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.
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