someone physically loads onto it.
  • Allows someone to make an online purchase, but they have stricter spending controls.
  • Does not allow over withdrawal fees (though they do come with other fees).
  • Can be attached to an app with spending controls for parents, and money management options for teens.

Greenlight Vs. gohenry Prepaid Debit Cards

Both Greenlight and gohenry are prepaid debit cards. The major difference between the two is that Greenlight is more robust with features, and will cost less for families with more than one child.

Have just one child? Then gohenry will be cheaper for you.

Let’s go over the similarities between the two before we dive into the differences.

What You Get with Either gohenry or Greenlight:

  • Both alert parents of spending activity in real time
  • Both offer a free trial (Greenlight, gohenry)
  • Both have varying degrees of parental spending controls
  • Both allow you settings to set-and-forget allowances (if you'd like)
  • Both allow you to pay per tasks (if you’d like)
  • Both partner with Boys and Girls Clubs of America so that kids can donate directly to them from their “give” category
  • Both offer your kids the chance to set and track progress towards savings goals

Here's a quick table to highlight the main differences between gohenry and Greenlight:

DetailsGreenlightgohenry
Suggested Age and CountryAge range = 8-18 years, U.S. onlyAge range = 6-18 years, U.S. and U.K.
Monthly Fee$4.99 – $9.98/month (up to 5 kids)

No ATM fee
$3.99/child per month

$1.50 ATM fee
Spending LimitsStore-level spending limits available, plus the ability to lock and unlock all spendingYou can lock and unlock spending, or cut off spending for each of these: online, in-store, ATMs.

You can set up weekly spending limits, single spend limits, and ATM spending limits.
Product FeaturesSave the change roundup capability

Incentivize your child to save more by paying them an interest rate on money saved

Kids can invest with trade approval from parents for an extra monthly fee

Friends or family can send a Greenlight Gift money to a child's account

Anyone can gift your child money through Greenlight Gift
Parents can reward kids for saving regularly through the task feature (set up a task such as ‘save $5 a month’, and set the amount they’d like to reward as a one-off or weekly payment)

Parents can invite relatives and friends to contribute to their child’s earnings via giftlinks with a personal note, too; kids can send a personal thank you note back

Custom CardsCost $9.99 eachCost $4.99 each
Direct Deposit of Teen PaychecksWhen your teen starts earning paychecks, they can direct deposit them to their Greenlight account**Feature being released soon: Teens (13+) will have a routing number and account number so wages can be paid into their account
Cash Back on PurchasesEarn 1% cash back on purchases with the prepaid debit card (Greenlight Max plan only)None
Savings Reward Paid by AppEarn 1% savings reward with linked bank account, and 2% with the Greenlight Max planNone
Apple and Google Pay AvailableKids that meet minimum age requirements can use Apple Pay or Google Pay for a payment methodNot available

How to Choose the Right Prepaid Debit Card for Your Family

There are some real differences between these two in terms of price and features that should help you decide which prepaid debit card and app is best for your family.

For example, if you want your teen to be able to direct deposit their paycheck straight to their allowance/chore app, then Greenlight is the way to go (it should be noted that this feature is coming out soon with gohenry). Greenlight also offers more specific spending controls, in case that's important to you.

But if you live in the UK? You'll definitely need gohenry because Greenlight is not offered there. Not only that, but their custom cards are half the price.

What might make the biggest difference is the cost you're willing to pay and the size of your family. For example, if you have 3 kids, the gohenry app is $3.99 per child per month (so a total of $11.97/month), whereas you can use Greenlight's app for $4.99/month with up to 5 kids (each with their own debit card).

In summary, both apps can work for your family, and your kids are bound to learn some good money lessons from either of these.

And if you still didn't find what you're looking for? Then be sure to check out my review of Greenlight vs. Famzoo.

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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.