facebook twitter instagram linkedin google youtube vimeo tumblr yelp rss email podcast phone blog search brokercheck brokercheck Play Pause
gohenry vs. Greenlight: How I Picked a Debit Card for My Kids Thumbnail

gohenry vs. Greenlight: How I Picked a Debit Card for My Kids

I owe my son, Henry, money. Lots of money. Since last March, instead of paying him in cash for his lawn mowing efforts, he’s been keeping a detailed ledger of how much he’s owed. While there have been deductions – some as a behavioral punishment, some because of money spent on his behalf by my wife or me – he is still a very large creditor. I have been joking that, mortgage aside, he may be my biggest creditor. I’m not sure it’s a joke anymore.

With a family vacation on the horizon – and Henry’s plans to spend his money like a caffeinated teenager while gone – it was time for me to get serious about providing a secure method for all of my children to manage their money while being easy for me to manage.

After reviewing my options, I narrowed it down to one of two choices: gohenry and Greenlight.

The two are more similar than they are different:

  • Both are web based with apps for both parents and kids
  • Both have parental controls and alerts to monitor activity
  • Both make it easy for parents by allowing you to automate allowances and payment for recurring tasks
  • Both allow kids to set and track progress towards goals
  • Both offer custom cards – for a fee
  • Both offer the ability for non-account owners to gift money directly to the account

There are differences, though, including:

  • Greenlight allows parents to pay their own interest rate on a child’s savings account, incentivizing good financial behavior
  • gohenry’s parental controls on spending are more robust, in my opinion
  • Greenlight works with Apple and Google Pay
  • gohenry works in both the US and UK while Greenlight is US only
  • Greenlight allows direct deposit of a child’s paycheck into their account. That feature is expected to be available soon on gohenry.
  • The basic plan for Greenlight costs $4.99/month for up to five kids and there is no ATM fee. There are upgraded plans available for an additional charge. For gohenry, the monthly fee is $3.99 per child and the ATM fee is $1.50.

I wound up selecting Greenlight for my children because a) it will be nearly $7/month cheaper which means approximately $84 less per year in expense for me and b) the parent-paid interest on savings – at a rate we get to choose – is very intriguing to the financial advisor in me.

Did I make the right choice? Only time will tell. I do know my kids are all very excited about getting their brand-new debit cards. And I am excited to no longer owe Henry any money.  

 Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash